Coronavirus - 25 February


• 4.7m on furlough in January
• France extends border restrictions with Germany
• Toronto cancels outdoor events in July
• Finland to go back into lockdown

World news

• Treasury figures show 4.7 million people were on furlough at the end of January up from 4.0m. Of these, 1.15million worked in the hospitality sector.

• France will bring in new restrictions around its common border with Germany. Cross-border workers, who had been exempt until now, will need to present negative PCR tests to get through if travelling for reasons unrelated to their jobs.

• A study of 8,000 people by Cardiff University and Cancer UK has found that 45% who had experienced at least one warning symptom of cancer did not seek help.

• The Swedish government has said it would reduce opening hours for all restaurants, bars and cafes, as well as tighten limits on the number of people allowed in shops.

• Care UK, one of the UK’s largest care home operators, has introduced a no jab, no job policy for new staff amid ongoing concern about vaccine take-up among care workers.

• A Danish study suggests that people infected with a British variant of the coronavirus named B117 may have a 60% higher risk of being hospitalised.

• Research by the Clalit Research Institute in Israel has showed two doses of the Pfizer vaccine cut symptomatic cases by 94% across all age groups, and severe illnesses by nearly as much. The study of about 1.2 million people also showed a single dose was 57% effective in protecting against symptomatic infections after two weeks.

• Toronto is cancelling all large in-person, city-permitted outdoor events through July.

• Qantas is preparing to resume flights to 22 of its 25 pre-Covid international destinations, including Los Angeles, London, Singapore and Johannesburg, from late October.

• EU leaders will today debate the issue of certificates for EU citizens who have been vaccinated.

• Finland will go into a three-week lockdown beginning on 8 March, closing bars and restaurants and ordering school students 13 or older to shift to remote learning, as well as restricting gatherings to no more than six people.

• An Austrian ski resort, Mayrhofen, has been sealed off and shut down due to an outbreak of the South African variant at a local kindergarten.

• Croatia will allow bars and restaurants to open their outdoor terraces next week.

• Cyprus will reopen high schools, gyms, pools, dance academies and art galleries on Monday.

Company news


 Associated British Foods – “Current plans anticipate the following reopenings subject to relevant local criteria: six Spanish stores on 1 March and two on 11 March, 32 stores in Germany on 8 March and 20 stores in the Netherlands on 15 March. Following the announcement by the UK Government on the 22 February the reopening of the 153 stores in England is likely on 12 April. The table below sets out those Primark stores that have already reopened, those with a confirmed reopening date and the remaining stores where we still await confirmation.

We expect the period after reopening to be very cash generative. We expect to sell the £150m of spring/summer inventory held over from last year and our cash outlay in the second half for the coming autumn/winter season will mostly benefit from the £260m autumn/winter stock held over from the first half.”