Germany, Saudi Arabia, others to pay private sector wages to avert mass sack
Germany said it is readying an emergency budget worth more than 150 billion euros ($160 billion) to shore up jobs and businesses at risk from the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak, the finance minister said on Saturday.
This is in line with decisions in Saudi Arabia, Germany and other nations where commercial activities have thinned out by government order due to the Covid-19 contagion.
* More than 274,800 people have been infected across the world and 11,389 have died, according to a Reuters tally.
* For an interactive graphic tracking global spread: open tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7 in an external browser
* Britain told people panic-buying and hoarding food to calm down on Saturday, pointing to a video on social media showing an exhausted nurse driven to tears by finding shelves bare after her shift.
* Italy imposed further draconian restrictions on public life on Friday. The death toll in Italy leapt by 627 to 4,032, an increase of 18.4% – by far the largest daily rise in absolute terms since the contagion emerged a month ago.
* Spain said it would turn a Madrid conference center into a giant military hospital, as Europe’s second-worst outbreak claimed another 235 lives.
* France reported 78 new deaths on Friday, taking the total to 450, an increase of 21%.
* Germany may enforce a nationwide curfew if the country’s 83 million people fail to keep their distance from each other this weekend.
* New Jersey’s governor was expected on Saturday to follow four other states – California, New York, Illinois and Connecticut – demanding that millions of Americans close up shop and stay home to slow the spread of coronavirus infections.
* The total number of known U.S. cases has climbed past 19,000 in a surge that health officials attributed in large part to an increase in diagnostic testing. More than 270 Americans have died.
* The U.S. Homeland Security Department said restrictions on travel across the U.S.-Canadian land border would begin at 11:59 p.m. EDT Friday and last until April 20.
* Mexico and the United States have agreed to form a joint task force to combat the spread at their border.
* China reported a record rise in imported coronavirus cases as students and expatriates returned home from the United States and Europe, sparking fears of a second wave of infections just as the country recovers from the initial outbreak.
* All 41 of the new confirmed cases in China were imported from overseas, the country’s National Health Commission said on Saturday.
* A Chinese report into the coronavirus death of a young doctor reprimanded by police when he tried to raise the alarm about the disease drew quick criticism online.
* Indonesia’s total of cases rose to 450, with 38 deaths, a health ministry official said on Saturday. This comes a day after the governor of Jakarta declared a state of emergency in the Indonesian capital for the next two weeks.
* Malaysia’s cases jumped to 1,183 on Saturday with four deaths, and the government warned of more cases next week as it looks for people who attended a mass religious gathering linked to a majority of the cases.
* Vietnam will suspend all inbound international flights, the government said in a statement on Saturday.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* Iran’s death toll from the outbreak rose on Saturday by more than 100 to 1,556, and the total number of people infected now exceeds 20,000, a health ministry official said.
* Saudi Arabia, which has announced a $31.93 billion support package, has suspended all domestic flights, buses, taxis and trains for 14 days starting Saturday.
* The disease stopped communal Muslim prayers for the first time in living memory in many mosques from Indonesia to Morocco on Friday.
* Egypt on Saturday ordered mosques and churches to shut their doors to worshippers, after calls for the government to follow steps taken by neighboring countries.
* Angola on Saturday confirmed its first two cases of coronavirus, while Mauritius recorded its first death as the virus spreads across Africa.
* The coronavirus stimulus package being negotiated by the U.S. Senate would be worth more than $2 trillion, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Saturday.
* Germany is readying an emergency budget worth more than 150 billion euros ($160 billion) to shore up jobs and businesses at risk from the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak, the finance minister said on Saturday.
* Amazon.com Inc said on Saturday it is raising overtime pay for associates working in its U.S. warehouses, as the world’s largest online retailer tries to meet the rapidly growing demand for online shopping from consumers stuck at home.
* Wall Street retreated on Friday after New York ordered residents to stay at home, rattling investors who had welcomed this week’s fiscal and monetary measures. [MKTS/GLOB]
* The Trump administration plans to send a special energy envoy to Saudi Arabia to work with the kingdom on stabilizing the global oil market, officials said on Friday.
* Lockdowns and panic food buying could ignite world food inflation even though there are ample supplies of staple grains and oilseeds in key exporting nations, a senior economist at FAO and agricultural analysts said.
* The British government will pay a massive share of private sector wage bills to discourage bosses from firing staff.
* Vehicle production could be reduced by about 1.44 million in Europe, North America and Latin America, according to an estimate by information provider IHS Markit.
* The container shipping industry, a bellwether for international trade, has been blown off course with container lines re-routing cargoes and reducing calls to Chinese ports.
* Indian key crop prices have plunged as much as 50% just as farmers prepare for harvest, putting paid to prospects for a rural economic rebound. REUTERS