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  • Thailand - SMEs to get targeted aid when blanket support expires next week: BOT

    The Bank of Thailand (BOT) will shift from a blanket strategy to targeted aid measures for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) affected by Covid-19 when their loan-repayment holiday expires next Thursday (October 22).

    The debt suspension covered 1.05 million loans worth a total Bt1.35 trillion, out of total debts of Bt6.89 trillion covered by all government measures, BOT assistant governor Roong Mallikamas said on Friday. The measures, implemented via commercial and state-owned banks, include a debt moratorium, debt restructuring, rate cuts, and others, she said.

    The end of the debt suspension would not lead to a spike in defaults, as state-owned banks have extended the measure for another three to six months, covering Bt400 billion worth of loans, she assured.

    Meanwhile commercial banks taking care of Bt950 billion in debts have found that the majority of debtors will be able to service their loans, she said. Banks will continue to provide a lifeline for those unable to resume debt payments or only able to make partial payments, in order to prevent their debts becoming non-performing loans (NPLs).

    Banks have already contacted all but 6 per cent of this group, Roong said.

    Some businesses have recovered to almost pre-Covid-19 levels, including beverage firms, electrical appliance firms and traders, she added. But tourism-related sectors have recovered at a slower pace, with hotels only up to 26 per cent of their pre-coronavirus business.

    “Therefore, the central bank has asked banks to shift from blanket aid to targeted support that meets specific demands of individual debtors,” she said.

    Extending blanket support could be damaging in the long run, increasing the debt burden of SMEs or leading to exploitation by debtors, she said.

    It could also undermine financial stability in the long term, reducing liquidity by about Bt200 billion annually, she added.

    The central bank has permitted banks to freeze their loan classifications until the end of this year in order to prevent debts turning bad.

    Debtors who could not contact their lenders or could not restructure their debts could reach the central bank debt-solutions channel via, she added.:

    Originally posted by Somchai Boonporn View Post
    Perhaps a blessing in disguise for the Golden Land.
    Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


      • CDC: Blacks, Hispanics dying of COVID-19 at disproportionately high rates

      Black and Hispanic Americans were disproportionately more likely to die of COVID-19 during the spring and summer months, a new indicator that the coronavirus’s toll is falling most heavily on underserved and minority communities.

      A new analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of more than 114,000 Americans who died of COVID-19 between May and August found that 24 percent were Hispanic or Latino, even though only about 18 percent of Americans are of Hispanic decent.

      Just 12.5 percent of Americans are Black, but Black people accounted for almost 19 percent of all coronavirus deaths during that four-month period.

      About 51 percent of COVID-19 deaths occurred among white non-Hispanic Americans. Non-Hispanic whites account for 76 percent of the U.S. population, according to Census Bureau estimates.

      CDC researchers said in Friday's report that the disproportionately higher death rates among nonwhites likely stems from different cultural and socioeconomic causes. Minorities are more likely to live in multigenerational or multifamily housing; more likely to work in jobs that require their physical presence such as meatpacking, service and health care jobs; and more likely to suffer from underlying conditions, such as diabetes and obesity, that are tied to worse outcomes among COVID-19 patients.

      The new data also shows the marked geographic shift the pandemic made over the summer months. A first wave of COVID-19 cases that swept through the Northeast gradually moved south and west, and a little under half of all deaths tied to the virus in May occurred in Northeastern states. That number fell to under 10 percent by July.

      In southern states, the death toll grew ominously. By July and August, about 60 percent of all COVID-19 deaths occurred in the South, while western states accounted for about 1 in 5 deaths.

      Northeastern states, hit hard by a first wave of coronavirus infections, moved quickly to implement mask requirements and widespread testing regimes. They also moved far more slowly to lift lockdowns and restrictions on facilities like bars and restaurants, a contrast to southern and Sun Belt states that reopened early — and suffered through a devastating summer during which the virus ripped through younger adults.

      CDC experts said the share of those who died who were over 65 and the share who were in nursing homes both declined over the summer months. That suggests older Americans took more precautions as infections among younger Americans rose, and that nursing home facilities became better at managing the risk after early outbreaks that swept through assisted living facilities in March and April.:
      • Coronavirus Cases: 39,633,011

      Deaths: 1,109,833

      Underreported US death count: 223,644

      American Civil War Casualties (North and South) - 214,938

      Originally posted by Boon Mee View Post
      it's been blown way out of proportion.
      Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


        • WHO study finds remdesivir didn’t help COVID-19 patients

        A large study led by the World Health Organization suggests that the antiviral drug remdesivir did not help hospitalized COVID-19 patients, in contrast to an earlier study that made the medicine a standard of care in the United States and many other countries.

        The results announced Friday do not negate the previous ones, and the WHO study was not as rigorous as the earlier one led by the U.S. National Institutes of Health. But they add to concerns about how much value the pricey drug gives because none of the studies have found it can improve survival.

        The drug has not been approved for COVID-19 in the U.S., but it was authorized for emergency use after the previous study found it shortened recovery time by five days on average. It’s approved for use against COVID-19 in the United Kingdom and Europe, and is among the treatments President Trump received when he was infected earlier this month.

        The WHO study involved more than 11,000 patients in 30 countries. About 2,750 were randomly assigned to get remdesivir. The rest got either the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, the immune-system booster interferon, the antiviral combo lopinavir-ritonavir, or just usual care. The other drugs have largely been ruled out for COVID-19 by previous studies, but not remdesivir.

        Death rates after 28 days, the need for breathing machines and time in the hospital were relatively similar for those given remdesivir versus usual care.

        The results have not been published in a journal or reviewed by independent scientists, but were posted on a site researchers use to share results quickly.

        “The big story is the finding that remdesivir produces no meaningful impact on survival,” Martin Landray, an Oxford University professor who led other coronavirus treatment research, said in a statement.

        “This is a drug that has to be given by intravenous infusion for five to 10 days,” and costs about $2,550 per treatment course, he said. “COVID affects millions of people and their families around the world. We need scalable, affordable and equitable treatments.”

        Dr. Margaret Harris, a WHO spokeswoman, attributed the difference in the conclusions of the two studies to the fact WHO’s was larger.

        “It’s just a much higher-powered study,” she said. “It’s quadruple the number of people in all the other studies.”

        However, Dr. Andre Kalil, a University of Nebraska infectious disease specialist who helped lead the U.S. remdesivir study, said the WHO one was poorly designed, which makes its conclusions less reliable. Patients and doctors knew what treatment they were using, there was no placebo infusion to help avoid biased reporting of risks or benefits, there was little information about the severity of patients’ symptoms when treatments began and a lot of missing data, he said.

        “Poor quality study design cannot be fixed by a large sample size, no matter how large it is,” Kalil wrote in an email.

        Furthermore, the WHO study tested 10 days of remdesivir, so some patients may have been hospitalized longer than they needed to be just to finish treatment, making their length of stay look bad in comparison to others getting usual care.

        Remdesivir’s maker, Gilead Sciences, said in a statement that the results are inconsistent with more rigorous studies and have not been fully reviewed or published.:
        • Coronavirus Cases: 39,769,971

        Deaths: 1,111,570

        Underreported US death count: 223,885

        American Civil War Casualties (North and South) - 214,938

        Originally posted by Boon Mee View Post
        it's been blown way out of proportion.
        Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


          • Risk of COVID-19 exposure on planes 'virtually nonexistent' when masked, study shows

          United Airlines says the risk of COVID-19 exposure onboard its aircraft is "virtually non-existent" after a new study finds that when masks are worn there is only a 0.003% chance particles from a passenger can enter the passenger's breathing space who is sitting beside them.

          The study, conducted by the Department of Defense in partnership with United Airlines, was published Thursday. They ran 300 tests in a little over six months with a mannequin on a United plane.

          The mannequin was equipped with an aerosol generator that allowed technicians to reproduce breathing and coughing. Each test released 180 million particles - equivalent to the number of particles that would be produced by thousands of coughs. They studied the way the mannequin's particles moved inside the cabin with a mask on and off.

          The tests assumed the flight was completely full with technicians placing sensors in seats, galleys, and the jet bridge to represent other passengers on the plane.

          "99.99% of those particles left the interior of the aircraft within six minutes," United Airlines Chief Communication Officer Josh Earnest told ABC News. "It indicates that being on board an aircraft is the safest indoor public space, because of the unique configuration inside an aircraft that includes aggressive ventilation, lots of airflow."

          In late September, major U.S. airline CEOs said their employees were reporting lower rates of COVID-19 infection than the general public.

          MORE: US airline employees report lower rate of COVID-19 infection than public, CEOs say
          "At United, but also at our large competitors, our flight attendants have lower COVID infection rates than the general population, which is one of multiple data points that speaks to the safety on board airplanes," United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby said during a Politico event.

          Last week, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) released new research, saying the risk of contracting the virus on a plane appears to be "in the same category as being struck by lightning."

          The U.S. Department of Defense published a study Wednesday on cabin airflow that found when a passenger is seated and wearing a mask, only 0.001% of infected air particles could enter their breathing zone.
          Among 1.2 billion travelers, IATA found only 44 published cases of potential inflight transmission. Most of those 44 cases occurred in the early days of the pandemic when masks were not required.

          Air travel is still down around 70 percent compared to last year, but there has been an uptick since the spring. Earlier this week the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screened nearly a million people at U.S. airports - the agency's highest number since mid-March.

          "We're seeing recovery, but we have a long way to go," Earnest said. "And even with all of this promising information about the safety of air travel and some of the advances that we're making in terms of implementing a testing regimen - we recognize we're not going to be anywhere close to back to normal until we have a vaccine that's been widely distributed and administered."

          It was conducted by the (Trump’s) Department of Defense and United Airlines.:
          • Coronavirus Cases: 39,805,682

          Deaths: 1,112,200

          Underreported US death count: 223,951

          American Civil War Casualties (North and South) - 214,938

          Originally posted by Boon Mee View Post
          it's been blown way out of proportion.
          Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


            • NIH begins large clinical trial to test immune modulators for treatment of COVID-19

            The National Institutes of Health has launched an adaptive Phase 3 clinical trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of three immune modulator drugs in hospitalized adults with COVID-19. Some COVID-19 patients experience an immune response in which the immune system unleashes excessive amounts of proteins that trigger inflammation — called a “cytokine storm” — that can lead to acute respiratory distress syndrome, multiple organ failure and other life-threatening complications. The clinical trial aims to determine if modulating that immune response can reduce the need for ventilators and shorten hospital stays. The trial, known as ACTIV-1 Immune Modulators (IM), will determine if the therapeutics are able to restore balance to an overactive immune system.

            Part of the Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines (ACTIV) initiative, the trial expects to enroll approximately 2,100 hospitalized adults with moderate to severe COVID-19 at medical facilities in the United States and Latin America. The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), part of NIH, will coordinate and oversee the trial with funding support from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, in support of the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed(link is external) goals. BARDA’s Clinical Studies Network will be responsible for operationalizing the trial through a task order awarded to contract research organization Technical Resources International, Inc.

            “This is the fifth master protocol to be launched under the ACTIV partnership in an unprecedented timeframe, and focuses efforts on therapies that hold the greatest promise for treating COVID-19,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. “Immune modulators provide another treatment modality in the ACTIV therapeutic toolkit to help manage the complex, multi-system conditions that can be caused by this very serious disease.”:
            • Coronavirus Cases: 39,879,175

            Deaths: 1,113,099

            Underreported US death count: 224,232

            American Civil War Casualties (North and South) - 214,938

            Originally posted by Boon Mee View Post
            it's been blown way out of proportion.
            Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


              • 'My life is forever changed': Michigan woman makes miracle recovery from COVID-19 after 196 days in the hospital

              Barbara Noll remembers well the February day her friend Deanna Hair sat patiently, keeping her company during her first daylong chemotherapy treatment for pancreatic cancer at Michigan Medicine in Ann Arbor.

              “You can walk around or something,” Noll told her friend. “Get a snack.”

              “Oh no, I’m fine here,” replied Hair, settling in with her book and staying close, chatting with nurses until late in the afternoon.

              It was a long day. But Hair and Noll now really know the meaning of a long hospital stay. Six weeks later, Hair came back to Michigan Medicine, this time herself fighting a new disease upending the world.

              Hair finally left there Thursday, after 196 days of hospitalization for COVID-19.

              “My life is forever changed because of this experience," Hair said in a statement to USA TODAY, "physically, mentally and emotionally.”

              The 67-year-old Ann Arbor resident and her husband began experiencing COVID-19 symptoms after a trip to Palm Springs, California. Both tested positive on March 31. While her husband's symptoms were mild, Hair developed a fever and cough, and four days later began vomiting.

              On April 3, she was admitted to the hospital and diagnosed with ischemic colitis, also known as dead gut, caused by reduced blood flow to her large intestine from COVID-19.

              Doctors prepared Hair for emergency surgery the following day.

              Diane Flucht, a friend of Hair's for more than 15 years was shocked. She'd seen her four days earlier on their Zoom book club call, the same day Hair tested positive.

              “We were all very surprised that we had seen her at book club and then got the call on April 4th,” Flucht said. “I thought it was going to take a miracle for my friend to survive.”

              Dr. Philip Choi, a pulmonologist on Hair’s team at Michigan Medicine, said surgeons had to remove part of her colon. After surgery, she was totally dependent on a ventilator for months as her body struggled to fight off multiple infections and complications brought on by the complex surgery and her weakened immune system.

              Strict COVID-19 protocols at the beginning of the pandemic prohibited Hair's family, including her husband, Ken, and three daughters to see her during the most difficult months of her hospitalization in the COVID-19 intensive care unit.

              Hair was wheeled out of the hospital Thursday morning. She was greeted by friends and family, including her grandchildren, donning masks and holding posters displaying colorful messages of love. Many held back tears.

              A mask covered Hair's mouth, but her eyes smiled as she waved to those gathered to usher her departure home. Finally arriving at the car, her husband helped her inside, gave her a long embrace and whispered, "You made it."

              Although Hair won the initial battle against COVID-19, she still has a long road ahead of her, Choi said. One of the biggest challenges is regaining her strength after 196 days of hospitalization.

              Doctors say it's the longest a COVID-19 patient has been hospitalized at Michigan Medicine, surpassing an Indiana man who battled the virus for 115 days across three different hospitals.:
              • Coronavirus Cases: 39,898,991

              Deaths: 1,113,439

              Underreported US death count: 224,246

              American Civil War Casualties (North and South) - 214,938

              Originally posted by Boon Mee View Post
              it's been blown way out of proportion.
              Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                • Higher Covid deaths among BAME people 'not driven by health issues'

                People of black and south Asian ethnic background have a greater risk of death from Covid than white people, figures have confirmed, revealing such differences are not driven by pre-existing health conditions but largely down to factors such as living arrangements and jobs.

                Since the pandemic began, it has been clear that people of some ethnic backgrounds are at greater risk from the coronavirus than others, with previous data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggesting black people have a fourfold higher risk of dying from Covid than white people.

                Now the ONS has released an update to its analysis, separating black African and black Caribbean as well as the Bangladeshi and Pakistani ethnic groups, and digging deeper into whether pre-existing health conditions could explain the differences.

                The results reveal that in all ethnicities, males have a higher rate of death than females, and white people have a lower risk of death than all other ethnic groups apart from Chinese.

                Among males in England and Wales, those of black African background had the highest rate of death involving Covid-19, with a rate 2.7 times higher than that of white males, while for females the highest rate was among those of black Caribbean ethnic background, at almost twice that of white females.

                The report also shows that males of Bangladeshi ethnic background have a higher risk of death from Covid than those of Pakistani background – this was not the case for females.

                The report used hospital data, together with self-reported health or disability, to explore whether differences in mortality rate between people of different ethnicities could be down to differences in the prevalence of pre-existing conditions such as diabetes, respiratory failure and heart failure.

                But the results suggest the higher risk of death among people of black and ethnic minority (BAME) backgrounds is more to do with having a higher risk of infection, rather than having a worse outcome when infected.

                “Our statistical modelling shows that a large proportion of the difference in the risk of Covid-19 mortality between ethnic groups can be explained by demographic, geographical and socioeconomic factors, such as where you live or the occupation you’re in,” said Ben Humberstone, the deputy director of the health and life events division at the Office for National Statistics.

                “It also found that although specific pre-existing conditions place people at greater risk of Covid-19 mortality generally, it does not explain the remaining ethnic background differences in mortality.”

                However, looking only at those in the community in England, the rate of death from Covid among males of black African background fell from 3.8 times higher than white males to 2.5 times higher when all these factors were considered, suggesting other factors were also at play.

                Dr Michael Head, a senior research fellow in global health at the University of Southampton, said there were likely to be many factors influencing why mortality rate from Covid was higher among BAME populations than white people, but that the latest report chimed with data from the ONS showing public-facing occupations such as working in the social care sector or being a bus driver had a higher risk of death from the disease.

                “These workers are proportionately more likely to be from a BAME population. The occupational exposure will partly explain the higher mortality rates among black and Asian individuals,” he said.

                “Other factors will include living conditions, number of people per household, and there is likely to be some kind of genetic risk too. We are still trying to understand the key drivers between these differences in mortality, and it is incredibly important that we continue to do so.”:

                Coronavirus Cases: 39,901,235

                Deaths: 1,113,439

                Underreported US death count: 224,246

                American Civil War Casualties (North and South) - 214,938

                Originally posted by Boon Mee View Post
                it's been blown way out of proportion.
                Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                • i want to get covid. Id get a holiday out of it


                    • 8 million Americans slipped into poverty amid coronavirus pandemic, new study says

                    The number of Americans living in poverty grew by 8 million since May, according to a Columbia University study, which found an increase in poverty rates after early coronavirus relief ended without more to follow.

                    Although the federal Cares Act, which gave Americans a one-time stimulus check of $1,200 and unemployed workers an extra $600 each week, was successful at offsetting growing poverty rates in the spring, the effects were short-lived, researchers found in the study published Thursday.

                    After aid diminished toward the end of summer, poverty rates, especially those among minorities and children, rebounded, they said.

                    “The Cares Act, despite its flaws, was broadly successful in preventing large increases in poverty," said Zach Parolin, a postdoctoral researcher at Columbia University and one of the study’s authors.

                    The federal stimulus saved about 18 million Americans from poverty in April, he said, but as of September, that number is down to 4 million.

                    A family of four earning $26,200 a year or less is considered living below the poverty line, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The total number of people in the U.S. living in poverty is 55 million, including the 8 million who joined their ranks since May, according to the Columbia researchers.

                    The study comes as negotiations for a new coronavirus stimulus package have stalled and Americans continue to be without relief for the foreseeable future.

                    Columbia researchers tracked monthly poverty rates in the U.S. between February and September, or before and throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

                    “We find that the monthly poverty rate increased from 15% to 16.7% from February to September 2020, even after taking the CARES Act’s income transfers into account,” wrote the researchers. “Increases in monthly poverty rates have been particularly acute for Black and Hispanic people, as well as for children.”

                    The results of the Columbia study are underscored by another recent study published by the University of Chicago and the University of Notre Dame, which found that within the last three months alone, 6 million Americans entered poverty.

                    Those researchers also found that poverty rates temporarily stabilized amid federal economic intervention, but are now getting worse, particularly for certain groups.:
                    • Coronavirus Cases: 39,903,522

                    Deaths: 1,113,464

                    Underreported US death count: 224,252

                    American Civil War Casualties (North and South) - 214,938

                    Originally posted by Boon Mee View Post
                    it's been blown way out of proportion.
                    Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                      • 11 members of Vatican's Swiss Guard test positive for COVID-19

                      11 members of the Vatican's Swiss Guard tested positive for COVID-19 and are in isolation, according to a statement released by the organization this week. The Vatican also announced that someone who lives in the same residence as Pope Francis tested positive for the virus, according to AP.

                      Why it matters: The positive cases draw concerns about the spread of the virus in the home of the pope, who is 83 years old.

                      The big picture: The pandemic has come storming back to Europe, and hope of a return to normality is being replaced by a much more ominous prospect: the return to lockdown.

                      Italy was one of the world's first major coronavirus hotspots, locking down the entire country in March, and on Wednesday reported 7,332 new positive COVID-19 tests — breaking its previous record for most infections added in a single day:
                      • Coronavirus Cases: 40,023,135

                      Deaths: 1,115,599

                      Underreported US death count: 224,283

                      American Civil War Casualties (North and South) - 214,938

                      Originally posted by Boon Mee View Post
                      it's been blown way out of proportion.
                      Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                        • Pfizer says it hopes to seek authorisation for its COVID-19 vaccine in mid-November

                        Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer says it hopes to seek authorisation for its COVID-19 vaccine in mid-November.

                        "So let me be clear, assuming positive data, Pfizer will apply for Emergency Authorization Use in the US soon after the safety milestone is achieved in the third week of November," said CEO Albert Bourla in a statement.

                        "All the data contained in our US application would be reviewed not only by the FDA’s own scientists but also by an external panel of independent experts at a publicly held meeting convened by the agency."

                        According to Bourla, there are three stages to complete before such a milestone for safety can be reached.

                        Firstly, he said, the vaccine must be proven to be effective in "a majority" of patients, while it must also be proven to be safe, using data generated from thousands of people.

                        Third, and lastly, Bourla said the company must be able to demonstrate the vaccine can be consistently manufactured at the highest quality standards.

                        The US company, which is developing the vaccine alongside Germany's BioNTech SE, has previously said it would know by the end of this month whether its product was effective.

                        It comes after US President Donald Trump promised supporters during his re-election campaign that a vaccine would be ready before the election on November 3 — stoking fears of political interference.

                        But repeating his estimation, Bourla said he "may know whether or not our vaccine is effective by the end of October."

                        He added: "As I've said before, we are operating at the speed of science."

                        Authorisation in the third week of November would likely mean the Pfizer vaccine is first for distribution as fellow front-runner Moderna said it would seek the same a week later, by November 25.

                        The Oxford vaccine, meanwhile, is not expected to confirm whether it is effective until the end of the year.

                        "Our purpose is to discover breakthroughs that change patients’ lives," Bourla added in his statement.

                        "I cannot think of a breakthrough that would be more meaningful to a greater number of people than an effective and safe COVID-19 vaccine.":
                        • Coronavirus Cases: 40,124,916

                        Deaths: 1,116,534

                        Underreported US death count: 224,371

                        American Civil War Casualties (North and South) - 214,938

                        Originally posted by Boon Mee View Post
                        it's been blown way out of proportion.
                        Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                          • Coronavirus survives on skin five times longer than flu, Japan study finds

                          The coronavirus remains active on human skin for nine hours, Japanese researchers have found, in a discovery they said showed the need for frequent hand washing to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

                          The pathogen that causes the flu survives on human skin for about 1.8 hours by comparison, said the study published this month in the Clinical Infectious Diseases journal.

                          “The nine-hour survival of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus strain that causes COVID-19) on human skin may increase the risk of contact transmission in comparison with IAV (influenza A virus), thus accelerating the pandemic,” it said.

                          The research team tested skin collected from autopsy specimens, about one day after death.

                          Both the coronavirus and the flu virus are inactivated within 15 seconds by applying ethanol, which is used in hand sanitizers.

                          “The longer survival of SARS-CoV-2 on the skin increases contact-transmission risk; however, hand hygiene can reduce this risk,” the study said.

                          The study backs World Health Organization guidance for regular and thorough hand washing to limit transmission of the virus, which has infected nearly 40 million people around the world since it first emerged in China late last year.:
                          • Coronavirus Cases: 40,200,066

                          Deaths: 1,117,188

                          Underreported US death count: 224,487

                          American Civil War Casualties (North and South) - 214,938

                          Originally posted by Boon Mee View Post
                          it's been blown way out of proportion.
                          Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                            • Italy announces new measures to stem spread of coronavirus

                            Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte on Sunday announced new measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus, according to the Associated Press.

                            The AP reported these new measures include allowing Italian mayors to enforce 9 p.m. curfews at public squares, penalties for gyms and pools that fail to follow restrictions and the banning of local festivals. Restaurants and bars will also be limited to only table service after 6 p.m., three hours earlier than before, though the midnight closing time will remain the same.

                            At the beginning of October, Italy made it mandatory for all residents to wear masks while in public in response to another surge of cases.

                            Despite the success of Italy’s 10-week lockdown this spring that hindered the spread of the virus, Italian authorities are reluctant to return to such measures due to the financial effects, costing the economy more than 47 billion euros each month.

                            To date, more than 400,000 cases have been confirmed in Italy and more than 36,000 deaths. Italy was among the early epicenters of the pandemic and at one point had the highest case fatality rate in the world.

                            This past week it was announced that several members of the Pope’s security service the Swiss Guard had contracted the virus and on Saturday it was confirmed that a person living in the Pope’s residence had also tested positive.

                            Italy is not the only country grappling with new rises in cases. Cases in Europe and the U.S. have also begun to rise as experts warn of an expected third surge of cases that will come as temperatures begin to drop. This has been attributed to colder conditions causing many activities to move indoors where there are smaller spaces and more shared air.:
                            • Coronavirus Cases: 40,324,205

                            Deaths: 1,118,844

                            Underreported US death count: 224,732

                            American Civil War Casualties (North and South) - 214,938

                            Originally posted by Boon Mee View Post
                            it's been blown way out of proportion.
                            Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                              • Siam Bioscience to produce Oxford COVID-19 vaccine for ASEAN

                              Thai biopharmaceutical company Siam Bioscience has signed an agreement to partner with U.K.-based drug major AstraZeneca to produce and supply potential COVID-19 vaccine AZD1222, developed by the University of Oxford, for Thailand and Southeast Asian countries.

                              Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, said on Monday that all parties agreed to prepare large-scale manufacturing capacity at Siam Bioscience. AstraZeneca will be providing the potential vaccine at no profit during the pandemic, while Siam Bioscience is to set up the manufacturing facilities through technology transfer from the European giant.

                              Under the partnership, the Thai government and Siam Bioscience will tie-up with AstraZeneca, the University of Oxford and international agencies such as the World Health Organization to enable global distribution of the potential vaccine, should clinical trials prove successful and regulators approve its use.

                              Siam Bioscience did not provide details on production volumes or the amount of investment.

                              "With transferred technology, [our] company is aiming to have the first batch of vaccines available in the middle of next year," said Satitpong Sukvimol, chairman of Siam Bioscience.

                              Established in 2009, Siam Bioscience spent 7 years on research and development before successfully launching in 2016 its first product Erythropoietin, which is used to treat low red blood cell counts in people with long-term chronic kidney failure. :
                              • Coronavirus Cases: 40,415,906

                              Deaths: 1,120,010

                              Underreported US death count: 224,824

                              American Civil War Casualties (North and South) - 214,938

                              Originally posted by Boon Mee View Post
                              it's been blown way out of proportion.

                              Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                              • Thailand - Economy faces severe shocks, slow recovery – BoT

                                The economy faces severe shocks from the coronavirus pandemic and a recovery is expected to take at least two years to get back to pre-pandemic levels, the new central bank governor said on Tuesday.

                                The economy, which is heavily reliant on trade and tourism, could shrink a record 7.8% this year, with tourism badly hit, the Bank of Thailand (BoT) has predicted.

                                Economic problems can be solved but it will take time as there are "no magic bullets", Governor Sethaput Suthiwartnarueput told his first briefing.

                                "The shocks are very severe, most notably on tourism," he said, adding the sector could lose 1.6 trillion baht, or 10% of GDP, with foreign arrivals expected at 6.7 million this year, compared to nearly 40 million in 2019.

                                But the country had a strong external position to withstand any shocks, said Mr Sethaput.

                                The economy, which suffered its worst contraction in 22 years in the June quarter, is expected to post some growth in the second quarter of next year, he said.

                                Mr Sethaput said the BoT would ensure that monetary policy and liquidity would not hinder the recovery.

                                "Our policy rate is the lowest in this region and a record low with limited room, so other measures, including fiscal ones, will have to play a major role," he said.

                                The BoT has cut the key rate three times this year to an all-time low of 0.50% to support the economy. It will next review policy on Nov 18, when analysts expect no change.

                                The BoT would consider more measures as appropriate but it was in no rush to introduce them and would not rule out unconventional policies, the governor said.

                                "All reasonable options are on the table," he said.

                                The central bank would encourage capital outflows to help ease the baht strength, Mr Sethaput said.

                                The BoT would closely monitor growing street protests which could affect confidence, consumption and tourism, he said.:

                                Originally posted by Somchai Boonporn View Post
                                Perhaps a blessing in disguise for the Golden Land.

                                Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


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