The number of Americans living under an effective shelter-in-place order rose to roughly 1 in 4 over the weekend, as states and localities adopt what are, by now, a familiar set of rules to help stop the spread of coronavirus in the US. Bars, nightclubs and other venues not offering food are closed. Restaurants are increasingly confined to delivery and takeout service. Public gatherings are banned. Some public beaches have been shut. And on and on.
America’s infection total looks set to hit 30,000 by the time the new week dawns. More than 300 Americans have died from the virus so far.
In Europe, the situation is dire. Spain’s case total hit 28,000. In Italy, nearly 5,000 people are dead – almost 800 perished on Saturday alone. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte shuttered all Italian industries other than those necessary to maintain the supply chain. “[This] is the most difficult crisis in our post-war period”, he said, in a video message on Facebook. “Only production activities deemed vital for national production will be allowed”.
Reports now suggest Boris Johnson’s decision to shutter pubs and restaurants across the country was at least partially compelled by Emmanuel Macron, who told Johnson Friday that France would seal its border if Johnson didn’t start taking the situation more seriously. That’s according to French newspaper Liberation.
India halted passenger train service until the end of the month effective immediately, organizers in Japan are discussing plans to delay the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Turkey witnessed a dramatic increase in the number of confirmed cases.
Trump offered to help North Korea combat the spread of the deadly malady, according to Kim Jong-Un’s sister. Singapore and Vietnam banned entry to short-term and non-diplomatic visitors and Australia is beginning to close down non-essential services.
In short: The entire world is sheltering in place. The global economy is shutting down.
Amazon is lifting pay for warehouse workers amid huge E-commerce demand. “My own time and thinking is now wholly focused on COVID-19 and on how Amazon can best play its role”, Jeff Bezos said Saturday. Bezos has hiked pay twice in a week. Congress wants to see time-and-a-half hazard pay for Amazon’s warehouse staff. With apologies to the free-market Republicans among you, it is just a matter of time before lawmakers stop “asking” and start “telling”.
Bezos posted the following letter to employees on Instagram:
Replies ranged from the scathing (“Why do we not hear your name on the news for helping out Americans?”) to the grateful (“Thank you Jeff for allowing my husband to be one of those you hired while his barber shop is closed.”) to the humorous (“Give me a million dollars!”).
In markets, Mideast shares generally fell on Sunday even as Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum (Dubai’s ruler) “asked” banks to take steps to provide relief to businesses and borrowers.
Saudi shares are on the verge of falling to the lowest since 2009.