World Coronavirus Dispatch: Europe steps up efforts to contain pandemic

Photo Bloomberg
Ireland and Wales imposed stringent lockdowns and Italy’s financial centre is planning a curfew, as Europe steps up efforts to regain control of the coronavirus pandemic. In Germany, tensions rose with parliamentary leaders sparring with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s administration over efforts to contain the spread of the disease. New cases in Europe’s largest economy rose to a record on Tuesday, and the first German region imposed stringent constraints. 

After leaders vowed to steer away from harsh lockdowns to protect the economy, Europe is reviving the measures in some areas. Piecemeal curbs have made little impact in slowing the disease, which has infected 4.9 million people and caused more than 200,000 fatalities. Read more here


Total Confirmed Cases: 40,411,186

Change Over Yesterday: 729,933

Total Deaths: 1,118,398

Total Recovered: 27,707,599

Nations hit with most cases: US (8,214,754), India (7,597,063), Brazil (5,250,727), Russia (1,406,667) and Argentina (1,000,662)


Biggest Dubai bank more than doubles provisions; profit dips: Emirates NBD PJSC braced for credit losses by more than doubling the amount of money set aside in provisions amid the coronavirus pandemic as it reported a 55 percent slump in its nine-month profit. Dubai’s biggest bank increased impairment allowances more than anticipated by some analysts, bringing the total to 6.4 billion dirhams ($1.7 billion). Read more here

China leisure spending remains a drag on rebounding economy: China’s hotels and restaurants, one of the hardest-hit industries in the economy during the coronavirus pandemic, contracted 5.1 percent from a year ago, an improvement from the 18 percent decline in the second quarter. For the first nine months of the year, output was down 19.1 percent compared to the same period in 2019. Read more here

Hong Kong airlines Cathay to cut 6,000 jobs and close dragon: The Hong Kong-based airline is expected to officially announce the plan after the market close on Wednesday, according to South China Morning Post. It initially planned about 8,000 layoffs globally, but after government intervention reduced that to 18 percent of its total workforce, including some 5,000 jobs in Hong Kong. Read more here

London’s Heathrow airport offers pre-departure rapid covid-19 tests: The Oxford LAMP rapid Covid-19 tests will cost 80 pounds ($104) and can be used for travel to destinations including Hong Kong and Italy that are conditioning entry on a negative Covid-19 result. Results will be available in as little as 60 minutes. Other locations including Cyprus and the Bahamas mandate an RT-PCR test. Read more here


UBS gives employees Covid bonus of one week's pay, softens career exit: UBS is giving lower-ranking employees an extra week’s pay this year in light of the Covid-19 pandemic and adding a financial softener for employees looking to exit finance. The bank has also modified its bonus policy so that eligible employees who wanted to make a career change under the strains and uncertainty of Covid-19, would be able to retain more deferred compensation than previously. Read more here

Dettol maker Reckitt upgrades full-year sales forecast: Reckitt Benckiser has upgraded its full-year sales forecast, cementing its position as a winner from the pandemic thanks to consumers stuck at home buying more cleaning products. The maker of Dettol and Lysol disinfectants, and Durex condoms said that it expected “low double-digit” growth for the full year, up from high single digits previously forecast. Read more here

Specials 

UK paves way for first tests to expose people to virus

 
The first trials to deliberately infect people with the coronavirus to accelerate the development of vaccines could occur in the UK next year as part of an agreement reached by the government. Britain signed a contract with Open Orphan Plc and its London-based unit, hVivo, that paves the way for human challenge trials. The plan is to manufacture the virus and conduct a study to determine how much of the pathogen to expose volunteers to in the trials. The agreement could be a turning point in the debate over whether to conduct such studies, which could help researchers to combat the virus but expose healthy volunteers to potential risks. A campaign to launch challenge trials has gained momentum as the virus continues to advance globally, and tens of thousands of people around the world have signed up to participate. Read more here

Founder-led firms outpacing CEO-led ones in market recovery

Technology companies led by their founders have been the standout winners in share price performance and profit growth this year, beating companies led by other managers, according to a Reuters analysis. Major founder-led tech firms have seen their share prices double so far this year, comfortably beating a 7.8 per cent gain for the S&P 500 index. They have also outperformed rival tech firms led by hired managers, enriching investors and adding billions of dollars to the wealth of the founders themselves, including Amazon's Jeff Bezos, Netflix's Reed Hastings and Tesla's Elon Musk. Read more here

At home: How to get your friends to stop treating you like a therapist

 
The stress from the pandemic means that sometimes we’ll have to play armchair therapist with our friends. In fact, showing vulnerability promotes more intimate and enriching friendships. In this moment of widespread malaise, however, you may be called upon more frequently to be the emotional caretaker. “If you’re the one who’s on more of the receiving end, you can burn out,” said Racine Henry, a licensed marriage and family therapist in New York City. “It can become draining to be the one everyone calls and not the one people ask, ‘How are you doing?’ or ‘What do you need?’” Of course, we never want to leave our friends high and dry in a time of distress, but maintaining our own emotional equilibrium is crucial if we’re to be fully present for our companions,— which is important in this moment. Here’s how to remain supportive of your friends during a global crisis without feeling as if you’ve fallen into the role of therapist. Read here


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