World coronavirus dispatch: US unemployment rises, job cuts at airlines

Topics Coronavirus | Lockdown

US President Donald Trump has said he is looking “very strongly” at banning domestic air travel to curb the spread of coronavirus
The coronavirus situation seems to have battered the US, with the number of infections in that country crossing the 200,000-mark rather quickly. Piling on to its worries is growing joblessness. New data show that the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits more than doubled to 6 million – a new record.

Let’s look at the global statistics:

Total confirmed cases: 962,977

Change over the previous day: 88,896

Total deaths: 49,180

Total recovered: 202,728

Nations hit with most cases: US (216,768), Italy (110,574), Spain (110,238), China (82,431), and Germany (80,641).

Source: Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Research Center

US may ban domestic flights

US President Donald Trump has said he is looking “very strongly” at banning domestic air travel to curb the spread of coronavirus but added that he is conscious that it will damage the US airline industry. He will announce his recommendations soon. Read more here.

Credit crisis in emerging markets

Investors are bracing for an emerging market credit crisis as the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic hits vulnerable countries. Commodity prices have plunged and demand has frozen, and currencies are tumbling against the dollar. This has particularly hit emerging markets in Africa, Asia and South America. Read more here.

Russia extends social isolation measures

President Vladimir Putin has extended his order keeping Russians at home until April 30. So far, the restrictions are in force in Moscow and some other places. He has authorised regional leaders to decide and enforce measures is their respective areas. Read more here.

Boeing announces voluntary layoffs

Plane maker Boeing has announced a voluntary layoff plan. Though the details of the plan have not been shared, its co-CEO Dave Calhoun has said that eligible employees who want to exit the company under this plan will be offered pay and benefits. Read more here.

British Airways to slash 32,000 staff

After it warned it might need to slash costs if it is to survive the coronavirus pandemic, British Airways may suspend around 32,000 employees. It has already announced a 50 per cent pay cut for its pilots, and is now nearing a deal to suspend 80 per cent of its cabin and ground crew, engineers and office staff. Read more here.

Second wave of cases in China

Even as China eases lockdown restrictions in most places, including Wuhan, where the coronavirus first emerged, scientists warn that another wave of positive cases could hit the country. How things unfold across China will be relevant to how other countries implement containment measures. Read more here.

Patients allowed to vote by mail in South Korea

South Korea will allow coronavirus patients, some 4,000 of them, to vote by mail. The country goes to the polls on April 15 to elect 300 members of its national assembly. State agencies have advised regular voters to wear masks at polling stations, use sanitisers and gloves available there, and to keep a distance from others. Read more here.

Covid-19 tumbles WeWork rescue plan

SoftBank has terminated the $3-billion tender offer for additional WeWork shares it had earlier agreed to buy from other shareholders, drawing threats of legal action and plunging the company further into crisis. It said it could not proceed with the deal, citing criminal and civil probes into the start-up, WeWork’s failure to restructure a joint venture in China and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Read more here.


Image of the day: Baptism in the time of social distancing via @GeronimoFrost

Social distancing baptism. Photo: @GeronimoFrost

The unusual ways in which countries are managing lockdowns. In some Colombian towns, people are allowed outside based on the last number of their national ID number. Sweden has banned gatherings of – wait for it – over 50 people. Serbia has a god-walking hour in the day. Read more here

What the coronavirus lockdown looks like from space: A side-by-side comparison of how major sites of the world look pre- and during the lockdown. See it here.

Back to the world: People in Beijing give personal accounts of how it feels to emerge after two months after in lockdown. Read more here

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