Covid-19 wrap | Disney to cut 28 000 jobs amid downturn, India's infections surge to 6.23 million

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Disney to cut 28 000 US employees amid downturn    

Disney announced on Tuesday it will cut 28 000 jobs from its US parks and experiences division, pointing to depressed demand caused by the coronavirus and uncertainty on when it will recover.

The cuts were needed in light of social distancing requirements, exacerbated by tough restrictions imposed by the California state government, the company said in a press release. About two-thirds of the affected employees are part-time staff.


India's coronavirus infections surge to 6.23 million      

India's coronavirus case tally surged to 6.23 million after it reported 80 472 new infections in the last 24 hours, data from the health ministry showed on Wednesday.

Deaths from coronavirus infections rose by 1 179 in the last 24 hours to 97 497, the ministry said.

The south Asian nation, which is second only to the United States in terms of total cases, has a scope for higher infections with a large chunk of the population still unexposed to the virus, a survey showed on Tuesday.


Merkel: We can avoid another national lockdown in Germany   

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday that she wanted to do everything in her power to avoid another national lockdown as coronavirus infection numbers rise again in Europe's largest economy, adding that she believed this was possible.

"We all want to avoid a second national shutdown and we can do that," Merkel said, adding that people knew much more about how to protect themselves and the health system than they did back in March, when a national lockdown was implemented.


Austria investigates four over Covid-19 quarantine at Ischgl ski resort    

Austrian prosecutors said on Wednesday they have placed four people under investigation in connection with a quarantine and other restrictions imposed at the ski resort of Ischgl in March because of a massive coronavirus outbreak.

Thousands were infected at the resort that called itself the "Ibiza of the Alps", many of them foreign tourists who brought the virus home before the first case was detected there on 7 March. Austria's public health agency believes the virus arrived there a month earlier, spreading in crowded bars.

Prosecutors in the provincial capital Innsbruck have been investigating whether anyone in Ischgl endangered others by, for example, failing to report a case before 7 March. Instead, Wednesday's announcement appears to be in relation to the quarantine and other measures taken on 13 March.

"In particular the implementation of decrees relating to traffic restrictions in Ischgl and the quarantine in the Paznaun Valley are being examined more closely. Four people are being investigated as suspects in relation to that," the prosecutors' office said in a statement, naming the valley Ischgl is in.


Regeneron says early trials promising for Covid-19 treatment   

The US biotech firm Regeneron said on Tuesday its antibody cocktail against the coronavirus reduced viral load and recovery time in non-hospitalised Covid-19 patients during an early-stage clinical trial.

"We are highly encouraged by the robust and consistent nature of these initial data," said George Yancopoulos, the company's president and chief scientific officer.

Regeneron said it would recruit 1 300 patients for the next stages of the outpatient trial. It is also concurrently running late-stage trials for hospitalised Covid-19 patients and for the drug's potential use as a prophylaxis.

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