World coronavirus dispatch: Fresh outbreak in Beijing gathering momentum

A child has his body temperature taken outside Hankou Railway Station. Photo: Reuters
Coronavirus resurgence in Beijing, HSBC revives plan to cut 35,000 jobs, and Indonesian virus cas-es top Singapore.

Hundreds of Beijing flights cancelled after coronavirus resurgence: Hundreds of flights in and out of Beijing were cancelled on Wednesday as authorities stepped up measures to rein in a sudden outbreak of coronavirus in the Chinese capital, placing it under a so-called "soft lockdown”. On Wednesday, Beijing reported 31 new Covid-19 cases for the previous day, bringing the total number of infections over the past six days to 137. The flare-up, linked to the city's largest wholesale food market, Xinfadi, is the worst coronavirus resurgence in China since the initial epidemic was largely brought under control in March. Read more here.

Let’s look at the global statistics:

Total Confirmed Cases: 8,196,735.

Change Over Yesterday: 1,51,896

Total Deaths: 444,368

Total Recovered: 3,978,358

Nations hit with most cases: US (2,137,731), Brazil (923,189), Russia (552,549), India (354,065), and United Kingdom (299,600)

Europe’s wage subsidies may not prevent 9 million job losses: One in five furloughed workers in Europe might lose their jobs despite generous support measures designed to prevent that, according to research by Allianz economists. Close to a third of Europe’s workforce -- or 45 million jobs in the five largest economies alone -- are benefiting from state support schemes that compensate the lost pay of workers on reduced hours. While these programmes are often credited with pre-empting the sort of short-term mass unemployment seen in the US, economists led by Katharina Utermoehl say about 9 million of them could lose their jobs once support measures run their course. Read more here.

Europe’s airlines dangle summer bargains to unlocked masses: European airlines are offering some attractive discounts to people itching for an escape from months of coronavirus lockdown. But fares could rise quickly as demand picks up. Carriers are touting promotional summer prices as they return to the skies for the first time since late March or early April. Ryanair Holdings Plc is advertising return trips from London Stansted to Seville, Spain, in mid-July for 20 pounds ($25), or Trieste in Italy for 50 pounds. The low-cost carrier’s average return fare last year was 74 euros ($83). Read more here.

Indonesian virus cases top Singapore as pandemic spreads: Indonesia surpassed Singapore as the country with the most number of coronavirus infections in Southeast Asia as the world’s fourth-most populous nation ramped up testing across the archipelago to contain the pandemic. Indonesia has seen a surge in infections in recent weeks with the ramping up of virus testing as authorities began easing social distancing rules in capital Jakarta and other cities to revive an economy brought to a halt by the pandemic. Read more here.

CureVac coronavirus vaccine cleared for human trials in Germany: Germany’s CureVac AG won approval to start human trials of a novel coronavirus vaccine just days after the company secured backing from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government. Regulators gave the company the green light to test the shot in first-phase trials on 168 healthy people, according to a statement on Wednesday. It’s the second such treatment to go into clinical testing in Germany. Read more here.

UK housebuilders will need government support, says Berkeley: Berkeley has said the house-building and construction industry will need government support, including a simplification of the planning process, if it is to play a leading role in helping the British economy recover from the coronavirus. Rob Perrins, the chief executive of the FTSE 100 housebuilder, said the government would need to intervene to kick-start growth. Read more here.

HSBC revives plan to cut 35,000 jobs after coronavirus pause: HSBC is reviving a programme of job cuts it put on hold three months ago as the bank grappled with the coronavirus crisis, pressing ahead with a broad overhaul that will include 35,000 job losses. Noel Quinn, chief executive, said in a memo on Wednesday that the decision to resume the planned redundancies, paused in March, was prompted by a fall in profits in the first quarter and grim economic forecasts. He said the bank would also extend a freeze on external recruitment. Read more here.


What we can learn from people who worked remotely pre-pandemic: Organisations where work-from-anywhere is the norm can offer tips on how to make this not only bearable, but pleasant and productive, says Barbara Larson, a professor at Northeastern University’s D’Amore-McKim School of Business. She has three takeaways — and an important caveat. Set clear guidelines Work-from-anywhere teams are more explicit about their processes and norms — things such as how they handle conflict or make decisions. In an office, these norms often go unspoken. But in a virtual set-ting, they can take some effort to establish. Read more here.

After coronavirus, the NHS's ability to provide care will be reduced, experts warn: All NHS staff – regardless of job, NHS employer or private contractor – need secure employment and decent pay. The good practices and collective agreements established in the NHS must apply elsewhere. The unfair two-tier pay system with its inferior rates and zero hours can’t continue. The health service has shown its mettle in this crisis but the virus has taken a toll, particularly on BAME workers. What lessons can be learned? Read here.

Chinese shoppers are giving luxury brands some hope: Chinese shoppers are starting to snap up high-end handbags, shoes and jewellery again, giving the luxury goods industry hope that a recov-ery is on the way. But leading brands will likely have to rethink the way they do business to withstand a damaging, worldwide hit to sales this year, as well as a shift in shopping habits in many recession-scarred economies. Several companies reported an uptick in China as people emerged from weeks of lockdowns, spurring what some analysts have called a trend of "revenge spending"— the release of pent-up demand once people aren't forced to stay home. Read more here


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