Coronavirus - 25 January - 8.8% of global working hours lost


• 8.8% of global working hours lost in 2020, according to ILO
• Moderna delays vaccine delivery to Poland
• France bans homemade facemasks
• Merck ends Covid-19 vaccine development
• Israel bans flights for one week

World news

• Some 8.8% of global working hours were lost in 2020 due to the pandemic, roughly four times the number lost in the 2009 financial crisis, according to the International Labour Organisation. The losses were equivalent to 255 million full-time jobs and included an “unprecedented” 114 million workers joining the ranks of the unemployed, as well as others whose working hours were reduced due to restrictions.

• In the Netherlands, riot police have clashed with protesters angry at new restrictions, mainly in the city of Eindhoven, after the government introduced its toughest measures yet.

• The UK Government is looking at the possibility of travellers being required to quarantine in hotels on arrival in the UK.

• The Hong Kong Government lifted a lockdown in an area of Kowloon district this morning, after testing about 7,000 people.

• Israel on Sunday announced a weeklong ban on most incoming and outgoing flights, in a bid to slow the spread of new coronavirus variants. The measure will begin at midnight tonight.

• The travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand has been suspended for 72 hours.

• In Austria, people must now wear air-filtering FFP2 masks in shops and on public transport. Austrians over 14 are required to wear medical-grade FFP2 masks on public transport, in shops and businesses, and in pharmacies, hospitals and medical practices.

• Moderna has delayed its vaccine delivery to Poland scheduled for Tuesday, the Polish prime minister’s top aide Michal Dworczyk told a news conference.

• South Korea, which is due to start its vaccination programme next month, aims to inoculate 70% of its population by September.

• Ukraine has reopened schools, restaurants and gyms after a three-week lockdown.

• France has issued a decree banning certain homemade masks being worn in public, saying they do not offer sufficient protection from the new, more contagious variants. Only three types of masks will be recommended: surgical, FFP2 and fabric masks made to Category 1 standards.

• US President Joe Biden on Monday will formally reinstate Covid travel restrictions on non-US travellers from Brazil, Ireland, the United Kingdom and 26 other European countries.

Company news


 Merck & Co – has announced that it is going to end development of its two vaccines and focus on treatments. The company will record a discontinuation charge in the fourth quarter for vaccine candidate V591, which it acquired with the purchase of Austrian vaccine maker Themis Bioscience, and V590, developed with non-profit research organisation IAVI. In early trials, both vaccines generated immune responses that were inferior to those seen in people who had recovered from Covid-19, as well as those reported for other Covid-19 vaccines.


 Airbus – has announced that some 500 employees have entered quarantine following an outbreak at its aircraft factory in Hamburg.