World coronavirus dispatch: Aviation sector stares at worst year in history

Softbank’s $100-billion Vision Fund is preparing to offload 80 employees, about 15% of the workforce.
The coronavirus pandemic has not spared even the most powerful and wealthy. Softbank’s $100-billion Vision Fund is preparing to offload 80 employees, about 15 per cent of the workforce, according to Bloomberg sources. The cuts, likely to be announced this week, might come on the heels of last quarter’s reported operating loss of $13 billion from write-offs in WeWork and Uber valuations. Read more here

Let’s look at the global statistics

  • Total confirmed cases: 7,238,768
  • Change over previous day: 119,032
  • Total deaths: 411,279
  • Total recovered: 3,371,823
  • Nations hit with most cases: The US (1,979,850), Brazil (739,503), Russia (484,630), the UK (290,581) and India (276,146).
Source: Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Research Center

Airlines forecast to suffer $84-billion losses in 2020: Airlines are set to lose $84 billion as the coronavirus pandemic reduces revenue by half to mark the worst year in the sector’s history, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has said in a forecast. Read more here

France opens probe in handling of coronavirus response: Paris prosecutors have opened a preliminary investigation after receiving dozens of complaints surrounding the handling of the coronavirus epidemic. The investigation will seek to establish the decision-making processes put in place to deal with the health crisis so as to uncover any criminal offences. Read more here

New infection rate in US slows: Coronavirus cases in the US increased by 17,145 over a week, to 1.97 million. The 0.9 per cent increase was below the average daily increase of 1.1 per cent over the past seven days and the slowest gain since March. Read more here

UK eases lockdown: The latest lockdown easing plans in the UK will mean that zoos and drive-in cinemas will be able to join non-essential shops in being able to reopen on Monday, 15 June, though the government backed down on a plan to let all primary school reopen completely before the summer break in mid-July. Read more here

Fashion retailer Zara reports loss: Zara owner Inditex booked its first ever quarterly loss as it reported results for the February-April period, which was marred by the coronavirus pandemic and the ensuing shuttering of thousands of its stores around the world. The retailer booked a net loss of $465 million on sales of 3.3 billion euros — nearly half the sales from a year ago. Read more here

Specials

China rejects Harvard study that said Covid-19 came up last summer: China has angrily rejected findings by scientists at Harvard University that coronavirus started circulating in the city of Wuhan at the end of last summer. The researchers from Harvard and Boston universities had come to that conclusion after analysing satellite images of hospital car parks in Wuhan and queries on China’s Baidu search engine about disease symptoms like cough and diarrhoea. Read more here

Long Reads 

Africa’s debt may be the next explosion: Government loan payments were manageable — barely — when growth was strong, but fallout of the coronavirus pandemic threatens to unravel years of progress. The crisis has created the biggest shock the global economy has faced. The rapidly expanding debt loads in developing countries, particularly those in Africa, will only magnify the difficulties. The IMF says more than a third of African countries are approaching or already experiencing “debt distress” after a slowdown in commodity prices. Read more here
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