Israeli hi-tech companies raised about 2.74 billion U.S. dollars in funds in the first quarter of 2020, setting an all-time record, the Israeli IVC Research Center reported Sunday.
In comparison, Israeli hi-tech companies raised 2.36 billion dollars in the fourth quarter of 2019, and 1.56 billion dollars in the first quarter of 2019.
The new record was set in 139 deals, up from 138 deals in the fourth quarter 2019, and 130 deals in the first quarter of 2019, according to the Israel Tech Funding Report, written by IVC and ZAG-S&W law firm.
According to the report, the COVID-19 crisis has caused businesses to cease regular activity and search for ways to survive this uncertain period.
They noted that the first to suffer from the global recession in the Israeli hi-tech industry were young seed companies, with only four capital-raising deals made since February.
Marianna Shapira, research director at IVC, told Xinhua that "the coronavirus crisis impacts are not yet reflected in the data because it includes continuous deals and trends from previous quarters, but the changes will be significantly seen in the coming quarters' figures."
Noting that the telecom sector is facing economic challenges following the coronavirus outbreak, the Association of Mobile Telecom Operators of Bangladesh (AMTOB) on Thursday urged the law enforcers to extend cooperation for smooth functioning of top-up stores during the ongoing nationwide shutdown.
It also informed that Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) are already observing trends in usage patterns that may leave some dent on their overall revenue, said a press release.
The data usage has increased by 15-20 percent following the reduction of data pack tariffs byup to 50 percent, AMTOB said, adding that the voice calls have dropped by upto 20 percent in the last couple of days.
It also said the total number of recharge through the retail channels has also dropped by around 20 percent due to the restrictions on people’s movement.
The organisation alleged that although telecom sector was declared as an emergency service during this crisis period, law enforcement agencies are imposing restrictions in some places.
It also urged customers to recharge for talk time using other means such as mobile financial services, electronic money transfer and mobile applications.
The government on Wednesday extended holidays till April 11 to prevent the transmission of COVID-19. Earlier, a general 10-day holiday was declared from March 26 to April 4.
Grameenphone (GP) will donate 50,000 units of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and 10,000 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test kits to hospitals designated for coronavirus treatment by the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).
These will help protect health professionals on the frontline tackling the outbreak situation, said a press release of GP.
Posts and Telecommunication Minister Mustafa Jabbar welcomed the initiative, and said he hoped other companies will also come forward and stand beside the government to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak.
Yasir Azman, Chief Executive Officer of Grameenphone, said: "This is our utmost responsibility to contribute as individuals and corporations during this unprecedented global crisis.”
Meanwhile, Bangladesh confirmed its sixth coronavirus death and three more cases on Wednesday, raising the total number of confirmed cases to 54.
Major social media companies are taking aim at Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro's dismissal of social distancing, joining others in the country who have lined up against his controversial stance regarding the new coronavirus.
Facebook and Instagram removed posts by the far-right leader Monday night that showed Bolsonaro walking around outside capital Brasilia on Sunday and mingling with groups. It was yet another affront to World Health Organization recommendations to self-isolate as a means to contain the pandemic. The companies' move came one day after Twitter also removed some Bolsonaro posts.
Facebook, which owns Instagram, said in a statement that it removes content "that violates our community standards, which do not allow disinformation that might cause real damage to people."
Twitter justified its decision by saying in a statement that its rules prohibit content that runs "against public health information given by official sources and can put people at greater risk of transmitting COVID-19."
Bolsonaro is one of few world leaders who say the virus itself will cause less harm than shutting down the economy. In a national address Tuesday night, while repeating that same argument, he changed his rhetoric, calling the pandemic he once described as "a little flu" as "the biggest challenge of our generation." His speech was met with pot-banging protests for the 15th night in a row.
His defiance has received vocal backing from supporters — both on social media and in several cities where they staged demonstrations demanding life return to normal — but his attitude has also been rejected by mayors, state governors and judges. Even some members of Bolsonaro's own administration have insisted on broad lockdown measures that run contrary to his statements.
Last Thursday, Bolsonaro issued a decree that added religious activities to the list of "essential services," meaning churches could remain open even though governors had banned large gatherings. The decree was overruled by a federal court the following day.
Supreme Court Justice Marco Aurélio Mello authorized an opposition lawmaker's request for Bolsonaro's own prosecutor general to investigate an alleged crime committed by the president, the Supreme Court's website said Tuesday. The allegation of endangering the public is based on Bolsonaro encouraging people to disobey isolation measures, calling concern over the pandemic "hysteria" and characterizing the virus itself as "a little cold." The judge's action requires the prosecutor general to issue a legal opinion.
In an interview with the newspaper O Globo, Prosecutor General Augusto Aras said that Bolsonaro is free to express his opinion and go out in public so long as he doesn't issue any official decrees that counter broad lockdown guidelines, which could tread into territory that requires legal evaluation.
Despite the president's open skepticism, senior members of his own Cabinet have insisted on hewing closely to guidelines recommended by international health authorities. "Always technical, always scientific, always doing the maximum we can to preserve lives," Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta told reporters on Monday.
On Tuesday, Brazil's health ministry reported 5,717 cases of Covid-19 and 201 deaths, the largest figures in Latin America. That included more than 1,100 new cases since the prior day — by far Brazil's biggest single-day increase yet.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially the elderly and people with preexisting health conditions, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.
Bolsonaro has 12 million followers on Facebook, almost 16 million on Instagram and more than 6 million on Twitter. Social media was key for his election victory in 2018.
Twitter recently deleted posts from Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro for sharing speculation about possible unusual cures for Covid-19.
Walton, a local electronic brand has taken up an initiative to manufacture necessary medical equipment including ventilators to fight the coronavirus or COVID-19 outbreak.
State Minister for Information and Communication Technology Junaid Ahmed Palak confirmed the matter in an online press briefing on Monday and said “Ventilators for COVID-19 patients would be built in the country shortly.”
Walton High-Tech Industries Limited Executive Director Engineer Golam Murshed said ventilators are necessary equipment for COVID-19 patients.
“In this crisis moment Walton would make life-saving ventilators, Power Air Purifier Respirator (PAPR), Oxygen concentrator, UV disinfectant, Safety Goggles, protective shield, respiratory mask, etc,” he said.
More than 50 engineers were currently working on the research, development and design of the medical equipment although the factory has been closed, he added.
Meanwhile, two more people have been tested positive for coronavirus in Bangladesh in the last 24 hours, raising the total number of coronavirus cases in the country to 51, said the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) while the global death toll from the disease jumped to 37,814 on Tuesday.