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A Samsung smartphone during a media preview event. (Photo: Michael Short/Bloomberg)

Samsung earnings boost: Global virus update

A Samsung smartphone during a media preview event. (Photo: Michael Short/Bloomberg)

Key Developments:

Samsung Earnings Boost

Samsung Electronics reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings, indicating that the tech industry is climbing back. While the pandemic has hurt the global economy, it has also accelerated a shift toward online activity such as video conferencing and entertainment streaming.

NY New Cases Below 7-Day Average

New York reported 588 new cases on Tuesday. The 0.1% increase was below the 0.2% average increase in the previous seven days and in line with Monday’s figures. The state added Delaware, Kansas and Oklahoma to its quarantine list.

UK Should Aim for Zero Cases, Scientists Say

A group of scientists said the UK government needs to be more ambitious in its efforts to prevent COVID-19 and start aiming for complete eradication. The strategy should include measures that specifically aim to achieve zero cases, such as broad programs to test and trace infections and limiting both local and international travel, the Independent SAGE group said in a report.

Glaxo, Medicago Work on Vaccine Candidate

GlaxoSmithKline is collaborating on an experimental COVID-19 vaccine with Medicago, a company partly owned by Philip Morris International Inc. Human testing is due to start in mid-July, and the companies aim to make the vaccine available in the first half of 2021 if successful.

The UK pharmaceutical giant is contributing its technology to multiple partnerships rather than developing its own vaccine candidate.

US Home Prices Seen Falling

US home prices will fall about 6.6% during the 12 months through May 2021, the first annual annual decline since 2012, as the economic impact of the pandemic deepens, according to a report Tuesday by CoreLogic Inc.

Hong Kong Local Cases Jump

Hong Kong reported its largest number of local infections in almost three months, stumping local health officials and reflecting the difficulty of eradicating the pathogen.

The city found nine new local cases, government officials said, the most since at least April 8. Authorities have yet to determine how five of the patients contracted the disease.

Romania Has Highest Number of Deaths Since May 13

Romania reported 31 deaths from the coronavirus in the past 24 hours, the highest number in almost two months, according to government data. The daily number of new infections stood at 397, bringing the total to about 30,000, with 1,799 dead.

Singapore Doesn’t See Second Wave

Singapore says it doesn’t see a second wave of infections at this point in time, even as the number of community and imported cases ticked up after the city-state lifted restrictions.

The new cases are a continuation of cryptic infections occurring within the community, Kenneth Mak, the health ministry’s director of medical services, said at a briefing. “We don’t see this as a second wave at this point in time,” Mak said.

Iran Suffers Deadliest Day

Iran suffered its deadliest day of the coronavirus outbreak. Authorities reported that 200 people had died from Covid-19 over the past 24 hours, a sharp spike from the previous high of 163 recorded on July 5. The total death toll reached 11,931 out of 245,688 known cases.

England and Wales Weekly Deaths Fall

Weekly COVID-19 deaths fell to their lowest in 13 weeks in England and Wales and now account for just 6.7% of total deaths in the week ended June 26, the Office for National Statistics said on Tuesday.

Fatalities fell in all English regions except the North East and total U.K. coronavirus deaths were registered at now over 55,100.

Heathrow Aims to Trial Virus Tests

London’s Heathrow airport plans to conduct trials of a coronavirus testing procedure that could allow the scrapping of quarantine rules for people arriving from territories including the U.S.

The pilot program would be offered as a private service, with swabs taken by nurses from Collinson Group at a facility run by ground-handling firm Swissport International AG. Passengers would go on to their place of quarantine with the results made available within 24 hours.

Europe Sees Deeper Economic Slump

Europe’s economy will suffer more than previously estimated this year and take longer to recover because of a slow easing of coronavirus restrictions, according to the bloc’s executive arm.

The European Commission forecasts a contraction of 8.7% in the euro area this year, a full percentage point deeper than previously predicted. Risks remain “exceptionally high and mainly to the downside,” the commission said on Tuesday.

Philippines Eases Restrictions

The Philippines is further easing restrictions to allow non-essential travel to countries that permit it, as long as departing passengers have round-trip tickets, visas and health insurance. They will have to undergo quarantine upon return. Beauty salons in areas with the lowest quarantine level can also offer services including hair colouring.