Covid-19 Coronavirus
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Coronavirus: A timeline of how the deadly COVID-19 outbreak is evolving

10:17 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Altura ramps up lithium mine in Western Australia – Jupiter Mines releases Q2 financial results – Western Australia reports record resources sales

25 September

Lithium raw materials supplier Altura Mining has ramped up operations at the Altura lithium mine in Western Australia as site-based staff returned to pre-coronavirus rosters. The company reported that production at the lithium mine had been consistent and was expected to reach 43,000 to 45,000 wet metric tonnes (wmt) for the September quarter. Altura also noted that shipping tonnage for the September quarter (Q3-2020) have exceeded production, with 51,217wmt sold via four cargoes. Altura managing director James Brown said: “Altura’s production and sales have continued to be strong through what are still weak market conditions.”

Iron ore mining company Jupiter Mines has announced that overall mining volumes during the quarter that ended on 31 August were below plan as a result of continued delays in mobilising additional equipment due to the coronavirus pandemic. Production and exports from the company’s Tshipi Borwa manganese mine in South Africa remained on track, despite the project tracking behind plan. Irrespective of the issues reported at the mine, Tshipi delivered 840,469t of manganese during Q2-FY2021, compared with the 694,769t in the first quarter.

According to statistics released by the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety, the resources sector in Western Australia (WA) reported record sales of A$172bn ($121bn) in the FY2019-20. Iron-ore sales reached a record A$103bn ($72bn) on increased output and an ‘eight-year price high’, while gold sales also increased to an all-time high of almost A$16bn ($11.2bn) with prices averaging more than A$2,300 ($1,620) per ounce. WA Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston said: “These record results underpin the importance and resilience of the resources sector as WA recovers from the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.”


9:28 am

Coronavirus company news summary – QRC report flags more potential jobs in resource sector – PGG miners in underground strike action – CEOs warn of lingering effects on Latin American mining

24 September

Queensland Resources Council (QRC) chief executive Ian Macfarlane said that its latest State of the Sector report found 43% of resource companies were planning to decrease their use of interstate workers in the long term. This is expected to lead to more jobs in the resources sector as the economy of the state recovers from the impacts of Covid-19. The report is based on feedback received from mining, energy, minerals processing, contracting, exploration, and other business leaders between July and August.

Nearly 200 miners at mines owned by Poland-based coal producer PGG have refused to return the surface. Trade unions and the company said that they are currently protesting in Poland’s southern coal region as the government plans to restructure the industry. These protests were triggered by a lack of progress in talks between the unions, the government and the management of PGG with regard to the restructuring of the company, which is running out of money due to falling demand and increasing costs.

CEOs of mining companies have warned of lingering impacts from Covid-19 at Latin American mines despite the lifting of suspensions as well as declining cases. In many parts of the region, operations were stopped when the pandemic hit in March this year. Government restrictions forced mass suspensions in Peru, Mexico and Argentina, Bnamericas reported. Pan American Silver CEO Michael Steinmann told the Gold Forum Americas online conference: “We see across the board probably about 80% productivity across our operations.”

9:35 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Odisha urges Indian government to defer coal blocks auction – Russian lawmakers support plans to raise tax on mining firms – Yancoal cuts capex

23 September

The government of Indian state Odisha has requested that the central government, postpone the process of coal block auctions by three months in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak, ANI reported. In a letter to India’s Union Coal Minister Prahlad Joshi, Odisha Steel and Mines Minister Prafulla Mallik stated: “The coal trading has been adversely affected by Covid-19 outbreak, the market value of coal has significantly gone down in comparison to the last year.” According to Mallik, the government may not get a good price for natural mineral resources if the coal block auction is allowed at this time.

Russian lawmakers have supported a plan by the finance ministry to increase taxes for some mining companies and the oil industry. The latest move comes as part of Moscow’s efforts to plug holes left by the Covid-19 crisis, Reuters reported. The higher tax rate is expected to affect the country’s metals producers such as Norilsk Nickel, RUSAL, Evraz and Severstal.

Australian based coal producer and developer Yancoal has decided to defer all non-essential capital expenditure (capex). The latest move comes in the wake of uncertain conditions brought by the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. Yancoal reduced this year’s capex budget to below A$300m ($217m) from A$380m ($275m) as its main focus is on ‘cost control’ during this period of weaker coal prices.

9:27 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Mountain Province conducts first diamond sale since February – Chromium production impacted severely by Covid-19 – AngloGold reinstates 2020 guidance

22 September

Canadian diamond mining company Mountain Province Diamonds held its first traditional commercial diamond sale since the Covid-19 pandemic began. The latest sale marks the company’s first commercial sale since February this year. Mountain Province Diamonds president and CEO Stuart Brown said: “The results of the first small sale, post the Covid-19 Pandemic are an encouraging start considering that the market has been at a standstill for nearly 6 months.” The diamond sales resumption is a major sign of development for the diamond sector, which has been largely shut down by coronavirus-related travel bans and the economic hit of the virus.

Global chromium production and consumption remained “constrained” during the second quarter this year (Q2-2020) due to lockdown measures implemented in various countries as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak, according to the International Chromium Development Association (ICDA). However, ICDA warns that the Q2 figures were “preliminary” and confirm the trend of a continued decrease in production due to continuity in the Covid-19 global crisis.

Gold mining company AngloGold Ashanti has reinstated – but trimmed – its annual guidance citing improved operating certainty and the anticipated conclusion of the sale of its assets in South Africa at the end of this month. Updated 2020 production guidance excluding the South African assets is now between 2.80Moz and 2.86Moz. AngloGold Ashanti interim CEO Christine Ramon stated: “We’re pleased to reintroduce guidance, which reflects our greater certainty in relation to full year operating performance.”

9:23 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Minerals Council welcomes South Africa easing restrictions – SSR Mining updates guidance after Alacer merger – CIL output may fall

21 September

The Minerals Council South Africa has welcomed South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s further easing of Covid-19 restrictions and his call to rebuild the country’s economy, restore growth and create jobs. The country moved to alert Level 1 on 20 September, with Ramaphosa also saying “we will gradually and cautiously ease restrictions on international travel” and conditionally open borders from 1 October this year.

SSR Mining has updated its full year 2020 outlook following completion of the company’s merger with Alacer Gold last week. The new production guidance will also reflect the coronavirus-related impacts to operations at the company’s Seabee and Puna mines. Overall, the company expects to produce 680,000oz to 760,000oz gold-equivalent from its four operating mines at consolidated all-in sustaining costs of $965 to $1,040 per each ounce. On 16 September, the merger of Alacer Gold and SSR Mining was completed, with Alacer becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of SSR.

India’s state-owned firm Coal India Limited (CIL) may witness “de-growth” in production during the fiscal year (FY-2021) as its output is likely to fall below 600 million tonnes (Mt) due to sluggish demand, according to analysts. CIL could end the current year with the coal production of around 580Mt as against its revised target of 650Mt-660Mt, PTI reported citing analysts.


9:24 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Mining at heart of SA recovery plan – New I-CAT system delayed by Covid-19 – First Quantum exceeds production targets

18 September

South Africa is reportedly seeking to rejuvenate its mining industry to help counter the economic fallout resulting from coronavirus-related lockdowns that had been imposed to curb the spread of the disease. According to Bloomberg,  the mining sector once formed the “bedrock” of Africa’s most-industrialised economy. In order to rebuild investor confidence, the South African government has now identified mining revival as a major part of an economic recovery plan agreed by the government and labour representatives.

The director of environmental management firm I-CAT, Lourens Jansen van Rensburg, said that the company intended to launch a new dust suppression system earlier this year but there were many delays due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Jansen van Rensburg added that the outbreak gave rise to stringent health and safety measures at mines, placing more importance on the need for dust management. I-CAT provides a wide range of dust suppression solutions designed for various mining operations.

Canadian mining and metals company First Quantum Minerals said it exceeded its production targets for July and August despite the challenges resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic. The company attributed this strong production performance to consistent milling rates in August.

9:29 am

Coronavirus company news summary – First Quantum does not expect further Covid-19 disruptions – SA Minerals Council launches field guide on Covid-19 safety – India’s thermal coal imports fall 41.5% in Q2

17 September

Canadian mining and metals company First Quantum Minerals said it does not expect any further disruptions related to the Covid-19 pandemic, with precautionary measures in place at all its operations. First Quantum’s Cobre Panama mine, which was shut in early April by order of Ministry of Health of the Republic of Panama (MINSA), has not recorded any Covid-19 cases on site since May.

The Minerals Council South Africa has announced the launch of its “Beyond the Mine Gate Field Guide”. This guide is aimed at empowering employees in the mining sector, by “promoting” and “supporting” safe and healthy behaviour within the communities. The field guide has been created with a specific focus on coronavirus-related safety guidance.

According to India’s coal ministry data, imports of thermal coal in the country fell by 41.5% to 32.9 million tonnes (Mt) during the second quarter this year (Q2-2020). Imports by utilities, which forms about three quarters of India’s coal use, fell 41%, Reuters reported. Lower coal imports is actually a good news for the country, as the Indian government is reportedly seeking to cut down fossil fuel imports.

9:26 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Harmony Gold reports loss – Renard diamond mine to restart – Codelco enters agreement with union

16 September

South African gold mining company Harmony Gold Mining posted a full year loss of R828m ($53m) for FY-2020 as a result of the weaker exchange rate despite soaring gold prices. However, there was a 9% increase in revenue to R29.2bn, compared to R26.9bn last year (FY-2019). The South African gold miner had warned that it expects to post a loss as an R1.7bn “derivative loss” hit profits, Reuters reported.

Mining royalty and streaming company Osisko Gold Royalties has announced that operations at the Renard mine in the Canadian province of Quebec will be restarted this month. Operations at the mine were suspended on 24 March, following an order by the public health authorities of the Government of Quebec as part of coronavirus-related health and safety measures. Though the suspension was lifted on 15 April, the Renard mine operations remained closed as the market for diamonds collapsed due to the pandemic.

Codelco, the state-owned mining firm of Chile, has signed a contractual agreement with the supervisors’ union at El Teniente mine. The agreement reflects the new constrained realities of the mining industry following the economic blowout as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. In a press statement, the company said the agreement that supervisors would not receive a pay rise in the coming contract was supported by 88% of the members of the supervisors’ union and noted that the deal would remain in place for 36 months starting from 1 November this year.

9:28 am

Coronavirus company news summary – QRC urges government for exploration funding – Gemfields expects interim net loss – Protea Mining Chemicals’ solution to tackle copper and cobalt contamination

15 September

The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) has urged the State government to provide additional funding from its $3bn Covid-19 stimulus package to a collaborative programme which is aimed at boosting exploration for new resource discoveries. QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said: “Exploration gives us new resource discoveries, new resource projects, new resource investment, new resource jobs, new resource exports and ultimately new resource royalties for all Queenslanders.”

Precious gemstones mining company Gemfields is expected to swing to an interim net loss for the six months ended on 30 June as the company could only hold one sale due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Furthermore, the company expects to report a net loss after tax of $56.7m in the first half of this year – this figure contrasts with the $12.4m profit that was reported during the same period last year.

Omnia Holdings’ Protea Mining Chemicals division has developed a solution that helps copper and cobalt mines reduce product contamination and increase throughput in the solvent extraction process. The company said in a statement that finding safer ways to extract valuable resources continues to be a priority in the mining sector which has been constrained by the impacts of Covid-19.

9:24 am

Coronavirus company news summary – gold miners look to reduce costs – Colombia Q2 coal production declines – Vedanta Resources to sell Mt Lyell

14 September

Major gold mining companies across the globe are reducing costs following shutdowns related to the Covid-19 pandemic, despite high prices for the precious metal. Cost-conscious executives are prioritising investor returns over production growth, Reuters reported. This year, prices of gold increased 30% to roughly $2,000 an ounce after central banks dialled up stimulus measures in response to the pandemic. According to regulatory filings, gold miners worldwide, including Newmont, Barrick and Gold Fields have cut planned output for the year by 7% amid Covid-19 shutdowns.

The Colombian government has reported that the country’s coal production has declined by 48.8% during the second quarter because of quarantine measures related to the Covid-19 pandemic and low international prices. Reuters quoted the mines and energy ministry and national mining agency as saying in a joint statement that between April and June this year, the country produced 9.7 million tonnes of the fuel, which is down from 18.8 million tonnes last year. For more than five months from March to August, the country was under quarantine measures.

Copper Mines of Tasmania’s (CMT) Indian parent company Vedanta Resources is reportedly planning to sell the mothballed Mt Lyell operation at Queenstown in Australia after the Covid-19 pandemic stalled the mine’s restart plan in February. Vedanta has appointed global investment bank Macquarie Capital for managing the sale process, and also to secure a new owner to take forward the Mt Lyell operation. The mine has been put on care and maintenance since 2014 after three miners died in two separate incidents.

11:45 am

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid fatalities near 910,000 – infections pass 28.1 million

11 September

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 28,170,000, with more than 909,000 deaths and 18,995,000 recoveries.

Worldwide, daily confirmed cases continue to increase.

This is primarily driven by increasing cases observed in Latin America, the US, and India.

Cases are rising alarmingly in India with no indication to suggest that cases will decline in the near future.

Argentina is reporting an increasing trend of Covid-19 cases in Latin America.

In Europe, France and Spain are reporting high numbers of new daily cases.

Total confirmed cases collectively in Africa are very low with only South Africa among the top 30 most affected countries globally.

South Africa is reporting a steady decline in daily new cases in recent days.

However, countries such as Tunisia and Morocco have reported increasing trend of daily new cases.

Bishal Bhandari, PhD, Senior Epidemiologist at GlobalData  

9:52 am

International update: Global Covid cases pass 28.1 million – Western Europe a new hotspot

11 September

Global: Worldwide Covid-19 cases have now passed 28.1 million, with deaths exceeding 909,000 according to Johns Hopkins University.

Latin America: The number of confirmed coronavirus infections topped eight million in Latin America, though there were indications the spread of the virus was slowing in some countries. During the past week, the daily average of cases in the region fell to 67,173 through Wednesday from 80,512 in the previous seven days, according to a tally by Reuters.

Europe: Western Europe has surpassed the US in new daily infections, re-emerging as a global hotspot after bringing the pandemic under control earlier in the summer. The 27 countries in the European Union plus the UK, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein recorded 27,233 new cases on Wednesday, compared with 26,015 for the US.

US: Coronavirus cases in the US increased 0.7% as compared with the same time Wednesday to 6.38 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The increase was in line with the average daily gain of 0.6% over the past week. Deaths rose by 0.8% to 191,444.

India: India has set another global one-day record for coronavirus infections with 96,551 new cases. The country’s total reported cases are 4,562,414, according to Johns Hopkins data, and deaths stand at 76,271.

Germany: Germany has recorded 1,484 new cases of coronavirus, taking the total of confirmed cases in the country to 2567,850, and 9,342 deaths.

France: France recorded almost 10,000 new Covid-19 infections on Thursday, its highest-ever single-day total, a day before a cabinet meeting that might consider imposing fresh, local lockdowns to curb the spread of the disease.

New Zealand: New Zealand has recorded just one new community case of Covid-19. The person in their 50s is linked to the cluster around the Mt Roskill Evangelical Fellowship group in Auckland.

South Korea: In South Korea, the Korea Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported 176 new cases of Covid-19 as of midnight Thursday, bringing the total number of infections to 21,919, with 350 deaths.

Ukraine: Ukraine registered a record 3,144 new cases of the novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours, the national security council said, up from a previous record of 2,836 registered on September 5.

China: Mainland China reported 15 new coronavirus cases at the end of Thursday, up from seven cases a day earlier. The National Health Commission said in a statement all of the cases were imported infections involving travellers from overseas, marking the 26th straight day of no local infections.

Japan: The Japanese government is planning to have testing centres for coronavirus in nightlife districts across the nation in a bid to prevent flare-ups, Yomiuri reported, without saying who provided the information. Areas to be targeted include bar districts in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Sapporo and Fukuoka.

UK: Intensive care medics were significantly less likely to have been infected with Covid-19 than cleaners and other healthcare workers in departments deemed a lower risk, according to a study of several British hospitals at the peak of the pandemic.

Vaccine news

Brazil: Brazil is still to decide if it will join the COVAX Facility, a global Covid-19 vaccine allocation plan co-led by the World Health Organization, the acting health minister said on Thursday.

Lockdown updates

Australia: Daniel Andrews, the premier of the state of Victoria, said a curfew imposed to contain the state’s coronavirus outbreak will remain in place as health officials reported 43 new cases and nine deaths in the last 24 hours.

Singapore and Japan: Will begin a reciprocal green lane for business and official travel on 18 September, according to a joint government press statement.

Myanmar: A domestic flight ban came into effect in Myanmar on Friday, with Myanmar National Airlines, Air KBZ, Air Thanlwin and other airlines announcing the suspension of their services, many for at least two weeks.

Colombia: Maria Orozco, Colombia’s transport minister, said international flights to and out of the country will begin gradually, starting on 21 September, following a six-month hiatus to contain the spread of coronavirus.

US: The US is ending its Covid-19 screening of international travellers arriving at airports as airlines seek new ways to more aggressively test for the virus to boost traffic.


9:22 am

Coronavirus company news summary – India proposes reforms for mining sector – B2Gold commissions mill expansion at Fekola – Metro Mining to close Bauxite Hills Mine

11 September

Indian Coal and Mines Minister Pralhad Joshi and officials have reviewed the progress of the country’s mining sector and proposed reforms for stimulating overall economic growth amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The Minister deliberated on a road map to make the mining industry more competitive. The reforms are also aimed at accelerating growth and employment generation in the mining sector. They include removal of the distinction between captive and non-captive mines and also the development of a transparent National Mineral Index, among others.

B2Gold has announced the successful commissioning of the mill expansion at the Fekola Mine to 7.5 million tonnes a year, which is about one month ahead of the scheduled completion date of 30 September 2020. The company noted that no operational days have been lost due to the Covid-19 pandemic or the recent political developments in Mali. Recently, B2Gold partnered with the government to assist the people of Mali in facing the challenges created by the pandemic as well as its impact on the mining sector.

Metro Mining has announced plans to close its Bauxite Hills Mine in Cape York as the company struggles to win Chinese contracts. The closure is expected to result in the loss of hundreds of jobs. Only 10% of workers are expected to be retained to maintain the site. Metro Mining CEO Simon Finnis said that the decision comes due to a dramatic decline in global aluminium prices as China, which is the company’s sole market, stopped buying bauxite to manufacture aluminium during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Karora Resources has discovered new high-grade gold and nickel zones, the Larkin Gold Zone and 30C Nickel Trough, at its Beta Hunt Mine located south of the Alpha Island Fault. Chairman and CEO Paul Andre Huet said that the company is witnessing early successes following the delays and precautions associated with the Covid-19 pandemic.

9:13 am

Why US dollar will remain dominant in spite of Covid

11 September

The weakening of the US dollar due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and the new policies proposed by the Federal Reserve, led to speculations that the US dollar is losing its dominance as a global currency.

However, there is ‘push back’ that these speculations are exaggerated because ‘there are no other contenders’ for a reserve currency.

Daniel Lacalle, an economist and author, tweeted on how the US dollar index lost 10% since March and the speculations surrounding its collapse as a reserve currency.

He noted that these speculations are false and that the US dollar index has weakened only relative to the Euro and the Yen.

Lacalle added that the status of the US dollar as a reserve currency is not at risk as there is no other contender.


Read more

10:30 am

International update: Global Covid deaths likely to pass 1 million by October – infections near 28 million

10 September

Global: The global coronavirus death toll has passed 903,000 – just over ten weeks after passing 500,000. If global deaths continued at the current rate, the toll is likely to pass one million before 1 October, ten months after the World Health Organization was first informed of the first cases in Wuhan, China. The number of cases worldwide is nearing 28 million.

Europe: Infections continue to rise rapidly across Europe. France has seen its second-highest one-day case total of the pandemic so far and hospitalisations are at a one-month high, as the Netherlands and Portugal both confirmed their highest daily infections since April.

US: Coronavirus cases in the US increased by 0.2% as compared with the same time Tuesday to 6.33 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The increase was lower than the average daily gain of 0.6% over the past week. Deaths rose by 0.3% to 189,972.

India: India has reported another record for daily coronavirus cases with the health ministry confirming 95,735 cases over the past 24 hours. Some 1,172 people in India also died from the virus, the ministry said.

Mexico: Mexico reported 4,647 new Covid-19 cases, bringing the total to 647,507, according to data released by the Health Ministry Wednesday night. Cases rose 0.7%, compared with a seven-day average rise of 0.8%.

Spain: Spain’s daily coronavirus infections climbed close to last week’s four-month high, as the country struggles to control fresh outbreaks. There were 4,410 new cases in the past 24 hours, compared with 3,168 recorded Tuesday and taking the total to 543,379, according to Health Ministry data.

New Zealand: New Zealand’s health minister has pleaded with people to stop spreading misinformation about the coronavirus, as the government struggles to contain a mini-cluster centred on an evangelical church in Auckland.

Lockdown updates

UK: Prime Minister Boris Johnson believes a mass testing programme is the UK’s “only hope for avoiding a second national lockdown before a vaccine”, according to leaked official documents.

Japan: Japan plans to lift restrictions on bar and restaurant opening hours. Tokyo is reportedly planning to lift restrictions on opening hours for bars and restaurants, as new coronavirus cases in the city continued on a downward trend.

Australia: Australia’s health minister says the state of Victoria should consider lifting a night-time curfew in Melbourne if it wasn’t imposed for health reasons. The state has been under pressure over the 8pm (10:00 GMT) – 5am (19:00 GMT) curfew since the chief health officer told local radio he hadn’t recommended the policy.

Indonesia: Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan says the Indonesian capital will head back into lockdown as it steps up efforts to tackle what he said was an “emergency – more pressing than the start of the pandemic.”

Economic updates

US: New York City restaurants struggling to stay in business after months of closures imposed in the face of the coronavirus pandemic won a long-awaited approval on Wednesday to resume limited indoor dining.

Indonesia: Indonesia’s benchmark stock index fell 5% after its capital brought back social distancing measures amid a continued rise in the number of coronavirus cases.


9:33 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Resolute receives Syama strike notice – Excellon reports strong production after Platosa restart – Eskom supply disruptions to impact mining

10 September

Resolute Mining has warned of a 10-day strike action at the Syama gold mine in Mali, after the company received notice from the Local Union Committee of the Union Nationale des Travailleurs du Mali SOMISY-SA informing that the strike will be launched if certain demands are not met. The company said that the union’s principal demand is related to a request to reinstate workers of the mine who have been stood down on full pay due to the company’s protocols related to the Covid-19 pandemic. Resolute said its comprehensive, company-wide response to the coronavirus pandemic implemented by the company prioritises the health, safety and well-being of its employees, contractors and stakeholders.

Excellon Resources has reported strong production in July this year after restarting the Platosa mine in mid-June, and said that trend continued through August. On the resumption of operations after the government-mandated suspension of non-essential business activities in the second quarter, the company provided safety and Covid-19 exposure prevention training for two days. It also reorganised the workforce and implemented better work schedules and various ventilation, mining method and other business improvements. Furthermore, Excellon implemented prevention, hygiene and safety measures, health screening, travel restrictions, contact tracing, testing and quarantine protocols related to the pandemic.

Increasing disruptions to supply of power from troubled South African utility company Eskom is expected to have an impact on mining companies and their plans to make investments, according to two industry executives. Impala Platinum chief executive Nico Muller was quoted by Reuters as saying during a platinum group metals conference that the impact of Eskom is far more pronounced than the Covid-19 impact.

9:23 am

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid cases pass 27.8 million – deaths exceed 903,000

10 September

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 27,871,000, with more than 903,000 deaths and 18,780,000 recoveries.

India is the most affected country from Covid-19 with over 90,000 daily new cases and over 1,000 daily new deaths.

The US and Brazil continue to report the high number of daily new cases, but the daily new cases have started to gradually decline in both countries.

In Europe, France and Spain are reporting high number of daily new cases and the testing positivity rate is also rising in these countries.

According to World Health Organization, countries worldwide are now experiencing disruptions in child and maternal health services and vaccinations, as the economic and health resources are diverted to manage Covid-19.

This might reverse the years of progress made in child and maternal health.

Bishal Bhandari, PhD, Senior Epidemiologist at GlobalData  

8:20 am

Climate change adds to Covid driven economic woes

10 September

Wildfires and flooding have become increasingly common due to the effects of climate change.

As these changes increase, they are expected to majorly impact a financial system already under pressure from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Matthew E. Kahn, Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Economics and Business at Johns Hopkins University, shared an article on how a new report from the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission has highlighted the impact of climate change on financial markets.

The report states that the disruptions caused by climate change can threaten the fundamental conditions that support the country’s financial system.

US President Donald Trump had downplayed the impact of climate change on economic growth.

The new report is a first from a government entity highlighting the damage that climate change can have on financial markets.

The first risk posed by climate change is expected to be rising prices of homes and mortgage default rates due to the wildfires and flooding.

Climate change is also expected to impact agricultural commodity prices, the report added.

In other news, Professor Steve Hanke, economist at Johns Hopkins University, shared an article on more than 10,000 deaths related Covid-19 in Argentina.

Despite having a strict lockdown, the country has not been able to control the spread of the virus.

Read more

9:25 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Lucapa to restart Mothae diamond mine – Major Drilling’s Canada and US operations see Q1 decline – WPIC reports strenghtened investment demand for platinum

9 September

Lucapa Diamond Company along with its partner, the Government of the Kingdom of Lesotho, has announced plans to restart diamond mining operations at the Mothae restrictions. Isolation measures have forced the company to suspend operations at the mine in March this year. A mine restart plan approved by the government, Lucapa and the Mothae Board of Directors will see the mine return to operations in the fourth quarter of this year with the implementation of further health and safety protocols.

Major Drilling Group International has reported that the company’s revenue for the first quarter that ended 31 July 2020 from Canada and US drilling operations has declined by 24.6% compared to the same period last year to $46m, as the region witnessed continued shutdowns during the quarter due to government and customer imposed restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. By the end of the quarter, operations had resumed on various projects under improved safety protocols. South and Central American revenue also fell by 40.4% to $19.5m for the quarter.

Trigon Metals has delayed the investment and financing process with Shandong Xinhai Mining Technology & Equipment beyond its original timing expectations due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Trigon has been in ongoing discussions with Xinhai regarding the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the parties in March last year. Pursuant to the MoU, Xinhai expressed the intention to invest in Trigon by part of the EPC contract amount in exchange for the right to be appointed as the EPC contractor for open pit mining operations at the Kombat mine. Xinhai has now agreed to halt its processes to align with Trigon’s strategy to potentially develop a larger operation.

The latest edition of Platinum Quarterly released by the World Platinum Investment Council (WPIC) has revealed that while the Covid-19 pandemic negatively impacted the economy worldwide, investment demand for platinum strengthened in the second quarter of this year. This comes as the combination of increased global risk and monetary and fiscal policy responses to the crisis boosted the appeal of precious metals, including platinum. WPIC reported a revised 2020 forecast that has moved the platinum market into an annual deficit of -336 koz compared to the prior estimate of a +247 koz surplus.

8:38 am

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid cases pass 27.5 million – deaths near 90,000

9 September

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 27,575,000, with more than 897,000 deaths and 18,535,000 recoveries.

Worldwide, total confirmed cases and total deaths continue to increase.

The US continues to rank highest in the world with over 6.3 million total confirmed cases.

However, India is currently reporting the highest number of daily new cases in the world, and on current trajectory could overtake the US in the future.

Western European countries have recently seen a rise in daily new cases that seems to have coincided with the reopening of their economies.

England will ban the social gathering of more than six people from September 14. This strict measure will be undertaken as cases have started to rise alarmingly in recent days.

This restriction is for private gatherings and will not apply to workplaces and schools.

Bishal Bhandari, PhD, Senior Epidemiologist at GlobalData  

7:58 am

How stimulus wrangles could deepen US recession

9 September

The Democrats and Republicans are yet to reach a consensus on further stimulus package for the US economy.

The delay in releasing stimulus into the economy could worsen the unemployment rate and force states to increase spending cuts.

Adam Posen, president of Peterson Institute for International Economics, shared an article on how additional stimulus is essential for the US economy to recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Democrats propose a stimulus package of $3.4tn, while the Republicans have proposed $1tn.

Lack of consensus on the stimulus may result in spending cuts by states causing a deeper recession, loss of between 4% and 5% of GDP and an increase in unemployment by 4% to 5%.

Black families and minorities are expected to be worst affected.

In addition, Mark Weisbrot, co-director of Center for Economic & Policy Research, shared an article on how states in the US are in a financial crisis.

Read more

10:20 am

International update: Covid deaths exceed 892,000 – infection rates rise in Europe

8 September

Global: The global coronavirus death toll has passed another sombre milestone, exceeding 892,000 as confirmed by researchers at Johns Hopkins University. The true death toll is likely to be higher, due to differing testing rates and definitions, time lags and suspected underreporting in some countries. Global Covid cases exceed 27.3 million.

India: India has reported the most deaths from coronavirus in a month. The health ministry says 1,133 people died of Covid-19 in the last 24 hours, lifting the total death toll to 72,775. Infections have passed 4.2 million.

Spain: Spain has become the first western European country to record more than half a million Covid-19 cases, logging a total of 525,549 infections.

France: A leading epidemiologist in France has warned that if the number of Covid-19 cases continues to rise at the current rate, the country could face a “critical situation” in several regions in December.

UK: England’s deputy chief medical officer, Jonathan Van-Tam, said the rise in the number of coronavirus cases was of great concern adding: “We have got to start taking this very seriously again”.

Vaccine news

US: An unsubstantiated claim two weeks ago by President Trump – that the “deep state” was slowing approval of a Covid-19 vaccine – has set off an effort by government officials and private industry to ensure the White House doesn’t interfere with a methodical, careful scientific process.

Europe: The European Commission said it is close to reaching an agreement with BioNTech SE on the supply of any successful Covid-19 vaccine.

Mexico: Mexico will participate in the Covax facility led by the World Health Organization to obtain vaccines via the global program to equitably distribute Covid-19 vaccines, according to a Foreign Ministry statement.

Indonesia: Indonesian President Joko Widodo formed a national team to accelerate the development of Covid-19 vaccine in a rule signed on 3 September, according to the Cabinet Secretariat.

Japan: Japan has approved the use $6.3 billion from its emergency budget to secure coronavirus vaccines.

Lockdown updates

Hong Kong: Hong Kong’s government will further ease virus-related restrictions and allow restaurants to seat four people per table instead of the current limit of two, Hong Kong Economic Times reported, citing unidentified people.

Japan: The Japanese government is considering eliminating the cap of 5,000 people it has on event sizes as soon as Sept. 19 after determining that the coronavirus outbreak is easing, Kyodo reported, citing an unidentified official.

Singapore: About 13,000 workers who haven’t undergone routine coronavirus testing as of Sept. 6 will be banned from returning to work to ensure the safety of other workers, the Singapore government said in a joint statement.

Economic updates

Japan: Japan’s economy shrank slightly more than initially thought in the April-June quarter, official data released Tuesday showed, deepening a contraction that was already the worst in the nation’s modern history.

9:17 am

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid cases pass 27.3 million – more than 892,000 deaths

8 September

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 27,342,000, with over 892,000 deaths and 18,338,000 recoveries.

Worldwide, total confirmed cases and total deaths continue to rise.

European countries such as Spain and France have reported alarming increase in daily new cases in recent days.

However, The US, India, and Brazil are still the primary driver of these increases.

This is due to the sheer magnitude of total confirmed cases that rank them first, second, and third highest in the world, respectively.

Studies have reported the long-term effect of Covid-19.

In the UK, estimated 60,000 people had symptoms for more than three months.

Long term symptoms ranged from mild to debilitating requiring medical support and rehabilitation.

Bishal Bhandari, PhD, Senior Epidemiologist at GlobalData

9:09 am

Dollar facing pressure from the Chinese yuan – Covid puts brake on Indian economy

8 September

The US Federal Reserve’s new policies drafted to increase inflation are aimed to improve the country’s economy. However, these policies may weaken the dollar.

Peter Morici, an economist and professor at the University of Maryland, shared an article on how the Federal Reserve’s policies to increase inflation may threaten the dollar’s dominance as a global currency.

The article noted that although the Federal Reserve has announced the policy change, the central bank’s policy making powers have diminished over the years due to the globalisation of US securities markets and dollar’s dominance in global commerce.

The Federal Reserve needs to finance federal deficits and drive inflation by printing money to ensure the dollar’s dominance as the Chinese Yuan is fast emerging as a rival to the currency.

Meanwhile, India’s economic prospects look bleak, as the Covid-19 pandemic is affecting an economy that was already in slowdown.

Read more

9:09 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Hochschild Mining expects lower production for 2020 – Polyus reports rise in Q2 net profit – Black Rock reports progress on due diligence activities at Mahenge

8 September

Hochschild Mining has reported that the overall revised attributable production target for 2020 is 280,000-290,000 gold equivalent ounces or 24.0-25.0 million silver equivalent ounces. This reduction is primarily due to the operational stoppages due to Covid-19 lockdowns and also reflects temporary delays in mine sequencing. The revised guidance for this year comes after the company completed an assessment of the overall impact from the stoppages and the resulting revised mine plans that also reflect ongoing restrictions related to the pandemic.

Russia-based gold producer Polyus has reported a 63% year-on-year increase in second-quarter net profit to $684m due to a 31% rise in gold prices. The company’s adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) during the quarter stood at $860m, up 42% year-on-year, while revenue rose 29% to $1.2bn. During this period, it could maintain uninterrupted operations at all assets, despite a Covid-19 outbreak at its Olimpiada mine in Russia that was contained.

Tanzania-based graphite developer Black Rock Mining has announced that its strategic alliance and development partner POSCO is making meaningful progress on various due diligence activities at the Mahenge Graphite Project. Black Rock managing director and CEO John de Vries said that the revised due diligence schedule will accommodate for the impact from ongoing Covid-19 related restrictions and further allow POSCO to complete its remaining work under a sensible timeframe. Travel restrictions and logistics constraints due to the pandemic have impacted the ability for POSCO to achieve timely site access and sample logistics. Because of this, Black Rock has agreed with the company on a sensible revised timeframe for the completion of due diligence work.

12:57 pm

International update: Global Covid cases pass 27.1 million – India second most infected with 4.2 million

7 September

Global: Global Covid-19 deaths have passed 889,000 with more than 27.1 million cases according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker.

US: Coronavirus cases are rising in 22 of the 50 US states, a Reuters analysis has found. Three weeks ago, cases were only rising in three states – Hawaii, Illinois and South Dakota.

“Pandemic fatigue” is an additional risk as the US heads into the fall and winter, when infectious diseases traditionally spread more readily, former Food and Drug Administration head Scott Gottlieb said.

India: India has recorded a global one-day record of more than 90,000 positive coronavirus cases, taking the country past Brazil as the second most infected country in the world, with 4.2 million confirmed cases.

UK: Nearly 3,000 more people in the UK tested have positive for Covid-19, with 2,988 new cases reported on Sunday – a sharp increase from 1,813, and the highest number of new cases since 23 May.

Ireland: Ireland recorded another 138 new cases, with about half the new infections in Dublin, according to health authorities. That pushed the weekend total to almost 370, the worst weekend figure since early May.

France: France reported 7,071 coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, showing the pandemic is continuing to progress at a “worrying” pace, the health ministry said in a statement Sunday.

Italy: Italy reported 1,297 new coronavirus cases on Sunday. This is the smallest increase in five days amid lower than usual testing at the end of the week.

Philippines: Researchers from the University of the Philippines said that the spread of Covid-19 in the country is slowing down, citing the rate of reproduction in major cities

Hong Kong: An estimated 1.13 million residents of Hong Kong have signed up for free coronavirus testing in the semi-autonomous Chinese city.

Syria: A United Nations official has said that more than 200 of its staff in Syria have contracted coronavirus.

Vaccine news

Australia: Australia on Monday said it will receive the first batches of a potential Covid-19 vaccine in January 2021, as the country’s virus hotspot said the number of new daily infections has fallen to a 10-week low.

Greece: Nearly half of Greeks (44%) would refuse to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, according to a poll of 1,000 respondents published on Sunday.

Economic updates

Australia: Australia’s government warned of mounting economic pain as Victoria state announced only a gradual easing of its coronavirus lockdown that will see retail, hospitality, tourism and entertainment under tight controls across Melbourne until at least the end of October.


9:31 am

Coronavirus company news summary – WA, Austmine open mining export hub – GIDC receives more time for Dongri Tal coal block – Ironbark Zinc to improve feasibility of Citronen project

7 September

The Western Australia (WA) government and Austmine have opened the METS Digital Mining Export Hub in Port Hedland to enable the state to build export capacity and opportunities between regional, remote and metropolitan small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston said that the export hub will be vital in supporting the State’s recovery post-Covid-19, and will also be a boost to jobs and local economies. The launch featured the first of a series of outreach activities that have been designed to engage with the State’s METS businesses.

Goa Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) has received a 45-day extension to pay the performance security and appoint a transaction advisor for the Dongri Tal II coal block at Singrauli, located in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. GIDC wrote to the Union ministry of coal requesting more time for completing these coal block formalities due to Covid-19. Goa secured the block as part of the fifth tranche of allotment by the coal ministry.

Ironbark Zinc is set to further improve the feasibility and economics of its 100%-owned Citronen Zinc-Lead Project in Greenland with optimisation work aiming to make operational improvements to the mine plan. Ironbark managing director Michael Jardine said that the board remains committed to its strategy of completing the refresh of all key elements of the previous feasibility study work before pursuing a project investment decision. Despite difficulties arising from the Covid-19 pandemic, all study streams are expected to be finalised by the first quarter of next year.


8:24 am

How remote working can improve wellbeing and help control Covid-19

7 September

Many companies across the world have opted for remote working operations to safeguard their business and employees.

Remote working, however, has an indirect impact on the businesses that are dependent on employees for their business.

Julian Jessop, an independent economist and writer, shared an article, how working from home (WFH) can cost £15bn a year for the UK, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.

WFH is expected to severely impact coffee shops, security guards and support jobs causing a GDP loss of 1%.

Various businesses who are reliant on office goers for their business have already started to feel the impact of the pandemic induced remote working.

Pret A Manger, for example, operates primarily near to office blocks and has announced its plans to cut 3,000 jobs. Further, the company is planning to expand into suburbs to sustain its business.

Jessop opined that the impact of WFH on GDP, is a small price to pay compared to the improvements it will provide in wellbeing such as less commuting.

Remote working can also help in controlling the pandemic, Jessop noted.

Read more

2:21 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid-19 cases pass 26.3 million – deaths exceed 869,000

4 September

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 26,337,000, with more than 869,000 deaths and 17,545,000 recoveries as daily confirmed cases continue to increase.

The US continues to rank highest in the world with over 6.1 million total confirmed cases, followed by Brazil with over 4 million total confirmed cases, and India with over 3.9 million total confirmed cases.

Additionally, the US continues to report a high death toll, contributing approximately 22% to global deaths, followed by India with 14%, and Brazil with 8%.

In Thailand, just one day after marking a significant milestone of 100 days with no local transmission of the coronavirus, a new case was identified.

This case had tested positive after arriving at a correctional center, and after a detailed case history, was determined to be locally transmitted.

Natasha Karim, MPH, Managing Epidemiologist at GlobalData 

11:01 am

International update: Global Covid cases pass 26.3 million – US gears up for early vaccine roll out

4 September

Global: Global Covid-19 deaths are nearing 869,000 with more than 26.3 million cases according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker.

US: Coronavirus cases in the US increased by 0.7% as compared with the same time Wednesday to 6.13 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The increase matched the average daily gain over the past week. Deaths rose by 0.8% to 186,293.

Brazil: Brazil has recorded more than four million confirmed cases of coronavirus, with 43,773 new cases and 834 deaths from the disease caused by the virus reported in the past 24 hours, the health ministry said on Thursday.

India: India reported a daily jump of 83,341 coronavirus infections, taking its tally to 3.94 million, health ministry data showed.

Ukraine: Ukraine registered a record 2,723 cases of the new coronavirus in the past 24 hours, the national security council said on Friday, up from a previous record of 2,495 cases.

Australia: The state of Victoria has confirmed 81 new coronavirus cases and nine deaths in the last 24 hours. It also added 50 deaths from people who passed away in aged care facilities in July and August.

France: France registered more than 7,000 new coronavirus infections over 24 hours for the second time in two days, the health ministry said on Thursday, while hospitalisations for the virus also rose again.

Mexico: Mexico leads the world in coronavirus deaths among its healthcare workers, Amnesty International has said in a new report. The report said Mexico has reported 1,320 confirmed deaths among health workers from Covid-19 so far, surpassing the United States at 1,077, the United Kingdom at 649, and Brazil at 634.

Thailand: Thailand has reported its first locally transmitted coronavirus case in 100 days, after a prison inmate was confirmed to have Covid-19. Dozens of contacts are now being tested, including his family members, people he met in court and other inmates. He had been arrested for drug offences on 26 August.

South Korea: Doctors have agreed to end a two-week strike, which has hindered efforts to curb a new wave of coronavirus infections, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said on Friday, after overnight talks over the government’s medical reform plans, Reuters reports.

Hong Kong: Hong Kong’s new universal testing blitz has identified six infections, initial results showed a sign the campaign could uncover hidden infections despite limited participation.

Vaccine news

US: Authorization of a Covid-19 vaccine by 1 November when US health officials have told states to be prepared to distribute shots is “extremely unlikely but not impossible,” Moncef Slaoui, chief scientific adviser to Operation Warp Speed told NPR’s All Things Considered on Thursday.

Federal public health officials in the US have asked their state counterparts to prepare to distribute a potential coronavirus vaccine to high-risk individuals as early as late October.

Lockdown updates

Israel: Israel announced Thursday a new lockdown affecting 30 areas as it grapples with one of the world’s highest detected per capita infection rates and a death toll nearing 1,000, AFP reports.

New Zealand: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Friday that the country’s current restrictions to beat the spread of the coronavirus pandemic would be retained until mid-September. The largest city, Auckland, will remain on alert level 2.5, while the rest of the country will be on alert level 2.0, Ardern told a news conference. The settings would be reviewed on 14 September, she said.

UK: English tourists in Greece and Portugal have been spared the cost and chaos of rushing back to the UK after the British government defied expectations and maintained quarantine-free travel from both countries for the time being.

Australia: Health minister Greg Hunt extended restrictions on international travel and the entry of cruise ships until 17 December to protect the country against the spread of the coronavirus.

Economic updates

Turkey: Turkey has extended by two months a layoff ban it introduced to combat the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, Reuters reports.

Australia: Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that most state and territory leaders in Australia were recommitted to opening up the country’s economy by December. But he didn’t secure an immediate agreement to lift the border restrictions hampering the recovery.


9:24 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Datametrex supplies Covid-19 kits to Canadian miner – Minerals Council SA updates on virus testing – Implats reports rise in annual earnings

4 September

Technology company Datametrex has received a purchase order from a mining company in Canada for Covid-19 test kits for its Peru and Suriname mining operations. Datametrex will provide an initial 50,000 units of the Covid-19 qPCR Detection Kits which were manufactured by 1drop. Additionally, the company will supply 50,000 Universal Transport Medium (UTM), Sterile Swabs with 16x100mm and Skirted Tubes. It is also shipping two Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction Detection System (PCR) machines along with software to ensure optimal assay performance of the samples, and 50,000 RNA extraction kits.

Members of the Minerals Council South Africa have outlined their Covid-19 testing initiatives and the mitigating impact it has had on the incidence of the virus at their operations. The initiatives also improved the availability of testing in their surrounding communities. Minerals Council public affairs and transformation senior executive Tebello Chabana said that the industry realised early that its testing approach was going to be risk-based and rigorous compared to other industries.

South African company Impala Platinum (Implats) has reported an increase in annual earnings by nearly 400% after higher metal prices and a weaker rand offset the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The company extracts palladium and rhodium together with platinum. Higher prices of these metals also boosted profits as the dollar basket price of the main minerals the company mines increased by 46% year-on-year. South Africa’s mining has been hit hard by Covid-19 as lockdowns led to mine closures, but a weak local currency limited the impact of reduced output.

Gem Diamonds has reported that its pretax profit sharply narrowed during the first half of the year, amid a decline in demand due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In the first half, the company made a profit of $2.5m compared with $18.7m in the same period a year agoas the pandemic hit the diamond industry. Revenue declined to $69.5m from $91.3m a year ago.

9:04 am

How healthcare investment can boost jobs

4 September

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of having a robust healthcare system for every country across the world.

Increasing healthcare investment can not only create new jobs amid the pandemic but also create a more productive population.

Amanda Larsson, campaigner with Greenpeace NZ, tweeted on how investment in care in the UK can create 2.7 times new jobs that are equivalent to investment in construction.

Investment in care can also create 6.3 times as many jobs for women and 10% more for men.

The tweet was based on report from the Women’s Budget Group, an independent think tank, on how investment in care can stimulate employment and reduce gender employment gap.

Developing a better care system will require a major proportion of the population to be employed in the healthcare sector thereby increasing the overall employment rate.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post highlights a looming unemployment crisis for the US.

Read more

2:02 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid cases pass 26 million – Brazil and India near 4 million

3 September

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 26,062,000, with over 863,000 deaths and 17,315,000 recoveries.

In the majority of countries in the European, African, Eastern Mediterranean, and Western Pacific regions, daily confirmed cases continue to decrease, while the Americas and South-East Asia continue to see a rise in daily cases.

The US, Brazil, and India primarily drive these increases due to the sheer magnitude of total confirmed cases that rank them first, second, and third highest in the world, respectively.

Brazil and India are both now approaching 4 million cases.

Meanwhile, Israel set a record high with over 3,000 daily confirmed cases reported today.

This marks the country’s biggest one-day jump, and brings the total number of confirmed cases to nearly 123,000.

Natasha Karim, MPH, Managing Epidemiologist at GlobalData

9:48 am

International update: Global Covid cases pass 26 million – more than 863,000 deaths

3 September

Global: Global Covid-19 deaths passed 863,000 with more than 26 million cases, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker. The highest death toll is in the US, where 185,707 people have died.

Testing people twice for the coronavirus, with a nasal swab followed by an antibody finger prick test, would catch most of those people who fail to get the right Covid-19 diagnosis, researchers believe.

Treating critically ill Covid-19 patients with corticosteroid drugs reduces the risk of death by 20%, an analysis of seven international trials has found, prompting the World Health Organization to update its advice on treatment.

US: The Trump administration is planning to cut its membership dues to the World Health Organization, in a legally controversial move that will be challenged by Congress.

India: India reported a daily jump of 83,883 coronavirus infections on Thursday, taking its tally to 3.85 million, just 100,000 behind Brazil, the world’s second most affected nation, health ministry data showed. According to Johns Hopkins, this is the second-highest one day total ever reported, with India breaking the world record on 26 August with more than 85,000 cases.

Australia:  Victoria state on Thursday reported a triple-digit rise in new Covid-19 infections for the first time in four days, denting optimism that the second wave of cases has been contained. The state said that 113 new cases were detected in the past 24 hours, an increase on the 90 infections reported on Wednesday.

Brazil: Brazil’s Covid-19 death toll appears to be easing for the first time since May, a sign the Latin American country could be descending from a long infection plateau that has seen it suffer the world’s second-worst outbreak after the United States.

Turkey: Turkey is seeing a second peak of its coronavirus outbreak due to “carelessness” at weddings and other social gatherings, its health minister has said, amid a rapid rise in the number of daily cases and deaths.

France: Daily new Covid-19 infections in France neared an all-time high on Wednesday and the number of people hospitalised in intensive care units for the disease grew at its fastest pace in almost two months.

France reported 7,017 coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, raising the seven-day average increase to the highest since the outbreak began.

Germany: The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 1,311 to 246,166, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Thursday.

South Korea: South Korea has reported 195 new cases of coronavirus. That’s the lowest since August 17, according to Yonhap News Agency. While there are signs the spike that began last month is easing – thanks to stricter distancing rules – a record number of patients are in critical condition.

Lockdown updates

China: An Air China flight from Phnom Penh was the first international flight to land in Beijing after direct flights from eight countries were allowed to resume. Passengers must have tested negative for Covid-19 before they board and complete a 14-day government-run quarantine on arrival.

UK: The UK government is “anxiously monitoring” increasing hospital admissions in France and Spain, the Financial Times reported, citing unidentified colleagues of Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

9:19 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Codelco reports July production decline – Coal India posts increase in shipments – Nigeria mines minister optimistic for recovery

3 September

Codelco has reported a 4.4% decline in year-on-year production in July this year as the Covid-19 pandemic hit its peak in the country, due to which the company was forced to reduce staffing, slow projects and switch off a smelter. During July, the company produced 133,300t of copper, which was up 2.3% over the first seven months of this year compared to the previous year.

Coal India has posted the first rise in monthly shipments since February this year, following a pickup in demand for the fuel due to easing of Covid-19-related restrictions aimed at controlling the spread of the virus. Last month, the company shipped 44.34 million tonnes of coal, which is 9.3% more compared to the previous year. The company filing showed that production increased 7% to 37.2 millions tonnes, Bloomberg reported.

Nigeria Minister of Mines Olamilekan Adegbite said that the country aims to have 50 mines in operation by the year 2023 and can make up for time lost due to the Covid-19 impact on development of the sector. Adegbite was quoted by Reuters as saying that the pandemic has slowed things down, but the country is still able to catch up. Mining in the country is expected to increase tenfold in five years to account for 3% of the economy.

The mining sector in Brazil is expected to witness key developments in the second half of this year, as the government and investors see signs that the worst phase of Covid-19’s impact on the economy has passed. The country’s mining regulator ANM aims to win approval of a new rule on guarantees for projects that are seeking financing and has launched a public hearing for assessing the new rule for use by companies to explore minerals.

8:14 am

Australian unemployment hits 22 year high as economy tanks

3 September

The Australian economy officially entered recession as it posted two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth.

Despite government measures such as increased spending and cutting interest rates to zero, the country has not been able to avoid a recession.

Timothy McBride, Bernard Becker Professor at Washington University, shared an article on Australia entering recession for the first time in decades, following two consecutive quarters of negative growth.

Even though the country was able to avoid any major impact from the 2008 global financial crisis, it has not been able to escape the impact of the pandemic.

Australia may find it difficult to recover in the post-Covid-19 scenario due to slowdown in growth of China, which is its biggest trade partner.

Further, the country may face other long-term problems such as climate change disasters including wildfires, wage growth stagnation and a housing bubble.

Unemployment levels also remain high at 7.5%, which is the worst in 22 years. The figures are expected to rise as the downturn continues.

Read more

2:46 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Trend still upwards – Covid cases near 25.8 million

2 September

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 25,785,000, with over 857,000 deaths and 17,095,000 recoveries.

Worldwide, total confirmed cases and total deaths continue to rise.

This is primarily driven by increasing trends observed in Latin America, North America, and South Asia.

More specifically, the US, Brazil, and India contribute over 50% of cases to the global confirmed case burden, and over 40% of deaths to the global death toll.

Meanwhile, Indonesia continues to report a surge in daily confirmed cases, likely underestimated due to limited testing capacity.

As total confirmed cases surpass 180,000, the pandemic has taken a heavy toll on healthcare workers, with Indonesia experiencing one of the highest mortality rates among this group compared with the rest of the world.

Natasha Karim, MPH, Managing Epidemiologist at GlobalData 

10:40 am

International update: Global Covid-19 cases pass 25.7 million – US go alone on vaccine

2 September

Global: Global Covid-19 infections have passed 25.7 million with more than 857,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

US: The White House says it will send most of its newly-purchased 150 million rapid response Covid-19 tests to the states for schools, day care centres and emergency services.

President Donald Trump said thousands more people have died from the coronavirus in China than the Beijing government has acknowledged. China has reported 4,724 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University — far fewer than the 184,644 deaths in the US, which has the highest number in the world.

South America: Latest figures show Mexico passed 600,000 cases and Colombia has racked up over 20,000 deaths, as the virus continues to take its toll in the Americas.

South Korea: The number of confirmed cases in South Korea fell for a fifth day after peaking at 441 last week, which was the biggest gain since early March. The government reported 267 new infections for 1 September, the fourth straight day below 300.

South Korean officials warned the high rate of infection among over-60s was placing strain on the country’s health system as it battles a second wave.

Ukraine: There has been a surge in cases in the Ukraine with a record 2,495 new cases in the past 24 hours, the national security council said on Wednesday, up from a previous record of 2,481 cases.

China: There have been another eight new cases of the virus in mainland China up to midnight on Tuesday, the health ministry said on Wednesday morning.

Germany: Germany has seen its new cases rise by 1,256 to 244,855, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Wednesday.

Pakistan: Experts are puzzled by Pakistan’s relatively low number of cases and deaths. It has just under 300,000 infections compared with almost four million in neighbouring India.

Australia: Cases continue to ease in Australia’s south-eastern state of Victoria. The state confirmed 90 new cases on Wednesday, compared with a peak of more than 700 last month.

Thailand: Thailand has reported no locally-transmitted Covid-19 cases for 100 straight days, joining a small group of places like Taiwan where the pathogen has almost been eliminated.

Vaccine news

US: The Trump administration says it will not work with other countries to develop and distribute a Covid-19 vaccine. It said it did not want to be constrained by “multilateral organizations influenced by the corrupt World Health Organization and China”.

A Covid-19 vaccine could be available earlier than expected if clinical trials produce overwhelmingly positive results, Anthony Fauci said in an interview with Kaiser Health News. US stock futures rose after the nation’s top infectious disease official said that an independent panel could halt the trials before their expected conclusion at the end of the year.

Antibodies humans make to fight the coronavirus last for at least four months after diagnosis and do not fade quickly, countering concerns to the contrary. US scientists said their study of 30,000 Icelanders offered hope that a vaccine could produce sustained resistance.

Japan: Japan is considering offering a vaccine free of charge to every citizen, according to Kyodo news agency.

Lockdown updates

Scotland: The Scottish government is re-imposing a ban on household gatherings in three local authorities in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde area for the next two weeks amid alarm about rising infections in recent days.

China: State media in China is reporting that people in the far western region of Xinjiang have resumed “normal life order and production” after a sudden spike in cases last month.

South Korea: South Korea imposed stronger social-distancing regulations in the greater Seoul area from 30 August to 6 September.

Economic updates

Australia: Australia has slumped into recession for the first time in nearly 30 years as the coronavirus pandemic finally ended its record run of economic prosperity.

India: India is considering extending its flagship rural jobs program to urban workers hurt by lockdowns. The new program would start in smaller cities and initially cost about 350 billion rupees ($4.8 billion), said Sanjay Kumar, a joint secretary in the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.


9:45 am

Second wave Covid-19 threatens manufacturing bounce back

2 September

Manufacturing activity is slowly returning to normal levels as countries begin to lift lockdown restrictions.

Howard Archer, chief economic advisor to EY ITEM Club, shared an article on the increase in global manufacturing levels.

Manufacturing activity increased to a 21-month high of 51.8 in August supported by stimulus packages across Europe, Asia and North America.

However, the recovery is expected to be uneven as new waves of infections curb business activity.

The resurgence of infections is discouraging companies to boost capital expenditure thereby delaying the rebound in the industry.

Experts note that recovery in manufacturing activity will grow at a modest pace, although China’s manufacturing activity has expanded at the fastest rate compared to other countries.

Read more

9:18 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Peru copper production recovers – TerraCom reports loss – Exxaro Resources update on Covid-19 testing

2 September

A Peruvian government official said that copper mining in the country had almost completely recovered from the severity of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Reuters. However, copper production in the country fell 2.2% in July to 198,796t, compared to the same period last year. Peru is the world’s second largest producer of copper.

Australia-based coal miner TerraCom has reported an annual loss of around $146.1m over the 2020 financial year (FY), compared to an $11.3m loss in FY2019. The company nonetheless reported some strong production and sales figures despite coronavirus-linked restrictions. The Australian miner said that refinancing risks related to a large eurobond repayment that is due for next year had raised “uncertainty” over the company’s ability to remain in business.

South African mining company Exxaro Resources has conducted over 100 Covid-19 tests at two of its testing laboratories. These Covid-19 PCR testing laboratories, according to the company’s CEO Mxolisi Mgojo, form a key part of Exxaro’s health and wellness strategy. They are located at Grootgeluk mine’s Marapong occupational health facility in Limpopo and the Matla coal mine’s occupational health centre in Mpumalanga.

2:19 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid-19 cases pass 25.5 million – Europe fears resurgence

1 September

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 25,508,000, with over 851,000 deaths and 16,847,000 recoveries.

Across the world, daily confirmed cases continue to rise.

Of the top ten most affected countries, less than half continue to report increasing trends in daily confirmed cases: India, Spain, and Argentina.

However, these countries contribute roughly 25% to the top ten total confirmed case burden, and nearly 20% to the global total confirmed case burden.

In Europe, France, Germany, and Spain fear a potential resurgence of cases, with reports of moderate to severe upticks in their seven-day average of daily confirmed cases.

The possible onset of a second wave of infections has prompted government and public health officials to re-evaluate lockdown measures and reallocate resources to track outbreaks.

Natasha Karim, MPH, Managing Epidemiologist at GlobalData

11:09 am

International update: Global Covid-19 infections pass 25.5 million

1 September

Global: Global Covid-19 infections have passed 25.5 million with more than 850,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

A World Health Organization survey of 105 countries shows that 90% have experienced disruption to their health services as a result of the coronavirus, with low- and middle-income countries the most affected.

US: The number of infections in the United States surpassed six million. Coronavirus cases in the US increased by 0.4% as compared with the same time Sunday to 6.03 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News.

India: India has added nearly two million coronavirus cases in one month, jumping from 1.64m infections at the end of July to 3.62 million at the end of August.

Brazil: Brazil reported 45,961 new cases of the novel coronavirus and 553 deaths caused by the virus in the past 24 hours, the health ministry said on Monday. The country is closing in on 4 million cases of Covid-19.

Mexico: Mexico’s health ministry on Monday reported 3,719 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infections and 256 additional fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 599,560 cases and 64,414 deaths.

Spain: Spain has registered more than 23,000 new Covid-19 cases since Friday.

France: France’s new Covid-19 infections surged by almost 50% in August, hitting 281,025 cases, versus 187,919 at the end of July.

South Korea: South Korea’s coronavirus cases have remained under 300 for a third day in a row. On Tuesday, the CDC recorded 235 cases, including 222 local infections. It took the total number of cases recorded in the country over the 20,000 mark, to 20,182, since the first infection was reported on 20 January.

Australia: The state of New South Wales has 13 new cases, 11 of which are locally acquired and linked to known clusters, including a cluster in the centre of the city, which now totals 41 cases.

China: China has reported ten new Covid-19 cases, down from 17 reported a day earlier, the country’s health authority said on Tuesday.

Hong Kong: Hong Kong begins mass testing for coronavirus this morning, with the assistance of 60 experts from China. The programme aims to “identify asymptomatic Covid-19 patients, and to cut the transmission chain on the community,” the government said in a statement.

New Zealand: New Zealand reports 14 new cases, nine in managed isolation, all related to the Auckland cluster. Yesterday Auckland dropped down from Level 3 to Level 2, despite more cases emerging.

Lockdown updates

Europe: Children across Europe return to school. French pupils go back to school on Tuesday as schools across Europe open their doors to greet returning pupils this month, nearly six months after the coronavirus outbreak forced them to close and despite rising infection rates across the continent.

Hungary: Hungary has decided to let tourists from Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, enter the country with a fresh negative coronavirus test, it said late on Monday, just as a lockdown on its borders took effect.

Philippines: President Rodrigo Duterte is keeping the capital region under loose movement restrictions through September to spur economic activity while battling the region’s worst coronavirus outbreak.

Economic updates

India: India’s economic growth suffered a historic 23.9% contraction in the April-June quarter, as the strict coronavirus lockdown hit businesses.

9:15 am

Coronavirus company news summary – China Daye raises copper production target – QRC launches media campaign – Zimplats reports rise in revenue

September 1

Copper producer China Daye Non-ferrous Metals Mining, which was hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic earlier this year, has raised its production target for the year after posting a net loss during the first half. Located near the initial coronavirus epicentre of Wuhan, the company is expected to ensure 510,000t of copper cathode production this year, up from the 505,000t annual target that was set in March this year. The company was quoted by Reuters as saying in a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange: “We will increase daily as well as monthly production to recover the losses [that] resulted from the epidemic.”

The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) has launched a media campaign in the lead-up to the State Election to emphasise the economic and job creation importance of the mining and gas industry to the State’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said the campaign, which will run for four weeks, was launched in response to worsening economic conditions. Queensland’s unemployment rate is Australia’s highest, at 8.8%.

Zimbabwe-based platinum mining company Zimplats has announced that the Covid-19 pandemic did not have any impact on its operations and the company posted a 38% increase in revenue for the full year ending 30 June. The company’s total production of six elements comprising platinum, palladium, rhodium, gold, ruthenium and iridium also increased marginally from 579,591 ounces last year to 580,178 ounces in the full year to June this year. Zimplats was quoted by Xinhua as saying that the mitigation measures implemented in response to the pandemic have so far been successful as no positive cases were recorded among its employees and contractors during the year.

9:01 am

Why Zimbabwe is on the verge of collapse

1 September

Professor Steve Hanke, economist at Johns Hopkins University, shared an article on the political and economic crisis in Zimbabwe.

Reuters report that Western diplomats have raised concerns over the country, which has been suffering with inflation at more than 800%.

Nurses have been on strike in the country and several political opponents have been arrested raising concerns over human rights violations and use of authoritarian tactics.

Diplomats note that the pandemic must not be used as an excuse for restricting the freedom of citizens.

Hanke opines that Zimbabwe is on the verge of collapse under these conditions.

Meanwhile, China is the only country projected to growth amid the pandemic in 2020. The country, however, may not be growing through demand but rather through public debt and foreign debt.

Daniel Lacalle, chief economist at Tressis SV, tweeted on how the weak consumption recovery and high inventory in China do not indicate GDP growth in the country as suggested by headlines.
Read more

2:13 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid-19 cases pass 25.2 million with more than 6 million in the US – global deaths near 847,000

31 August

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 25,249,000, with over 846,000 deaths and 16,634,000 recoveries.

Worldwide, daily confirmed cases continue to increase.

In North America and across the world, the US maintains its place as the most affected country with more than 6 million total confirmed cases, followed by the Latin American and South Asian regions of Brazil and India, respectively.

However, India’s infections will likely surpass Brazil as the country continues to experience a rise in daily confirmed cases, though this is largely due to increases in testing.

Additionally, despite rising infections, India will re-open its train network in the capital city of New Delhi starting 7 September.

This comes after a five-month hiatus, and will be initiated in a phased manner.

While passengers are expected to wear masks, the sheer number of passengers and tight quarters is concerning.

Natasha Karim, MPH, Managing Epidemiologist at GlobalData

2:31 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid-19 infections pass 25.2 million – deaths exceed 846,000 – more than 16 million recoveries

28 August

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 25,200,000 with over 846,000 deaths and 16,624,000 recoveries.

The number of new daily confirmed cases continues to decline in the US.

Germany has performed more than 987,400 daily tests in the week leading up to 8/26 and reported 19 new cases per million population.

Germany’s positive test rate is approximately 2%.

The US reported over 130 new cases per million population and a positive test rate of 7.8%.

Bahrain and Israel are reporting are reporting the highest new cases per million population in the world with 363 and 250 new cases per million population, respectively.

Collectively the Middle East and Latin America have the most total confirmed cases per million of population.

Bahram Hassanpourfard, MPH, Epidemiologist at GlobalData

11:14 am

International update: Global Covid-19 infections pass 24.47 million – US cases pass 5.8 million – Trump vows to crush Covid

28 August

Global: Global Covid-19 infections have passed 24.47 million with more than 832,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The World Health Organization said it would set up a committee to review the rules on declaring an international health emergency, following criticism of its Covid-19 pandemic response.

US: The United States has added 931 new coronavirus deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing the country’s total death toll to 180,527. An additional 42,859 new infections brought its overall caseload to 5,860,397.

President Donald Trump has promised to “crush” the coronavirus pandemic with a vaccine by the end of the year, as he accepted the Republican Party’s presidential nomination for a second term.

Latin America: Coronavirus cases have passed the seven-million-mark in Latin America, according to a Reuters tally. The daily average of cases fell to about 77,800 in the last seven days through Wednesday, against almost 85,000 the previous week, the tally based on government figures showed.

Australia: The state of Victoria says it detected 113 new cases in the past 24 hours, a number that remained unchanged from the previous day. Australia has now recorded nearly 25,500 Covid-19 infections nationwide, while the death toll rose to 584 after 12 people died in the state.

India: India has recorded its highest one-day tally of coronavirus cases, with 77,266 new infections recorded. That’s the second highest number of cases ever recorded by a single country in one day.

Germany: The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 1,571 to 239,507, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed on Friday.

China: China reported nine new Covid-19 cases, all imported. It marked the 12th consecutive day of no local transmissions, according to the National Health Commission.

South Korea: South Korea reported 371 new Covid-19 cases on Friday, including 359 local infections, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is down from the nearly six-month high on Thursday of 441.

Japan: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced his resignation due to ill health, after introducing new measures to fight the coronavirus pandemic, including boosting testing capability to 200,000 tests a day and aiming to secure enough vaccines for all citizens by mid-2021.

Syria: Ramesh Rajasingham, the United Nations’s deputy emergency relief coordinator, says Covid-19 is having a dramatic effect on healthcare services in Syria, where limited testing is obscuring the real extent of the pandemic.

Ireland: Ireland is seeing a “worrying trend” in coronavirus cases, the health ministry warned, as case numbers continue to increase. The country is now seeing about 33 cases per 100,000 people compared to three in June, ministry adviser Philip Nolan told reporters in Dublin, while the number of people being admitted to the hospital is starting to rise.

Spain: Spain reported 3,781 new Covid-19 cases, the most since 23 April. Chief epidemiologist Fernando Simon said that only 5% of cases were hospitalized. “It was 55% at the peak of the pandemic,” he said, adding that most of the new cases were in the Madrid area.

Italy: Italy reported 1,411 new cases Thursday, in line with the previous day but still the most since 6 May. A record 94,024 tests were performed as summer vacationers returned from countries, including Spain and Greece.

Lockdown updates

Spain: Spain announced schoolchildren aged six and over must wear masks to class, just days before the start of the new academic year.

9:45 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Freeport-McMoran to ease lockdown at Grasberg mine – Midland Exploration restarts drilling on Maritime-Cadillac

28 August

Anglo American Platinum has donated an ICU with ten beds to Gweru Provincial Hospital located near its Unki Mine in Zimbabwe. The donation of the ICU with newly equipped beds is part of the company’s efforts to limit the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic at the workplace and in host communities. The company donated ventilators, ICU beds, oxygen equipment and installation, personal protective equipment, multi-parameter monitors and other medical equipment. The establishment of the ICU forms part of the mine’s $2m investment till date in Covid-19 measures.

Freeport-McMoran’s Indonesian unit has announced that it would ease a lockdown at its Grasberg gold and copper mine following protests by its workers this week. Operations at Grasberg were disrupted after workers blocked access to the mine in the easternmost region of Papua, demanding transport out of the mine resumes and for a bonus for working during the Covid-19 pandemic. Freeport Indonesia spokesman Riza Pratama said that the company and the local government had agreed to ease curbs to allow workers to leave the mine area and visit the nearby town.

Midland Exploration has restarted the drilling programme on Maritime-Cadillac, after it was suspended due to mandatory confinement measures related to Covid-19. The programme was initially planned in March. The Maritime-Cadillac property located along the Cadillac Break is a joint venture between Agnico Eagle Mines (51%) and Midland (49%). The new drilling programme has been designed to test the down-plunge extension of the Dyke East zone at a vertical depth of 600m and will include a drill hole totalling 850m in length.

Sibanye-Stillwater has reported solid operating results for the first half of this year (H1 2020) despite the challenges and disruptions posed by the Covid-19 pandemic across the globe. Production from all the operating segments increased year-on-year. The operational results underpinned a robust financial performance from the group, along with higher precious metal prices received for the period. Adjusted EBITDA of $990m for the period was 718% higher than for the comparable period last year.

7:49 am

US Federal Reserve looks to inflation to save jobs

28 August

In a historic move, the US Federal Reserve announced a new monetary policy strategy aimed at building a strong labour market and stabilising prices.

The new policy is a shift from the decades long strategy of curbing inflation.

James Picerno, editor at the US Business Cycle Risk Report, shared an article on the Federal Reserve’s new monetary policy strategy.

The new strategy aims to target 2% average inflation, a big departure from the previous policy to curb inflation.

The strategy is aimed at building a strong labour market, which will require a range of policies apart from a supportive monetary policy.

The policy change is still unclear as no guidelines have been provided on how long interest rates will be kept low and how high inflation will be allowed to go.

Investors may need to wait until September when the Federal Reserve issues guidance on interest rates and ensures to keep inflation at a threshold of 2.25% or 2.5%.

Read more

2:05 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid-19 cases pass 24.2 million – deaths exceed 826,000 – Latin America seeing fastest rise in new cases

27 August

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 24,203,000 with over 826,400 deaths and 15,825,921 recoveries.

Among the top ten most affected countries, Brazil, Peru, and Colombia are reporting new daily confirmed cases at rate of more than 200 new cases per million population.

The rate for India and the US is about 50 new cases and 130 new cases per million population, respectively.

Spain is the most affected country in Europe.

However, the number of new daily deaths is significantly lower when compared to the first wave.

The UK is considering adding a few more countries to the quarantine list such as the Czech Republic.

Despite the increasing number of new confirmed cases over the past month, the Czech Republic has not placed restrictions like it did during the first wave.

This might be because of public opposition against such restriction levels.

Bahram Hassanpourfard, MPH, Epidemiologist at GlobalData  

10:32 am

Coronavirus company news summary – RioZim expects bounce in demand for rough diamonds – Camimex urges government to provide certainty for investors

27 August

Prices of copper have increased on optimism over progress in trade talks between the US and China and signs that researchers might be closer to a treatment for Covid-19. On the London Metal Exchange, three-month copper gained 0.3% to $6,545 a tonne, while the October copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange closed at 0.3% at $7,457.13 a tonne, Reuters reported.

Zimbabwe-based diamond mining company RioZim is expecting pickup in demand, after the Covid-19 pandemic forced the company to halt sales in March this year due to slumping gem prices. RioZim spokesperson Wilson Gwatiringa was quoted by Bloomberg as saying through email: “It has in fact picked up with a vengeance in some parts of the world. As a result, we expect an imminent bounce back in the demand for rough diamonds.”

Camimex, the Mexican mining chamber, has requested the government to provide certainty for investors as the sector struggles amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The policy plans announced by President Andrés López Obrador (AMLO) created uncertainty and has negatively impacted investment at a challenging time for the mining industry. The industry is currently adapting to health protocols that are related to the pandemic.

The Polish ministry has delayed its weekly talks with coal mining unions with regard to restructuring of the sector after one of the participants at meeting tested positive for Covid-19 last week. Coal industry in the country is already under pressure from climate campaigners and declining demand, and has been hit hard by the crisis after many miners caught the disease and mining operations were shut. The postponement of the talks increases pressure on PGG, which is expected to struggle to pay salaries in the coming months.

10:08 am

International update: Global Covid-19 infections pass 24.1 million – cases in Europe increasing post lockdown – global deaths near 826,000

27 August

Global: Global Covid-19 infections have passed 24.1 million with almost 826,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Europe: France and Italy reported post-lockdown daily case highs on Wednesday. France’s 5,429 new cases raised concerns ahead of the new school year starting next week. Italy reported 1,367 new coronavirus cases, its highest daily tally since May when the country was still in lockdown.

The EU’s trade chief, Phil Hogan, stepped down after growing criticism that he broke virus regulations in his native Ireland. Hogan was under pressure over his attendance at a golf dinner last week that violated coronavirus regulations, as well as his behaviour during quarantine upon arrival in his home country.

US: Coronavirus cases in the US increased by 0.8% as compared with the same time Tuesday to 5.8 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The increase matched the average daily gain over the past week. Deaths rose by 0.8% to 179,150.

Health experts are concerned a sudden US decision to change testing guidance for people who have been exposed to Covid-19 patients but have not developed symptoms risks spreading the virus further. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now says so-called “close contacts” of people with Covid-19 do not “necessarily need” to be tested if they do not have symptoms.

China: A World Health Organization team that was meant to investigate the origin of the coronavirus concluded their trip to China without a visit to Wuhan, the Financial Times reported, citing the UN agency.

Greece: Greece reported a record-high 293 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number to 9280. The number is the highest daily increase since the beginning of the pandemic. The country also recorded five new deaths, bringing the total to 248.

India: India has passed 60,000 deaths from Covid-19, according to the country’s health ministry, and reported its highest daily case rise of more than 75,000. There are growing concerns about the spread of the virus to rural areas.

Germany: The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 1,507 to 237,936, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed on Thursday.

Australia: The number of new infections in the southern state of Victoria appeared to be stabilising. On Thursday, 113 cases were reported – the lowest increase since 5 July, when 74 cases were reported. However, the state reported 23 deaths associated with Covid-19 on Thursday.

New Zealand: New Zealand reported seven new cases, including one imported infection. The six other cases were all linked to the Auckland cluster.

Argentina: Argentina posted a record daily rise of 10,550 confirmed Covid-19 cases on Wednesday, the health ministry said, taking the total caseload to 370,188 as the South American nation struggled to rein in the spread of infections while trying to ease open its crisis-hit economy.

Lockdown updates

Gaza: Gaza will remain in lockdown at least until Sunday, health officials said on Wednesday, after reporting two deaths and 26 cases in the first public outbreak of coronavirus in the blockaded Palestinian enclave.

China: Hong Kong is moving to relax some of its rules on social distancing measures from midnight (16:00 GMT) on Thursday for a period of seven days. The Food and Health Bureau says while sporadic cases and clusters were to be expected and that the government would take a “refined and sophisticated approach” to the relaxation of measures.

Singapore: Singapore will offer Covid-19 tests for travellers to China prior to departure, in an effort to align with new Chinese requirements aimed at stemming the growing number of imported virus cases.

Thailand: The Thai government may allow foreigners who own properties in the country to return as it seeks to gradually ease travel curbs imposed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Economic updates

South Korea: South Korea central bank cut its growth outlook, predicting the world’s 12th-largest economy would shrink more than 1%.

New Zealand: Air New Zealand has posted a net loss of NZD454m ($300m) for the financial year ended June 30. Like many airlines around the world, the closing of borders has led to a collapse in passenger traffic leaving planes on the ground. About one-third of Air New Zealand’s 12,500 employees are expected to lose their jobs as a result.

Japan: Japanese Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said a jump in virus cases from July and heavy rains are dragging on the nation’s economy and he didn’t know yet whether the outbreak has peaked.

7:57 am

Global economy showing signs of recovery but overall decline forecast

27 August

The global economy is gradually showing signs of recovery after a major decline in the first half of the year.

The growth of the economy is expected to continue from the second half of the year, although the labour market will take a long time to recover.

Erik Meyersson, senior economist at Svenska Handelsbanken, a Swedish bank, shared a report on the latest forecast issued by the bank.

The report notes that the global economy is showing signs of recovery after a historic fall in economic activity in the first half.

However, the impact of the pandemic,  has varied across different countries.

While Nordic countries managed to handle the pandemic better, the European Union and the US have been severely impacted.

The report notes that global growth is expected to decline by 4.3% in 2020, followed by a 5.2% growth in 2021 and 3.5% growth in 2022.

New infection rates and lockdown restrictions, however, will play a major role in deciding the growth of the global economy.

Read more

7:13 am

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid-19 cases pass 23.9 million – re-infections recorded – fatality rate falling

26 August

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 23,930,000 with over 820,000 deaths and 15,606,000 recoveries.

The US, India, Brazil, Russia, and South Africa remain the most affected countries.

The number of new confirmed cases in the US, Russia and South Africa have declined steadily over the past two weeks.

However, South Africa is performing fewer tests and has a higher positive test rates than Russia and the US.

There have been rare cases of re-infection with the virus, two in Europe and one in Hong Kong.

It is too early to make any conclusions on how this would impact the pandemic.

Nevertheless, the fatality rate compared to the beginning of the outbreak has dropped significantly.

This might be because of multiple factors, including higher individual awareness, social distancing, and health services adaptation.

Bahram Hassanpourfard, MPH, Epidemiologist at GlobalData  

3:00 pm

De Beers to cut diamond prices by 10% to drive up sales amid pandemic

The world’s biggest diamond miner, De Beers, has announced that it will cut prices for its largest diamonds by up to 10% in an attempt to rejuvenate the diamond industry, which has struggled during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The news follows significant declines in the miner’s production and sales over the last year. In the six months to July this year, De Beers produced 11.2 million carats of diamonds, down from 15.5 million carats in the prior six months, while total sales almost halved, from 15.5 carats to 8.5 carats, over the period. In addition, the average price per carat sold fell from $151 to $119, and the miner is continuing to cut prices in an attempt to drive up sales volume.

The one silver lining for the diamond industry has been the price of high quality one-carat diamonds, which has increased by 12% since the start of the year. De Beers may be hoping that a cut in prices could help make other qualities of diamonds more financially attractive.

11:06 am

International update: Global Covid-19 cases near 24 million – deaths near 820,000 – more re-infections confirmed

26 August

Global: Global Covid-19 infections have passed 23.9 million with almost 820,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Rates of transmission are easing in many parts of the world, the World Health Organisation has suggested. Governments have been ramping up efforts to contain the disease, which has claimed the lives of nearly 820,000 people and infected almost 24 million since late last year.

Europe: Two European patients were confirmed to have been re-infected with coronavirus, raising concerns about immunity. Regional public broadcasters said a patient in the Netherlands and another in Belgium had been re-infected.

US: Coronavirus cases in the US increased 0.6% to 5.76 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The increase was lower than the average daily gain of 0.8% over the past week. Deaths rose by 0.4% to 177,773.

The number of Americans newly diagnosed with the coronavirus is falling. About 43,000 new cases are being reported daily across the country, down 21% from early August, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Turkey: Turkey recorded its highest number of new coronavirus cases since mid-June. Another 1,502 infections were confirmed on Tuesday, according to government data, taking the official tally over 261,000.

India: India reported the highest number of new coronavirus cases globally for the 18th straight day. Infections rocketed by another 1.5 million since the start of August, taking India’s total to more than 3.2 million.

Mexico: Mexico has confirmed 4,916 new cases of the disease and 650 more deaths, bringing its totals to 568,621 cases and 61,450 deaths.

Myanmar: Myanmar has reported 70 new cases of coronavirus, its biggest daily jump since the pandemic began. The health ministry did not say where the new cases were found.

China: China has reported 15 new cases in the mainland – all of them in people returned from overseas.The mainland has not confirmed a domestically transmitted case in 10 days. It also had 14 new asymptomatic cases, which are not included in confirmed cases. The death toll remains unchanged at 4,634.

South Korea: South Korea has ordered doctors in Seoul to return to work on Wednesday as they began a three-day strike in protest against several government proposals. South Korea is battling one of its worst outbreaks of the coronavirus, with 320 new cases reported in the 24 hours to midnight Tuesday.

North Korea: Kim Jong Un has told North Korea to step up prevention efforts against the coronavirus. The country has not reported any confirmed cases of the virus, but imposed a strict lockdown in the city of Kaesong after a man there showed symptoms of the disease. Later tests were inconclusive, according to the WHO.

Australia: The southern state of Victoria has reported its second deadliest day of the pandemic with 24 deaths and 149 new cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours. Melbourne, the state’s capital and the second-biggest city in Australia, is midway through a six-week lockdown and curfew as it battles a resurgence of the disease.

Argentina: Argentina reported 8,771 new confirmed Covid-19 cases for a national total of 359,638, according to the government, the second straight record daily tally. The government reported 162 deaths, for a total of 7,563.

Lockdown updates

Gaza: Gaza entered a 48-hour lockdown after the first cases of Covid-19 were confirmed in the general population. Four cases of coronavirus were confirmed in a single family in a refugee camp, the first in Gaza that did not involve people quarantined in border facilities after crossing over from Egypt and Israel.

Singapore: Singapore will tighten border measures for travellers arriving from South Korea after a resurgence of virus cases there. Those who have travelled to or transited in South Korea within the past two weeks will be required to serve a 14-day quarantine at government-run facilities when they enter Singapore, the Health Ministry said in a statement.

Japan: Japan is considering how to make social-distancing rules more binding as it confronts a wave of coronavirus cases larger than the one that prompted a state of emergency in April-May, Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said. Future emergency declarations could be targeted to specific areas or industries, said Nishimura, who heads the country’s virus response.

Hawaii: Hawaii’s most populous island is returning to a stay-at-home order while officials conduct 70,000 Covid-19 tests in the next two weeks. The federal government will help officials test 5,000 people in Oahu every day for two weeks, the Associated Press reported.

UK: Pupils in England will no longer be advised against using face masks in schools after prime minister Boris Johnson made an 11th-hour U-turn days before students head back to the classroom.

Economic updates

Australia: Australia will boost defence spending by A$1 billion ($716.80 million) in the government’s latest attempt to help the country’s coronavirus-hit economy. Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the money will be used to upgrade military facilities and offer additional paid employment to some 27,000 reservists.

9:36 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Grasberg workers extend protests on lockdown – India to reduce thermal coal imports

News Round-Up: Mining Technology –26-August-2020

More than 1,000 mine workers at Grasberg gold and copper mine operated by Freeport-McMoRan’s local unit have extended a protest into a second day, demanding an easing of a lockdown related to the Covid-19 pandemic. They also blocked access to the mine located in the easternmost region of Papua. Workers’ representative Yonpis Tabuni said that their demand is not met yet and there is a meeting with the local government and the management. Freeport’s spokesman Riza Pratama said that the company will continue to monitor and conduct negotiations.

The Mining Chamber of Mexico (Camimex) said that mining industry in the country expects a fall in exploration investments this year to their worst level in 14 years, even before taking Covid-19 into account. This year, spending is expected to decline to $399m due to a drop in investor confidence. Camimex president Fernando Alanis said the estimate for this year would continue a trend over the last few years of weakening investment in the mining sector.

Whitehaven Coal has posted a net profit of $30m for 2019-20, which represents a 95% plunge compared with the previous financial year as the pandemic hammers prices of coal. Import restrictions that were imposed by the Chinese government and the lockdown of Indian and north Asian economies led to a fall in demand and caused prices of thermal coal to plummet. Whitehaven Coal chief executive Paul Flynn said that the company’s headline financial results were impacted by significant contraction in coal prices.

India is set to reduce its thermal coal imports in the next few years in order to save foreign exchange and create jobs by developing existing as well as new coal blocks. This year, the country’s thermal coal demand declined due to the economic contraction triggered by Covid-19 lockdowns to minimise the spread of the virus. Joint secretary in the coal ministry Nagaraju said that the future of coal is not as bright as it used to be in past and it continues to be an important player in the energy mix of the country for at least next three decades.

7:42 am

Permanent job losses in US could reach 8.7 million – how financial repression and inflation can ease UK public debt

26 August

The effects of Covid-19 pandemic have been multi-fold from shutting down businesses, causing widespread unemployment to a global healthcare crisis.

Adam Ozimek, chief economist at Upwork, shared an article on how the Covid-19 induced recession is leading to permanent job losses in the US similar to the Great Recession.

The rise in unemployment rate during March and April was considered to be temporary.

However, in July, approximately 33% of employees who were furloughed were permanently laid off, according to data from Gusto, a payroll and benefits company.

A total of 3.7 million people were unemployed in July, according to official figures from the Labour department.

By the end of the year, the figure is expected to rise to between 6.2 million and 8.7 million, which is close to the 8.6 million unemployed during the Great Recession.

Long-term unemployment may lead to slow economic recovery and have the most impact on the minority communities of the society.

Meanwhile, George Magnus, a macroeconomist, shared an article on the expected rise in inflation in the UK.

Magnus argues that a combination of financial repression and inflation may be the best way to address public debt.

Read more

2:15 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid-19 cases pass 23.6 million with more than 813,000 deaths – infections slowing in US

25 August

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 23,679,000 with over 813,000 deaths and 15,359,000 recoveries.

The number of new daily confirmed cases are declining in the US.

Among European countries, Spain, France, and Germany are reporting the highest new confirmed cases.

Yesterday, Spain reported over 19,000 new cases.

In the UK, it appears the country has controlled the local outbreaks as the numbers are declining nationally.

India reports over 25% of the global new cases.

The country is now performing more daily tests than the US.

The fatality rate in India is half of the global average, possibly because of the country’s young population.

Bahram Hassanpourfard, MPH, Epidemiologist at GlobalData 

10:24 am

International update: Global Covid-19 cases pass 23.6 million – first documented human re-infection confirmed

25 August

Global: Global Covid-19 infections have passed 23.6 million with more than 813,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Cancer patients are at high risk of severe disease if they contract Covid-19, and those with blood diseases are in the most danger, researchers said. People with leukaemia and other blood cancers who contract the coronavirus face as much as 57% higher odds of severe disease compared to those with breast cancer, according to a study published Monday in The Lancet Oncology journal.

China: A Hong Kong man has been re-infected with Covid-19 after four-and-a-half months, leading to immunity concerns. A Hong Kong man who recovered from Covid-19 was infected again four-and-a-half months later in the first documented instance of human re-infection, researchers at the University of Hong Kong said on Monday.

US: Coronavirus cases in the US increased by 0.6% as compared with the same time Sunday to 5.72 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The increase was lower than the average daily gain of 0.8% over the past week. Deaths rose by 0.2% to 176,991.

Gaza: Gaza reported its first Covid-19 cases outside quarantine areas and declared lockdown. The first cases of coronavirus have been detected outside of quarantine facilities within the Gaza Strip, a potentially disastrous development given the enclave’s fragile health system.

Sweden: Sweden is likely to see local outbreaks but no big second wave of Covid-19 cases in the autumn, such as inundated hospitals a few months ago, Sweden’s top epidemiologist and architect of its unorthodox pandemic strategy said.

Pakistan: latest figures from Pakistan show the country has 8,934 active cases of coronavirus – the lowest since April 24, according to our correspondent Asad Hashim. Pakistan recorded an additional 450 cases on Monday and 11 deaths.

Australia: The state of Victoria has confirmed 148 new cases of coronavirus and eight deaths in the past 24 hours. The state’s capital, Melbourne, is slightly more than halfway through a six-week lockdown imposed as a second wave of cases emerged in the state.

Germany: New coronavirus cases increased at a pace close to Saturday’s four-month high, while the infection rate fell below a key benchmark of 1.0. There were 1,628 new infections in the 24 hours through Tuesday morning, taking the total to 236,122.

Singapore: Singapore’s Building and Construction Authority ordered a stop to activities at some construction worksites after a new Covid-19 cluster was found at the country’s largest foreign worker dormitory, raising concerns of a resurgence in virus infections.

Vaccine news

US: Dr Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious diseases expert, warned that distributing a Covid-19 vaccine under special emergency use guidelines before it has been proved safe and effective in large trials is a bad idea that could have a chilling effect on the testing of other vaccines.

Dr Stephen Hahn, commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says the agency will not be influenced by political pressure when it comes to approving a vaccine for Covid-19. Hahn said the FDA’s decision to issue an emergency authorisation for blood plasma treatment for coronavirus at the weekend was not political.

Mexico: Four different coronavirus vaccine initiatives will receive financial support from the Mexican Government, the Foreign Ministry said in a presentation. A total of 19 projects including those focused on Covid-19 treatments will receive financing via a fund with resources from the Mexican International Development and Cooperation Agency, foreign entities and private foundations, the Foreign Ministry said in a separate statement.

Lockdown updates

Global: The United Nations said the threat from ISIL (ISIS) has been reduced by the coronavirus lockdowns imposed in many countries. “Measures to minimise the spread of Covid-19, such as lockdowns and restrictions on movement, seem to have reduced the risk of terrorist attacks in many countries,” said Vladimir Voronkov, undersecretary-general for counter-terrorism.

South Korea: South Korea on Tuesday ordered most schools in Seoul and surrounding areas to close and move classes back online, the latest in a series of precautionary measures aimed at heading off a resurgence in coronavirus cases, Reuters reports.

Colombia: Colombia will start a new phase of the pandemic in which mandatory lockdowns end and authorities instead impose “selective lockdowns” with fewer restrictions to individual mobility, President Ivan Duque said on state TV.

Economic updates

Australia: Qantas Airways Ltd. plans to cut as many as 2,500 more jobs by offloading ground operations such as baggage handling and aircraft cleaning as the cost of the coronavirus pandemic mounts.

Philippines: The Philippines’ House of Representatives on Monday approved the final version of a 165.5 billion-peso ($3.4 billion) pandemic relief bill that would provide subsidies to the unemployed, assistance to businesses and loan repayment extension to borrowers.

9:46 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Perenti posts increase in revenue in FY 2020 – De Beers reduces price of diamonds

25 August

Operations at San Cristóbal’s mine in Bolivia have been suspended for a second time due to the Covid-19 outbreak. San Cristóbal had earlier suspended operations in March and then resumed production in May, reported Reuters. San Cristóbal is a fully owned subsidiary of Japan-based Sumitomo Corp. The mine is the largest in Bolivia and features a huge deposit of zinc, lead and silver. The firm conducted medical checks on 8,093 workers and contractors and identified 168 suspected cases, out of which 41 have been confirmed positive.

Over a thousand mine workers in Indonesia stopped access to the Grasberg gold and copper mine to mark a protest against the coronavirus lockdown policy that stopped staff bus services to meet with families, reported Reuters. Grasberg is the largest gold mine and second largest copper mine in the world and is operated by Freeport-McMoRan’s local business unit. Presently, the mine is transitioning from its open pit operation to underground mining. This year, the mine is expected to have a daily production of 110,000 tonnes of copper ore.

Perenti, an Australia-based mining services group, has posted a record of $2.04bn revenue in its full-year financial report for 2020, which is an increase of 3.8% against 2019’s result. The firm also reported 6.8% year-on-year increase in underlying earnings before tax interest depreciation and amortisation of $443.8m in 2020. The Perth-based firm also bolstered its liquidity position, which currently sits at $600m in cash and undrawn credit. The firm expects that the increase in liquidity will help it to ease out challenges in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Anglo American unit, De Beers has decided to reduce the price of its diamonds as Covid-19 pandemic has weakened the industry. De Beers and its Russian competitor Alrosa had earlier attempted to defend the value of the gems as the Covid-19 paralysed the industry. With the closure of jewellery stores, cutters and polishers restricted to their homes, the diamond industry has come to a standstill. In the second quarter of 2020, De Beers and Alrosa sold a total of $130m in rough diamonds, which is a huge decline from $2.1bn recorded a year before.

8:30 am

Brexit a bigger threat to UK GDP than Covid-19 – concern as US federal debt tops $26.6tn

25 August

The Covid-19 pandemic appeared at a time when the UK was preparing for Brexit.

The debate on a no deal Brexit and a Brexit with a free trade agreement continue, although the impact of the pandemic adds another element to the debate.

Dina D. Pomeranz, economics professor at University of Zurich, shared an article on how the impact of Brexit could be two to three times greater than Covid-19 on the UK economy.

The UK GDP is projected to decline by 1.7% over the next to three two years without much long-term impact.

However, the impact of Brexit on GDP is expected to emerge gradually.

Analysis by the government has indicated that a no deal Brexit could result in a decline of 7.6% in GDP after 15 years, while Brexit with a free trade agreement could lead to a 4.9% decline in GDP.

In other news, Professor Steve Hanke, economist at Johns Hopkins University, tweeted on US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s calls for additional financial stimulus.

He noted that government spending is already at a high, which has pushed the US federal debt to more than $26.6tn.

Hanke questioned as to how the deficit created by the increased spending will be addressed.

Read more

6:25 am

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid-19 cases approach 23.5 million – infections on the increase in Europe

24 August

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 23,456,000 with over 809,000 deaths and 15,155,000 recoveries.

The US, Brazil and India remain the most affected countries with over 53% of the world’s total confirmed cases.

India now has more than 3.1 million Covid-19 infections.

In Europe, new daily confirmed cases are increasing.

On Friday, France reported over 15,000 new daily confirmed cases.

The numbers of new confirmed cases are declining in South Africa and Russia.

In the Middle East, and regions with high Shia population, there may be an increase in the number of new confirmed cases as Muharram begins.

Currently, there are no restrictions or guidelines for religious gatherings.

Bahram Hassanpourfard, MPH, Epidemiologist at GlobalData  

11:45 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Gold prices decline as risk sentiment improves – Iamgold delays sale process for Sadiola gold mine

24 August

Sibanye-Stillwater has partnered with the University of Witwatersrand (Wits) in order to produce face shields for frontline health workers in communities around the company’s operations in South Africa (SA) and in the Eastern Cape Province. The volunteers have so far produced 6,700 shields from the Braamfontein campus. They have been distributed to Sibanye-Stillwater’s SA mines and community members. The volunteers are producing the face shields using recycled plastic to reduce the impact on the environment. A total of 3,700 face shields will be distributed by the company to health facilities around its operations in Gauteng, Free State and North West provinces.

Prices of gold have declined as risk sentiment improved following authorisation by the US Food and Drug Administration regarding the use of blood plasma from recovered Covid-19 patients as a treatment for Covid-19. Spot gold edged down after hitting a one-week low of $1,910.99. US gold futures eased 0.4% to $1,940.10. AxiCorp chief market strategist Stephen Innes was quoted by Reuters as saying that weighing a little bit on immediate sentiment is virus positive news that has helped stocks and other risk assets go higher.

Papua New Guinea (PNG) has reportedly prevented the arrival of a flight that was carrying Chinese workers after mining company Ramu NiCo Management claimed to have immunised 48 employees against Covid-19 in a vaccination trial. Following the company’s claims, pandemic response controller David Manning banned vaccine testing or trials for the disease and sent back a flight with 180 Chinese workers as a precautionary measure.

Canadian mining company Iamgold has delayed the sale process for its Sadiola gold mine located in Mali due to political instability in the country. Last December, the company had reached a deal to sell its 41% interest in the mine, which is a joint venture with AngloGold Ashanti to Allied Gold. The deal was expected to close in April, however, the timeline was affected due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

10:05 am

International update: Global Covid-19 infections exceed 23.4 million as deaths near 809,000 – US cases pass 5.7 million

24 August

Global: Global Covid-19 infections have passed 23.4 million with more than 808,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

US: The US Food & Drug Administration said it has authorised the use of blood plasma from patients who have recovered from Covid-19 as a treatment for the disease, a day after President Donald Trump blamed the agency for impeding the rollout of coronavirus vaccines for political reasons.

As US Covid-19 cases passed 5.7 million, New York reported that virus-related hospitalizations had dropped to 472 and intensive care patients to 110, both the lowest since mid-March. It also marked the 16th straight day of positive-test results under 1%.

California reported 6,777 new virus cases on Sunday, the highest number in a week but still less than the seven-day average of 7,822.

China: China sees no locally transmitted cases for the eighth day in a row. The country reported 16 new Covid-19 cases in the mainland for 23 August, all of which were imported infections involving travellers from overseas, the country’s health authority said on Monday.

South Korea: South Korea counted its 11th straight day of triple-digit daily jumps in coronavirus cases as officials tighten social distancing restrictions nationwide to combat what they describe as the biggest crisis since the emergence of Covid-19.

Japan: Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, visited a Tokyo hospital on Monday for a second time within days, stoking concern about his ability to stay on as leader due to health issues and fatigue from tackling the coronavirus pandemic.

Australia: The state of Victoria reported its lowest daily rise in new coronavirus infections in seven weeks on Monday, fuelling optimism that a deadly second wave there is subsiding. Victoria on Monday reported 116 cases and 15 deaths from the virus in the past 24 hours, down from a peak of more than 700 cases early this month.

France: France reported almost 4,900 new coronavirus cases over the last 24 hours, its highest figure since May.  Deaths increased by one to 30,513 in the past 24 hours.

Italy: The number of daily coronavirus cases recorded in Italy has nearly doubled in the past five days, rising to more than 1,200 on Sunday. Italy recorded 1,210 cases in the past 24 hours, compared with 642 on Wednesday, latest official figures showed. There were seven deaths compared with three the day before.

UK: The UK recorded 1,041 new cases of Covid-19 on Sunday, down from 1,288 on Saturday, government figures showed. It is the fourth day in a row that new infections have been more than 1,000 in 24 hours.

Greece: The Greek island of Lesbos was added to a list of areas under heightened Covid-19 vigilance, officials said. The move came as health authorities announced a new daily infection high of 284 cases nationwide in the last 24 hours. The total number reached 8,664, of which around 40% has been reported in August. The death toll reached 242.

Mexico: Mexico has reported 226 more deaths from the coronavirus, finishing the week with 3,723 fatalities, the lowest total in over two months, according to government figures.

Vaccine news

China: The Chinese government has been administering a vaccine candidate to selected groups of key workers since July, a senior health official told state media yesterday. Zheng Zhongei, head of the national health commission’s science and technology centre, told CCTV the government had authorised “emergency use” and it was in line with the law, the South China Morning Post has reported.

Philippines: The Philippines is negotiating with 16 manufacturers of potential Covid-19 vaccines to procure supplies needed to battle South-East Asia’s largest outbreak. In addition, the Philippine education department reported that at least 311 teachers and 268 students have been infected with the coronavirus. In an announcement on social media, Education Undersecretary Alain Pascua said that of the total cases, 318 remain active while 22 have died. It was unclear how many of the total fatalities were teaching staff or students.

Lockdown updates

New Zealand: New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland, will continue with its Level 3 restrictions for an additional four days. Auckland was set to lift the restrictions – requiring residents to ‘stay at home and stay local’ – on Wednesday, but those have now been extended to 11:59pm on Sunday.

Brazil: President Jair Bolsonaro defended the reopening of retail outlets “with responsibility” and said his government had done everything possible to curb the spread of Covid-19, in a video posted on social media Sunday.

8:01 am

How wearing face masks can help reduce US GDP fall

24 August

Healthcare officials have repeatedly highlighted the importance of wearing face masks to control the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Economists have gone a step further, by translating the importance of mask wearing into economic terms to understand the impact on GDP.

Dr. Malini Nair, an economist, shared an article on how wearing masks can help in improving the US GDP.

Wearing masks can act as an alternative for lockdowns and enable more shops and offices to open. According to Goldman Sachs, if 15% of the population wears a mask, the increase in number of cases can be reduced by 1%.

The Economist further notes that if a single person in the US wears a mask for a day, it will help in preventing a fall in GDP of $56.14.

Based on these projections, the article notes the government should place more emphasis on the importance of wearing masks.

Read more

1:23 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid-19 infections exceed 23.4 million – India cases pass 3 million

24 August

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 23.4 million with more than 800,000 deaths and 15,139,454 recoveries.

Across the globe, Covid-19 total confirmed cases continue to increase, with the US, Brazil, and India still taking the lead as the most heavily affected countries.

The UK has seen local lockdowns in areas such as Aberdeen, Manchester and Leicester, in an effort to prevent a second wave of infections.

In Brazil, Sao Paulo is the worst hit region, with over 730,000 total confirmed cases now reported.

Health inequalities and a response criticized for being too economy focused, has led Brazil to have the second highest death toll, after the US.

Katie Wrenn, MPH, Epidemiologist at GlobalData 

10:44 am

International update: Global Covid-19 deaths near 800,000 as infections approach 22.7 million – new cases surge as lockdowns lifted

21 August

Global: The global death toll from Covid-19 has edged closer towards 800,000. There have been 793,864 fatalities from coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins University, and almost 22.7 million cases.

US: Coronavirus cases in the US increased 0.8% as compared with the same time Wednesday to 5.55 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The increase – the fourth straight day that cases rose by 0.8% — was lower than the average daily gain of 0.9% over the past week. Deaths now number 174,283.

Latin America: The number of Covid-19 deaths in Latin America surged past 250,000 on Thursday, according to a Reuters tally. The grim milestone was passed as Brazil reported 1,204 deaths from the virus in the past 24 hours. Over the past week, the region has reported more than 3,000 deaths a day, while daily caseloads continue to rise in Peru, Colombia and Argentina.

India: India hurtled toward the three million mark for coronavirus cases, reporting 68,898 new infections in the last 24 hours. The total number of cases in the country now stands at 2.9 million. Deaths in the same period jumped by 983, with the total now at 54,849.

South Korea: South Korea faces “very serious situation” as it seeks to trace thousands who attended a conservative rally at the weekend. It has seen a spike in cases centred around a church whose members were among thousands who attended the anti-government rally. South Korea added 324 cases in 24 hours compared with 288 a day earlier, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. There were two additional deaths.

Australia: The state of Victoria has recorded 179 new cases of Covid-19. It was the lowest one-day increase in five weeks and a sign that the outbreak that brought a lockdown on Melbourne was being brought under control.

Germany: Germany recorded 1,586 new infections in the 24 hours through Friday, the same number as Thursday and above 1,000 for a fourth straight day, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Japan: Japan’s current wave of coronavirus infections has more or less reached its nationwide peak, said Shigeru Omi, head of the government’s virus advisory panel. Japan saw a second wave of infections that started a few weeks ago after opening the economy following a period under a state of emergency. The country reported 1,185 new infections on Thursday, according to NHK, down from a peak of more than 1,600 seen on 7 August.

Argentina: Argentina reported a record daily rise of 8,225 new Covid-19 cases, bringing the total to 320,884. There were 111 new deaths, taking the total to 6,517.

UK: Virus cases in England increased by more than a quarter in the week through 12 August, underscoring the risks facing Boris Johnson’s government as it tries to boost economic activity without triggering a new peak in the pandemic.

Vaccine news

Global: Authorities in Peru and Morocco approved Phase 3 clinical trials for a potential Covid-19 vaccine developed by China National Biotec Group (CNBG), the company said late on Thursday.

US: A senior US health regulator has vowed to resign if the Trump administration tries to rush approval of a vaccine. Peter Marks of the Food and Drug Administration said there was growing concern that the White House will try to approve a treatment before the November election even if it is not safe.

Mexico: Mexico will receive at least 2,000 doses of Russia’s potential Covid-19 vaccine, dubbed ‘Sputnik V’, to test among its population, according to the Mexican foreign minister.

Lockdown updates

Myanmar: Health authorities ordered residents of Sittwe, the capital of Myanmar’s Rakhine state, to stay at home after detecting three more locally transmitted cases, according to the Myanmar Times newspaper. A total of nine cases have been reported in Rakhine since August 16, when authorities detected Myanmar’s first locally transmitted case in nearly a month.

Morocco: King Mohammed VI warned that Morocco could return to a complete coronavirus lockdown amid a jump in infections that has strained health services and triggered protests by medical staff. New cases nationally have surged to more than 1,000 a day since Morocco lifted a strict three-month-long lockdown in late June and hit a record high of 1,766 on August 15. As of Thursday, Morocco had recorded a total 47,638 cases, including 775 deaths and 32,806 recoveries.

New Zealand: New Zealand reported nine new locally transmitted coronavirus cases, and put off a decision about easing restrictions in its biggest city of Auckland to next week. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she would announce on Monday whether the government would ease alert level 3 restrictions enforced in Auckland, and level 2 measures in the rest of the country.

Japan: Japan plans to ease its Covid-19 entry restrictions on foreign nationals with resident visas starting next month, public broadcaster NHK reported. Re-entry will be permitted for visa holders, including permanent residents and exchange students, on condition that they undergo coronavirus testing and quarantine for 14 days, the same policy that applies to Japanese citizens re-entering the country, according to NHK.

France: Schools in France will open as planned on 1st September, despite calls from teachers for more time to prepare because of the coronavirus, Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer said in a television interview.


9:24 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Gold Fields reports rise in half-year earnings – Antofagasta restarts growth projects – South32 prepares for extended wave of market volatility

21 August

South Africa-based mining company Gold Fields has reported an increase in half-year earnings due to a rise in the gold price above $2,000, owing to disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The company CEO Nick Holland, who will step down in September next year, said that a bittersweet respite for gold companies has led to the increase in this safe haven metal to record levels.

Chilean mining firm Antofagasta has restarted growth projects, even after weak copper prices drove down its earnings by 22% during the first half of this year. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the company’s mines have operated with about two-thirds of their usual workforce on site. Pandemic-related disruptions to mining operations in Chile have been minimal, but have led to the delay of some mining projects. A six-month delay to Antofagasta’s flagship Los Pelambres mine had cost it $50m.

South32 said it is prepared for an extended wave of market volatility as well as lower commodity prices after a strong performance in the financial year. During the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the company resisted major impacts and also introduced cost savings across its mines. Furthermore, it registered record annual production results at three of its operations.

7:38 am

Unemployment expected to surge as furlough ends

21 August

The UK has managed to keep its unemployment rate low with the help of the furlough scheme.

However, the unemployment rate is expected surge once the furlough scheme comes to an end, with many companies already announcing redundancies.

Duncan Weldon, Britain economics correspondent for The Economist, shared an article on the expected increase in unemployment in the UK.

The unemployment rate in June was 3.9%, which is very low compared to the US at 11.1%.

However, the low unemployment rate is attributed to the furlough scheme, which involved the government paying 80% of the wages of the employees.

As the furlough scheme comes to an end in October, companies have to start contributing to the cost of their furloughed employees.

As a result, a number of redundancies have been announced or planned to be announced by various companies. Marks & Spencer, for example, announced its plans to cut 7,000 jobs.

The Bank of England estimates that the unemployment could peak between 7.5% and 12% once the furlough scheme ends.

Read more

2:25 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid-19 cases pass 22.4 million with more than 788,000 deaths – Japan suffers second wave

20 August

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 22,442,000 with over 788,000 deaths and 14,349,000 recoveries.

Across the globe, Covid-19 total confirmed cases continue to increase, with the US, Brazil and India still taking the lead as the most heavily affected countries worldwide.

In the US, although daily confirmed cases continue to decrease nationally, the number of deaths continue to climb, with Florida now the 5th State to report 10,000 deaths.

Russia is ranked 4th in the list of most heavily affected countries worldwide, however, they appear to be controlling the virus as evidenced by a decrease in daily confirmed cases over the past three months.

A resurgence of cases in Japan has resulted in a second wave much larger than the first.

A lack of large scale testing is thought to be the main reason for this, with undiagnosed cases causing the virus to spread across communities silently.

Katie Wrenn, MPH, Epidemiologist at GlobalData  

9:29 am

International update: Global Covid-19 cases pass 22.4 million – new spikes as lockdowns ease – US infections exceed 5.5 million

20 August

Global: Global Covid-19 cases exceed 22.4 million, according to Johns Hopkins University. Deaths are nearing 788,000.

US: Coronavirus cases in the US increased 0.8% as compared with the same time Tuesday to 5.51 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. It was the third straight day that cases rose by 0.8%, which was lower than the average daily gain of 0.9% over the past week. Deaths also rose by 0.8%, to 172,511.

US President Donald Trump is touting the use of convalescent plasma as a treatment for coronavirus, saying he’s “heard fantastic things” about it. Trump made his comments after the New York Times reported that the Food and Drug Administration had put on hold emergency approval for the treatment because of concerns the data on plasma use was too weak.

Florida’s coronavirus death toll hit 10,000 on Wednesday as the state continues to struggle to get the ongoing pandemic under control. Almost six months since Florida’s first case was identified, the state reported 174 deaths on Wednesday, bringing the total death toll to 10,067. The state reported 584,047 Covid-19 cases on Wednesday, up 0.7% from a day earlier, compared with an average increase of 1% in the previous seven days. The new daily rate of people testing positive for the first time fell to 7.1% for Tuesday, the lowest since June 14. The state has reported 33,146 new cases in the past seven days, the fewest in a comparable period since late June.

Texas reported the lowest number of Covid-19 hospitalizations since late June, according to state health department figures. Hospitals in the second-biggest US state had 5,974 virus patients as of late Tuesday, the fewest since June 29. The strain on medical infrastructure continued to ease even as new cases increased by 7,024 to bring the cumulative total to 557,256.

New York City’s positive test rate for the Covid-19 has fallen to its lowest since the pandemic crisis first hit, Mayor Bill de Blasio said. After more than two months of experiencing positive test rates of less than 3%, the city recorded a 0.24% test rate this week, the mayor reported during a news briefing Wednesday.

Brazil: Brazil’s Health Ministry says there are signs the coronavirus outbreak in the country – the world’s second-worst – could be about to slow. The number of confirmed cases dropped to 304,684 last week, compared with a peak of 319,653 in the week ending July 25. The number of deaths reported on a weekly basis has also fallen to 6,755 from a peak of 7,677 in the last week of July.

India: India has recorded its highest daily total of new cases, with 69,672 infections. This is the fourth highest daily total reported globally, only exceeded by the US on three occasions in second half of July.

Germany: Germany has recorded its highest daily case numbers since April, with 1,707 new infections. On 18 April the country recorded 3,609 cases.

South Korea: South Korea has recorded seven straight days of new cases in triple figures, and authorities have warned of a “nationwide pandemic”, with infections seeding across the country.

China: China has reported seven new cases of Covid-19, all of which the national health commission says were imported (3 in Jiangxi, 1 in Tianjin, 1 in Shanghai, 1 in Shandong) Cases, 1 in Sichuan). There were no new deaths and no new suspected cases, it said. It’s the fourth day in a row with no local transmissions.

Spain: Spain’s health ministry said 3,715 coronavirus infections were diagnosed in the 24 hours to Wednesday, a new single-day record since the country emerged from a three-month lockdown in mid-June.

France: France on Wednesday recorded new coronavirus cases at the fastest daily rate since May, official figures showed, as the country prepared for the return from summer holidays. Almost 3,800 infections were confirmed.

Italy: Italy recorded 642 new infections in a day on Wednesday, hitting a new record since May when the country cautiously emerged from one of the longest lockdowns in the world after more than 30,000 Covid-related deaths.

Indonesia: Indonesia has officially reported 6,346 deaths from Covid-19, the highest toll in South-East Asia, but Reuters reports that including people who died with acute Covid-19 symptoms but were not tested, the death toll is three times higher.

Australia: The state of Victoria has reported 240 new cases of coronavirus over the past 24 hours, up slightly on the 216 announced on Wednesday. It also reported 13 deaths.

Thailand: Thailand reported seven new coronavirus cases, all found in state quarantine, continuing the nation’s almost three-month streak of zero local infections. The government is conducting contact tracing after it was found a woman who had completed 14-day quarantine could have the virus.

UAE: The United Arab Emirates is seeing a jump in new cases and the government blamed the increase on social gatherings and the failure to adhere to precautionary measures. The country reported 435 new infections on Wednesday, the highest daily increase in over a month.

Vaccine news

New Zealand: Three quarters of New Zealanders intend to get immunised against coronavirus when a vaccine becomes available, new research has found.

Lockdown updates

Vietnam: E Hospital in Hanoi has been locked down after an 87-year-old patient tested positive for the coronavirus, Voice of Vietnam reported, citing the head of the health ministry’s administration of medical examination and treatment. The patient was found to have contracted the virus six days after being admitted into the hospital. The source of the patient’s infection hasn’t been detected. Vietnam has 994 confirmed cases and 25 deaths.

Puerto Rico: Facing a spike in cases, Puerto Rico is clamping down again, closing beaches, bars, gyms, theaters and casinos through 11 September, and putting strict new controls in place for other establishments. All businesses except grocery stores, pharmacies and hospitals will be closed on Sundays, and all residents are being asked to stay home on Sundays unless it’s an emergency.

Greece: People will have to wear masks both indoors and outdoors on the island of Mykonos and in the northern region of Chalkidiki, the Greek government said. It also suspended any kind of events and prohibited gatherings of more than nine people in the two tourist areas.

9:26 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Kazatomprom to flex down uranium mines – South32 reports fall in full-year underlying profit – UNDP announces grants for miners

20 August

Kazatomprom is set to starting working with joint venture partners to implement the plan to continue flexing down production by 20% through 2022 across all of its uranium mines in Kazakhstan amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The plan will ensure its mining subsidiaries and joint ventures will be able to incorporate the required changes into their capital expenditure budgets for next year, accounting for the revised production levels in 2022. As part of the measures taken to combat the pandemic, Kazatomprom is also maintaining its 20% reduction against subsoil use contracts next year and has no additional production plans to replace volumes lost this year.

Australia-based mining company South32 has posted an 80.5% fall in full-year underlying profit on low prices for its key commodities. The company also made a decision to delay a share buyback decision to September next year over uncertainty in growth across the globe due to Covid-19. Due to disruptions caused by the pandemic, prices of the company’s top three commodities, metallurgical coal, aluminium and manganese remained weak. For the year ended 30 June, the company’s underlying net profit declined to $193m compared with $992m a year ago.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) minerals programme country coordinator Ruth Clarke has announced that 12 mining and quarry operators were awarded grants totalling about $9m. Awarded under phase two of the African, Caribbean and Pacific-European Union (ACP-EU) Minerals Development Programme, these funds will assist the beneficiary individuals and entities in implementing activities to fight the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on their operations. Phase two of the programme, which is being funded by the EU, is co-implemented by the UNDP, along with the Mines and Geology Department in the Ministry of Transport and Mining.

Hochschild Mining is witnessing a gloomy outlook due to slow recovery in production as well as increased costs at its gold and silver mines in Peru because of shutdowns related to the Covid-19 pandemic. News of continued issues at its mines in the country and Argentina have drilled the share prices of Hochschild lower.

China’s National Food and Strategic Reserves Administration is reportedly planning to purchase 2,000t of cobalt after the Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the supply risks. Bloomberg quoted two people with knowledge of the matter as saying that the stockpiling agency could put its plan to buy the strategic mineral into action by this year-end. They further added that the latest decision is in line with the country’s future economic and strategic needs.


1:40 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid-19 cases pass 22.1 million – new spikes in Europe – Auckland NZ back in lockdown

19 August

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 22,169,000 with over 781,000 deaths and 14,135,000 recoveries.

The US remains the most heavily affected country worldwide, however, a national decrease in daily confirmed cases has been observed over the last month, with cases only rising in a handful of states, such as Hawaii and Illinois.

Across Europe, many countries, such as, the UK, Italy and Belgium are experiencing a new spike in cases.

A second wave of infection is likely in these countries if they do not respond accordingly.

Brazil reports the second highest Covid-19 total confirmed cases globally, following the US.

Although, this is thought to be an underestimate due to a lack of testing; only 12.1 tests per 1,000 population were performed on the 21st of July in Brazil compared with 144.6 tests per 1,000 population performed in the US.

After 102 days of controlling the virus in Auckland, New Zealand, a new cluster of cases has put the city back into lockdown, with the general election postponed by a month.

Katie Wrenn, MPH, Epidemiologist at GlobalData  

10:41 am

International update: Global Covid-19 cases pass 22.1 million – deaths exceed 781,000 – US infection rate slowing as cases near 5.5 million

19 August

Global: The number of coronavirus cases recorded around the world has passed 22.1 million, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker. Deaths from the virus stand at more than 781,000.

US: Coronavirus cases in the US increased by 0.8% as compared with the same time Monday to 5.46 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The increase was lower than the average daily gain of 0.9% over the past week. Deaths rose by 0.5% to 171,120.

California reported 4,636 new confirmed cases, below the 14-day average of 8,089, according to state data. The most-populous state had 100 additional deaths, less than the 14-day average of 132, bringing its total to 11,342.

Brazil: One in five workers at Brazil’s meat plants have been infected with the coronavirus, according to union estimates. That would make the country home to one of the world’s worst workplace outbreaks.

South Korea: South Korea is struggling to contain an outbreak of the virus in the capital, Seoul. The country reported the highest daily rise in coronavirus cases since early March on Wednesday.

South Korea reported 297 more coronavirus cases on Wednesday, its biggest daily gain since March, amid concern that an uncooperative religious sect at the centre of the flare-up could be spreading infections nationwide.

Australia: The second-most populous state of Victoria says 12 people have died from the new coronavirus in the last 24 hours and reported 216 new cases. The state reported 222 cases a day earlier, its lowest one-day rise in a month, and 17 deaths.

China: Hong Kong is seeing a fall in the proportion of infections with unknown origins, boosting hopes that stringent city-wide containment measures can be eased. The share of local cases with untraceable origins has fallen to the lowest level since the start of the current virus wave — the city’s worst outbreak.

Belgium: The pronounced loss of smell that many coronavirus patients suffer could help separate them from flu cases quickly, easing a potential onslaught on health systems this winter, researchers said. The loss of smell is more significant in Covid-19 patients than in those suffering from bad colds, according to a study led by two Belgian universities and published Wednesday in the journal Rhinology.

Vaccine news

Brazil: Brazil’s health regulator has approved final stage trials for Johnson & Johnson’s experimental coronavirus vaccine – the fourth to get approval for testing in the country. The vaccine will be tested on 7,000 volunteers across seven states, Anvisa, the health regulator, said in a statement.

Australia: Australia has signed a deal with British drugmaker AstraZeneca to secure a potential Covid-19 vaccine being developed with Oxford University. Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the vaccine is one of the most promising and advanced of the drugs currently in development.

Morrison has said he wants to make any potential Covid-19 vaccine mandatory. He outlined plans to “return the country to normal life” as infections from a second wave began to subside.

Lockdown updates

New Zealand: Around 500 New Zealand military personnel will be deployed to help secure hotel quarantine sites as the country tries to contain a new outbreak.

Thailand: Thailand’s Covid-19 management subcommittee will submit its recommendation to extend the state of emergency for another month until the end of September to curb infection risks, said Natthapol Nakpanich, deputy army chief. The emergency rules were first imposed in March, and have been extended four times with the current extension set to end on 31 August.

9:32 am

Coronavirus company news summary – China’s refined copper output declines in July – Odisha Mining provides funding for Covid-19 efforts – BHP says China’s economy will grow this year

19 August

Gold mining companies in Canada are reportedly planning secondary listings in London and New York which open the door for their shares to be included in more exchange-traded funds (ETFs), according to Reuters. This is expected to guarantee substantial liquidity and widen the companies’ investor basis further. After central banks dial up stimulus measures in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the prices of the metal have increased 32% this year. This is believed to have fueled a cash surge for mining companies that increased dividends.

Official data has revealed that China’s refined copper output last month declined 5.3% from the previous month to 814,000t as mining curbs related to the Covid-19 pandemic tightened concentrate supply and smelters carried out summer maintenance activities. However, the data showed that the output for January-July advanced 3.9% year-on-year to 5.63 million tonnes.

Indian company Odisha Mining Corporation has contributed Rs2.5bn ($33.49m) to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund (CMRF) to help the government tackle the Covid-19 pandemic. Earlier in March, the company contributed Rs5bn ($66.99m) to the CMRF for the fight against the pandemic. For the 2019-20 fiscal year, the PSU had also transferred Rs2.5bn as the interim dividend and is currently funding ten Covid hospitals in eight districts across the state.

Global mining company BHP said that China will be the only major economy to grow this year as coronavirus recovery in developed countries lags, and these countries may not start recovery until next year. The company said in its outlook that within the scenarios it considers, the outlook for next year remains uncertain and its base case has the world economy rebounding solidly during the year. The company delivered the forecast during its full-year earnings report.

8:22 am

Lower paid workers key to consumer driven economic recovery

19 August

China has been successful in controlling the Covid-19 outbreak and is expected to recover before the rest of the world.

The policies adopted by the government, however, may be increasing the wealth gap between high-income and low-income groups in the country.

Adam Tooze, an economist and director of European Institute, shared an article on how the Covid-19 pandemic is widening the wealth gap in China.

Wealthier people in the country have not been affected by pandemic as much as the lower income groups who are struggling financially.

The reason behind this uneven recovery is the policies adopted by the government, which has focussed on stimulating investment and construction, instead of providing direct cash to people as other countries have done.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has projected a 1.2% GDP growth for China but the policies adopted by the government will not help in consumption recovery, which accounted for 57.8% of GDP.

The low and middle income groups account for majority of the overall consumption compared to the high-income group.

The situation is expected to worsen as job losses increase, which will push the low income groups into poverty.

Meanwhile, in the UK, households have put non-essential spending on hold amid the uncertainty caused by the pandemic, while India could lose gains made in the last two years as 400 million educated workers are at risk of falling into poverty due to the pandemic.

Read more

1:25 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid-19 cases pass 21.9 million – increasing infections in Latin America and Africa

18 August

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 21,913,000 with over 774,000 deaths and 13,907,000 recoveries.

The US still remains the most heavily affected country worldwide, with states like California, Florida and Texas reporting the highest number of total confirmed cases.

Latin America continues to struggle to gain control of the virus, with Brazil, Peru, Mexico, Colombia and Chile all ranking in the list of top 10 most Covid-19 affected countries worldwide.

In Africa, cases are steadily increasing, with over 1.1 million total confirmed cases.

While South Africa contributes the highest number of cases across the continent, it appears to be over the first wave of infection; certain restrictions have now been lifted, such as the ban on alcohol and tobacco sales.

In South Korea, the country has tightened social distancing measures after a recent spike in cases linked to a church in the capital city of Seoul.

Katie Wrenn, MPH, Epidemiologist at GlobalData 

9:33 am

International update: Global Covid-19 cases approach 22 million – record numbers tested in India

18 August

Global: Global Covid-19 cases are rapidly approaching 22 million, with more than 21,900,000 infections, according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been more than 774,000 deaths attributed to the virus.

The World Health Organization’s regional director for the Western Pacific says younger people – those in their 20s, 30s and 40s – are increasingly driving the coronavirus pandemic. Takeshi Kasai told a virtual briefing that many were unaware they had the disease.

US: Los Angeles County said it is continuing to see declines in daily hospitalizations and deaths, adding to signs of stabilization in the epicenter of California’s virus outbreak. Hospitalizations have dropped by 37% in the past month, the Department of Public Health said in a statement. Average deaths per day have fallen to 30 from 43 in late July. There were 19 new deaths reported Monday.

Texas became the fourth state to have more than 10,000 people die of the coronavirus, following California earlier this month. Texas reported 51 new virus deaths Monday, for a total of 10,034 total fatalities. New York has had more than 32,000 people die, and New Jersey almost 16,000.

Coronavirus cases in the US increased 0.8% as compared with the same time Sunday to 5.42 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The increase was lower than the average daily gain of 1% over the past week. Deaths rose by 0.3% to 170,277. Arizona reported no deaths, as virus cases continued to decline. Hawaii experienced a 4.5% increase in the number of cases.

India: India has carried out nearly 900,000 coronavirus tests in a single day, a record for the country. The health ministry said a record 899,000 tests were conducted in the 24 hours to Tuesday. Only the US has ever carried out more daily tests, conducting 926,876, on 24 July.

Germany: Germany recorded the highest number of new coronavirus cases in nearly four months, and the infection rate held above the key threshold of 1.0. There were 1,693 new infections in the 24 hours through Tuesday morning, the most since 25 April and bringing the total to 226,700.

South Korea: South Korea reported 246 more cases of coronavirus – 235 of them locally acquired – on Tuesday, its fifth day of triple digit increases. Of the new cases, 131 were reported in Seoul and 52 in the surrounding Gyeonggi Province.

New Zealand: New Zealand’s reported 13 new cases of coronavirus over the past 24 hours. 12 of the cases are linked to an existing cluster that forced the lockdown of Auckland – the country’s biggest city.

Australia: The state of Victoria has reported its lowest number of coronavirus cases in a month, raising hopes that the second wave outbreak in the state is slowing. Victoria reported 222 cases of the disease in the last 24 hours.

Researchers at the University of Sydney have found a link between lower humidity and increased spread of the coronavirus in Australia, estimating that Covid-19 transmission rates could double if the relative humidity drops by 10%.

France: France reported 493 new infections from coronavirus over the past 24 hours, a sharp drop from a day earlier, according to data posted on the website of the country’s public health agency. Total deaths rose by 19 to 30,429.

Lebanon: Lebanon’s health minister has warned that hospitals are reaching maximum capacity to treat coronavirus patients after the deadly Beirut blast either damaged or overwhelmed clinics and triggered a spike in Covid cases.

China: China reported 22 new cases on Tuesday, the same as a day earlier, the health authority said. All were imported cases, making it the second straight day for zero new locally transmitted cases. There were no new deaths.

Vaccine news

China: China’s state media is reporting that a potential vaccine being developed by a unit of China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm), will cost no more than 1,000 yuan ($144.27) for two shots.

Lockdown updates

US: Looser lockdowns were a factor in allowing the coronavirus to flourish in the US compared with some European countries, said Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious disease specialist. Data from Spain and Italy show that their control over the virus was preceded by long periods when people’s trips to parks, public spaces, grocery stores and pharmacies were far rarer than in the US, he told a meeting of the American Society of Microbiology in an online address Monday.

Argentina: Thousands of people have taken to the streets in cities across Argentina to show their opposition to President Alberto Fernandez and his plans to extend coronavirus restrictions in the region around Buenos Aires. Argentina has recorded nearly 300,000 cases of the disease and 5,750 deaths. About 90 percent of the cases have been in Buenos Aires where the coronavirus curbs have been extended until 30 August.

Vietnam: Hanoi’s Deputy Mayor Nguyen Van Suu urged authorities to ask residents to avoid leaving their homes for non-essential reasons as the risk of a city-wide virus outbreak is a concern, according to a post on the city government’s website.

China: Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, said the city was “still in a very severe situation as far as the Covid-19 epidemic is concerned” as she unveiled a third round of pandemic stimulus funding. Strict social distancing measures currently in place were extended for at least another week.

Malta: Malta will close its bars and nightclubs once again after a surge in coronavirus cases. On Monday, Italy closed nightclubs for three weeks due to a surge in cases.


9:24 am

Coronavirus company news summary – BHP profits fall – diamond imports drop 82% in India – FTSE 100 sees mining companies strengthen

18 August

BHP has reported that its annual profit declined 4.3%, as disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic overshadowed iron ore prices and suppressed signs of a demand rebound from China. For the year that ended 30 June, the company’s underlying profit attributable from continuing operations fell to $9.06bn from $9.47bn a year ago. BHP also declared a final dividend of 55 cents per share, which is down from 78 cents a year earlier.

Figures released by the Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) have revealed that the import of rough diamonds in India registered an 82% decline between April and July this year after international flights were suspended and travel restrictions were imposed in mining countries to contain the spread of Covid-19. As per the figures, the gross import of rough diamonds during the period fell to $712m compared to $4bn during the same period a year ago, TNN reported.

London’s FTSE 100 index has inched higher for the first time in three sessions as mining stocks were powered owing to more stimulus in China, and investors eyed a slate of economic data due to be released later in the week to gauge the pace of a rebound after the pandemic. Reuters reported that the commodity-heavy FTSE 100 rose 0.8%, with mining companies Rio Tinto, BHP Group and Anglo American adding between 1.7% and 2.4%.

8:09 am

Japan experiences biggest economic slump in years – US shows signs of recovery

18 August

The third largest economy in the world, Japan’s economy is experiencing the biggest economic downturn in years.

Despite fiscal and monetary measures consumption and exports have remained low signalling a deeper recession unless improved policy actions are implemented.

Christophe Barraud, an economist, shared an article on Japan’s economy experiencing the biggest slump in the second quarter of 2020 at 27.8%.

The real GDP level of the country has declined to record low levels for the first time in decades despite injecting fiscal stimulus into the economy to deal with the impact of the pandemic.

The decline in Japan’s GDP is being attributed to the decrease in consumption and exports although a rebound is being projected for the July-September quarter.

The possibility of a surge in Covid-19 infections has, however, cast doubts on the outlook and highlighted the need for more policy action to prevent the country from going into a deeper recession.

Meanwhile, Lars Christensen, an economist, notes that a V-shaped recovery for the US economy is underway, although the stock market may face tough times in the future.

Read more

5:33 pm

Metro Mining to close mine early due to Covid-19 disruption

Australian miner Metro Mining has said it would bring forward a planned wet-season shutdown of its flagship bauxite mine as Covid-19 affected aluminium prices and worsened the chance of securing sales.

The Bauxite Hills mine in Queensland is expected to cease shipping ore earlier than usual, in mid-September, and restart in April 2021. Most of the workforce is expected to be made redundant with a small crew remaining on site, the company said in a statement.

Metro Mining chief executive Simon Finnis said the company was “extremely disappointed” that offtake contracts could not be finalised since Covid-19 impeded its bauxite marketing and sales programme.

“We live in very challenging times with many factors outside of our control. This decision has not been taken lightly and we will do all we can to assist our people and all stakeholders,” Finnis said.

The company enforced cost-cutting measures that include a reduction in directors’ fees and senior management salaries.

Metro’s negotiations for bauxite sales are still ongoing and the miner has said it could reopen the mine later this year if additional sales were secured for 2020 delivery.

2:30 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid-19 infections pass 21.7 million with more than 776,000 deaths

17 August

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 21,730,000 with 776,157 deaths and just over 13,690,000 recoveries.

The US continues to take the lead as the most heavily affected country, followed by Brazil and India.

Countries across Europe are in fear of experiencing a second wave, with many countries such as Spain and France starting to see a resurgence in cases as lock-down measures continue to relax.

Latin America is seeing cases rapidly rise in Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Argentina and Venezuela.

A high prevalence of chronic conditions and limited healthcare systems is creating added strain in this region.

India has now reported almost 51,000 deaths in the country, ranking them 4th on the list of most Covid-19 deaths worldwide.

Efforts are being made to increase testing in India as infections there pass 2.6 million.

Katie Wrenn, MPH, Epidemiologist  at GlobalData 

10:17 am

International update: Global Covid-19 cases near 21.7 million – Virus continues to mutate sparking fears of ineffective vaccines

17 August

Global: Worldwide Covid-19 infections have raced to almost 21.7 million with deaths now numbering 775,489.

US: The US death toll has passed 170,000, with more than 5.4 million infections. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Protection, the rolling 7-day average for new cases now stands at 52,182.

A new cluster of Covid-19 cases has broken out at a University of North Carolina residence, the fourth in the last three days, the Daily Tar Heel reported on Sunday. A university spokesman said it would not say how many students were infected, according to the student newspaper. The university defines as five or more cases in “close proximity.”

A third high school in a Georgia county hit by a Covid-19 outbreak said it would close after 25 students tested positive and 500 were quarantined, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Germany: Bavarian authorities have admitted that they are still haven’t been able to contact 46 of more than 900 people who tested positive for the new coronavirus upon entering Germany recently, but didn’t receive the results. Germany has reported a total of 224,014 cases and over 9,200 deaths.

India: India reported a daily jump of 57,981 infections, taking the total to nearly 2.65 million, third only behind the United States and Brazil. The death toll jumped by 941, with the total now 50,921.

Japan: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe entered a hospital on Monday for a medical check-up, a government source said, after a top official voiced concern the premier was suffering from fatigue because of his workload during the coronavirus pandemic.

Bolivia: Bolivia has surpassed 100,000 coronavirus cases, the country’s Ministry of Health reported, predicting that the virus would reach its peak there in September, according to Reuters news agency.

South Korea: South Korea reported 197 new cases of the coronavirus on Monday as it battles sporadic outbreaks in densely populated Seoul and its neighbouring area, according to Yonhap news agency.

Mexico: Mexico’s health ministry has reported 4,448 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infections and 214 additional fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 522,162 cases and 56,757 deaths as of the end of Sunday, according to Reuters news agency.

China: China reported on Monday 22 new coronavirus cases in the mainland for August 16, compared with 19 cases a day earlier, Reuters reported quoting the National Health Commission. All of the new infections were imported cases, the agency said in a statement. There were no new deaths.

Australia: Australia has reported the deadliest day of the pandemic with 25 fatalities from the coronavirus in the last 24 hours and 282 new cases in the state of Victoria, according to the government. The previous record for Australia was 21 deaths in one day.

Lebanon: Lebanon has registered a record daily number of coronavirus infections, with 439 people contracting the virus and six fatalities. The new infections bring to 8,881 the total number of people reported infected in the small country of just more than five million. Some 103 have died because of Covid-19.

France: France reported 3,015 coronavirus cases in 24 hours, marking the second straight day with more than 3,000 new infections. One additional death was reported.

UK: Cases increased by more than 1,000 for the sixth consecutive day and five more people died of Covid-19, according to figures from the Department of Health and Social Care.

New Zealand: New Zealand postponed its general election for a month as its Auckland Covid cluster grew to 58.

Vaccine news

Russia: Russia reached an agreement in principle to conduct clinical trials of its coronavirus vaccine in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, according to the head of its sovereign wealth fund.

China: Chinese authorities have granted the first patent to the pharmaceutical firm CanSino Biologics Inc. for the development of a new coronavirus vaccine, Ad5-nCoV, according to the state-owned Global Times. Earlier, it was reported that Saudi Arabia has signed an agreement with China to begin clinical trials of the vaccine.

Zhong Nanshan, a top virus expert in China, said at a meeting on Sunday that China and Russia have plans to jointly conduct vaccine clinical trials, without giving further details. The meeting, held in China’s Guangdong province, is about virus cooperation between the two countries and attended by virus experts from both sides, according to local reports.

Malaysia: Malaysia’s Institute of Medical Research (IMR) has detected a mutation of Covid-19 virus in the country, according to the country’s top health official. Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said in a social media post that the mutation would likely make existing vaccines ineffective against the disease.

Mexico: President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has announced that a Covid-19 vaccine could be available in the country and throughout Latin America by the first quarter of 2021. In a video posted on social media on Sunday, Obrador said Mexico has reached a deal with Argentina’s AstraZeneca pharmaceutical company to produce a vaccine for distribution throughout Latin America.

Lockdown updates

Spain: Spain will start shutting nightspots this week after they were blamed for spikes in cases that triggered new travel warnings. Suspending operations again was one of 11 measures Spain’s regional governments agreed to take to curb the fastest virus growth rate among Europe’s major economies.

Italy: Italy has also ordered nightclubs to close and broadened rules on wearing protective masks.

Vietnam: Dak Lak province in Vietnam’s Central Highlands coffee belt removed a 14-day stay-at-home order applied to its capital city of Buon Ma Thuot and a lockdown of four locations in the city as the coronavirus outbreak is under control, it said in a statement.

Economics update

Thailand: Thailand’s economy contracted the most in more than two decades, deepening its recession as the nation’s key drivers of trade and tourism remain hobbled by the global coronavirus pandemic.



9:27 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Lynas reports fall in revenues – Global Ferronickel, Nickel Asia back on track – Iluka hit by Covid-19 pandemic

17 August

Lynas has reported revenue of $305.1m for the full year ending 30 June 2020, which represented a $58.4m drop compared to last year, with the fall due to temporary production halts and weak market conditions amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The revenues were impacted by a shutdown of the company’s Malaysian plant for six weeks in accordance with the Malaysian government’s movement control order to suppress the spread of the virus. Lynas CEO and managing director Amanda Lacaze said that the company entered the pandemic in “robust financial shape” but its financial performance had been hit by the shutdown and lower market prices for rare earths.

The two biggest nickel miners in the Philippines, Global Ferronickel Holdings and Nickel Asia, said that they do not expect further disruptions to their operations this year, after posting lower first-half ore sales due to Covid-19 lockdown measures. Global Ferronickel kept its shipment target of five million wet metric tonnes (wmt) for this year. Nickel Asia reported it was “cautiously optimistic” that shipments this year will be close to the 2019 level of 18.8 million wmt.

Iluka Resources has been hit by the Covid-19 pandemic as it saw a 20% fall in mineral sands sales volumes in the first half of the year. During this period, the company sold 242,000t of zircon/rutile/synthetic rutile, and reported lower than expected sales for synthetic rutile. Iluka managing director Tom O’Leary, however, said that the fall had been less than that experienced in previous periods of market weakness.

7:51 am

Effectiveness of Russia Covid-19 vaccine not known – NHS slated as ‘most overrated health system in the world’

17 August

Ian Bremmer, a political scientist and author, shared an article on the doubts cast on Russia’s new Covid-19 vaccine.

Developed by the Gamaleya institute in Moscow, the vaccine has been approved by Russian health authorities without undergoing phase III clinical trials required to prove the efficacy and safety of the vaccine.

Although Russia has announced mass vaccination to begin in October, the effectiveness of the vaccine is yet to be known.

If the vaccine in fact proves effective, it could provide several advantages to Russia.

Firstly, the vaccine could enable Russia’s economy to recover faster than the other countries.

The demand for vaccine will also increase boosting the country’s global image, while generating huge revenues.

However, if the vaccine proves ineffective Russia’s image could be badly damaged.

In other news, Prof. Steve Hanke, an economist at Johns Hopkins, shared an article on how Sweden adopted a laissez-faire approach to the pandemic and experience fewer deaths per capita and half the GDP decline of 8.6%.

The article noted that using a slightly variant approach adopted by Sweden instead of a complete lockdown could have helped with UK’s economic recovery.

Hanke noted that the UK National Health Service is the most overrated health system in the world.

Read more

1:48 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid-19 infections pass 21 million – more than 2.5 million cases in India

14 August

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached 21,173,009, with over 764,000 deaths and 13,287,261 recoveries.

The top three most affected countries remain the US, Brazil and India, the latter now registering more than 2.5 million cases.

In the US, California has become the first State to report more than 600,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19.

Florida and Texas are the second and third most affected States with more than 500,000 confirmed cases, each.

Japan is experiencing a second wave of infections that is more severe than the first.

Since July 29, Japan has reported more than 1,000 new daily cases.

In Latin America, Peru and Mexico report more than 500,000 total confirmed cases, each.

In Africa, South Africa, Egypt, and Nigeria are the top three most affected countries.

Ana Fernandez Menjivar, MSc DLSHTM, Senior Epidemiologist at GlobalData 

10:29 am

International update: Global Covid-19 infections near 21 million as deaths approach 760,000 – cases rising again in France and Germany

14 August

Global: Covid-19 infections are nearing 21 million while the pandemic is responsible for almost 760,000 deaths worldwide, according to data from the Johns Hopkins University tracker. Nearly half of the deaths reported were in the four worst hit countries: the United States (167,242), Brazil (105,463), Mexico (55,293) and India (48,040).

US: President Donald Trump attacked his rival, Joe Biden, for calling on governors to mandate face coverings in public for the next three months.

The head of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that many regions in the US need to drive the rate of Covid-19 cases sharply lower to avert a dangerous convergence of the pandemic with flu season.

India: India’s coronavirus death toll overtook the UK’s to become the fourth-highest in the world as authorities reported another single-day record increase in confirmed infections. According to the Health Ministry, India reported 1,007 deaths in the past 24 hours. Its total rose to 48,040 deaths, behind the United States, Brazil and Mexico.

Brazil: Brazil reported 60,091 new infections, the biggest daily increase since July 29, according to the Health Ministry’s website. Brazil’s total, the second-highest after the US, rose to more than 3.2 million.

France: France reported a new post-lockdown peak in daily Covid-19 cases. The French health ministry reported 2,669 new coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours, setting a new post-lockdown daily high for the second day in a row and taking the country’s cumulative total of cases to 209,365.

Germany: Germany recorded the highest number of new Covid-19 cases in about 3.5 months, with daily infections above 1,000 for four straight days. There were 1,422 new cases in the 24 hours through Friday morning, up from 1,319 the previous day and bringing the total to 222,281, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

UK: The government has quietly removed 1.3 million coronavirus tests from its data because of double counting, raising fresh questions about the accuracy of the testing figures.

New Zealand: Health Minister Chris Hipkins said two of the 13 new infections reported on Friday were found in the North Island town of Tokoroa, around 210 kilometres (130 miles) south of Auckland, the site of the country’s latest outbreak.

South Korea: South Korea reported 103 new coronavirus cases, of which 85 were locally transmitted cases. The figure marks the highest one-day jump in domestic cases since the end of March, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

Mexico: Mexico’s health ministry reported 7,371 new confirmed cases of coronavirus and 627 additional fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 505,751 cases and 55,293 deaths.

Peru: Peru passed 500,000 coronavirus cases and has the highest fatality rate in Latin America, according to health ministry data on Thursday, as the government struggles to contain a recent surge of infections. There have been 507,996 confirmed cases and 25,648 related deaths, vice health minister Luis Suarez said at a news conference.

Vaccine news

Global: The WHO on Thursday urged countries to invest billions of dollars in searching for Covid-19 vaccines and treatments – calling it a snip compared to the vast economic cost of the coronavirus crisis. The World Health Organization insisted it was a smarter bet than the trillions of dollars being thrown at handling the consequences of the global pandemic.

UK: The UK Government will purchase 60 million doses of NVX-CoV2373 from Novavax Inc., and will also collaborate on a Phase 3 clinical trial expected to start in the third quarter, according to a statement.

Vietnam: Vietnam’s health ministry has registered to buy a Russian Covid-19 vaccine as the country fights a new outbreak of the coronavirus following months of no local cases. In addition, Hai Duong City issued a 15-day social-isolation order that begins Friday as an emergency measure against a coronavirus outbreak, the provincial government of Hai Duong said on its website.

Lockdown updates

UK: The UK government has confirmed that six countries, including France, will be removed from its travel corridor list, following a surge in Covid-19 cases. Arrivals into the UK from France, the Netherlands, Malta, Monaco, Aruba and Turks & Caicos will have to quarantine for 14 days on their return or face a fine. The regulation will come into effect at 4am on Saturday.

North Korea: Kim Jong Un, the supreme leader of North Korea, has lifted a lockdown in a major city near the border with South Korea where thousands had been quarantined for weeks over coronavirus worries, according to state media.

Indonesia: Authorities in Indonesia’s capital city Jakarta decided against further relaxation in social-distancing measures following a surge in coronavirus infections triggered by the easing of some curbs earlier.

Economic updates

US: New York City’s largest employers remain worried and uncertain about the future course of the virus, with just 26% of workers expected to return by the end of the year, according to a report.


9:28 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Minerals Council South Africa members fund oxygen products – Fortuna Silver reports net loss in Q2 – QRC submits Covid-19 recovery plan

14 August

Minerals Council South Africa members have together contributed R4.7m (approx. $269,000) towards oxygen and oxygen-related products for the Eastern Cape, where around 61,000 mining employees originate. The companies are African Rainbow Minerals, Anglo American, AngloGold Ashanti, Exxaro, Fraser Alexander, Glencore Alloys, Gold Fields, Harmony, Impala Platinum, Northam Platinum, Royal Bafokeng Platinum, Seriti and Sibanye-Stillwater. The council said that over the past six months, the mining industry has undertaken intensive efforts to address Covid-19 at their operations.

Fortuna Silver Mines has reported a net loss of $5.7m for the second quarter of this year due to Covid-19 volatility and government mandated shutdowns. The company president and CEO Jorge Ganoza said that its cost and investment reduction plans have allowed it to maintain a neutral free cash flow position from ongoing operations despite the loss. Ganoza further added that the company will remain optimistic as it adapts and refines its plans to cope with constraints related to Covid-19.

Caldas Gold has reported revenue of $6.4m in the second quarter of 2020, which is about 26% lower than the second quarter last year, and reflected the Covid-19 impact on production. Furthermore, production in the quarter reflected limitations on its workforce due to quarantine, totalling 3,851oz of gold. The company also continued to operate its Marmato mine, at a reduced production rate, despite the challenges associated with the Covid-19 in Colombia.

The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) has submitted a new resources industry plan for the Covid-19 economic recovery, which will assist keeping Queenslanders in work and get more back into employment. QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said that the industry plans to work in partnership with government to seize on the opportunities for new investment and new jobs across the state. The Resource Industry Recovery Agenda plan has been presented to the government, all Members of Parliament and the Parliamentary Inquiry into the government’s economic recovery.

8:21 am

Lockdowns not a sustainable strategy, say economists

14 August

The economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has thrown the UK into one of the worst recessions in history.

Trinh, senior economist for emerging Asia, tweeted on how lockdowns are not a sustainable strategy.

She shared statistics comparing the impact of lockdowns on Sweden and the UK.

Sweden did not have any lockdowns but had control measures to handle the pandemic. Though the country’s economy was not impacted as much as the UK, it has one of the highest death rates related to Covid-19.

The UK comparatively had one of the toughest lockdowns and a similar death rate, while the economic impact was devastating.

Rob Gill, managing director at Altura Mortgage Finance, shared an article on how there is no trade-off between people’s lives and economic growth.

However, the poor handling of the lockdown measures in the UK has badly affected the country’s economic performance.

Three policies were recommended in the article including the extension of universal credit to support the unemployed, provide retraining grants or funds to start a new business and creation of more public-sector jobs.

Read more

1:47 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid-19 cases reach 20,651,113 with 750,030 deaths – infections continue to increase

13 August

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached  20,651,113 with 750,030 deaths and 12,856,698 recoveries, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The top three most affected countries remain the US, Brazil and India.

Globally, cases continue to increase. India has more active cases of Covid-19 than Brazil, but is second to the US.

Cases in Argentina are increasing despite the country being on lockdown.

In the two weeks leading up to 13 August, Argentina has reported more than 6,000 new daily cases, on average.

New Zealand has reported new cases of Covid-19 after a long run with nearly no new daily cases reported.

As a measure to limit viral transmission in New Zealand, Auckland is closing restaurants, bars and other non-essential business.

Ana Fernandez Menjivar, MSc DLSHTM, Senior Epidemiologist at GlobalData


10:25 am

International update: Deaths near 750,000 as global Covid-19 cases pass 20.6 million – record infection rates in India

13 August

Global: There are 749,421 known coronavirus deaths globally, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker, as the world nears the milestone of 750,000 dead in nearly eight months since the first coronavirus cases were reported. Total cases now number more than 20.6 million.

US: Coronavirus cases in the US increased 1.1% as compared with the same time Tuesday to 5.17 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The increase matched the average daily gain over the past week. Deaths rose by 0.7% to 165,328.

National Football League (NFL) players in the US can expect daily Covid-19 testing through 5 September, the players’ union said in advance of the season kick-off next month.

California is seeing more trends that indicate the state is “turning the corner on this pandemic,” Governor Gavin Newsom said at a news briefing. The state had 5,433 new cases in the last 24 hours, when a backlog of tests from prior days is excluded, marking a slowdown from the 14-day average of 7,911.

Venezuela: Venezuela’s communications minister and close adviser to President Nicolás Maduro said Wednesday that he has been diagnosed with the coronavirus.

India: India reported another record daily rise in novel coronavirus infections on Thursday, while the death toll from Covid-19 surpassed 47,000. The country, with the world’s biggest case load behind the United States and Brazil, has now reported a jump of 50,000 cases or more each day for 15 straight days.

France: More than 2,500 new coronavirus cases were registered in France in 24 hours in the sharpest increase since May, government data showed on Wednesday, as officials said indicators were “clearly worsening”. Of 600,000 tests over the past week, more than 11,600 were positive, the health ministry’s DGS public health division said. Despite the rise in infections, the number of people in hospital with Covid-19 continued to fall and was down by 121 to 4,891, the first time it fell below 5,000 since 19 March.

Australia: The state of Victoria has recorded 278 new coronavirus cases overnight, consistent with a recent downward trend that is bringing cases to numbers closer to those seen in mid-July, after increases to the 600s in early August. Eight people have died overnight.

New Zealand: New Zealand reported 14 new Covid-19 cases, of which 13 were locally transmitted infections, as officials scrambled to trace the source of the country’s first outbreak in more than 100 days. There are now a total of 36 active cases in the country.

Mexico: Mexico’s health ministry reported 5,858 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infection and 737 additional fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 498,380 cases and 54,666 deaths.

UK: A revamped coronavirus contact-tracing app for England will begin its public trials on Thursday, according to the BBC.

Thailand: Thailand confirmed three new coronavirus cases on Thursday, all in state quarantine after arriving from Singapore and India, according to the Covid-19 center. They reported that 132 people are currently hospitalized and 3,169 have recovered.

China: Two patients in China that recovered from Covid-19 months ago tested positive again, raising concern about the virus’s ability to linger and reappear in people who it previously infected.

Consumers in the Chinese city of Shenzhen have been urged to exercise caution when buying imported frozen food after a surface sample of chicken wings from Brazil tested positive for coronavirus, according to a statement from the local government.

Vaccine news

Latin America: Argentina and Mexico will produce the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine for most of Latin America, Argentine President Alberto Fernandez after a meeting with company executives involved in the project.

France: French health minister Olivier Veran said France will never offer a Covid-19 vaccine to its population if it hasn’t passed phase 3 trials, adding that vaccines from European and American research teams are currently undergoing phase 3 trials.

Lockdown updates

Jordan: Jordan will close its border with Syria for a week starting Thursday, after staff at their only open land crossing tested positive for coronavirus, state media said.

Chile: Chile will lift one of the world’s longest lockdowns on Monday. The mayor said citizens should remain indoors whenever possible, wear masks in public and wash their hands. People may leave their homes on weekdays without the previously required police permissions, and meet in small groups, while businesses can gradually reopen.

Germany: Germany on Wednesday added Bucharest and several other areas of Romania to a list of places considered a high risk for coronavirus infections, forcing a German minister to cancel a work trip to the Romanian capital.

Peru: President Martín Vizcarra has banned family gatherings and extended lockdowns to five more regions of the country amid a fresh surge in cases of coronavirus. 15 of Peru’s 25 regions were already covered by rolling lockdowns.

Italy: Italy has ordered travellers arriving from Croatia, Greece, Malta and Spain to be tested for Covid-19 and added Colombia to a list of countries under a complete travel ban amid growing concern over new infections. Health services are bracing for a return of travellers from destinations where social distancing, face masks and other protective measures appear to have been widely ignored.

Economic updates

China: Hong Kong International Airport said that passengers from mainland China would be able to transit through Hong Kong to other destinations from August 15 until October 15, in a boost for its dominant carrier Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd.

Germany: Tourism giant TUI and the German government have agreed to a second massive aid package to bolster the firm through its winter 2020/21 season.

9:29 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Covid-19 impacts Wheaton’s Q2 production – Harmony Gold provides production update – Hudbay Minerals posts Q2 loss

13 August

Wheaton Precious Metals has reported that there was an impact on the company’s production in the second quarter due to temporary shutdowns of some operations as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The company president and CEO Randy Smallwood said that sales volumes remained strong and resulted in a record 322,000 gold equivalent ounces sold during the first half of this year. The company established a dedicated fund during the quarter to help address the effects of Covid-19. The funds were used to provide food security, medical services and supplies, and economic opportunities to those in need.

Harmony Gold has reported that the company could manage to achieve up to 75% of planned production during the last quarter of its financial year, despite disruptions that were caused to its operations by the pandemic. However, the company’s year-on-year total gold production was 15% lower at 1.2-million ounces as a result of the national lockdown imposed due to the virus and phased recovery in South Africa. The country was placed under lockdown on 27 March to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Indian company Gujarat Mineral Development Corporation (GMDC) expects that the impact of Covid-19 on its business in general and financial risks is likely to be short-term in nature. The company, which is mines lignite, bauxite and other minerals, said that the impact on the demand of lignite due to lockdown may only have short-term effects considering the measures put in place by the Central and the State Government to revive the economy.

Canadian mining company Hudbay Minerals has reported a $51.9m loss in the three months to 30 June after the eight-month suspension of its Constancia copper mine in Peru weighed on the results. For its Peruvian operations, the company revised down its production targets to 65,000-75,000t of copper and 25,000-35,000 ounces of precious metals. Earlier, Hudbay had forecast 80,000-95,000t of copper and 45,000-55,000 ounces of gold for this year. The updated Peru production guidance reflects the Constancia suspension period and the expected start of mining at Pampacancha early next year.

7:54 am

UK enters recession – GDP contraction twice as severe as US but some sectors showing recovery

13 August

The UK economy is entering recession, having recorded its biggest contraction in history in Q2 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The lockdown measures implemented due to the Covid-19 pandemic caused the UK GDP to contract by 20.4% in the second quarter of 2020.

Stephany Griffith-Jones, an economist specialising on financial crises, tweeted on how the GDP contraction of the UK economy at 20.4% is in line with the estimates provided by the Bank of England at 21%.

The tweet also includes a comparison of the GDP contraction across the world in Q2.

Contraction of the UK GDP is the worst compared to other countries and is second only to Spain and twice as severe as the US.

However, some economists believe that the worst is over and the economy is showing signs of recovery.

Linda Yueh, an economist at the University of Oxford, tweeted on the UK officially entering the largest recession for the first time in 11 years.

A video in the tweet includes views expressed by Rupert Harrison, an economist, on how the recession is deeper than expected but the economy is showing signs of a V-shaped recovery.

The majority of the sectors that were impacted by the lockdown measures are shown to be bouncing back.

However, Harrison added that the full recovery of the economy and decline in unemployment still remains uncertain.

Read more

1:46 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Covid-19 cases continue to increase globally and now exceed 20.3 million – US, Brazil and India worst affected

12 August

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 20,317,000, with over 742,000 deaths and 12,606,000 recoveries.

The top three most affected countries remain the US, Brazil and India.

Globally, cases continue to increase.

Mexico has the third highest death toll and health authorities have attributed the high death toll to several factors such as people putting off going to hospitals until they are severely ill.

Another factor is the large proportion of the population with underlying chronic conditions such as diabetes, obesity and hypertension.

Colombia now ranks sixth among the countries with the highest number of active cases of Covid-19.

Iran reported the highest number of new daily cases on 9 August since the start of the pandemic.

Ana Fernandez Menjivar, MSc DLSHTM, Senior Epidemiologist at GlobalData

10:02 am

International update: Global Covid-19 cases near 20.3 million – WHO express Russian vaccine doubts as Putin grants regulatory approval

12 August

Global: Global Covid-19 cases are approaching 20.3 million, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Deaths exceed 741,000 world wide.

US: Coronavirus cases in the US increased 0.9% as compared with the same time Monday to 5.12 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The increase was lower than the average 1.1% daily gain over the past week. Deaths rose by 0.5% to 164,137.

Texas posted 8,913 new cases, pushing the cumulative total to 500,620, according to health department data. The state joins California and Florida in the US for crossing the half-million mark for infections.

Argentina: Argentina’s death toll from the coronavirus reached 5,004 on Tuesday amid a surge in cases despite months of lockdown since March 20. The country recorded 7,043 new cases of Covid-19 on Tuesday, pushing the total confirmed infections to 260,911, surpassing the total caseload in Italy.

Mexico: Mexico reported a near-record 926 confirmed Covid-19 deaths on Tuesday, bringing the country’s accumulated total to 53,929. The Health Department reported 6,686 new coronavirus infections, bringing the country’s total confirmed cases so far to 492,522.

Australia: The state of Victoria reported its deadliest day of the coronavirus pandemic with 21 fatalities in the last 24 hours and 410 new cases. The state reported 19 deaths from the coronavirus, its previous one-day high in casualties, on Tuesday and Monday. It logged 331 cases a day earlier.

Lebanon: Lebanon registered a record daily number of coronavirus cases. The country’s totals now stand at 7,121 cases and 87 deaths since February, according to health ministry data.

China: China’s newly confirmed community transmitted cases of coronavirus fell into the single digits on Wednesday, while Hong Kong saw another 33 cases of infection.

Vaccine news

Russian President Vladimir Putin said his country has granted the first regulatory approval to a Covid-19 vaccine. The announcement came after less than two months of human testing. The country’s sovereign wealth fund said the vaccine would be named Sputnik V, in a reference to the cold war space race.

The WHO said it had not received enough information to evaluate the Russian vaccine. The Pan American Health Organization said the vaccine should not be introduced in Brazil, as has been reportedly planned, until phase 2 and 3 trials are completed.

Lockdown updates

Netherlands: The Netherlands plans to introduce mandatory home quarantine for people identified by local authorities as having been in close contact with somebody infected with coronavirus, and for travellers returning from high-risk countries.

Germany: Germany has extended a partial travel warning for Spain to the capital of Madrid and the Basque region amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The foreign ministry said it was warning against any unnecessary tourist trips to both regions because of a rising number of new infections and local restrictions put in place to contain the spread of the virus.

New Zealand: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said her cabinet will decide on Friday on the next steps with regards to the new restrictions placed across the country, as it reported four new probable cases of coronavirus in the community.

Vietnam: Vietnam indefinitely extended the suspension of passenger flights to and from the coastal tourism hub of Danang under a stay-at-home order after a major resurgence of the virus that began on July 25. Vietnam has reported 866 new infections since the Danang outbreak.

Economic updates

Japan: Japan’s economy won’t recover ground lost during the pandemic until the year starting April 2024, according to the Japan Center for Economic Research. The think-tank sees a 6.8% contraction in the current fiscal year, with weakness in the US and other key export markets dragging on growth.

Hong Kong: Cathay Pacific said it lost HK$9.9 billion ($1.27bn) in the first half of this year after border closures triggered by the pandemic grounded its fleets.

9:24 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Aurubis reports increased EBT – New Gold acquires new testing kits – QRC urges 10-year hold on rate of royalties

12 August

European copper producer Aurubis has reported that its operating earnings before taxes (EBT) for the first three quarters of the current fiscal year increased to €133m despite the Covid-19 crisis. A good operating performance boosted concentrate throughput, though treatment and refining charges were lower. So far, during the fiscal year, the company has been able to compensate well for the impacts of the pandemic. Aurubis executive board chairman Roland Harings said that the past quarter was very challenging with regard to external factors due to the pandemic.

Canada’s New Gold is set to try a new test that can diagnose Covid-19 cases in a shorter span of time. Last month, the company received the Precision Biomonitoring test kits at Rainy River mine. The kits have tubes containing reagents, or biomedical ingredients, and a machine analyser that weighs about 1.4kg. After getting training from Precision Biomonitoring through videoconference on how to use the test kits, health-care workers at the mine have started testing some employees.

The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) said that a legislated hold on the rate of royalties applied by the State Government to Queensland’s resource commodities for ten years will create more jobs and strengthen Covid-19 recovery efforts. QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said that the government confirmed the royalty rates on coal and metals would remain stable until 2022 before the pandemic. Before Covid-19, the resources sector in the state employed more than 372,000 people and generated $76bn in economic activity across the state.

The Indian government may push back the bidding for commercial coal mines as free movement is restricted due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and investors need more time to place their technical bids. According to official sources, they have not made any formal request for further extension of the bidding dates. The e-auction process for commercial coal mines was initiated in June this year and since then the government has already extended the dates for submission of technical bids once. The current deadline for submitting a technical bid is on 29 September. The qualified bidders will be eligible for the e-auction between 19 October and 9 November.

7:43 am

Economists urge IMF to provide pandemic support

12 August

Large populations, lack of access to healthcare facilities and poor public healthcare infrastructure have led to an increase in Covid-19 cases in emerging economies.

The impact of the pandemic in these economies is expected to last for a number of years.

A new support facility from the IMF may help in assisting emerging economies fulfill their financing needs.

Tony Addison, professor of economics at the University of Copenhagen, shared an article on how the International Monetary Fund (IMF) should create a new pandemic support facility for emerging countries impacted by the pandemic.

Emerging economies are some of the worst affected nations by the pandemic and expected to seek financing from the IMF as well as support for debt restructuring.

These economies are in need of financing to improve their public healthcare services and provide a social safety net to the most vulnerable.

An IMF support facility can help emerging countries with their financing needs, while providing options for more lenient repayment periods without disturbing already existing facilities.

Read more

1:56 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid-19 cases pass 20.1 million – new spikes in Spain and Greece

11 August

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 20,113,000, with more than 737,000 deaths and 12,350,000 recoveries.

The top three most affected countries remain the US, Brazil and India.

Globally, cases continue to increase.

Spain is seeing a new rise in cases, moving up ahead of the UK as the 11th most affected country.

It remains unclear if this new increase in cases is a spike possibly due to summer holidays or if it is the begging of a second wave.

As precautionary measure regions such as Catalonia have closed nightclubs and bars for two weeks.

According to infectious disease experts in Greece, the country is experiencing a second wave of coronavirus.

Restaurants and bars in popular tourist destinations such as Mykonos, Santorini, and Corfu will have a night curfew.

On Monday, Greece reported the highest number of new daily cases since the start of the pandemic.

Ana Fernandez Menjivar, MSc DLSHTM, Senior Epidemiologist at GlobalData

9:20 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Teck to resume Chile expansion – Barrick on track to meet 2020 guidance – Australia mining stocks rise

11 August

Canadian company Teck Resources is set to resume work on its Quebrada Blanca phase 2 copper project expansion in Chile after closing it in March as the first Covid-19 cases appeared in the country. Teck vice-president Amparo Cornejo was quoted by Reuters as saying that Teck is working with local authorities and expects to reach full staffing levels at Quebrada within three months. Earlier, the company said that its Quebrada Phase 2 project is expected to begin production next year and increase to 316,000t at full capacity.

Barrick Gold said it is on track to achieve annual production within its 2020 guidance range, despite Covid-19 challenges. The company’s second quarter results show year-to-date gold production of 2.4 million ounces driven by strong operating performances, particularly from Nevada Gold Mines (NGM) in the US, Loulo-Gounkoto in Mali and Kibali in the Democratic Republic of Congo. During the quarter, operating cash flow was more than $1bn and free cash flow was $522m. President and chief executive Mark Bristow said that the strong cash generation demonstrated the effective operational execution and the group’s deft handling of the impact of the pandemic.

Thor Explorations has announced that construction and procurement at Segilola Gold Mine in Osun, Nigeria are progressing on schedule with Covid -19 monitoring and mitigation measures in place. First concrete has been poured at the process plant and detailed design is 80% complete. Thor president and CEO Segun Lawson said that EPC contractor Norinco International Cooperation is continuing to deliver on its targets in a challenging operating environment due to the pandemic.

Mining stocks in Australia climbed 0.8% as Victoria, the country’s second-most populous state, reported a small rise in new Covid-19 infections. On 5 August, daily infections in the state peaked at 725 and have been declining in recent days after a lockdown was imposed in Melbourne on 19 July. Iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group added nearly 2% to hit a record high after it secured a tender to supply Chinese steelmaker HBIS Group.