Covid-19 Coronavirus

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Covid-19: What commentators are saying

Why wasn’t the UK ready for Covid-19?

In the UK, a lethal pandemic was considered by the government a “level 5” threat – the most serious security risk. The only other level 5 threat has been large-scale biological or nuclear attack.

The coronavirus closely resembles the threat anticipated in government planning documents, and yet the government appears to have been unprepared. The UK lacks ventilators, personal protective equipment and testing kits, while emergency procedures for manufacturers and hospitals are being improvised on the fly.

In the New Statesman, Harry Lambert suggests that Britain may in fact have been prepared, just for the wrong outcome.

Read the full article.

10:38 am

Workers lack faith in energy companies’ resilience plans: Prospect survey

According to a survey carried out by UK trade union Prospect, key workers in the energy sector do not think their employers are carrying out adequate contingency plans to deal with the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Out of 1,000 responses, 48% are confident about the plans put in place to continue operations, with even lower figures among people working in electricity distribution networks.

Less than half of respondents believe that employers are enforcing appropriate safety measures such as reducing physical contact while 45% of them do not know if there shortage of personal protective equipment.

4:20 pm

Covid-19 triggers 20% drop in oil demand

Early figures are suggesting that the outbreak of Covid-19 could have a significant impact on global oil demand, with Arij van Berkel, a director at US-based research firm Lux Research claiming that “early indications by traders suggest a 20% drop in demand.”

“In a sense, the current demand decrease is a preview of demand projections for 2030 and beyond,” he continued, noting that the outbreak could simply be accelerating a trend many have already predicted. “As an example, Barclays projects a global peak in oil demand between 2030 and 2035 followed by a steady demand reduction.

“We should watch how oil companies respond, as it will reveal vulnerabilities to decreasing demand and consistently low prices.”

10:19 pm

Global GDP may drop by 1% in 2020, says Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs expects global real gross domestic product to contract by about 1 per cent in 2020, a sharper economic decline than in the year following the 2008 global financial crisis.

“The coronacrisis or more precisely, the response to that crisis — represents a physical (as opposed to financial) constraint on economic activity that is unprecedented in postwar history,” the investment bank said in a note to its clients published late on Sunday according to India Today.

7:36 pm

OECD expects economic fallout to be felt ‘for a long time to come’

Speaking to CNBC, the OECD’s secretary general, Angel Gurria, stated: “What you have is an economic effect now that, very clearly, is going to be prolonged beyond the period of the pandemic.”

“We’ll hopefully get rid of the pandemic in the next two or three months and then the question is how many unemployed (will there be), how many small and medium-sized enterprises will be in a very, very severe situation if not disappeared by that time.”

“Life, and economic activity, is not going to be normalized any time soon,” he said. “We’re going to have the impact of this crisis for a long time to come.”

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