International Covid-19 news: Covid-19 could cost global economy $82 trillion, Greece to resume tourism

International Covid-19 news: Covid-19 could cost global economy $82 trillion, Greece to resume tourism

The global economy could be set back by a harrowing $82 trillion (the equivalent of R1.47 quadrillion, or one thousand four hundred and seventy trillion rand) in damages related to the coronavirus pandemic over the next five years, according to recent findings by a University of Cambridge department that examines systemic risks.

Business Insider US reports that these cost projections are based on 2019 gross domestic product volumes which stood at $69.2 trillion for the world's 19 leading economies. The contrast, in comparison, is visibly massive.

The Centre for Risk Studies at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School determined that the potential toll could range between what it called an "optimistic loss" of $3.3 trillion in case of rapid recovery, and $82 trillion in the event of an economic depression.

While lost value of $82 trillion is the worst case scenario, the centre's consensus projection was a loss of some $26.8 trillion, or 5.3%, of global GDP in the coming five years.

The centre was keen to stress that its metrics are not forecasts for what will happen, rather projections on what might occur. They are also not meant to reflect an economic contraction, but rather how much potential GDP is at risk.

1 in 5 in Stockholm have virus antibodies, as coronavirus crisis worsens in Sweden

Sweden, which has controversially taken a softer approach to the coronavirus pandemic, said on Wednesday that more than one in five people in Stockholm were believed to have developed antibodies to the virus, AFP reports. 

An ongoing study by the country's Public Health Agency showed that 7.3% of a sample of randomly selected people in Stockholm - Sweden's worst-hit region - had antibodies when they were tested in the last week of April.

"The figures reflect the situation in the epidemic earlier in April, since it takes a few weeks before the body's immune system develops antibodies," the health agency said in a statement.

Asked about the study during a press conference, state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell said he believed that to date "a little more than 20%" had probably contracted the virus in Stockholm - where over a third of Sweden's confirmed cases have been recorded.

A total of 1 104 tests were analysed.

On Wednesday, Sweden reported a total of 31 523 confirmed cased of the new coronavirus and 3 831 deaths.

Sweden's strategy is aimed at pressing down the curve so the healthcare system is not overwhelmed, while allowing the rest of society to function as near normally as possible. People were encouraged to adopt responsible behaviours instead of a lockdown being initiated by the country's government.

Italy's airports to open, Greece to resume tourism

All Italian airports can reopen from 3 June in another step to easing the country's coronavirus lockdown, AFP reports.

Meanwhile, AFP reports that Greece will restart its tourism season on 15 June in a key boost to the economy after the virus lockdown, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said Wednesday, adding that international flights would resume on 1 July.

With Greece suffering fewer than 170 Covid-19 deaths over two months into the pandemic, Mitsotakis said its prompt response to the virus would be a "passport of safety, credibility and health" to attract visitors.

German woman lights candles to commemorate Covid-19 deaths

As Germany slowly emerges from coronavirus lockdown, one woman is lighting a nightly installation of 8 000 candles in memory of the pandemic dead, determined to continue "until a vaccine is found," AFP reports. 

At dusk each evening, 60-year-old Gertrud Schop makes the rounds of an imposing cross marked out with candles on the grass in Zella-Mehlis, a small town in central Thuringia state.

Each of the flickering flames represents one of the 8 000 people who has died in Germany since March.

ZELLA-MEHLIS, GERMANY - APRIL 17: Gertrud Schop, 6

Gertrud Schop, 60, lights candles in the shape of a cross for each of Germanys approximately 3 869 deceased victims of Covid-19 on her property on 17 April. (Jens Schlueter/Getty Images)

Beginning early that month, Schop had originally planned to light a white candle for each person infected with the Covid-19 disease, alongside red lights for each who succumbed.

"I wanted to make visible the numbers from the Robert Koch Institute (for disease control)," said Schop, who was also motivated by her Christian faith.

"Three numbers on a sheet of paper, a statistic, that doesn't touch people's hearts like this installation that grows day by day," she added.

But as the number of cases quickly surged, reaching 176 000 confirmed infections so far, Schop gave up on the original plan switching instead to commemorating the dead alone.