Coronavirus - 18 February


• Two million in the UK have not worked for six months
• India implements tests for travellers from the UK, SA & Brazil
• $24tn added to global debt, IIF
• 130 countries have not received any vaccines, 10 countries have administered 75% of all doses
• The South African variant may reduce protection of the Pfizer vaccine by 66%

World news

• Almost two million people have not worked in the UK for at least six months due to the economic impact of the pandemic, according to a report. Those people affected were either unemployed or fully furloughed, the Resolution Foundation think tank said.

• The pandemic added $24tn to global debt in 2020 a new study by The Institute of International Finance has shown, leaving it at a record $281tn and the worldwide debt-to-GDP ratio at over 355%.

• Cyprus plans to reopen its airports with the help of a colour-coded health risk assessment from 1 March, applicable to travellers from its main tourism markets and the EU, authorities said on Wednesday.

• Results from an ongoing study by the University of Nantes in France showed that 21% of diabetes patients admitted to hospital with Covid-19 die within 28 days. The study also showed that 12% of diabetes patients admitted to hospital were still in hospital 28 days after they first arrived.

• Some 130 countries have not received a single vaccine dose according to the UN, with 10 countries administering 75% of all vaccine doses.

• A laboratory study suggests that the South African variant may reduce antibody protection from the Pfizer Inc/BioNTech SE vaccine by two-thirds, and it is not clear if the shot will be effective against the mutation, the companies said today.

• In the UK, men in Elementary Occupations (those performing mostly routine tasks, often involving the use of simple hand-held tools and, in some cases, requiring a degree of physical effort) had the highest mortality rates with statistically significantly higher mortality rates in five other groups. Women in process, plant and machine operatives had the highest mortality rates with statistically significantly higher mortality rates in two other groups, according to an analysis by the Office for National Statistics.

• According to Statistics New Zealand, the country’s total fertility rate has dropped to 1.61 births per woman of child-bearing age (15-49 years) well below the population replacement rate of 2.1.

• India will make molecular tests mandatory for people arriving directly or indirectly from the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil.

• Hong Kong’s government has approved the Chinese-made Sinovac vaccine for emergency use after a panel of experts fast-tracked its recommendation.

• US federal agents have seized more than 10m fake 3M brand N95 masks, the result of an ongoing investigation into counterfeits sold in at least five states to hospitals, medical facilities and government agencies.

• UK Nursing applications are up 8% YoY after five years of decline. Applicants in all ages groups grew by 30% on average, but there was a 40% drop in EU applicants.

Company news

Financial Services

 Barclays – “Credit impairment charges increased to £4,838m (2019: £1,912m) due to the deterioration in economic outlook driven by the Covid-19 pandemic. The current year charge is broadly driven by £2,323m of non-default provision for expected future customer and client stress and £800m of single name wholesale loan charges. The expected credit loss (ECL) provision remains highly uncertain as the economic impact of the global pandemic continues to evolve.”