Long term adoption of short term solutions
Written by Juan Palenzuela, Associate
Edited by Kevin Pringle, Partner
You queue, put your bags through the security belt and walk through the metal detector, all the while a thermal camera is monitoring your body temperature. Not far away from that area, there is a specialised room with fast ribonucleic acid (RNA) testing equipment and trained personnel who regularly check on the passengers suspected of carrying an infection, as well as some random travellers.
The way in which the pandemic will shape air travel in the future is transformative. So far, it has boosted innovation of new diagnosis technologies, while also putting pressure on decision makers to adopt them sooner than later. But many of those measures won’t simply go away once everything goes back to ‘normal’.
Airports, being ideal hubs for transmission, will be inclined to standardise and keep most of those measures when the pandemic ends. The calls yesterday from John Holland-Kaye, chief executive of Heathrow Airport, to introduce permanent in-site screening and testing confirm this.
Nonetheless, there has been some pushback. Some airports have complained about the queues caused by the new screening measures, while some epidemiologists have questioned the effectiveness of using thermal screening altogether.
But that is unlikely to stop the standardisation and adoption of new health screening measures over the long term. RNA testing is getting so fast, cheap and easy that in the near future screening in airports will involve much more than just infrared cameras.
Last month, researchers at the University of Oxford developed a new RNA testing method that decreased the time taken to diagnose a viral infection to less than half an hour, from the two hours it takes currently. Meanwhile, Roche, a medical equipment manufacturer, is coming up with smaller, cheaper, more sensitive and radically better machines that can run these diagnoses. It is not far fetched to see similar advances reducing the diagnosis time to just a few minutes or even seconds by the end of the year.
Investment in these critical areas will continue to rise at an unprecedented rate to help solve a short-term crisis. But the effects of the resulting innovation will be very much for the long term.
The prime minister has been moved to intensive care after being admitted to the hospital on Sunday evening with the coronavirus. A statement issued by the prime minister’s office says that he is receiving "excellent care" and that he was moved on the advice of his medical team. Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary, will deputise for him.
Deaths from coronavirus in Italy fell to their lowest since 19 March, while those in Spain fell for the fourth day in a row. China, where the pandemic started, reported no new deaths. It is a sign that the containment measures are taking effect. In light of this, Austria and Germany have announced new plans to gradually remove restrictions towards the end of the month.
After the state’s governor, Tony Evers, tried to call it off, the Wisconsin supreme court ordered the state to move ahead with in-person voting today. The election will provide insight into Joe Biden’s potential race against Donald Trump in November.
Business and economy
In his annual letter to shareholders, the chief executive of JPMorgan warned that the company could suspend its dividend for the first time in its history if the pandemic triggers a sharp recession. That is almost certainly going to happen:some economists believe America’s GDP will drop nearly 30% next quarter.
WH Smith confirmed that it is in “advanced stages” of preparation for an equity issue to raise about £150 million from institutional shareholders as it battles to survive the crisis.
Grant Thornton, the UK’s sixth largest accounting firm, reported a more than 90% fall in profits it makes from company audits. The company had previously delayed its results by a week to assess the impact of the pandemic.
Columns of note
We can no longer turn a blind eye to China, and the country needs to be called to account after this crisis for its handling of the situation, says Melanie Philips on the Times.
The pandemic will be the catalyst to spark a boom in tech innovation and its implementation, argues John Thornhill on the FT.
Source: The Chronicle Herald
What happened yesterday?
The slowdown of coronavirus confirmed cases and deaths reported yesterday encouraged investors worldwide, even after uninspiring data on unemployment claims and GDP growth were released yesterday in the US.
In America, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed nearly 4% up at 21,987.21, while the S&P 500 was 4.37% higher at 2,597.30 and the Nasdaq Composite 4.48% stronger at 7,703.57.
In Europe, the Stoxx 600 added 3.73% to 320.58, while the German Dax rose 5.77% to 10,075.17 and 4.0% to 17,039.31 for Italy's FTSE Mibtel. Spain's Ibex 35 added 3.99% to 6844.3.
In the UK, the FTSE 100 ended the session up 3.08% at 5,582.39, and the FTSE 250 was ahead 5.06% at 14,812.36.
What's happening today?
Global Yachting Group
Polar Cap Gbl
UK economic announcements
(08:30) Halifax House Price Index
Int. economic announcements
(07:00) Industrial Production (EU)
(20:00) Consumer Credit (US)
Did you know?
The Spanish town of Lijar declared war on France in 1883 after the Spanish king "...was stoned and offended in the most cowardly fashion by miserable hordes of the French nation.". The two sides signed finally signed a peace agreement in 1983.
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