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Huawei fires employee arrested in Poland on spying charges

The Japan Times

HONG KONG/WARSAW - Chinese telecommunications equipment maker Huawei said on Saturday it had sacked an employee arrested in Poland on spying charges in a case that could intensify Western security concerns about the company. Poland's internal affairs minister, Joachim Brudzinski, called for the European Union and NATO to work on a joint position over whether to exclude Huawei from their markets following the arrest of the Chinese employee and a former Polish security official on Friday. Huawei, the world's biggest producer of telecommunications equipment, faces intense scrutiny in the West over its relationship with China's government and U.S.-led allegations that its devices could be used by Beijing for spying. No evidence has been produced publicly and the firm has repeatedly denied the accusations, but several Western countries have restricted Huawei's access to their markets. In August, U.S. President Donald Trump signed a bill that barred the U.S. government from using Huawei equipment and is mulling an executive order that would also ban U.S. companies from doing so.

Covid-19 latest: Wuhan discharges outbreak's last coronavirus patient

New Scientist

Wuhan, where the coronavirus pandemic began, has discharged the outbreak's last covid-19 patient. The whole of China reported fewer than 12 new coronavirus cases on Saturday. Social distancing restrictions are still in place, but are being gradually reduced, with almost 50,000 high school students returning to class in Beijing today. Since the outbreak began, China has reported more than 83,000 cases and more than 4,600 deaths, according to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University. An analysis by the Financial Times suggests the global death toll for covid-19 may be almost 60 per cent higher than official counts according to excess death statistics from 14 countries. The World Health Organization (WHO) says "immunity passports", which would allow people who have been been infected with coronavirus to move around after they recover, are a bad idea. "There is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from covid-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second ...

Coronavirus latest: Lockdown in Wuhan, China is lifted

New Scientist

The lockdown in Wuhan, China, which has been in place since 23 January was lifted today, four months after the world's first reported coronavirus cases were detected there last year. People with a "green" code on a government-issued smartphone health app are now allowed to leave the city, and train, road and rail connections have reopened. Some limits on transport remain and schools will stay closed for now. The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Africa has passed 10,000, with more than 500 deaths across the continent from covid-19 so far. The US recorded the world's highest death toll in a single day on Tuesday, with more than 1800 deaths. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson's condition is "improving" after he spent two nights in intensive care in hospital being treated for covid-19. Mauro Ferrari, the president of the European Research Council (ERC), the EU's most prestigious scientific research organisation, has resigned and criticised the EU's coronavirus response. Ferrari wanted the ERC to provide funding for a large-scale programme to support scientists researching covid-19, but his proposal was rejected. The coronavirus can infect and replicate in domestic cats and ferrets, but replicates poorly in dogs, pigs, chickens and ducks, according to a study. The virus is thought to have originated in bats, although it is not known if the virus crossed over into other animals before it first spread to humans. Researchers are investigating whether people who have recently recovered from mild coronavirus infections can become infected again. A preliminary study found that 175 recently-recovered individuals had unexpectedly low levels of antibodies against the virus, which might be too low to provide protection. The worldwide death toll has passed 83,000. The number of confirmed cases is more than 1,400,000, according to the map and dashboard from Johns Hopkins University, though the true number of cases will be much higher. Protecting children: Children will face many hidden negative effects from the new coronavirus, but it's not too late to avert them, says Paul Ramchandani. Covid-19 risk for underlying conditions: Does a cell surface protein explain why the coronavirus is more likely to kill people with diabetes or heart disease? Researchers are trying to find out. Coronavirus under control in Australia: Early signs suggest Australia is starting to beat the coronavirus, with the rate of new infections slowing for more than a week. How is it achieving this and will the trend continue? What are the worst symptoms and how deadly is covid-19?

Coronavirus latest news: Covid-19 antibody test ready 'in days'

New Scientist

The UK government has ordered more than 3 million finger prick antibody tests that could be ready in a matter of days. The tests could reveal whether someone had covid-19, but it is still not known whether it's possible to develop long-lasting immunity to the coronavirus. China's Hubei province lifted all travel restrictions today, with the exception of Wuhan, where restrictions won't be eased until 8 April. In Malaysia, which is currently the worst-hit country in South East Asia, the lockdown has been extended for two more weeks. Other coronavirus developments Facebook usage has surged in countries under lockdowns. It's estimated that a quarter of the world's population is currently under lockdown and, although Facebook usage is up, the tech giant's advertising revenue is falling. The White House and the Senate have agreed a stimulus package worth more than $1.8 trillion to help ease the economic impact of coronavirus in the US. Some prisoners could be temporarily released in several countries, including England and Wales, to ease pressure on jails caused by more staff taking sick leave and self-isolating, the BBC reports.

Covid-19 news: UN says 1.6 billion people could lose their livelihood

New Scientist

Nearly half the global workforce – more than 1.6 billion people – could lose their livelihoods due to coronavirus restrictions and lockdowns, according to a UN International Labour Organization report. These include many informal workers, such as domestic workers, agricultural workers and street vendors, who may not have worker benefits or social protection. "For millions of workers, no income means no food, no security and no future," said the organisation's director general Guy Ryder. "As the pandemic and the jobs crisis evolve, the need to protect the most vulnerable becomes even more urgent," he said. A new coronavirus antibody test has been certified as compliant with European Union safety standards. The company which developed the antibody test, Abbott, claims it is highly sensitive when used 14 days after a person first developed symptoms. It is still not clear whether people with antibodies are protected from reinfection and how long such protection might last.