Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:
Second wave scare
South Korea will extend its prevention and sanitation guidelines against the coronavirus until daily new infections drop to single digits, the health minister said on Friday, failing which he warned of a return to tough social distancing measures. The announcement came as such cases persist in the mid-double digits following a series of new clusters in the area around Seoul.
About half a dozen U.S. states including Texas and Arizona are also grappling with a rising number of coronavirus patients filling hospital beds, fanning concerns that the reopening of the U.S. economy may spark a second wave of infections.
The mass protests against racism after the killing of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis last month have also raised concerns of a renewed spike in infections.
Test them all
China is building hundreds of testing laboratories and stocking up on tests as it looks to make testing universal and available in every corner of the mainland.
Procurement documents and official notices show it is sharply expanding its testing capability, already the world’s largest, extending it even to rural health facilities as it also looks to revive the economy after an unprecedented plunge in the first quarter.
On Monday, the National Health Commission said it would look to “normalise” nucleic acid testing. “If they’re willing to be checked, check them all,” said the policy notice.
Roping in the drones
Airspace Systems, a California startup company that makes drones that can hunt down and capture other drones, on Thursday released new software for monitoring social distancing and face-mask wearing from the air.
The software analyzes video streams captured by drones and can identify when people are wearing masks, standing close together or points where people gather in clusters. Airspace aims to sells the system to cities and police departments.
The company says the system does not use facial recognition and does not save images of people or pass those images to its customers. Even with those protections in place, the system is still “a step toward robots that are monitoring our behaviour,” said Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst with the American Civil Liberties Union’s Speech, Privacy and Technology Project.
Crosses at Copacabana
Brazilians critical of their government’s ambiguous response to a surging coronavirus pandemic dug 100 graves and stuck black crosses in the sand of Rio’s Copacabana beach on Thursday in a tribute to the nearly 40,000 people who have died so far.
The country has become a major epicentre of the global pandemic, with the world’s worst outbreak after the United States.
“The president has not realized that this is one of the most dramatic crises in Brazil’s history,” said organizer Antonio Carlos Costa, referring to President Jair Bolsonaro. “Families are mourning thousands of dead, and there is unemployment and hunger.”