Germany Looks at Extra Aid; H.K. Extends Measures: Virus Update
German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz proposed extending subsidies to preserve jobs to 24 months. The measure would cost the government an extra 10 billion euros ($12 billion).
The country relaunched short-time compensation to shield workers and companies from massive job cuts during the pandemic. The benefit, normally limited to 12 months, initially covers as much as 67% for households with children and gradually increases over the months.
Travel companies were among Europe’s main fallers in the stock market on Monday, extending Friday’s declines, after Covid-19 restriction updates from key tourist destinations.
TUI AG has canceled tours to Spain and the Balearic Islands until Aug. 24 on German government advice to avoid non-essential travel there. Its shares were down more than 4% on Monday after an 8% drop on Friday.
Singapore is set to pump in an additional S$8 billion ($5.8 billion) in fiscal stimulus to cushion the economic fallout from the pandemic, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said in a speech to the nation.
The latest measures are to support jobs and create new ones, provide further support for sectors that are hardest hit, as well as position the country for growth opportunities in a post Covid-19 world, Heng said. The new measures are to be funded by reallocating funds from other areas, such as development expenditures that were delayed due to the pandemic.
Hong Kong’s government extended all existing social-distancing measures for a week to Aug. 25. The measures include an evening dine-in ban at restaurants from 6 p.m. to 4:59 a.m., a two-person limit at tables, a two-person public gathering limit and mask requirements.
“At present, the severe epidemic situation does not allow any room to relax the social distancing measures,” a spokesman said in a statement.
Hong Kong should get prepared for a possible winter surge or a fourth wave coinciding with the usual flu season, the spokesman said.
The Philippines is looking to further reopen its economy even as coronavirus infections continue to rise, after a poll showed adult unemployment was at a record high last month.
The government wants to allow more economic activity and extend aid to small businesses after 27.3 million Filipinos in a Social Weather Stations survey in early July said they were jobless, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said.
President Rodrigo Duterte will announce either an extension or easing of the restrictions before the tightened curbs implemented in metropolitan Manila and nearby provinces lapse on Tuesday, Roque said.
Novavax Inc. announced the beginning of a Phase 2b clinical trial in South Africa to evaluate the efficacy of its Covid-19 vaccine candidate. Dr. Shabir Madhi, professor of vaccinology at Wits University, will lead the trial, which is supported in part by a $15 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Danish Crown, Europe’s biggest pork exporter, will reopen an abattoir in Denmark after an outbreak of Covid-19 among staff was brought under control. Danish Crown shut down the plant a week ago after more than 140 of its 850 workers tested positive for the virus.
That figure has since steadily fallen and the company said on Sunday it had registered about new 20 cases in the past week. The outbreak at the plant, which normally processes about 62,000 pigs weekly, has led to a halt in exports to China.
India reported 941 additional fatalities, bringing the country’s death toll above 50,000. India has the fourth-highest number of fatalities globally, after it last week surpassed the U.K.’s tally. The spread of Covid-19 continues to accelerate through the world’s second most populous country, with the total number of confirmed case at more than 2.6 million, the third most in the world.
Air crew of Singapore carriers who return from overseas from Aug. 20 will have to undergo Covid-19 testing on top of existing health and safety protocols already in place, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore said. There have been no positive cases among air crew of Singapore carriers for more than three months.
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