Qantas is set to cut nearly all its international flights until March 2021

Qantas Airways is effectively cutting nearly all its international flights until March 2021, changes to the airline’s inventory reveal. Australia’s flagship carrier will only maintain a few flights to New Zealand, which are currently still grounded until mid-August of this year. 

The airline has removed inventory for all its international routes beyond New Zealand, a move that typically precedes cancellation. 

Qantas in March announced the suspension of all international flights until October, a grounding period that now looks to be extended to a full year — and could still extend further as the coronavirus pandemic continues to batter air travel. The airline’s stock price has fallen just over 50% year to date.

The airline announced in June that it was retiring its six Boeing 747 planes immediately, six months before initially planned, slashing 20% of its staff, and grounding its double-decker Airbus A380s for the next three years. —Natasha Turak

Virus pushes Delta, Wells Fargo to rare quarterly losses

Travelers wear face coverings while standing at a Delta self check-in kiosk at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Virginia.

Drew Angerer | Getty Images

Coronavirus pushed Delta Air Lines and banking giant Wells Fargo to rare quarterly losses, the companies said in some of the first quarterly reports of what’s expected to be a messy earnings season. 

Delta posted a second-quarter loss of $5.7 billion, the airline’s largest since 2008. Air travel demand all but halted during at the peak of coronavirus shutdowns, causing Delta and other carriers to slash flight schedules and burn through cash. 

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Wells Fargo’s second-quarter net loss of $2.4 billion marks the bank’s first since the financial crisis. The company set aside $8.4 billion in loan loss reserves tied to the coronavirus pandemic and slashed its dividend from 51 cents a share to just 10 cents. 

For more on how corporate earnings are faring during Covid-19, click here. —Sara Salinas

3M partners with MIT on rapid, cheap antigen test

3M and researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are partnering to produce a rapid, widely accessible coronavirus antigen test, the company announced.

The current U.S. testing capacity has struggled to keep up with the surge in demand driven by expanding outbreaks in a number of states, including Florida, Texas and California. Rapid, affordable and accurate antigen tests could help quickly detect new infections and target public health interventions. 

Antigen tests can be more quickly processed and are less dependent on the global supply chain than so-called PCR diagnostic tests, which are seen as the most accurate screening strategy currently available. Antigen tests are typically less sensitive than PCR tests, which means they can result in false negatives that misdiagnose someone who actually has an active infection. 

“The biggest challenge in the outbreak is identifying who is infectious,” Hadley Sikes, the lead researcher of the MIT team, told CNBC. “Trying to figure out who is infectious and having them isolate. That’s really what we need.” —Will Feuer

Immunity might wane after just two months, U.K. study finds

Researchers at Kings College London (KCL) in the U.K. have found that antibody responses to the coronavirus tend to peak three weeks after the initial onset of symptoms, but then begin to decline after as little as two or three months afterwards meaning that immunity to the virus could be short-lived.

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The study, led by Dr. Katie Doores from KCL’s School of Immunology & Microbial Sciences, examined the antibody levels of over 90 patients, health-care workers and staff at Guy’s and St. Thomas’ NHS foundation trust, which runs several London hospitals, between March and June.

While 60% of the people in the study had a “potent” level of antibodies an average of 23 days after the first onset of symptoms, that figure dropped to 16.7% of those tested 65 days after the first signs of symptoms.

Doores said that further research is needed to determine the level of antibodies required for protection from infection.

“We need to continue to measure antibody responses in these individuals to see if antibody titres continue to drop or plateau to a steady state,” she said. Antibody titres refer to the presence, and amount, of antibodies within a person’s blood. —Holly Ellyatt

Hong Kong reports 48 new cases as city battles new cluster

Hong Kong reported 48 new cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday as the city continues to grapple with a new cluster of infections, many of which are tied to a series of restaurants, according to the city’s health authorities, Reuters reported.

Passengers wear surgical masks in an MTR train, following the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Hong Kong, China July 13, 2020.

Tyrone Siu | Reuters

“Half of the reported cases today have unknown sources. It is very worrying because the cases can spread easily in the community,” said Dr. Chuang Shuk-kwan, a senior health official, according to Reuters.

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On Monday, The Center for Health Protection of the Department of Health announced 52 new confirmed cases. The health agency identified the restaurants that the clusters are believed to be tied to and encouraged people who had recently visited them to seek out testing. All residents of the buildings of infected people were given supplies to collect their own samples to be tested. The city has now reported 1,570 total cases.

In response to the spreading infections, Hong Kong will implement new, harsh restrictions on gatherings that take effect at midnight, local time. The new restrictions require masks on public transportation, prohibit restaurants from providing dine-in service, and limit gatherings to four people. —Will Feuer

Read CNBC’s previous coronavirus live coverage here: California’s two largest school districts to return online in the fall 

Via CNBC