World coronavirus dispatch: Who's liable if those back at work become sick?

Topics Coronavirus | Lockdown

Frankfurt: A woman working for the regional public transport company offers face masks in the main train station in Frankfurt, Germany, Monday, April 27, 2020. AP/PTI
The number of coronavirus cases in the US has topped the one-million mark, and its death toll stands at over 58,000. President Donald Trump has attributed the high number of cases to better testing.

Now that a growing number of US states are moving forward with their plans to restart economic activity, arguments over corporate liability in case of workers getting sick and fiscal policy currently dominate the political agenda.

Let’s look at the global statistics:

Total confirmed cases: 3,127,519

Change over previous day: 73,554

Total deaths: 217,674

Total recovered: 937,571

Nations hit with most cases: US (1,012,583), Spain (232,128), Italy (201,505), France (169,053) and UK (162,350).


China plans to convene Congress in show of vigour: China has taken another significant and hugely symbolic step towards returning to business as usual by scheduling its most important political meeting of the year on May 22.The National People’s Congress was supposed to convene in March, but it could not do so as the coronavirus pandemic was making thousands of people sick at the time. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the 3,000 or so delegates would come to Beijing or if it would be held virtually through video conference.

US restaurant industry seeks govt aid: Thousands of independent restaurant owners from across the country would join a Zoom press conference on Wednesday to push the US Congress to create a "restaurant stabilisation fund" for small eateries on the brink of insolvency. A group called Independent Restaurant Coalition (IRC) is pushing for a $120-billion fund to provide direct relief to independent bars, wine bars and restaurants.

Google parent’s earnings beat market expectation: The quarterly earnings of Alphabet Inc, the parent firm of Google and YouTube, beat analysts’ estimates on Tuesday and executive comments showed the company’s cloud and YouTube businesses kept growing in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. Total sales were up 14 per cent, YouTube revenue jumped 33.5 per cent, and Google Cloud’s top line soared 52 per cent. However, ad business earned less as companies cut down on marketing spend in March.

Uber is weighing lay-offs: As people continue to stay at home amid the coronavirus pandemic, leadership at Uber is discussing potentially laying off as much as 20 per cent of the company's workforce, according to The Information. The company's chief technology officer, Thuan Pham, also resigned recently. The company also recently withdrew its financial forecast for the rest of the year, signalling it anticipated business to be affected for months to come.

US politicians spar over corporate liability if employees fall sick: Two Democrats in the Congress rejected Senate leader Mitch McConnell’s call for protection against liability lawsuits for employers who reopen during the coronavirus crisis. The House speaker told reporters on Tuesday that Democrats wanted employees returning to work to have more safety protections, not fewer. Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer said he did not want to see employers protected from lawsuits by workers who might be pushed to return to unsafe conditions during the pandemic.

69 die in US old-age home for veterans: Nearly 70 residents sick with coronavirus at a Massachusetts home for ageing veterans have died. While the death toll at the state-run home continues to climb, federal officials are investigating whether residents were denied proper medical care and the state’s top prosecutor is deciding whether to bring legal action. Another 82 residents and 81 employees have tested positive.


World’s richest expect new dip in stocks before buying: A majority of the world’s wealthiest investors are waiting for stocks to drop further, on concerns over the pandemic’s impact on the global economy, before buying again, according to a poll by UBS Global Wealth Management. Among the surveyed investors and business owners with at least $1 million in investable assets or annual revenue, 61 per cent want to see equities falling by another 5 per cent to 20 per cent before buying, while 23 per cent say it’s already a good time to do so.

The pandemic has disrupted the supply of other vaccines: Malaria vaccinations will be disrupted in at least 41 African nations this year due to Covid-19, while polio vaccination for up to 12 million children have been put on hold. The coronavirus pandemic continues to evolve rapidly in Africa, with 33,273 cases and 1,467 deaths reported so far.

Coronavirus’ impact on the elderly: The elderly are at a greater risk from Covid-19, and they now face added anxiety because of delays obtaining medicare insurance coverage in the US. Advocates for seniors say the main problem involves certain applications for coverage for outpatient care. It stems from the closure of local Social Security offices in the coronavirus pandemic.

Airbus boss opens up on aviation impact: Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury said he was aiming to define “a new world by June” when longer-term demand from airlines would be clearer. Initial assessments suggested a return to normal could take three to five years. Airbus would take steps to “resize” the business for both the short and medium terms. The company has 81,000 of its 130,000 employees working in its passenger jet business, compared with 64,000 at rival Boeing’s commercial division.

Starting a new job during the pandemic: While millions are out of work as the coronavirus crisis cripples the global economy, a lucky few are starting new jobs. For those people, finding the rhythm of an unfamiliar workplace will be harder than ever. New hires will need to put in more effort to find out what’s expected of them, and it’s important to arrange quick check-ins with managers. to understand how to navigate a new job in this time.


Who’s profiting from the coronavirus crisis? William Cohan, a former investment banker and the author of four books about Wall Street, says a few billionaires are still winning.

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