Coronavirus update for business: Pete Evans fined, the software on the up, and is the stimulus package a “colossal mistake”?

Pete Evans

Former My Kitchen Rules judge Pete Evans.

Please make a U-turn

The former chief economist for the Abbott government has reportedly branded Morrison’s $190 billion COVID-19 stimulus package a “colossal over-reaction and a mistake”.

According to The Australian, Andrew Stone has urged the current government to wind back its economic measures, suggesting that the extent of the crisis hasn’t proven to be as bad as expected.

“Government led people to believe the virus would be like a Spanish flu; that’s turned out not to be the case, and they will forgive it if it admits that, on new information, it was wrong and allows businesses to reopen,” Stone told The Australian.

“Most of all we need to avoid a situation whereby we’re effectively printing money to pay people to do nothing,” he said.

My Advertising Rules

Celebrity chef and My Kitchen Rules star Pete Evans has copped a fine for misleading advertising, after allegedly suggesting his ‘BioCharger’ product could be used to tackle COVID-19.

Evans’ company has been fined $25,000 by the Therapeutic Goods Association (TGA), for breaching the Therapeutic Goods Act.

In a Facebook livestream, Evans allegedly said the BioCharger could be used in relation to the “Wuhan Coronavirus”.

The Facebook page has 1.4 million followers, and the TGA said it received “a number of complaints” about the promotion.

A second infringement notice was issued for additional alleged breaches on the BioCharger website. The page allegedly claims the product is “proven to restore strength, stamina, co-ordination and mental clarity”, and that it can aid “recovery….from an injury, stress”.

Doing it for the kids

Facebook has launched its Messenger app for children in Australia, and that’s probably the most eerily creepy tech thing you will read today.

The app is not all that different to Messenger (I guess we call it ‘adult Messenger’ now?) except it’s been tailored to kids aged six to 12, extending Facebook’s market reach into the primary school years.


Parents are able to review conversations and connections made through the app, amid a range of other security features Facebook — a company with a chequered security record — says make the product safe for young kids.

Poison warnings, because, Trump

Manufacturers of disinfectants and bleach have issued additional warnings to customers following US President Donald Trump’s suggestion injecting disinfectant could be investigated as a remedy for COVID-19.

Reckitt Benckiser, owner of Dettol, Lysol and Vanish, has urged people to avoid injecting or ingesting any of its products in any circumstance.

Meanwhile, poison control centres in the United States have reported spikes in calls following Trump’s comments, in which he also suggested exposure to ultraviolet light could combat the virus.

Trump has since walked back the claims partially, incredulously claiming he was being “sarcastic”.

Jolly good, old chap

The UK government has become the latest to lay out a specific financial support package for startups, reportedly dishing out £1.25 billion ($2.45 billion) to support innovation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The funding will include grants and loans for high-growth businesses, as well as matched investment from the government.

UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the scheme is about maintaining innovation in the economy.

“As we look ahead and start to plan for our recovery, it is critical we don’t just maintain companies and jobs that already exist,” he said.

“But that we also encourage the businesses, jobs and technologies of the future.”

Working from LAME

The folks over at Business Insider surveyed 10,000 people about how coronavirus was affecting their lives, and the results are pretty interesting.

A whopping 47% of readers said working from home had negatively affected their productivity… and damn, those feels.

It can be hard to irk out the same hourly gains at home as in the office, and the suggestion that almost half of this BI sample feel the same way is at least somewhat comforting.

Software winners

Research out of the US, based on Google search impressions, has mapped the software categories that are seeing unprecedented interest since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis.

As you would expect, web conferencing software is up there with a 500% increase in impressions. But electronic signature software is also something of a surprise leader, seeing a 511% increase, second only to telemedicine tools, which have increased by 613%.

Some of the more obvious remote working solutions — webinar, live chat and video platforms — have each seen increases around the 200% mark. Antivirus software searches are up 357%, and mobile app development tech is up by 366%.

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