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Headlines • Study led by WHO finds Remdesivir ineffective • Berlin court overturns government curfew on bars and restaurants over lack of evidence • Wales bans travel from UK hotspots • Lancashire has agreed a deal to move into Tier 3

Company news

Leisure

J D Wetherspoons – “Like-for-like sales in the first 11 weeks have been 15.0% below those of last year, with strong sales in the first few weeks, followed by a marked slowdown since the introduction of a curfew and other regulations. The recent curfew and introduction of table service only have been particularly damaging for trade, depressing sales for customers who find it too much ‘faff’, at the same time as substantially increasing costs.”

Pret a Manger – “is closing six stores and cutting 400 jobs.”

Real Estate

RDI REIT# – “Across the group’s portfolio, approximately 81.5% of gross rents or income due was collected for either the September quarter, or the month of September, where rents are billed monthly. This compares to 70.1% for the June quarter, at approximately the equivalent time post the relevant due date. The collection rate for June now currently stands at 90.2%.

Negotiations with occupiers and clients are ongoing. As we have seen for previous periods, collection rates are expected to improve or, in certain cases, result in agreements to remove break options or extend leases.”

Retail

Edinburgh Woollen Mills – which also owns Peacocks, confirmed today that 50 stores would shut, with the loss of 600 jobs.

Other

• A ban on travelling to Wales from coronavirus hotspots elsewhere in the UK comes into effect this evening.

• A one-way Australia-New Zealand ‘bubble’ opens today. None of the passengers will have to quarantine on arrival in Australia, though they will have to do so on returning to New Zealand.

• New rules have come into effect in Scotland extending the mandatory wearing of face coverings. They will now be required in workplace settings such as canteens, with areas such as corridors and other communal facilities included in a further extension of the rules coming into force on Monday.

• The Chinese city of Qingdao has almost finished testing its entire population of nearly 10 million people.

• The World Health Organization says the antiviral drug Remdesivir has “little or no effect” on hospital patients with Covid-19. Full conclusion: “These Remdesivir, Hydroxychloroquine, Lopinavir and Interferon regimens appeared to have little or no effect on hospitalized Covid-19, as indicated by overall mortality, initiation of ventilation and duration of hospital stay. The mortality findings contain most of the randomized evidence on Remdesivir and Interferon, and are consistent with meta-analyses of mortality in all major trials.”

• Lancashire is to enter England’s highest tier of coronavirus restrictions. A deal has been agreed with central government that involves a support package worth £42m.

• From Saturday, the highest level of restrictions will be introduced in almost half of Poland, including Warsaw and most major cities. In those areas, distance learning will be reintroduced for secondary schools and universities. Wedding and family parties will be banned and public gatherings limited to 10 people. Restaurants and bars will be limited to 50% capacity and they must close at 21:00, after which a takeaway service will be available. Swimming pools and gyms will close throughout the country and spectators will no longer be permitted in sports grounds, which were previously allowed to be one quarter full. Facemasks are already mandatory for everyone in public spaces.

• In Berlin the court has suspended a curfew on Berlin’s bars and restaurants, joining others in Germany in overturning government-imposed measures. The court said there was no evidence that bars and restaurants that stick to rules on mask-wearing and social distancing contributed to any increase in infection rates. The ruling was in response to legal action brought by 11 restaurant owners who contested the curfew, but not a ban on the sale of alcohol after 11pm.

• Israel intends to ease some lockdown restrictions on Sunday, the government has announced, following a four-week national shutdown

• US President Donald Trump yesterday said he is willing to raise his offer of $1.8 trillion for a Covid-19 relief package to get a deal with House of Representatives Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

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