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Coronavirus live updates: Airlines reach terms for billions in loans; U.S. adds $1.6 billion to vaccine push

WHO evaluating role of airborne transmission

People wear face masks as they arrive at the beach during the global outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Oceanside,

The World Health Organization said it is evaluating new research into how significantly the coronavirus can spread through particles in the air as the agency faces increased pressure from scientists around the world.

The WHO has long said the virus primarily spreads from one person to another through respiratory droplets, often emitted from coughing and sneezing. The agency previously said particles from such droplets might become airborne in certain environments, but said it’s not a primary driver of spread in the general population.

Now, after hundreds of scientists from around the world published a letter saying the role of airborne transmission must be more seriously considered, the WHO said it continues to evaluate the research.

“The body of evidence continues to grow and we adapt,” Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, the WHO’s chief scientist, said. “We take this very seriously. We are, of course, focused on public health guidance.”

5 more airlines reach terms for billions in federal loans

Five more U.S. airlines — DeltaUnitedJetBlueSouthwest and Alaska — have reached agreements with the Treasury Department over the terms for billions in federal loans aimed at helping them weather the impact of the coronavirus. The terms, which weren’t disclosed, require borrowers to compensate taxpayers with instruments including warrants, stock or senior debt, the Treasury Department said.

Five other airlines, including American, already reached agreements, the Treasury Department said last week.

The $2.2 trillion CARES Act set aside $25 billion in loans for U.S. passenger airlines. It isn’t guaranteed that airlines will tap the loans. Carriers also received $25 billion in payroll support that requires them to keep employees paid through Sept. 30, but Delta and United have begun warning employees that government-mandated advance notice of potential furloughs could come this month for thousands of staff members.

Airlines are trying to exhaust voluntary measures like buyouts and early retirements before turning to involuntary cuts. —Leslie Josephs

CDF PROJECTS ATTRACTS NEW INVESTORS IN IMALA

The Managing director of Vitex Industries visits CDF office in Imala for partnership, adding to the development drive in Imala land.