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

10:48 am

Ajax vibration issues reported in 2019

In his response, Quin wrote: “As preparation activity for the Capability Drop 1 vehicles at the end of 2019, some soldiers were invited to do pre-trials training on prototype variants. Whilst the on-board sensors did not register any issues subsequently there were anecdotal reports of vibration.”

Following the anecdotal reports, soldiers participating in the vehicle’s Entry Qualification Trials reported ‘noise and vibration characteristics’ in July last year, and in September medical staff reported a raised possibility of noise injuries from operating the vehicle.

Despite this, defence reporters are said to have been aware of vibration issues as early as 2017.

Following these reports, the MOD commissioned ‘in-ear assessments’ which later led to the suspension of training on the vehicle in November last year.

Responding to a different question, Quin wrote: “The MOD commissioned testing by the Institute of Naval Medicine (INM) in May 2020. These were conducted in August 2020 and investigated both noise and vibration.

“In addition, the Army’s Environmental Health Team, supported by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, conducted “in-ear” assessments of military crews of AJAX platforms between 31 October and 5 November 2020.

The MOD expects to see the results of independent trials by Millbrook Proving Ground into noise and vibration issues with its new Ajax armoured vehicles by late July.

The MOD commissioned the trials following reports of severe vibration and noise issues with the General Dynamics-made Ajax family of vehicles that have caused long term health effects for some personnel, including swollen joints and tinnitus.

Issues with the vehicle came to light in recent weeks with the leak of excerpts from a report by the UK’s Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA) that warned handing vehicles to the Field Army in their current state could undermine confidence in the platform.

Quin said the MOD currently has ‘no plans’ to publish the report that results from the Millbrook Ajax vibration trial.

Current restrictions on the vehicle mean that it is restricted from reversing over objects over 20cm high, and personnel are limited to no more than 90 minutes in the vehicle. Crews are also limited to driving at 20mph.

The IPA reported added that successful delivery of the programme to ‘time, cost and quality’ appears to be unachievable, with the Authority marking delivery confidence as ‘Red’ – the lowest possible result.

The MOD has already spent around £3bn on the programme, with £688m spent on its demonstration phase and £2.29bn on manufacturing. The programme is running on a combined demonstration and manufacture phase, with five different capability drop standards.

Drop 0 included six Ares Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) variants of the Ajax family of vehicles and Drop one commended in 2020. Drop four is slated to be completed in 2024. Drop four vehicles will be of the final build standard, and all earlier produced vehicles are set to be retrofitted to this standard.

Currently, the MOD is reviewing the Ajax delivery schedule with General Dynamics.

As of the end of May this year, General Dynamics had completed the production of 263 hulls, 58 turrets under a sub-contract with Lockheed Martin and a total of 107 finished vehicles.

If the noise and vibration issues need remedial work to correct, analysts have said this could significantly increase the programme’s cost.

The British Army is set to receive 589 Ajax vehicles across six variants including, 245 turreted Ajax reconnaissance vehicles, 93 Ares APCs, 50 Apollo repair platforms, 38 Atlas recovery vehicles, 112 Athena Command and Control variants, and 51 Argus engineering vehicles.

At the current schedule, the MOD is not due to complete moving versus moving firing demonstrations until late 2022.

Following reports of problems with the vehicle, General Dynamics Land Systems UK said: “We continue to work closely with the British Army and Ministry of Defence to complete the remaining demonstration phase activities.

“Recent trials have confirmed many of the required capabilities across the AJAX Family of Vehicles, including operations across the full range of speed and reverse step obstacle climb.

“A small number of remaining issues are being reviewed and closed out in partnership with the British Army and Ministry of Defence ahead of Initial Operating Capability (IOC).”

10:45 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Israel Defence Forces (IDF) reports 1,004 in the first week of January

8 January

According to the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), the number of active Covid-19 cases among Israeli soldiers reached 1,004 in the first week of January 2021.

According to the US Forces Korea (USFK), an additional 21 US soldiers and four civilians tested positive for the coronavirus on their arrival to South Korea. The 25 USFK-affiliated individuals were infected with the virus after arriving between December 22, 2020, and January 6, 2021.

According to the Irish Examiner, approximately 11 members of the Irish Air Corps have tested positive for Covid-19. Although the Defence Forces have not revealed the number of cases or the units infected, they confirm that they have immediate back-up plans to keep services effective and functioning such as the emergency aeromedical service based out of the Custume Barracks in Athlone.

Tokyo reported over 2,000 additional coronavirus cases in one day for the first time. According to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, approximately 2,447 newly infected individuals were reported. According to the metro government data, approximately 69,000 people in the city have been infected with the virus, and more than 650 have died. An additional 20 new coronavirus cases were reported from US military bases in Japan.

10:26 am

Coronavirus company news summary – US Military bases in Japan report 34 new Coronavirus cases in the first week of January

US Military bases in Japan reported 34 new Coronavirus cases in the first week of January. However, some of the cases date back to 25 December. According to the NHK, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government reported 1,278 new Covid-19 patients with the number of extremely ill patients reaching 111, the highest recorded in the city.

The Ukrainian Armed Forces reported 1,406 Covid-19 cases, including 62 new cases in the past 24 hours in the first week of January 2021. Approximately 12,842 people have recovered, and 38 died since the start of the pandemic in Ukraine. In addition, 92 people have been placed in isolation, while 33 service members will end their isolation in the next three days.

An unspecified number of Canadian Armed Forces have tested positive for Covid-19 in Latvia. The Department of National Defence confirmed that military personnel at Camp Adazi near Riga, the Latvian capital, have contracted the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The outbreak in Latvia comes immediately after Canadian military personnel in Kuwait were infected with the disease in early December.

9:10 am

Coronavirus company news summary – US military reports 43 new coronavirus cases in Japan and South Korea

According to the US Forces Korea (USFK), approximately seventeen more US soldiers and six civilians had tested positive for coronavirus in South Korea. The individuals have been transferred to an isolation facility at US Army Garrison Humphreys and Osan Air Base.

Approximately 43 new coronavirus cases were reported at US military bases in Japan and South Korea over the New Year holiday weekend. Yoshihide Suga, the Japanese Prime Minister, said he might declare an emergency in Tokyo and three surrounding regions to help officials combat the virus’s spread.

Reports suggested approximately 7,150 new positive coronavirus cases in the Department of Defense [DoD] in the past week. According to the data collected, this amounts to a cumulative total of 169,914 cases reported among the military, dependents, and contractors.

General Gilbert Gapay, chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, has stopped a probe into the military’s own investigation of the Presidential Security Group’s (PSG) use of unauthorised Chinese Covid-19 vaccines.

9:23 am

Coronavirus company news summary – 5,000 UK military personnel assisting Covid-19 response

The Sri Lankan Army has appointed a senior officer to each of its districts to oversee Covid-19 prevention measures. The specially appointed officers, including 18 Major Generals, five Brigadiers and two Colonels, will co-ordinate the relief measures. The officers will supervise the quarantine processes and strive to curb the spread of Covid-19 in their designated districts.

Ukraine’s Armed Forces reported 163 new Covid-19 cases on 01 January. Of the newly-infected individuals, 26 people are undergoing treatment at hospitals, while the remaining people are in self-quarantine. Currently, around 200 servicemen are in isolation, while the isolation period of around 23 people will end within the next 72 hours.

Four people affiliated with United States Forces Korea, including two retired US service members and their spouses, tested positive for Covid-19 on 31 December. The four individuals contracted the virus after coming into direct contact with a coronavirus-infected couple on the previous day. All the four individuals are being quarantined at USAG-Humphreys facility, which is exclusively assigned for housing coronavirus patients.

More UK Armed Forces personnel have been deployed to assist the UK’s response to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. Military assistance is being provided under Operation Rescript, with 5,000 personnel currently assisting in the response.

10:11 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Governors mourn death of Nigerian general to Covid-19 – First US active-duty Covid-19 death in Germany

11 December

Approximately ten United States Forces Korea (USFK) service personnel have tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in South Korea between November 26 and December 8. Four USFK service members arrived via US chartered flights at the Osan Air Base between on December 6 and 7. Six others arrived on international commercial flights on November 26 and 29, and December 6, 7, and 8 at the Incheon International Airport.

State governors have mourned the loss of Nigerian general Olu Irefin, who died to Covid-19. Irefin participated in the army’s 2020 COAS Annual Conference in Abuja, where he fell ill. He was then transferred to hospital, where he tested positive for coronavirus. He later died during treatment.

The German police have reported the first-known coronavirus death of an active-duty US soldier in Germany. The 43-year-old soldier died as emergency personnel escorted them to a US military hospital. The unidentified soldier is the first active-duty soldier to die from the virus, and the 14th uniformed service member among all Defence Department services, the Reserve and the National Guard.

Tokyo, capital of Japan, has reported over 600 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours. This marks the highest confirmed case rate in a single day since the virus outbreak. According to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, 602 people tested Covid-19 positive on Thursday. This exceeds the previous record of 584 confirmed coronavirus cases reported on Saturday, as per the Japan Broadcasting Corporation or NHK and metro government data.

9:44 am

Coronavirus company news summary – UofL receives $8.5m in funding to develop and test Covid-19 nasal spray

10 December

The University of Louisville (UofL) has received $8.5m in funding from the US Department of Defense (DoD) to develop and test a nasal spray in phase 1 clinical trial to evaluate its ability to prevent viral respiratory infections such as Covid-19 using Q-Griffithsin, a drug compound developed by UofL.

The US DoD announced that it had chosen certain sites at Fort Bragg, Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Keesler Air Force Base to distribute Covid-19 vaccines among military personnel. Those and other sites will receive Pentagon’s first allotment of approximately 44,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine for military personnel, after being granted emergency use authorisation (EUA) from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

South Korea’s defence ministry announced that it would be dispatching more than 300 military officers to help the government tackle the virus resurgence in the country. Approximately 362 officers from the Army’s special warfare command will report to public health centres in Seoul to help combat the antivirus work, which will include data management and contact tracing tasks.

9:21 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Bulgaria’s Military Medical Academy receives three freezers for vaccine storage

9 December

Bulgaria’s Military Medical Academy (MMA) reported that it had received three Panasonic low-temperature freezers, to store Covid-19 vaccines produced by Pfizer. The latest generation of freezers are being distributed across military hospitals in Sofia, Varna, and Plovdiv between December 8 and 9, the MMA reported.

The US military reported 13 new Covid-19 cases across bases in Japan. While the Yokota Air Base in western Tokyo of the US Forces Japan reported seven new positive patients over the past weekend, six others had already been quarantined, according to reports.

According to the South Korean Defence Ministry, four additional service members tested positive for Covid-19 with rising cluster infections at the barracks. The ministry stated that three army officers at the Sangmudae Artillery School tested positive for the virus after coming into contact with a colleague who had earlier tested positive. Covid-19 infections in Sangmudae have risen to a total of 30.

New Mexico congressional leaders have raised concerns over a virus outbreak among a group of Oregon Army National Guard soldiers who returned to their homes in El Paso, Texas. The soldiers had been deployed to Kosovo at the beginning of 2020.

9:19 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Japan prepares to send military nurses to areas hard hit by the virus

8 December

According to Katsunobu Kato, a chief government spokesman, Japan is expected to send military nurses to hard-hit virus areas in Osaka and Hokkaido to help curb coronavirus infections. Kyodo News further reported that Japan’s northern Hokkaido prefecture would be asking the government for assistance, due to infection clusters at two hospitals.

The US military in Japan reported 45 new coronavirus cases in the past weekend, including 27 infections at the Marine Corps bases on Okinawa. The Kadena Air Base on Okinawa reported four positive coronavirus cases, including three family members. One of the cases related to the Kadena High School, after whose discovery eight classes were cancelled.

Approximately 17 United States Forces Korea (USFK)-affiliated people tested positive for the coronavirus after having arrived in South Korea between November 20 and December 4. Five of the 17 service personnel arrived at the Osan Air Base through US chartered flights between November 23 and December 2. The rest arrived at the Incheon International Airport on commercial flights on between November and December 4.

9:29 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Approximately 19 new US military coronavirus cases in Japan

7 December

The Canadian Department of Defence said that the country’s military would be deploying to a remote First Nations community, Shamattawa, to help tackle the Covid-19 outbreak. The move was initiated after the chief of Shamattawa First Nation requested assistance in tackling the crisis.

US military bases in Japan reported 19 new coronavirus cases at the end of the past week, including a dozen new cases at the home of US Forces Japan. The Yokota Air Base in western Tokyo reported 12 positive cases towards the end of the week, with approximately 23 active cases on the installation.

Ukraine’s Armed Forces reported 184 new coronavirus cases on December 5. Approximately 3,168 members of the Ukrainian Armed Forces have suffered from acute respiratory illnesses caused by Covid-19, while a total of 7,878 have recovered and 29 have died since the pandemic hit, the country’s Medical Force Command added.

10:10 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Second US Navy Reserve sailor dies of Covid-19 – OWS to deliver 20 million vaccines – USO receives $3m Lilly Endowment grant to support Covid-19 initiative

4 December

The US Navy has released details of the US Navy Reserve sailor who died of Covid-19. Huff Bishop, aged 33, is the second US Navy sailor to die from complications related to the disease since the start of the pandemic.

US Health and Human Services secretary Alex M. Azar II has reported leaders of Operation Warp Speed (OWS), the US vaccine delivery programme, said 20 million Covid-19 vaccines may be available for distribution this month. OWS chief operating officer US Army Gen. Gustave F. Perna stated that the vaccines will be made available within 24 hours after emergency use authorisation is granted by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The United Service Organizations (USO) has received a $3m grant from Lilly Endowment to support its Combat Covid-19 Initiative. The funds will be utilised to strengthen the military and mitigate hardships during the virus crisis.

10:07 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Irish Defence Forces trial wearable Covid-19 tracker – US Navy to prioritise vaccines for health workers

3 December

Digisoft and Accesso Technology Group have collaborated with Irish Defence Forces to develop a wearable Covid-19 tracker to manage disease protocols among its troops. The Irish forces have started investigating this approach to Covid-19 risk management, along with the technology firms. They are trialling the technology in military trainings and troop deployments in overseas peacekeeping missions.

A US Navy reservist from Ohio and two Navy civilians have contracted Covid-19 after suffering complications related to the disease last week. According to the Navy Reserve spokesman Cmdr. Ben Tisdale, the reserve sailor was assigned to the Navy Operational Support Centre (NOSC) at Akron, and was not activated when he died at the area hospital.

A number of Covid-19 cases have been reported among military personnel from Ioannina and Tripoli. Approximately 43 personnel tested positive for the coronavirus at the Katsimitrou camp in Ioannina. The infection appears to have been transmitted at a military camp in northwest Greece when enlisted soldiers reported Covid-19 symptoms.

According to a US Navy top officer, military healthcare workers will be the first to receive Covid-19 vaccines from the Defence Department, when approved. Adm. Mike Gilday, the chief of naval operations, said: “If they were good at anything, it was mass immunisation in the US military”.

9:13 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Irish Defence Forces test wrist-worn Covid-19 tracking device – Military healthcare personnel to be first in DOD to receive coronavirus vaccine

3 December

Digisoft and accesso Technology Group have collaborated with the Irish Defence Forces to develop a wearable Covid-19 tracker to manage disease protocols among its troops. The Defence Forces are currently investigating this approach to Covid-19 risk management along with the technology firms, in its military training and deployment of troops to overseas peacekeeping missions.

In the last week, a US Navy reservist based in Ohio and two Navy civilians passed away as a result of contracting the Covid-19 coronavirus. USNI News reported that the reserve sailor was assigned to the Navy Operational Support Centre (NOSC) at Akron and was not activated when he died at the area hospital.

US Navy Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Admiral Mike Gilday said military healthcare workers would be the first to be vaccinated with coronavirus vaccines by the Department of Defense (DoD) when it is approved. Gilday said: “If there’s anything we’re really good at, it’s mass immunisation in the US military,”

Several Covid-19 cases have been reported among Greek military personnel from Ioannina and Tripoli. Approximately 43 personnel tested positive for the coronavirus at the Katsimitrou camp in Ioannina. The infection seems to have been transmitted at a military camp in northwest Greece when some enlisted soldiers reported Covid-19 symptoms.

9:25 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Approximately 1,000 US veterans died from Covid-19 in November

2 December

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) reported that 1,000 veterans had passed away after contracting Covid-19 in November, the highest ever recorded monthly death count. Meanwhile, coronavirus cases continued to rise within the military. The VA further reported that almost 5,022 had already died of the novel coronavirus since the start of the pandemic.

The US military has reported 32 new coronavirus cases in Japan, with most of the infections having occurred up at bases close to the capital in the past one week. The Yokota Air Base announced that 21 members had tested positive for the novel coronavirus. While 15 were quarantined after contact with an infected individual, three others tested positive at the Haneda International Airport in Tokyo and were immediately placed in a 14-day quarantine.

The Armed Forces of Ukraine reported 137 new coronavirus cases on the morning of December 1. Among the new cases, 21 have been hospitalised, 116 are self-isolating and are undergoing treatment at home. A total of 431 service members have now been isolated, with 75 nearing the isolation expiration term in the next three days.

The US Forces Korea (USFK) has reported a new Covid-19 case at Camp Casey, north of Seoul. The news came after a serviceman at the base had tested positive for the virus over the weekend. The total number of Covid-19 cases have risen to 383 among USFK members, most of whom tested positive after arriving from the US.

9:11 am

Coronavirus company news summary – North Dakota National Guardsman passes away after contracting Covid-19 – US military in Okinawa reports 72 new Covid-19 cases in one day

1 December

A member of the North Dakota National Guard has become the 12th US service member to pass away after contracting the Covid-19 coronavirus. This marks the third death of a National Guardsman and the fourth of a US service member in this month. The total number of Covid-19 cased across the US Department of Defense (DOD) has reached over 117,000.

SAB Biotherapeutics (SAB), a biopharmaceutical company, announced that it had been awarded a $57.5M contract by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) and the Department of Defense Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense (JPEO-CBRND) to advance the manufacturing of SAB-185, its Covid-19 therapeutic candidate. SAB-185 is currently being tested in a phase 1 trial among healthy individuals, and a phase Ib trial for patients suffering with mild to moderate Covid-19 symptoms.

The US military in Okinawa has reported 72 new Covid-19 cases in a single day. The US Marine Corps Installations Pacific stated that 52 cases were identified at Camp Hansenat at the Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Ginowan city. It also said that 72 of the personnel had arrived from the US and were all placed in quarantine after having tested positive on arrival.

Ukraine’s Armed Forces reported a further 68 new coronavirus cases on November 30. Among the new infections, 21 had been hospitalised, while 47 have self-isolated, and are undergoing treatment at home as per Covid-19 restrictions and doctors’ supervision.

9:13 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Austrian Defence Minister tests positve – Outbreak reported at South Korean army artillery school

30 November

SmartPharm Therapeutics, a subsidiary of Sorrento Therapeutics, announced that it had been awarded a contract worth up to $34m by the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense (JPEO-CBRND) to create a rapid countermeasure against the Covid-19 disease. The fund is to be utilised by SmartPharm for its phase 2 clinical studies of Gene MAb that enable protection from and treatment of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

According to local health authorities, a South Korean army artillery school has reported an outbreak of coronavirus, with 16 soldiers undergoing training or stationed at the Sangmudae Artillery School in Jangseong having tested positive for the Covid-19.

Ukrainian Ambassador to Germany, Andriy Melnyk, announced that Germany would be providing 20 Life Base III artificial lung ventilation devices to the Ukrainian military. Approximately 12,978 new coronavirus cases, including children and medics, have been reported over the past 24 hours by Ukrainian officials.

According to the Austria Press Agency, the Austrian defence minister Klaudia Tanner has tested positive for the coronavirus, becoming the second Cabinet member to be infected by the virus. The agency reported that she was doing well and will be continuing to work from home. She was already in quarantine after meeting with an infected individual.

9:09 am

Coronavirus company news summary – 10,000 Peruvian Armed Forces members receive immunisation training

26 November

The defence ministry of South Korea has announced a temporary ban on all troops from vacationing, as well as taking off-installation visits after the Army boot camp reported cluster infections amid a nationwide spike in coronavirus cases. The troops will face tighter social distancing rules in the barracks and suspend holidays and travel starting December 7.

Nuria Esparch, the Peruvian Defence Minister, reported that approximately 10,000 Armed Forces personnel were being trained to immunise people against the Covid-19 disease before the vaccines were made available for administration. The defence minister stated that there were currently 25,000 vaccinators, but the objective is to deploy a larger team to handle the nationwide immunisation.

Ukraine’s Armed Forces reported 166 active Covid-19 cases were reported over the past day in the country’s armed forces. Approximately 9,386 Covid-19 cases were reported from the start of the pandemic, out of which 6,565 recovered and have 26 died. While 363 service members are in isolation, 45 will end their isolation in the next three days, the command confirmed.

9:12 am

Coronavirus company news summary – US military reports nine new Covid-19 cases in Japan and South Korea bases

25 November

The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the US Army have collaborated to open a 16-bed mobile intensive care unit (ICU) on the William Beaumont Army Medical Centre (WBAMC) campus and the El Paso VA Health Care System to tackle the Covid-19 crisis. The mobile ICU hospital provides unique and affordable care services for veterans.

The Supreme Commander of the Jordanian Armed Forces, King Abdullah, opened a 300-bed military field hospital for the treatment of Covid-19 patients. The beds were established on the Royal Medical Services’ (RMS) Prince Hashim bin Al Hussein Hospital grounds in Zarqa Governorate.

The US military has reported nine new Covid-19 cases in Japanese and South Korean bases. Eight people tested positive for the virus before the weekend at the Yokosuka Naval Base, six of them had recently arrived in the country and tested positive during quarantine.

Vivacelle Bio, a biopharmaceutical company, was awarded a $5.3m contract by the Department of Defence for conducting clinical trials of VBI-S, an intravenously injected fluid for treating septic shock caused by various pathogens such as SARS-CoV-2 and others. VBI-S is effective in raising blood pressure to survivable rates and for improving oxygen levels during septic shock.

9:14 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Ukrainian soldier passes away after contracting Covid-19 – Philippine military sends medical team to Davao City

24 November

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has sent a 25-member medical team to Davao City, following a recent spike in Covid-19 cases. The medical team includes doctors, nurses and assistants from the military.

A member of the Ukrainian military has passed away in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) after contracting the Covid-19 coronavirus. The soldier was serving in the country as part of a UN Peacekeeping mission.

The US military has reported 54 new Covid-19 cases in Japan and South Korea, including 21 cases that were detected at a western Tokyo installation over the weekend. The Yokota Air Base reported 21 new cases over the weekend, out of which 19 of the service members were placed on quarantine. The remaining two tested positive on arrival to Japan and have been quarantined at the base.

Ology Bioservices, a biologics contract development and manufacturing organisation (CDMO), announced that it had been awarded $37m by the Department of Defense (DOD) for the advancement of a monoclonal antibody (mAb) cocktail (ADM03820). The work is being supported by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defence for Health Affairs, along with funding from the Defence Health Agency.

9:17 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Hawaii National Guardsman passes away after contracting Covid-19

23 November

A 52-year-old Hawaii Air National Guardsman has passed away after contracting the Covid-19 coronavirus. The airman had tested positive earlier in the week and was a part-time reservist based at Joint Base Pearl Harbour Hickam. Adjutant General for the State of Hawaiʻi Major General Kenneth S. Hara said: “Sadly, the Hawaiʻi National Guard lost a member of our ‘ohana and our heartfelt condolences and thoughts of Aloha are with the family and friends during this very difficult time. This personal loss reminds us that Hawaiʻi needs everyone to comply with safe practices to prevent further spread of this deadly disease.”

Approximately 22 people linked to United States Forces Korea (USFK) have tested positive for the Covid-19 coronavirus after arriving in South Korea. Eight service members and three dependents arrived on chartered flights from the US, while a further ten, as well as a civilian contractor, arrived on commercial flights. All the 22 individuals have been transferred to an isolation facility.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that all areas under tier 3 restrictions – the country’s tightest rules – will receive military support for rapid Covid testing after the end of England’s national lockdown next month. The decision comes after a trial in Liverpool. Local leaders in the city say that the programme has helped in identifying numerous asymptomatic cases.

The Greek Army has established a field hospital in Thessaloniki to help bolster the area’s medical capacity. The facility is reportedly due to start receiving its first Covid-19 patients today. Thessaloniki is currently experiencing a surge in coronavirus cases.

9:33 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Lithuanian Defence Minister and top DOD official test positive – Major outbreak on USS Michael Murphy

20 November

Lithuanian Defense Minister Raimundas Karoblis has tested positive for the Covid-19 coronavirus. Anthony Tata, who is performing the duties of Under Secretary of Defense for Policy,  has also tested positive following a meeting with Karoblis last week. While in the US, Karoblis also met with Acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller who has since tested negative and is not entering self-isolation.

The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) chief of staff, Aviv Kohavi, is self-isolating after coming into contact with someone infected with Covid-19. The news marks the third time Kohavi has had to self-isolate since the start of the pandemic.

An outbreak of coronavirus onboard the US Navy’s guided-missile destroyer the USS Michael Murhpy has spread to an unconfirmed number of the ship’s crew. CNN reported that as many as a quarter of the ship’s 300 personnel could be infected, however, the US Navy has yet to release an official figure.

A 47-year-old Greek Navy reservist has passed away after contracting the Covid-19 coronavirus. The sailor has yet to be named.

10:08 am

Coronavirus company news summary – US Navy delays fitness Testing as coronavirus cases hit record levels

19 November

The US Navy has postponed its service-wide fitness tests for the third time as the US witnesses a surge in coronavirus cases. The Navy announced that it would be holding just one Physical Fitness Assessment in 2021, which will be extended to the beginning of March.

Ukrainian military doctors reported 148 new coronavirus cases in the Armed Forces in the last 24 hours. The Command of Medical Forces reported that on November 18. While five service members needed to be hospitalised, the rest of the 143 self-isolated at home as per medical instructions. Approximately 25 Ukrainian personnel have succumbed to the Covid-19 disease since the pandemic hit the country.

Boris Johnson, the UK’s prime minister, is set to announce the largest military spending ever in 30 years, with an additional $5.3bn boost every year for the next four years. The money is expected to fund cyber and space defence projects, including an artificial intelligence agency. The money will also be utilised in creating 40,000 new jobs and bolster its global influence, the government added.

9:14 am

Coronavirus company news summary – European Defence Agency chief warns against cutting military spending – US military reports 11 new coronavirus infections in Japan

18 November

European Defence Agency chief executive Jiří Šedivý has warned against cutbacks in military spending due to budgetary pressures caused due to the coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic has forced several European countries to re-evaluate their defence expenditure. In May, the European Defence Fund received a revised allocation of $9.5bn. The European Defence Agency officials believe that policymakers should not be distracted by the pandemic and should focus on the security situation of the EU countries.

Chief of the Cypriot National Guard Lieutenant General Dimokritos Zervakis has tested positive for Coronavirus after meeting with Greek defence ministry representatives in the past week. One of the representatives tested positive for the virus towards the end of the week. Charalambos Petrides, the defence minister, is also self-isolating. Approximately 12 members of the ministry are currently self-isolating.

The US military has reported 11 new coronavirus cases in Japan in the past 24 hours. The navy announced two positive cases, the air force six and the army three new cases. Of the 11, four reportedly arrived recently in Japan.

The South Korean defence ministry announced that three further service members tested positive for Covid-19, the cases included two army officers and an airman. A recent surge has brought the total number of confirmed coronavirus military cases to 204.

9:57 am

Coronavirus company news summary – 10th US Service Member passes away after contracting Covid-19 – South Korean Military tightens social distancing rules

A 10th US service member has passed away after contracting the covid-19 coronavirus. Sargeant 1st Class Calvin Ogletree III, an Army reservist, died last Thursday. Ogletree is the sixth member of the Army Reserve and the third reservist from Florida to have died after contracting the virus.

According to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Ministry of Defence, over 30,000 of its Armed Forces personnel have received a Covid-19 vaccination. The jabs were administered to national services recruits and military contractors, according to the commander of the medical service corps of the UAE Armed Forces, Brigadier-General Dr Aisha Al Dhaheri.

A rise in coronavirus cases has caused the South Korean military to raise its social distancing rules to Level 1.5 in Greater Seoul. The military imposed tougher Level 2 rules in the Gangwon Province. All military personnel have been instructed to reduce movement and interactions.

The US military has reported nine new coronavirus cases in various Japan bases over the past weekend, as the virus continued to surge in certain parts of the country. Approximately five of the new US military cases reported recent arrivals to Japan.

9:32 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Ukrainian army reports 185 new coronavirus cases

16 November

The Ukrainian Armed Forces have reported a further 185 coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, there are a total of 2,379 active cases within the country’s military. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 7,568 personnel have been infected with Covid-19.

Greek defence minister Nikos Panagiotopoulo announced that he has been in self-isolation following contact with someone confirmed to have contracted the virus. Panagiotopoulo added that he has since tested negative for Covid-19.

Approximately 199 Bangladeshi Armed Forces members and their relatives have passed away as a result of contracting the Covid-19 virus at Combined Military Hospitals. The Inter-Services Public Relations Directorate (ISPR) stated that as many as 20 service members were among those to have passed away. A total of 15,902 service members and their close families have been diagnosed with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, while 15,228 have fully recovered from the disease today.

According to the Washington Post and New York Times, more than 130 US secret service officers assigned to President Donald Trump have either contracted the SARs-CoV-2 virus or have been placed on quarantine due to a coronavirus outbreak at the White House.

9:18 am

Coronavirus company news summary – UK deploys military medics to the Czech Republic

12 November

The UK has deployed six combat medical technicians from the Royal Army Medical Corps to the Czech Republic to help fight the Covid-19 pandemic. Czechia requested assistance from NATO’s Euro Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC) to aid its response to the pandemic.

Germany has cut the quarantine time for service travellers from 14 to ten days, even though if they travel from countries with high coronavirus rates such as the US. However, the American military community will stick to the 14-day quarantine in Germany.

The South Korean Defence Ministry has confirmed that a further seven military personnel have tested positive for Covid-19. Cases included members of the Ministry’s welfare agency and an aviator.

 Latvian National Armed Forces (NBS) Commander Leonīds Kalniņš said in an interview with Latvian television that 40 personnel had so far contracted the Covid-19 coronavirus. A further 182 personnel are under observation.

9:19 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Ukrainian army reports 121 new coronavirus cases –

11 November

The German health ministry confirmed that it had sought assistance from the military to help in the safe storage of potential Covid-19 vaccines. Approximately 6,000 German troops are assisting the country in response to the pandemic.

The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) and the armed forces are preparing to roll out a potential Covid-19 vaccine across the UK starting in December. While it has yet to receive regulatory approval, officials are confident that Pfizer/BioNTech could be ready before Christmas.

The Wisconsin National Guard has collected over 800,000 Covid-19 test samples during its mission to support the Wisconsin Department of Health Service’s testing efforts. Last week, National Guard teams collected approximately 55,000 test samples from community-based testing sites and institutional-based testing missions across 40 Wisconsin counties.

Ukraine’s Armed Forces saw 121 new confirmed Covid-19 coronavirus cases yesterday. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the country’s military has recorded 7066 confirmed cases. Currently, 451 personnel are in self-isolation.

9:26 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Swiss Army reservists called up – US donates PPEs to Nigeria

10 November

Swiss army reservists have been called upon to assist the country’s response to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. Personnel from Hospital 2 Battalion arrived at the Moudon military base in western Switzerland within 40 hours of notice for deployment.

The US military has reported six new Covid-19 cases at various bases in Japan, including three community-based infections at a Marine Corps base. The other three cases were reported among individuals who had arrived from the US. Two further travellers tested positive at Yokota Air base, but were already under a mandatory 14-day quarantine.

The US Department of Defense (DOD) has donated personal protective equipment (PPEs) to the Nigerian Armed Forces. Babangida Hussaini, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry of defence, received the donations, according to a statement by Kabir Isa, a representative of the Director of Information of the Federal Ministry of Defence.

The Bulgarian Ministry of Defence, through the country’s Military Medical Academy, is establishing an organisation to donate blood plasma to treat patients infected with Covid-19.

9:27 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Humanigen and the US defence department partner for Covid-19 drug development

9 September

The Army Medical Research and Development Command (USAMRDC) has selected Empatica, an MIT Media Lab spinoff company, to deploy a wearable device and algorithm for the early detection of Covid-19. Empatica’s Aura algorithm provides a daily risk-indication using physiological data collected through Empatica’s smartwatch, EmbracePlus, for individuals who may have contracted Covid-19.

Humanigen, a pharmaceutical company, announced that it has partnered with the US government to develop its Covid-19 drug candidate Lenzilumab. The drug resulted in 37% more recoveries among patients when compared to those receiving standard care in a study. The study aims to evaluate its efficacy in preventing and treating the immune hyper-response called a cytokine storm.

Czech defence minister Lubomír Metnar said that the Czech Army would be sending an additional 400 soldiers to overwhelmed hospitals in response to the pandemic.

The US Army is deploying three US Air Force medical teams to El Paso to help support the fight against Covid-19. El Paso has reported more than 1,000 new cases each day, with about 47% of hospitalisations being related to Covid-19 related.

9:16 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Utah Military Academy closes to limit Covid-19 outbreak

The Riverdale-based Utah Military Academy has been closed temporarily and is encouraging students to take to online classes following a Covid-19 outbreak at the school. School authorities reported that four adults tested positive for the virus. The infected staff stayed out of the premises when tested positive. However, school authorities are monitoring every student and staff who may have come in close contact with them.

SIBAT, a department within the Israeli ministry of defence (IMOD), has donated 10,000 Covid-19 test kits to the Department of National Defence (DND) of the Republic of the Philippines. The test kits were handed over at a ceremony attended by Philippine  Defense Secretary elfin Lorenzana and Rafael Harpaz, Israel’s Ambassador to the Philippines.

According to the Bohol Inter-Agency Task Force, about 35 Philippine army trainees have tested positive for Covid-19 on the island province of Bohol, the Philippines. An official from the task force stated that an additional number of trainees were infected because of exposure to nine other trainees who had been authorised outside their homes.

9:16 am

Coronavirus company news summary – 2,000 Polish soldiers assigned to 600 hospitals – NATO delivers ventilators to Montenegro

5 November

Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak, said that approximately 2,000 Polish soldiers had been assigned to 600 hospitals to assist in various administrative matters such as reporting free beds for Covid-19 patients. Adam Niedzielski, the health minister, had earlier stated that he would seek army assistance for administering the availability of hospitals beds.

South Korea’s defence ministry stated that a soldier and an army officer have tested positive for coronavirus. The officer quarantined after encountering a civilian infected with Covid-19, the soldier tested positive after close contact with a family member.

Reportedly, the ninth member of the US military to succumb to the coronavirus, the Defense Department’s summary of Covid-19 cases and deaths included the death of a Texas Air National Guard member, though the airman identity was yet to be determined.

A member of the Texas Air National Guard has passed away after contracting the Covid-19 coronavirus. The unidentified service member is the ninth member of the US Military to pass away as a result of contracting the virus. The servicemember has yet to be identified.

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has delivered 20 ventilators to the Balkan country of Montenegro. The ventilators will be distributed across hospitals for the treatment of Covid-19 patients. The delivery was coordinated by NATO’s Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC) after Montenegro requested for support.

9:21 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Geman Defence Minister self-isolates

3 November

Poland’s Defence Ministry stated that approximately one-third of military hospital beds had been allocated for Covid-19 patients. Mariusz Błaszczak, the Defence Minister, engaged in a meeting with military hospitals to enhance military health service support to fight Covid-19. Earlier, the minister stated that Polish Armed Forces were extending their support to almost 250 Covid-19 testing points.

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the German Defence Minister, has self-quarantined after possibly coming into contact with someone who tested positive for the SAR-CoV-2 virus about eight days ago. The ministry said that while she had tested negative for coronavirus, she had decided to isolate herself for the next six days.

About 18 United States Forces Korea (USFK) affiliated members tested positive for the Sar-CoV-2 virus, after reaching South Korea between October 25 and 29. Nine service members and a dependent arrived from the US on October 25, 28 and 29, while four others, three dependents, and a contractor arrived on October 27 and 28. Sixteen tested positive in the first mandatory test, while two tested positive in the second test.

9:06 am

Coronavirus company news summary – NATO delivers ventilators to North Macedonia

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb has deployed the state’s National Guard to help assist long-term care facilities in their fight against the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. 1,350 National personnel will be working in facilities seven-days-a-week through December, at the moment personnel will be focused around the 133 worst-hit facilities.

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the US Department of Defense (DOD) announced a $12.7m contract with InBios International to boost the domestic production of two rapid point-of-care tests for detecting the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The SCoV-2 Ag Detect Kit identifies infections through antigens in a nasal swab sample, while the SCoV-2 Detect IgM/IgG Kit identifies antibodies for the virus with a finger prick test.

The UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has called in the army to roll out a massive testing programme as England heads back into the second lockdown. Johnson is also hoping for a potential vaccine for Covid-19 in the early months of 2021.

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has delivered 60 ventilators to hospitals in Skopje, the capital city of North Macedonia. NATO’s Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC) coordinated the deliveries in response to North Macedonia’s request for assistance to curb the high rates of infection.

9:23 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Ford sailors test Covid-19 positive – US Army awards $287m vaccine contract to AstraZeneca

30 October

Fitbit has received a $2.5m contract from the US Department of Defense to advance the development of a wearable diagnostic device for detecting Covid-19 infection. As part of the award, Fitbit plans to carry out a study Northwell Health to validate its algorithm for the detecting of the virus.

Sailors aboard the US Navy aircraft carrier USS Gerald R Ford have tested positive for  Covid-19. Though an exact count of the infected sailors has not been released, Cmdr. Jennifer Cragg, a Naval Air Force Atlantic spokesperson, stated that the number is small. USS Gerald R Ford has 2,700 sailors aboard. Infected personnel have been isolated, and close contacts quarantined for safety measures.

The Armed Forces of Ukraine have reported a spike in Covid-19 cases, according to reports from the country’s Medical Forces Command. Approximately 5,403 Covid-19 cases have been reported since the start of the pandemic. 171 new cases were recorded yesterday.

The US Department of Defence (DoD) has awarded AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals a $287m contract to supply approximately 200 million doses of AZD1222, a potential Covid-19 vaccine currently in its development stage.

9:20 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Russia sends army doctors to help fight Covid in Urals – Royal Navy confirms Covid-19 outbreak at HMS Raleigh

29 October

Russian doctors from Kurgan region of the Urals have made a plea to president Vladimir Putin to send assistance amid overwhelmed hospitals and a recent swell of new coronavirus cases. Russia’s Defence Ministry has sent military doctors to the region to assist its response to the pandemic.

Two US Army Garrison staff have tested positive for coronavirus after arriving on Kwajalein Atoll (USAG-KA) in the Marshall Islands. The two workers had previously tested negative before boarding the military flight to Kwajalein Atoll at Honolulu.

Space Force General David D Thompson has tested positive for coronavirus. The General has been self-isolating and is currently working remotely from home. The department of the air force continues to follow the Covid guidelines established by the US department of defence (DoD) and the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The Royal Navy has confirmed a Covid-19 outbreak at HMS Raleigh, the training facility of the Royal Navy. The navy did not reveal the number of cases involved. The Plymouth-based military hub trains new sailors every year. A naval spokesperson further confirmed that those who tested coronavirus positive were under medical supervision, while others who met with infected personnel were isolating as per Public Health England guidelines.

9:13 am

Coronavirus company news summary – NATO delivers ventilators to the Czech Republic

28 October

Eagle Health, a Cape Fox Corporation subsidiary, has expanded its occupational health service support to the US Army after receiving a three-year single-award, indefinite-delivery indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract. According to the terms of the contract, a team comprising 73 providers will provide Covid-related relief to 32 army occupational health clinics across the US.

A Philippine Army Camp in Kananga, Leyte has been placed on a de-facto lockdown after 20 soldiers tested positive for Covid-19. The 93rd Infantry Battalion based in Barangay Aguiting is now being assisted by the local government and other Philippine Army units for food and essential supplies.

About 27 people at the Alaska Military Youth Academy have been quarantined after nine others tested positive for Covid-19. One cadet tested positive after approaching a doctor for a separate illness. The group of 27 who suffered similar symptoms or were in close contact were identified. Nine youths have so far tested positive from the 11 who were found to have Covid symptoms.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) has donated 60 ventilators to the Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic to help the country tackle Covid-19. NATO’s Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC) coordinated the delivery of the ventilators which will be distributed among hospitals across the country.

11:59 am

Coronavirus company news summary – NMRTU Groton tests submariners for Covid-19 to ensure operational readiness

27 October

14 US Navy Sailors from Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Unit (NMRTU) Groton has tested 165 submariners for Covid-19 pre-deployment. Close quarters and confined space on the submarines means pre-deployment testing is needed to ensure the health of the crew while the boats are underway.

The Armed Forces of Ukraine has seen 25 new Covid-19 cases on 26 October increasing the cumulative cases since the beginning of the pandemic to 5,048. Isolation continues for 342 service personnel currently, while 72% of the infected have recovered, according to the latest update from the Medical Forces Command.

Naval Hospital Bremerton, based in Bremerton, Washington, has purchased a ‘germ-killing’ robot that is effective against the novel coronavirus. The robot emits ultraviolet light to kill multiple varieties of pathogens and Covid-19 in roughly two minutes. It can be used in operating rooms and procedure areas in the hospital.

11:14 am

Coronavirus company news summary – US military to provide logistical support for Covid-19 vaccine distribution

26 October

The US military will provide logistical support to the future rollout of a Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine in the US. The Department of Defense is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to work out the logistical details of vaccine distribution. The Pentagon has confirmed that personnel will not administer vaccines.

British Army Soldiers have been deployed to Tier 3 lockdown areas to implement rules as part of the country’s efforts to contain the spread of a second wave of coronavirus. Personnel were sent to Liverpool for identification of sources of coronavirus spread and to support health officials in enforcing new Covid-19 restrictions.

The Czech army has established a 500-bed field hospital in Prague to deal with the rising number of Covid-19 cases in Czechia. The country registered more than 15,250 new cases on Friday. The hospital will help prevent the country’s healthcare system from being overwhelmed and treat less severe cases of Covid-19.

NATO allies announced plans to deliver 60 ventilators to the Czech Republic, as part of a request submitted to the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC). The ventilators will be supplied from a stockpile of medical equipment set up to support allies and other partners.

10:52 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Polish army to provide over 1,000 beds for Covid-19 patients

Polish defence minister, Mariusz Błaszczak, has announced that the military will be providing over 1,000 beds for Covid-19 patients. The country’s Prime Minister, during a presentation at the lower house of the parliament, also announced the need for additional hospital beds would be met by the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Health, as well as district hospitals.

Seven service members from the United States Forces Korea (USFK) tested positive for on arrival in South Korea. Four of the service members arrived on US chartered flights on October 5, 9, 17 and 19, and three arrived on commercial flights on October 18 and 19. The first four members tested positive in the first mandatory Covid-19 test, while the other three tested positive during quarantine.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has provided two Covid-19 testing machines to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) improve testing capacity in Manila. Each of the machines is capable of testing 100 people in an hour and will be installed at the Philippine Army Molecular Laboratory, where AFP personnel will be tested as they engage in Covid-19 response initiatives.

Patriot Express flights, which are used to transport United States Armed Forces members and their families, will begin random Covid-19 testing of passengers boarding from the Seattle-Tacoma and Baltimore-Washington airports.

11:38 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Slovakia to deploy army to test population of 5.5m for Covid-19

22 October

Slovakian prime minister Igor Matovic has ordered the thorough testing of the country’s 5.45 million population. Matovic has deployed the military to 5,000 sites across the country to curb the spread of Covid-19 and prevent further lockdowns. The army will be testing citizens above the age of 10, and those who refuse will undergo a 10-day quarantine period or pay a US$1,949 fine.

Approximately 131 new Covid-19 cases have been reported in Ukraine’s army in the last 24 hours. While the total number of positive cases touched 1,107, about 3,433 have recovered from the disease since its inception. A total of 14 deaths were accounted for, and 394 remain in self-isolation. The country reported 6,719 infected cases over the last 24 hours.

Germany is set to deploy 160 Bundeswehr soldiers to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) member countries to support them in their Covid-19 efforts. The country will be providing specialists and medical professionals not only to NATO members but also to its allies. Member countries have requested for Germany’s support, as they struggle to cope with the high rate of Covid-19 infections.

12:32 pm

Coronavirus company news summary – NATO delivers ventilators to Albania

21 October

Speaking at an Aviation Week event, US Army aviation deputy programme executive officer Pat Mason said Covid-19 had revealed its “most fragile” suppliers. Mason added that the service had earlier investigated engine suppliers who were significantly exposed to the commercial industry. The downturn in commercial business as a result of Covid-19 has affected the cash flow of some smaller companies.

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has delivered 60 ventilators to the Albanian Ministry of Defence in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Delivery of the ventilators was coordinated by NATO’s Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC).

Datuk Ismail Sabri Yaakob, the defence minister of Malaysia has announced that the armed forces will be setting up a makeshift treatment centre (MTC) at the Kepayan prison to support its medical facility. The MTC will be used as a treatment and quarantine centre for inmates infected with Covid-19, and to curb the rise in number of positive cases.

9:18 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Philippine Navy to cancels International Fleet Review – Swiss Armed Forces chief tests positive for Covid-19

20 October

Soldiers can skip 14-day quarantine to fulfil their duties or take short leaves, according to the latest guidelines issued by the Indian armed forces. The updated guidelines on the quarantine policies were issued to meet the growing need for troops in the eastern Ladakh region due to the rising tensions with China at the line of actual control.

The Philippine Navy has cancelled its first International Fleet Review (IFR) due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The IFR parade intended to bring together 15 naval powers together including the US, Russia, and China, showcasing their abilities with submarines, vessels, and aircraft.

The Royal Thai Army has directed its army units to restrict the illegal entry of people at borders and help curb the disease across 22 of its border crossings. The units have also been ordered to deploy officers across quarantine facilities, provide protective gear such as face masks, and guide officers and their families as well as the public.

Thomas Sussli, the chief of the Swiss Armed Forces, has tested positive for Covid-19 disease. The government stated that the chief has quarantined himself. Sussli, 54, continues to work from home and is currently asymptomatic.

9:22 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Second outbreak on USS Theodore Roosevelt

19 October 

The Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) will assist care facilities across the US in administering Covid-19 vaccines to residents. Care facilities have the option to sign up with two of the major US pharma companies to administer a vaccine to the most vulnerable people.

US Navy aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt has reported a second outbreak of coronavirus onboard after two sailors tested positive for the virus. The two sailors were immediately evacuated, while others who came in contact with them were quarantined. Earlier in March, hundreds of sailors were infected aboard the ship, forcing the vessel to dock in Guam.

The US Army Medical Research and Development Command is working on several therapeutic treatments and developing vaccines to combat the coronavirus. The organisation is developing its own Covid-19 vaccine candidate as part of its Operation Warp Speed. The main objective of the operation is to provide more than 300 million doses of vaccines by January 2021.

US Forces Korea (USFK) has adjusted its health protection condition to Bravo across the peninsula. Bravo signifies moderate risk of coronavirus infection, but an increase in community transmission. The status change was on account of a fall in coronavirus cases in the greater Seoul metropolitan area and lowering of social distancing rules to level one by to the South Korean government.

9:58 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Low risk of Covid-19 infection on planes says US military

The Czech military is planning to increase the number of out-of-hospital beds for Covid-19 patients. Approximately 500 beds are expected to be set up in the Letňany exhibition grounds at Prague by the Czech military this weekend.

A study by the US Department of Defense (DoD) has found that the risk of contracting the coronavirus during a flight is low. The study stated that a person would have to sit or be exposed to an infected individual for at least 54 hours to contract the virus from the air. Researchers concluded that if passengers wore surgical masks continuously on their routes, it would prevent the spread of the infection as the air is circulated and filtered on aeroplanes.

The Philippine Army has unveiled its own coronavirus laboratory to bolster the military’s capability to fight Covid-19. The lab is capable of processing 90 tests per day, and is available to approximately 1,04,000 army personnel, staff, and their dependents for coronavirus tests. The laboratory has been ready to operate since July but received only recently received authorisation to open only by the country’s Department of Health.

L3Harris Technologies has distributed grants to 39 non-profit organisations across 19 states to fight the coronavirus pandemic. The company offered $930,000 in social impact grants to address problems such as economic inequality, digital divide, food relief, veteran aid, and economic prospects for businesses and others. The grants are part of the company’s larger $2m assurance to support Covid-19 relief and recovery programmes across the world.

9:48 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Latvia military parades cancelled due to pandemic – Israel Defence Forces allow troops to quarantine at home

15 October

Army researchers from the US Army Futures Command have collaborated with a team on antibody tests for the Covid-19 virus. This resulted in a quicker, easier, and inexpensive method of identifying potential donors who can help in the recovery of infected patients through the convalescent plasma treatment. Laboratory tests to measure antibody levels in the blood are imperative in Covid-19 antibody testing, as virus neutralisation antibodies present in the blood have proven to heighten the levels of protective immunity.

The Latvian Ministry of Defence announced the cancellation of the country’s National Armed Forces annual military parades scheduled to be held on 11 and 18 November this year. Other events organised by the National Guard, Ministry of Defence, and the National Armed Forces were also cancelled to adhere to the national restrictions imposed to curb Covid-19 spread.

A mini-sized scanner has been installed at the entry of Marshall Hall, the headquarters of the US Army Reserve Command (USARC) and the US Army Forces Command (FORSCOM) to improve the safety of the soldiers and staff. The scanner limits the number of people entering the building by checking their body temperature via the wrist to reduce contact and is also able to save 10,000 facial images for contact tracing.

After the parents of soldiers at Base 80 complained of unsanitary conditions that allowed the spread of Covid-19, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) has reversed course and allowed troops to quarantine at home rather than at their base. The action was taken because of a massive outbreak on Base 80 where over 100 people contracted the Covid-19 virus. Approximately 1,192 soldiers and staff in the IDF have been infected with the disease, but with mild symptoms.

9:27 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Reservists mobilised to support Operation RESCRIPT

13 October

New Zealand Ministry of Defence has released a biodefence assessment that examines the role of the country’s defence force in supporting wider government agencies’ biodefence activities. Titled ‘Biodefence: Preparing for a New Era of Biological Hazards and Threats’, the assessment has been developed in consultation with the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) and other government agencies. Defence Minister Ron Mark said: “The Defence Force plays an important role supporting other government agencies, such as MPI, DOC, and Police, in reducing, readying for, responding to, and recovering from biological hazards and threats.” This kind of support is currently seen in the way NZDF is responding and supporting to Covid-19 crisis.

Reservists have been mobilised in support of Operation RESCRIPT, the UK Armed Forces contribution to tackle the coronavirus pandemic. The reservists were initially put on 48-hour standby under the high-readiness contingency force to assist the NHS. Currently, around 20 personnel are supporting mobile testing in Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire. They are working together with RAF Benson 606 Squadron personnel.

The US Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have expanded their partnership with AstraZeneca. Under an agreement, the company has been contracted for late-stage development and large-scale manufacturing of the company’s Covid-19 investigational product, AZD7442. The agreement is intended to meet the Trump Administration’s Operation Warp Speed goals.

9:32 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Israeli Military opens new Covid-19 unit to support hospitals

12 October

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), in partnership with the Australian Department of Defence has conducted a study on the survivability of the Covid-19 virus on different surfaces. Titled ‘The effect of temperature on persistence of SARS-CoV-2 on common surfaces’, the study was carried out at the Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness (ACDP) in Geelong. According to the results published in Virology Journal, the SARS-CoV-2 can survive for up to 28 days on common surfaces including banknotes, and stainless steel at 20 degrees Celsius. The five Nation Research and Development (5RD) Council also took part in the research.

The Israeli Army has opened a new Covid-19 unit at Haifa’s Rambam Health Care Campus to support hospitals in the north, reported The Washington Post. The new unit has been established in a converted parking garage at the hospital. Around 100 military doctors, nurses and other medical personnel will work in partnership with the hospital staff to treat the patients. Defense Minister Benny Gantz was quoted by the publication as saying: “We are working on closing the gaps that have formed within a good public health-care system that has been neglected for a decade.”

The Tennessee National Guard has achieved a milestone by conducting more than 400,000 people in the state. Of the total, over 57,000 tests were administered to the most vulnerable populations. Members of the West Virginia National Guard’s Task Force Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Response Enterprise (CRE) (TF-CRE) are assisting in introducing a new innovative electronic record system to enhance the Covid-19 testing process. The system is designed to allow collection of data of people tested electronically. This is then linked to the individual’s specific testing kit with a barcode scanner.

9:07 am

Coronavirus company news summary – USAF increases Covid-19 testing capability

9 October

The US Air Force (USAF) has increased its Covid-19 testing capability with the execution of an enterprise-wide contract vehicle. The Air Force Installation Contracting Center’s 773rd Enterprise Sourcing Squadron awarded a $33m contract to BioDefense to scale up its production capacity of coronavirus tests. With the award, the company will be able to expand manufacturing by three folds. 773rd ESS commander Ethel Seabrook-Hennessy lieutenant colonel said: “This enterprise-wide contract vehicle will provide 42 military treatment facilities with respiratory panels, negating the need for each MTF to procure the panels via a separate contract, which drove greater efficiency and cost savings in the acquisition.”

Buckley Air Force Base (AFB) has enhanced Covid-19 preventative measures on base amidst increasing cases in the area. Some of the measures to be implemented include base entry and group restrictions. IDs will be visually inspected through the glass with windows to remain up. Limitations will be in place on group gatherings on the installation. No more than 25 individuals will be allowed. Unit/Group PT will be suspended, and track will be confined to 25 people. Face masks will remain mandatory.

The US Eglin Air Force Base (AFB) has moved to Recovery Stage 2, which could see the start of non-mission essential tasks in the workplace only if telework support is not possible. The shift follows as the base observed drop in Covid-19 cases and in nearby communities. 96th Test Wing commander brigadier general Scott Cain said that the base was also directed to move to a modified Health Protection Condition Bravo. Cain said: “Although Covid-19 conditions are improving overall, our continued vigilance in combatting the spread of this virus is essential.”

11:32 am

Coronavirus company news – DARPA selects Continuity Pharma to develop continuous manufacturing technology – Jordanian armed forces to support new weekend curfew enforcement

7 October

The US Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) has awarded Purdue University-affiliated company Continuity Pharma a $1.5m grant to support the agency’s efforts to fill supply chain gaps for critical drug products. The company will develop continuous manufacturing technology to move generic drug production to the US. Purdue professor of organic chemistry and Continuity co-founder and chief scientific officer David Thompson said: “We are one step closer to ensuring the availability of essential medicines to patients in need.”

Jordan National Center for Security and Crisis Management crisis cell operations director Mazen Faraiah has announced the deployment of armed forces to help enforce a new weekend curfew, reported Arab News. The forces will be deployed in “all governates of the kingdom”. The curfew is expected to help limit the spread of Covid-19 in the country, which has seen a rise in the number of positive cases and deaths.

The “Cactus Covid Task Force” created by US Army Reserve Sustainment Command 103rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command (ESC) is continuing to protect the health and safety of personnel. The ESC maintains its readiness to be prepared to fight anytime. The Task Force makes sure information flows across the organisation and that it uses all available resources to decrease soldier exposure.

10:52 am

Coronavirus company news summary – AstraZeneca wins antibody product contract – US Army readies for Covid-19 second wave response

6 October

The US Army Contracting Command in Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland has awarded AstraZeneca a firm-fixed-price contract to produce AZD7442, a combination antibody product. AZD7442 is intended to prevent or treat clinical effects of SARS-CoV-2. Under the contract, the company will manufacture a minimum of 100,000 treatment courses. Work on the contract will be carried out in Gaithersburg, Maryland. It has an estimated completion date of 30 June next year.

US Army Garrison Wiesbaden has conducted a tabletop exercise to prepare to respond to a second Covid-19 wave. Around 100 participants from the garrison, US Army Europe, 66th Military Intelligence Brigade, the Army Corps of Engineers, Army and Air Force Exchange Service, Commissary, Red Cross, USO, Department of Defense Education Activities and other units and partners took part in the exercise virtually. The exercise also involved discussions on scenarios and contingencies to better respond to a second heavy wave of virus or issues associated with seasonal flu.

Members of the New York National Guard have shared the virus mitigating lessons they have learned with the Brazilian military. New York was one of the first epicentres in the US. The state established five joint task forces across New York to manage personnel, logistics and medical assets. The discussions also covered the use of field hospitals and other alternate care facilities. According to the US Army, there were more than 32,000 Covid-19 deaths in New York and more than 145,000 in Brazil.


5:48 pm

Coronavirus company news summary – UK military to support vaccine distribution – Australia announces $24m in defence grants

5 October

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said that the military will play an active role in the distribution of a Covid-19 vaccine. At the virtual Conservative party conference, Hancock was quoted by The Guardian as saying: “The plans are in train, a combination of the NHS and the armed forces are involved in the logistics of making the [vaccine] rollout happen because it’s not just about developing and testing the vaccine.”

The Australian Government has announced an additional $24m in defence industry grants to support small businesses in the defence sector during the Covid-19 pandemic. The investment will be provided over the next two financial years. Australia Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said: “Supporting Australia’s military capability remains critical due to the important role this sector plays in the nation’s recovery. Supporting Australia’s military capability remains critical due to the important role this sector plays in the nation’s recovery.”

Members of the Alaska Air and Army National Guard have supported the Alaska State Public Health laboratory in Covid-19 testing. 103rd Civil Support Team’s officers Captain Roger Tran and Captain Jamie Bowden helped process Covid-19 samples for testing. The two officers tested 11,426 samples in around 21 days of testing totalling more than 148 working hours. Alaska National Guard Commissioner and Adjutant General major general Torrence Saxe said: “While we are proud of the whole team at Military and Veterans Affairs, these two individuals stand out for selfless service, innovative approaches, and going above and beyond.”


10:48 am

Coronavirus company news summary – 51 Squadron RAF Regiment personnel stand ready to support Op RESCRIPT

1 October

The Australian Department of Defence (DOD) has announced changes to the Defence Partner Employment Assistance Program (PEAP) to offer increased support to partners of Australian Defence Force (ADF) members affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Through the programme, partners can avail up to A$1500 for employment-related initiatives any time during the posting cycle. In the next financial year, the changes will potentially inject up to $4m into the Australian Career Management Industry.

Personnel from 51 Squadron Royal Air Force (RAF) Regiment and RAF Music Services elements are on standby to support Op RESCRIPT. They will remain ready to support the nation whenever required and will work under the command of Number 5 Force Protection Wing along with the other Services. Op RESCRIPT is the UK Armed Forces contribution to tackle the coronavirus pandemic at home. Currently, around 100 military personnel are set to support Birmingham City Council’s ‘Drop and Collect’ Covid-19 Test Distribution.

The US Navy has released the latest updates to the Standardized Operational Guidance (SOG) to combat the coronavirus pandemic. The Covid-19 SOG version 3.0 is applicable to all uniformed Navy personnel and deploying units. It features updated Center for Disease Control (CDC) return to work guidance, test before the Restriction of Movement (ROM) sequester period, 14-day ROM-sequester, and an exit test, as well as pre-deployment screening. The new guidance will see personnel receiving training at their command in contact tracing procedures.

9:41 am

Coronavirus company news summary – US DOD focused on dealing with Covid-19 impact on supply chain

30 September

Scientists from Poland’s Military University of Technology (MUT) are examining whether thermal imaging cameras can be used to monitor Covid-19 in public places, WI Daily News reported. The FACE-COV system is a contactless remote device designed that uses thermal vision technology to monitor an individual’s body temperature. The reading takes two to three seconds.

US Joint Base Langley-Eustis (JBLE) has provided an update on Covid-19 restrictions. The Base Access Restriction Order has been amended and the facility is moving from HPCON Charlie to HPCON Bravo status. A message from the installation commander read: “Be encouraged – we each have a part in helping to change the course of Covid-19. Applicable public health guidance such as social distancing protocols, proper hygiene, and use of cloth face coverings must be consistently, and seriously, practiced.”

Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment executive director for international cooperation Gregory Kausner has said that the US Department of Defense (DOD) is focused on dealing with the impact of Covid-19 on the supply chain. Some of the steps taken include nation-to-nation diplomacy, engagement at the company level, and working with allies and partners to identify weaknesses in the foreign supply chain.

9:11 am

Coronavirus company news summary – ODP, US DOD sign contract for critical API production

29 September

Biotechnology company INOVIO has announced a partial clinical hold on its Covid-19 vaccine candidate’s planned Phase 2/3 trial. The hold on INOVIO’s Investigational New Drug Application (IND) for the Phase 2/3 trial follows after the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) raised additional questions about the trial. The company noted that the development is not due to the occurrence of any adverse events associated with the ongoing expanded Phase 1 study of the vaccine candidate. The company is rapidly advancing its Covid-19 vaccine candidate INO-4800, including its CELLECTRA 2000 delivery device.

The US Department of Defense (DOD) has awarded a contract to On Demand Pharmaceuticals (ODP) to develop domestic production of critical active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). Under the $20m award, the company will work on fully developing its proprietary Pharmacy on Demand technology that was initially built using funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The contract will see the expansion of onshore production of three critical APIs that will form the building blocks for final formulated medicines. These will support the treatment of critically ill US service members and Covid-19 patients. The award was signed on behalf of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

The Ohio National Guard has announced that it will continue to support a food bank operation in the state. Around 350 guardsmen are assisting about 14 food banks and warehouses throughout Ohio. More than 43 million pounds of food were packed and over 50 million pounds of food have been distributed since mid-March. The guard also assisted in providing more than 700,000 meals to citizens in need. Ohio Association of Foodbanks executive director Lisa Hamler-Fugitt said: “We are so deeply thankful that the Ohio National Guard will extend its support of this mission for the next three months as we plan together for what’s to come in 2021.”


9:07 am

Coronavirus company news summary – USAF aircraft transports mobile hospital to Jamaica

The West Virginia National Guard is increasing its testing capabilities for Covid-19 as part of the statewide effort to test more West Virginians for the virus. It has nearly doubled the capacity for testing teams to a total of 15 as the unit approaches 200 days of assisting at the direction of Governor Jim Justice. Testing teams will support Justice’s initiative to increase testing throughout West Virginia, especially in counties that have witnessed an increased spread in community transmission.

A US Air Force (USAF) C-17 Globemaster III aircraft has transported a mobile field hospital from Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, to Kingston, Jamaica. The hospital will be donated to health care providers on behalf of the American people. It will support the Caribbean nation’s ongoing response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The hospital, costing $753,000, was purchased as part of US Southern Command’s ongoing assistance to countries responding to the global pandemic in the Caribbean, Central America, and South America. It was funded by the command’s humanitarian assistance program (HAP) and is capable of housing up to 70 patient beds.

The Australian government has announced new initiatives as it continues to support Australian Defence Force (ADF) Reservists through the Covid-19 pandemic. As part of these initiatives, the government has announced additional reserve days to offer supplementary employment for up to 21,000 existing reservists and extra 25,000 reserve days to help recruit up to 500 additional ADF Reservists. Furthermore, the government announced an overall increase of up to 210,000 in the total reserve days for the current financial year. Minister for Defence Senator Linda Reynolds said over the past one year, the Reserve members have made vital contributions to the Defence’s response in its commitment to the national response to Covid-19.

Nearly 100 military personnel are set to aid Birmingham City Council with its ‘drop and collect’ service to help with the Covid-19 testing programme. As part of the service, tests will be dropped off at a resident’s door and later on collected by staff. This testing is aimed at areas which have high rates of infection and will provide service to people who cannot leave their homes. BBC reported the council’s deputy leader as saying at a weekly briefing that it would assist civilian efforts to maximise the numbers of tests able to be done.

9:29 am

Coronavirus company news summary – US donates PPE to Sri Lanka – Lumen, US Army sign agreement to develop Covid-19 drug

25 September

The US has donated Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to Sri Lanka as part of its on-going assistance to the country in its response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The donation includes 23,000 masks, 24,000 nitrile gloves, 600 isolation gowns with hoods, 60 infrared thermometers, 50 portable oxygen concentrators and disinfectants. The $191,000 donation, which was funded by the US Department of Defense, builds on more than $6m in Covid-19 assistance this year.

Lumen Bioscience and the US Army Medical Research and Development Command (USAMRDC) have signed an agreement to develop a rapid, scalable, and inexpensive biologic drug cocktail to treat gastrointestinal (GI) infection in Covid-19 patients. The project includes funding for preliminary engineering work on a facility to manufacture more than one billion doses annually.

RevaComm and Galvanize are working with the US Air Force (USAF) to provide learning solutions to Airmen and contractors during the Covid-19 pandemic. More than 11,000 members of the USAF workforce plan to use or have already started using the LEARN training and technology system. Galvanize CEO Harsh Patel said: “Covid has forced us all to think differently. With the help of RevaComm, this solution enables us to onboard, train and upskill active duty and civilian DoD members remotely, via synchronous or asynchronous learning, and at-scale.”

A total of 15 students from the Chilean Military School and the Army NCO School have tested positive for Covid-19, according to the Chilean Army. revealed that the cases are also present in other branches of the Armed Forces. Data released by the Ministry of Defense has revealed that some 1,574 officials are in quarantine and 580 coronavirus infections have been reported.

10:12 am

Coronavirus company news summary – US DOD selects Pharm-Olam to support Operation Warp Speed vaccine trials

24 September

Chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman has issued a statement on the report regarding the use of Defense Production Act (DPA) Title III funding. The Washington Post reported that the Defense Department used portions of the Covid-19 funding for buying military equipment instead of medical supplies. Hoffman said: “The CARES Act did not limit – nor did it intend to limit in its language – the use of Defense Production Act (DPA) Title III to only medical resources. As part of the efforts to mitigate economic damage, the Act allowed monies to be spent to support individuals and industries that had been impacted by Covid. This is exactly what DOD has done.”

The US Department of Defense (DOD) has selected clinical research organisation (CRO) Pharm-Olam to support Operation Warp Speed vaccine trials. The company will collaborate with The Geneva Foundation (Geneva) to provide project management, contract management, and clinical trial site support to operational trials at military treatment facilities that are participating in the rapid development of Covid-19 vaccines.

US Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC Crane) has agreed to licence and loan its sensor agnostic thermal imaging system for Covid-19 screening at Greene County General Hospital (GCGH). The technology is being provided under a new Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA). NSWC Crane will install the required equipment for a trial at GCGH. The system is designed to detect fevers on individuals and moving crowds every 0.016 seconds in near real-time. It is capable of working from a distance of around 200 yards.

10:38 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Pentagon diverted portions of Covid-19 funding to buy military equipment

23 September

The US Military is using commercial wearable devices that use artificial intelligence and machine learning for early detection of a possible Covid-19 infection. Known as Rapid Analysis of Threat Exposure (RATE), the technology has been applied to consumer commercial-of-the-shelf wearables by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) and Defense Innovation Unit (DIU). The user receives early warning of infection up to 48 hours before becoming symptomatic. Over the next few weeks, the US Defense Department will manage an extensive rollout of RATE devices to nearly 5,000 people. The devices have already been handed over to the Navy, Office of the Secretary of Defense and DTRA and DIU personnel. US Northern Command and the US Military Academy will also soon received the RATE devices.

US Forces Korea (USFK) has decided to relax coronavirus restrictions as Covid-19 cases decline in South Korea, reported Stars and Stripes. According to USFK, nonofficial travel to Seoul and surrounding cities still remains suspended and wearing masks is mandatory. Troops, family members and civilian employees are now allowed to go to restaurants and hold other recreational events offbase.

The US Department of Defense (DOD) has used portions of the $1bn Covid-19 funding to buy military equipment such as jet engine parts, body armour and dress uniforms, reported The Washington Post. The funding was meant to manufacture coronavirus medical supplies. Following the report, two House democrats Representatives Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) have called for a full investigation on Pentagon’s decision for not using the money as intended.

9:26 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Israel Defence Ministry orders military to build field hospital

22 September

Israel’s Defence Secretary Benny Gantz has instructed the military to construct a field hospital to help deal with the increasing number of Covid-19 cases in the country. In a statement, the defence ministry was quoted by The Times of Israel as saying: “Gantz has ordered staff to begin preparations to build an army field hospital that would contain about 200 beds.” Details about when the construction will complete, and the facility will begin taking in patients have not been disclosed.

Madrid regional government chief Isabel Diaz Ayuso has asked the Spanish Army for support amid a surge in Covid-19 cases in the region. Isabel Diaz Ayuso was quoted by Reuters as saying: “We need help from the army for disinfection…and to strengthen local police and law enforcement.” Several thousands of soldiers have helped fight and contain the pandemic during the peak of the first wave of the outbreak.

Finnish Defence Minister Antti Kaikkonen has announced the cancellation of Arctic Lock, a large-scale international military exercise due to Covid-19. Scheduled for next year, the exercise would have seen the participation of 20,000 troops from 13 countries, as well as NATO and EU observers. The country’s Foreign and Security Policy Committee has planned to conduct a national exercise with 15,000 troops. Kaikkonen was quoted by AFP as saying: “International exercises are important, but in this situation, it is even more important to keep the coronavirus under control.”

9:33 am

Coronavirus company news summary – USAID donates 200 ventilators to NATO stockpile of medical supplies

21 September 

The Indonesian Government has said that the military and national police will work together to enhance monitoring of health protocol rules, The Jakarta Post reported. The military will ensure people wear masks and maintain social distancing. During a teleconference, Indonesia Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister Luhut Pandjaitan said: “Each military command is tasked with [providing] guidance to neighbourhood units using assertive messages and health protocols.”

Unifire subsidiary Mission Ready Solutions has won contracts worth an estimated $127.87m to supply disposable isolation gowns. The delivery orders, with a ceiling of $435m, were awarded via the US Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support Clothing & Textiles (DLA C&T) supply chain. All delivery orders are required to be completed between September 2020 and 2021. The products are for the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS).

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has delivered 200 ventilators to the NATO Support and Procurement Agency’s Southern Operational Centre in Taranto, Italy. The donation is in response to a possible second wave of Covid-19. USAID US European Command Senior Development Advisor Jeremy Gustafson said: “This donation builds upon more than $20.5bn that the US has committed to fight Covid-19 around the world.” During the pandemic, the US Office of Defense Cooperation (ODC) provided $50m for high-tech durable medical equipment and millions of dollars’ worth supplies to Italy.

9:08 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Maine CDC investigates outbreak at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard

18 September

The US Department of Defense (DOD) has awarded a Medical Technology Enterprise Consortium (MTEC) Other Transaction Agreement (OTA) to Diomics for its Covid-19 skin patch. Under the $2.125m agreement, the company will focus on speeding up the development of testing of its SARS-CoV-2 Visual Immune Response Indicator skin patch. The device is designed to enable a person to start monitoring an immune response within 24 to 36 hours of application and quickly know exposure to the virus and take necessary precautions and preventive measures to help stop the spread of Covid-19.

Maine Center for Disease Control (CDC) director Dr Nirav Shah has announced that an investigation has been launched into the Covid-19 outbreak at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard located in York county. Around 18 workers at the shipyard have been tested positive for the virus. The CDC believes that the outbreak could be related to several factors associated with community transmission. While the union representing the workers is said to have called for closure of the shipyard, the CDC is working with the shipyard authorities on the inquiry.

Scientists at the US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) and National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) have published their findings in the peer-reviewed scientific journal ACS Nano on a joint effort to develop nanoparticle probes to study SARS-CoV-2. NRL Optical Nanomaterials Section acting head Mason Wolak said: “The ultimate goals of the collaboration are to clarify the fundamental mechanisms by which SARS-CoV-2 causes infection and to screen and identify potential drugs to inhibit these mechanisms.”

9:27 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Raytheon Technologies plans 15,000 job cuts across

17 September

US defence contractor Raytheon Technologies has revealed plans to implement 15,000 job cuts at its Pratt & Whitney, Collins Aerospace and corporate organisations. The decision was announced by president and CEO Greg Hayes during the company’s presentation at the Morgan Stanley Virtual 8th Annual Laguna Conference. The plan, blamed on the decline in the airline industry, will affect employees in the US and certain locations overseas.

The US Air Force (USAF) has again delayed its official physical fitness assessments from October this year to 1 January 2021. The decision has been taken in view of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and reduce close contact among personnel. USAF deputy chief of staff for manpower, personnel and services lieutenant general Brian Kelly said: “This delay gives our folks extra time to prepare for January, while also ensuring units have more time to implement additional Covid precautions.”

The US Department of Defense (DOD) has issued documents that details strategy for the rapid distribution of Covid-19 vaccine doses to the American people. The documents will guide state, tribal, territorial, and local partners, other stakeholders, and the public on how to plan and operationalise Covid vaccination response. The strategy has been developed by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in coordination with DoD and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

9:28 am

Coronavirus company news summary – UK Royal Navy cancels passing out parade for recruits at HMS Raleigh

16 September

The Royal Navy has announced the suspension of passing out parade for recruits at its shore training establishment HMS Raleigh at Torpoint, Cornwall, UK. The cancellation comes after a “small number of personnel” at the naval base were confirmed Covid-19 positive. A Royal Navy spokesperson said: “Personnel identified as having been in contact with those who have tested positive are self-isolating in line with Public Health England guidance.”

The US Navy has announced the closure of Naval Base Guam Visitor Control Center due to Covid-19. The centre will remain shut until further notice. It follows after an employee at the centre was confirmed positive. Naval Base Guam acting commanding officer captain Hans Sholley said: “We remain vigilant and proactive in enforcing all health and safety measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and the … Visitor Control Center has put forth a very aggressive effort into ensuring the proper mitigation measures are in place.”

Global medical technology firm Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD) is investigating several false-positive tests results in US nursing homes for SARS-CoV-2 on the BD Veritor Plus system. In July, the US Department of Defense and US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) invested $24.3m in the company to expand production of SARS-CoV-2 rapid point-of-care (POC) tests used for Covid-19 testing on the BD Veritor Plus analysers. In a statement, the company said: “Following our standard quality management system processes, upon learning of these reports, BD immediately contacted the sites, and we are actively investigating the situation to obtain additional details. Our quality investigation is ongoing, however, as of 15 September, there have been no issues found with the BD Veritor Plus instruments or tests.”

9:08 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Louisiana National Guard continues to support Covid-19 operations

15 September

The US Department of Defense (DOD) has signed $335m worth of contracts for 73 million Covid-19 disposable isolation gowns. The contracts have been awarded to nine American businesses and have a ceiling of $1.2bn to manufacture up to 275 million gowns in support of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)-managed Strategic National Stockpile. The gowns are to be delivered by January next year. These contracts are in addition to $136m worth awards given to five US firms for 15 million Covid-19 reusable isolation gowns.

Personnel from the Louisiana National Guard are continuing to support Covid-19 operations in the state along with other disaster relief, response and recovery missions. As part of Covid-19 response operations, the Louisiana National Guard is currently supporting 19 medical test sites. It has conducted more than 213,165 tests in the state. Guard members are also assisting at food banks, and have packaged more than 13 million pounds of food.

The US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) is looking for healthy volunteers to participate in a Covid-19 antibodies research study. Volunteers from the local area who have no clinically confirmed history of COVID-19 infection or exposure.

3:19 pm

UK Defence Secretary dismisses reports of axing battle tanks

UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has dismissed earlier reports that the British Army is planning to mothball its tanks.

Last month, it was reported that the British Army is planning to axe Challenger 2 main battle tanks (MBTs) and Warrior Armoured Fighting Vehicles (AFVs) as part of its efforts to focus on evolving technologies such as cyber and space warfare.

Denying the speculation, Wallace told BBC: “The idea that tanks won’t be there for the army, upgraded and modernised, is wrong.”

However, he added that investing in new technologies will also involve scrapping antiquated equipment.

The Times’ report, published last month, said that the government is considering axing ageing 227 Challenger tanks as part of its integrated defence and security review.

Secretary Wallace confirmed the review and said that it will involve equipping the three branches of the military with new armaments.

This may lead to a reduction in the number of tanks but axing the whole fleet is not part of the intention.

Wallace further told BBC: “We’re going to make sure we have an armed forces fit for the 21st century and meets our obligations to Nato and elsewhere.

“We are not scrapping all the British army’s tanks and we will make sure the ones we maintain are up to date, lethal and defendable.”

He further said that the government is also planning to acquire long-range artillery and drones.

Last month, AmeyBriggs secured a £240m contract to overhaul the UK Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) construction and materials handling equipment.

AmeyBriggs is a joint venture of Amey and Briggs Defence.

9:09 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Control Vision, DOD sign DPA Title III agreement – Five US businesses contracted for 15 million Covid-19 reusable isolation gowns

14 September

Five American small businesses have signed contracts worth $136m with the US Department of Defense (DOD) for the production of 15 million Covid-19 reusable isolation gowns. The contracts have been signed by the DOD on behalf of the Department of Health and Human Services. These awards are expected to reduce reliance on foreign sources for critical personal protective items. Work done under the contract, as well as deliveries, will be completed by January next year.

The Australian Government has announced $32m funding as part of Defence Covid-19 investment initiatives. The additional investment through the Defence Innovation Hub over the next two years will increase cash flow to Australian small and medium-sized businesses. Australian Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price said that the funding will boost further job creation in the sector and develop innovations to improve defence capability.

Arizona-based small business Control Vision and the US Department of Defense (DOD) have signed $1.9m Defense Production Act (DPA) Title III agreement. Under the agreement, the company will develop and mature an optical payload and manufacture a unit for a future flight test. The investment is intended to sustain and advance aerospace-grade advanced optical sensor domestic industrial base capabilities. It will also allow the company to retain high skill staff positions. Separately, Radio Design Group and DOD reached $1m agreement to continue producing critical communications equipment and invest in future communications capabilities for the US Navy.

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.


9:13 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

9:09 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Hawaii National Guard supports Covid-19 surge testing programme

11 September

The Hawaii National Guard (HING) Joint Task Force (JTF) is working with Honolulu County and multiple agencies to support a Covid-19 surge testing programme on a freeway. A total of 60,000 free self-administered Covid-19 swab test were conducted in Oahu. The John A. Burns Freeway (H-3), and it’s Tetsuo Harano Tunnels served as a drive-thru test site. About 800 soldiers and airmen are supporting more than three-dozen missions carried out on six islands on a daily basis. HING JTF Task Force Oahu Company Bravo senior non-commissioned officer 1st sergeant Lane Martinez said: “Two units from the HING are also assisting the city and county of Honolulu by providing onsite surge testing registration support.”

Experts from the US Army Public Health Center (APHC) are encouraging people to strictly follow all Covid-19 health and safety recommendations. APHC Clinical Public Health and Epidemiology acting director Dr Raúl Mirza said that people should follow the science and not myths. He also noted that although researchers are still learning more about how the virus spreads, scientific evidence shows that individuals with the SARS-CoV-2 virus may be contagious days before they develop symptoms and test positive. Mirza said: “Cloth face coverings or masks are a necessary barrier to reduce the spread of respiratory droplets into the immediate environment when the wearer coughs, sneezes, raises their voice, or talks.”

Several hundreds of Army Reserve soldiers are supporting supply requirements in the US state of Texas, reported DVIDS. Nearly 590 military medical and support personnel from the US Army and US Navy in support of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in Texas. The soldiers are deployed as part of the Department of Defense support to the FEMA’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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.


9:23 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  

9:03 am

Coronavirus company news summary – US Military in Japan to ease some public health restrictions for personnel

10 September

The US Military has relaxed certain restrictions for personnel in Tokyo and on Okinawa, reported Stars and Stripes. The easing or lowering of risk level on some restrictions follows as the number of new positive cases has dropped. As per Government data, no new cases were reported on the US bases in Japan on 09 September. In an email to Stars and Stripes, Marine spokesman major Ken Kunze said: “We are officially below ten active cases among Marine forces on Okinawa.”

Sailors and Civilian Mariners aboard the US Navy’s USS Frank Cable have been confirmed to be Covid-19 positive, reported PNC News. About 20 US Navy Sailors and ten Merchant Mariners have been infected. The outbreak has not impacted the vessel’s mission. Joint Region Marianas spokesperson LCDR Rick Moore was quoted as saying: “USS Frank Cable has had Sailors and Civilian Mariners test positive for Covid-19. If someone tests positive, they are placed in isolation. Close contacts have been identified and are in quarantine.”

China’s biggest airshow International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition will be held in November as planned, reported Reuters. Reports emerged earlier that the event was cancelled due to Covid-19. The airshow sees major suppliers display their capabilities while China uses it to exhibit its abilities, such as military fighters and drones. Britain’s Farnborough Airshow was cancelled due to Covid-19 lockdown and travel restrictions

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

10:18 am

International update: Global Covid cases pass 27.5 million – Europe struggles with second wave

9 September

Global: Global Covid-19 cases now exceed 27.5 million according to Johns Hopkins University. Deaths have risen to more than 897,000.

Disruptions to health services due to the pandemic are putting millions of additional lives at risk worldwide, the United Nations said Wednesday, warning that Covid-19 could reverse decades of progress in reducing child mortality.

The World Health Organization’s Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has stressed again that governments can take concrete steps to tackle Covid-19 even before a vaccine becomes available.

US: California reported 2,676 new coronavirus cases, the lowest single-day tally since mid-June, and well below the 14-day average of 4,630. The data may partly reflect delays in laboratory reporting over the long holiday weekend.

Mexico: Mexico reported 5,351 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infection and 703 additional fatalities on Tuesday, bringing its totals to 642,860 infections and 68,484 deaths, according to updated health ministry data.

Argentina: Argentina reported a daily record of 12,027 Covid-19 cases for a national tally of 500,034, according to the government’s evening report. It reported 228 more deaths, putting the total at 10,405.

Germany: The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 1,176 to 253,474, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed on Wednesday.

France: The number of new confirmed cases of Covid-19 in France rose by 6,544 over the last 24 hours to stand at a total of 335,524.

Spain: Spain reported 3,168 new cases in the past 24 hours. Spain’s health ministry reported 8,964 new Covid cases on Tuesday, 3,168 of them diagnosed over the past 24 hours. The country has more than 534,000 cases.

Czech Republic: The Czech Republic has just reported 1,164 new cases of coronavirus. The highest number it has reported in a single day comes as countries around Europe battle a resurgence of the disease.

Canada: Canada is seeing a worrying increase in the number of people infected with the coronavirus as schools across the country start to reopen, a top medical official said on Tuesday.

New Zealand: New Zealand reported six new cases of Covid-19 on Wednesday, all spread by community transmission and connected to an outbreak in the largest city, Auckland.

Australia: Victoria has reported 76 new cases of coronavirus and 11 deaths over the past 24 hours. The state has imposed a strict lockdown and curfew in Melbourne to try and bring the disease under control.

South Korea: South Korea added 156 more coronavirus cases in 24 hours versus 136 a day earlier, according to data from Korea Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. The number of confirmed cases remained below 200 for a seventh day. Total number of confirmed cases rose to 21,588. The total death tally rose by three to 344.

Vaccine news

Venezuela: President Nicolas Maduro on Tuesday proposed administering a Russian coronavirus vaccine to nearly 15,000 candidates in upcoming legislative elections so that they can campaign safely, Reuters reports.

Lockdown updates

UK: Gatherings of more than six people to be banned in England. Social gatherings of more than six people will be illegal in England from Monday after the number of daily positive Covid-19 cases in the UK rose to almost 3,000.

Hong Kong: Hong Kong will expand the size of public gatherings to four people and reopen more sports venues from Friday as the Asian financial hub relaxes strict curbs against a third wave of the coronavirus.

Economic updates

Australia: A million jobs were lost in Australia between March and June quarters. The Australian Bureau of Statistics has announced that total filled jobs fell by 6.4% and hours worked fell by 9.8% between the March and June quarters.

UK: The UK Government response to the coronavirus pandemic is on track to cost £210bn for the first six months of the crisis, Whitehall’s spending watchdog has said.

9:06 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Israel MOD to fund new lab to study Covid-19

India’s Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC) researchers are conducting serosurveillance of armed forces population in the Indian city of Pune, reported The Indian Express. The three-month study will detect circulating IgG antibodies only in the city’s armed forces population. Around 500 personnel of age from 20 to 55 years and posted at AFMC will take part in the study. Blood samples are being collected to check whether they have tested positive for antibodies against Covid-19.

Thermo Fisher Scientific has signed a letter of intent (LoI) to manufacture INOVIO’s DNA Covid-19 vaccine candidate, INO-4800. INOVIO has plans to have 100 million doses of INO-4800 manufactured in 2021. INO-4800 is administered via INOVIO’s proprietary CELLECTRA smart delivery device. INOVIO received $71m in funding earlier this summer from the US Department of Defense (DoD) for large-scale manufacture of the company’s proprietary CELLECTRA 3PSP and the procurement of CELLECTRA 2000 devices.

Israel is set to build a new laboratory that will allow researchers to study Covid-19 and future life-threatening viruses. The lab will operate out of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. It is expected to begin operations by the end of this year. The Israel Ministry of Defense (MOD), the Ministry of Finance, and the university will finance the lab, which will cost NIS4m ($1.2m). Directorate of Defense Research and Development (Mafat) research and technological development unit Nadav Cohen was quoted by as saying: “It will be an especially well-guarded facility that will enable researchers to conduct tests on live coronavirus samples and study the virus’s behaviour. The lab will serve Israel’s scientific and defence community.”

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

9:02 am

Coronavirus company news summary – “Small number” of sailors aboard USS Ronald Reagan test positive – South Korean military to open trauma centre for Covid-19 care

8 September

The Commander of the Kosovo Force (COM KFOR) has requested the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC) for international assistance to help the Institutions in Kosovo to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic. The request includes two medical treatment facilities, each with a capacity of 500 beds, which are fully dedicated to Covid-19 treatment and care. These are to be deployed in the Pristina region and in Prizren or Gjakova. COM KFOR’s request was authorised by applicable military channels and forwarded it to the International Staff as requested capabilities are not readily available through military channels.

The South Korean military has announced that it is set to open trauma centre for Covid-19 care on 09 September, reported The Korean Herald. The centre was originally planned for inauguration in January 2021. The opening plans were brought forward due to an increase in the critically ill coronavirus cases in the country. The South Korean military is assisting the health ministry in offering additional support whenever and wherever required. Last week, the country’s Ministry of Defence said military doctors will serve at nine civilian health facilities in the Seoul area.

US 7th Fleet spokeswoman commander Reann Mommsen has confirmed that sailors aboard USS Ronald Reagan have tested positive for Covid-19, reported Stars and Stripes. The exact count has not been disclosed but Mommsen said it was a “small number” of sailors. Immediate medical care has been provided with no hospitalisation required for those affected. In a statement, Mommsen said: “An investigation is underway to determine the source of infection. The Reagan crew has worked extremely hard to minimise the risk of infection onboard since they deployed more than three months ago.”

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.


9:01 am

Coronavirus company news summary – US AFRICOM donates Covid-19 supplies to Ghana – Michigan National Guard conducts Covid-19 testing

7 September

The US Africa Command (USAFRICOM) has supported Ghana’s Armed Forces’ fight against the Covid-19 pandemic by donating protective and critically needed medical supplies. The $75,000 donation includes 10,000 N95 face masks, 1,600 hospital gowns, 2,000l of methylated spirit, 3,000l of sodium hypochlorite, 20 glucometers, 200 glucometer strips, and 14 pulse oximeters. The supplies were purchased using Overseas Humanitarian, Disaster, and Civic Aid Appropriation (OHDACA) funds. AFRICOM has earlier supported 37 military hospitals in Ghana and provided advanced Level II Field Hospitals in February 2020.

The Michigan National Guard is supporting LMAS District Health Department in protecting the tourism and the residents of Mackinac Island from Covid-19. The island is yet to have a case. The guard members are conducting free walk-thru Covid-19 testing event indoors for all residents and seasonal workers on the island. In the last few months, four widespread testing events have been held to assess risk. Mackinac County professional emergency manager coordinator Mike Kasper said: “This helps us do better planning and assessment of the state of the pandemic on the island.”

The Indian Air Force has announced that the Air Force Common Admission Test (AFCAT) 02/2020 will be held on 03 and 04 October this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It is conducted to shortlist Class-I Gazetted Officers in Flying Branch and Ground Duty Branch (Technical and Non-Technical). AFCAT is held twice a year all across the country in February and August. AFCAT 01/2020 was held in February while Air Force Selection Board Interview has been postponed.

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.


9:13 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Five DOD locations to participate in AstraZeneca Covid-19 Phase III trial

The Tennessee National Guard has reached Covid-19 testing milestone with more than 300,000 administered since March. Out of the total, over 50,000 Covid-19 tests were administered to the most vulnerable populations. The guard’s soldiers and airmen are working alongside Tennessee’s Department of Health, Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, and various other state and local agencies. Testing is being carried out at remote Assessment sites. The number of sites has increased to 21 and are spread across the state’s three grand divisions.

A Spanish military hospital is being re-built to treat Covid-19 as the country readies to fight a possible resurgence of the virus this winter, reported The Olive Press. The Vigil de Quinones Military Hospital is located in Sevilla and was closed about 15 years ago. The Government is planning to stand up the hospital by the end of January next year. It has allocated €117m for hospitals’ improvements. The six-storey hospital will be equipped with 150 beds and 27 intensive care beds.

The Pentagon has announced that five Department of Defense (DOD) locations will take part in AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine Phase III trial. The vaccine candidate AZD1222 is under development. the selected sites are Naval Medical Center San Diego, Joint Base San Antonio Brooke Army Medical Center, Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and Fort Belvoir Community Hospital. The participation is part of the Operation Warp Speed’s (OWS) aim to deliver safe and effective vaccines and therapeutics by January 2021.

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.

9:06 am

Coronavirus company news summary – US DOD awards contract to Copan Industries for flock tip testing swabs

3 September

The Michigan National Guard is helping the state Department of Health and Human Service (MDHHS) in testing food workers living in migrant housing camps for Covid-19. The US state has a Latino population of about 5%. The guard members have been testing any resident and several members of the migrant population. 23 airmen from Task Force 182 have been administering the free tests to Ottawa County inhabitants. MDHHS director Robert Gordon said: “The men and women who work in our fields and food processing plants are at particular risk for Covid-19, and they need and deserve protection.”

The US Department of Defense (DOD) has awarded a contract to Copan Industries to expand the industrial production capacity of flock tip testing swabs in the country in support of domestic Covid-19 testing. With the $10m contract, the company will be able to set up production capacity of flock tip swabs in Puerto Rico. This will take the total capacity to 14.4 million swabs a month by February 2021. The effort is led by the DOD’s Joint Acquisition Task Force (JATF), in coordination with the Department of the Air Force’s Acquisition Covid-19 Task Force (DAF ACT).

The South Korean Ministry of Defence (MOD) has said that military doctors will serve at nine civilian health facilities in the Seoul area to treat Covid-19 patients, reported The Korean Herald. The move comes at a time when the number of positive cases is increasing, and trainee doctors are on strike leaving the facilities understaffed. The MOD said military Capital Hospital in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province will begin taking critically ill civilian patients and also provide additional beds and doctors when available.

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.


10:22 am

Coronavirus company news summary – INDRA NAVY-2020 due to Covid-19

2 September

Soldiers of the Florida National Guard are donating convalescent plasma to combat the Covid-19 disease. Convalescent plasma may contain antibodies against the virus and could help hospitalised people fighting the infection. Soldiers who have recovered from the disease volunteered to donate. Currently, more than 1,000 soldiers remain in the fight against the pandemic and are working closely with civilian partners.

The joint exercise between Indian and Russia, INDRA NAVY-2020, has been postponed due to Covid-19 pandemic. A “non-contact, at sea only” Passage Exercise (PASSEX) has been suggested to be held. Recently, India withdrew its participation from the Kavkaz military exercise in Russia. Currently, Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh is visiting Moscow from 3-5 September to attend the meeting of Defence Ministers of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) member States.

The Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center is developing new solutions to help the US Air Force (USAF) with teleworking operations for the workforce. It has developed new business intelligence tools based on existing data on USAF facilities and infrastructure to make it easier to access data across the enterprise. Two pilot studies will be conducted at Luke Air Force Base (AFB) and Scott AFB to evaluate the feasibility of the solutions in real-world.

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

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.

9:11 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Abbott Rapid DX North America wins US DOD contract for Covid-19 tests

1 September

The US Department of Defense (DOD) has awarded a contract to Abbott Rapid DX North America for 150 million Covid-19 tests. Under the $760m initial order, which also covers distribution costs, the company will produce and deliver BinaxNOW rapid point-of-care antigen tests for Covid-19. It is a sole-source acquisition and the FDA has approved an Emergency Use Authorisation for the award. The four-month contract has 31 December 2020 as the ordering period end date. The Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support is the contracting activity and the Department of Health and Human Services is the using customer.

The US Department of Defense (DOD) has supported the delivery of 500 ventilators from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to Indonesia. The ventilators were transported by the Air Mobility Command from Travis Air Force Base to Jakarta. The devices will help the country in its fight against Covid-19 and provide better care to patients. In addition, another 350 ventilators were shipped from the US to Indonesia. Later this month, the last shipment of 150 ventilators will be delivered to the country. This will take the total to 1,000 ventilators. Meanwhile, the Royal Australian Air Force will soon deliver $1.48m worth of PPE to the Indonesian military.

Operation Warp Speed (OWS) programme has said that four of six candidate vaccines for Covid-19 will be in Phase III trials by mid-October. Currently, two are in Phase III and another two will enter by the middle of this month. OWS is already past the halfway point in finding participants for the clinical trials. Production of three of the vaccines is now underway while facilities are being established for manufacturing the other three vaccines. OWS is a partnership between the Defense Department and the Department of Health and Human Services.