Global Intelligence Briefing 10 March 2020: Coronavirus management

By Chris Woods

Tuesday March 10, 2020

Welcome to Global Intelligence Briefing, The Mandarin’s morning update on everything in local and global government responses to the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Crashes for ASX, global markets

Coronavirus-related economic crises along with plunges with oil have seen global stocks plummet overnight, with CNN reporting that the NYSE temporarily suspended trading after a 7% drop. According to The Guardian, Australia is all but certainly headed for our first recession since 1991, after a dive of 7.33%, or $140 billion, yesterday that was in part due to bloodletting on oil prices and increased production by Saudi Arabia.

As the federal government finalises its $10 billion stimulus package and Australian papers are packed to the gills with analyst advice — check out the Sydney Morning Herald’s wrap for more on that front — it’s perhaps worth reviewing ANU projections of the crisis published last week; the best-case scenario, according to researchers, still points to 15 million people dead and a $2.4 trillion hit to global GDP.

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South Korea hints at a turning point

South Korean officials, while warning against premature celebration, have expressed hope the country is nearing a “turning point” in the crisis, with Bloomberg reporting that new daily cases have fallen from upwards of 500 last week, and peaking at 916 in late February, to 248 on Monday.

As Croakey explored last week, the country has done a relatively excellent job of matching large, fully subsidised testing systems with honest communication and a clearly-defined national protocol bourne; check out the Twitter thread below for a first-person POV from yesterday’s briefing.

In a separate, more politically-motivated move, South Korea has reciprocated Japan’s visa ban.

WHO launches consolidated guidance policies

As part of their latest situation report, WHO has launched a consolidated package of existing preparedness and response guidance for slowing and stopping COVID-19 transmission.

It comes as the organisation grows its free online COVID-19 courses on OpenWHO, which have now been partially or fully translated into 17 national languages.

Ghosts flights haunt Europe’s skies

COVID-19’s impact on the airline industry — already set to knock $US113 ($170) billion in lost sales, according to the International Air Transport Association — has led to a bizarre phenomenon across Europe: empty “ghost” planes.

As Gizmodo reports, this is down to Europe’s “use it or lose it” rule for flight allocations; UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has since written to regulators asking for a moratorium, which the EU has previously instituted during the 2009 recession.

Meanwhile, on the home front…

Western Australia will today begin rolling out dedicated clinics for suspected coronavirus cases, which, as the state health department details, will run 8am-8pm at three hospitals. For more, The Conversation explains how the clinics will operate and where other states are at in rolling out their own versions.

In related national updates, 7News reports that Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy has announced separate entrances for suspected patients at the dedicated clinics, while The Australian ($) reports that private labs have been called in to help with testing as the national Healthdirect hotline becomes swamped by calls.

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