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With coronavirus continuing to dominate the news cycle, it’s hard to keep track of the hundreds of stories coming out daily.

Crikey takes a look at the tidbits that you may have missed — the good, the bad and the bizarre.

Some feel-good news, finally

Let’s start with some positives.

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A 98-year-old woman has recovered from the virus in Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak. She had been in a critical condition when she was transferred to the hospital on February 13 but has since been discharged.

Like most outbreaks, the virus has had a greater impact on the elderly and physically vulnerable, though children are less affected (baffling health authorities). 

Everyone is playing their part to combat the virus. The University of Washington is developing a puzzle game to help design antiviral proteins. The most promising solutions generated by users will be tested and possibly manufactured at the university’s Institute for Protein Design.

Elsewhere, the UN has released more than $22 million in emergency funding to help vulnerable countries battle the outbreak.

A date with hygiene

Dating app Tinder has a new pop-up which gives tips to help users protect themselves from the spread of coronavirus. One tip advises people “maintain a social distance” at public gatherings (despite a business model facilitating users to get very close indeed). 

Google is also displaying help, information and safety tips when users search for coronavirus keywords. 

Meanwhile, Amazon has also pulled more than a million products off its platform under its Fair Pricing Policy for price gouging or falsely advertising effectiveness against coronavirus. Sellers had been upping prices and adding exorbitant shipping costs to profit from the outbreak. 

Loo-paper companies on a roll

As doomsday preppers and panic-buyers rush to stock up on household products, it seems everyone is overestimating just how much of one product they go through in a week: toilet paper.

The frenzy has been so widespread that Woolworths has introduced a cap of four packs of toilet paper per customer — prompting Crikey to wonder if a loo paper black market will emerge.

Australia’s largest toilet paper manufacturer Kimberly-Clark has responded by ramping up production, now running production lines 24-hours a day. 

World Health Organisation director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus wants the world to stop stockpiling masks, gloves and other protective equipment, with misuse and disruption to the global supply limiting countries’ ability to respond. Will he weigh-in on the bog-roll?

Time for a holiday?

The thought of taking a relaxing cruise ship may not be at the forefront of everyone’s minds right now, but cruises are continuing to take place around the world.

Myanmar has turned away a cruise ship with over 400 passengers despite no one on the boat having any symptoms. The Silver Spirit had last docked at Phuket, Thailand, which has seen 43 cases of coronavirus. 

There are also bargain holiday tours being offered, with low cost domestic and international trips. Flight Centre has advertised low-cost flights to Los Angeles and London, which is sure to help halt the spread of the virus.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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