Coronavirus: Edmonton police see ‘hate-related graffiti’ directed at Asian community

Several incidents of hate-related graffiti have been reported to the Edmonton Police Service during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

An EPS spokesperson said a couple of these hateful messages have been “directed towards the Asian community since March 17.”

Graffiti was painted on a fence and on a tarp under a small ravine bridge that referenced the coronavirus and China, Scott Pattison said.

He said, from his understanding, the graffiti was quickly removed.

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Coronavirus cough attack ‘pranksters’ face 2 years in jail says top lawyer

Morons who deliberately cough at police while claiming to have coronavirus face up to two years behind bars, a top prosecutor has warned.

Max Hill, the director of public prosecutions, spoke out following a spate of threats linked to the deadly coronavirus amid the lockdown.

Crown Prosecution Service have already indicated that assaults aimed at emergency workers – including coughing on them – could be punishable by up with up to two years behind bars.

Pranksters who use a cough directed as a threat towards other key workers or members of the public could be charged with common assault.

Mr Hill said: "Emergency workers are more essential than ever as society comes together to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

"I am therefore appalled by reports of police officers and other frontline workers being deliberately coughed at by people claiming to have Covid-19.

"Let me be very clear: this is a crime and needs to stop. The CPS stands behind emergency and essential workers and will not hesitate to prosecute anybody who threatens them as they go about their vital duties."

The warning comes after Darren Rafferty, 45, admitted on Wednesday to deliberately coughing at Metropolitan Police officers before claiming he was suffering from coronavirus.

He admitted causing grievous bodily harm to his former partner and three counts of assault on an emergency worker and faces sentencing next month.

David Mott, 40, was jailed on Wednesday after threatening to spit at police in Blackburn after officers questioned him about being with two others following the announcement of stricter social distancing rules on Monday night, the CPS said.

And a group of teenagers spat in the face of an RSPCA officer as she rescued a swan on Saturday, shouting "have corona bitch", according to the animal charity.

The CPS said new guidance published in January strengthened its approach to assaults on emergency workers after analysis revealed it had prosecuted almost 20,000 cases since legislation doubling the maximum sentence first came into force in November 2018.

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What qualifies as an essential service under B.C.’s coronavirus response?

The provincial government has outlined what qualifies as an essential service, as it brings in substantial new measures to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Under B.C.’s response to the pandemic, essential services are defined by government and the provincial health officer as services that people rely on in their daily lives.

This is different from what is designated an essential service under B.C.’s Labour Relations Code, which requires certain sectors to still provide a basic level of service if they take job action during a labour dispute.

Essential services, as set out under COVID-19, “should and are encouraged to remain open,” the province says, as long as they obey public health orders to reduce the spread of the virus.

All other businesses, if they haven’t already been ordered to shut, “may stay open” as long as they obey public health orders.

The ban on gatherings of more than 50 people and a required physical distance of one to two metres between people has led to the forced closure of bars, restaurants, cafes and personal-service businesses such as hair salons and spas.

Specifically on childcare, the province says childcare provides must prioritize looking after children whose parents are front-line workers such as health workers, first responders, and law enforcement.

Here is the B.C. government’s list of essential services:

Health services

All health-care services, including acute care, secondary/long-term care, coroners’ services, health-care providers working within and outside an acute care setting and other health services, including public health, detox facilities, safe-injection sites, COVID-19 testing, clinical research supporting the COVID-19 response, blood/plasma donation services and emergency pre-hospitalization services.

Other health services and caregivers including physicians, dentists, psychiatrists, psychologists, mid-level practitioners, nurses and assistants, infection-control and quality-assurance personnel, pharmacists, physical and occupational therapists and assistants, social workers, mental-health and substance-use workers, including peer support workers, speech pathologists, diagnostic and therapeutic technicians and technologists, counsellors, chiropractors, naturopaths, dentists, crisis centres, outreach workers, overdose and harm-reduction services, meal programs.

Health first responders (paramedics) providing emergency care.

Pharmaceutical production, medical laboratories/research, medical testing, pharmacies, medical supply and equipment manufacturers, wholesale, distribution and stores, and analytical testing labs related to testing of finished product for pathogens and contaminants.

Safety supply (e.g., work clothes, personal protective equipment, medical/pharmaceutical/ laboratory supplies, etc.) stores, manufacturers, technicians, logistics and warehouse operators.

Medical wholesale distribution.

Health plans, billing and health information.

Law enforcement and emergency response personnel

First responders, including police, fire and those services providing for public safety, including commercial vehicle safety enforcement, corrections and detainment facilities, park rangers, security and protective services, court services, bylaw enforcement, as well as communications/dispatching support for first responders and volunteers, such as search-and-rescue and public-safety lifeline volunteers.

Public-sector workers for peace, order and good government, and employees of contracted service providers in these fields, including maintenance of technical infrastructure to support this work and compliance with health and public-safety orders,

Businesses providing support to police and correctional services; operations and services in support of the Canadian Armed Forces and Canada Border Services Agency; emergency management personnel at local, regional and provincial levels; businesses that ensure global continuity of supply of aggregates to support critical infrastructure repairs and emergency response requirements (e.g., sandbags, armour stone barriers, etc.) and equipment and uniform suppliers for first responders.

Service providers for vulnerable people

Businesses and non-profits that provide food, shelter, social and support services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise vulnerable individuals, such as food banks, community kitchens, and voluntary and community service providers.

Residential health facilities; mental-health, substance-use and addictions services; transitional, social and supportive housing; single-room occupancy housing;

Community services and outreach for immigrants, refugees, vulnerable populations and non-market housing, including businesses that sell, rent or repair assistive/mobility/medical devices, aids and/or supplies, care for seniors, adults, children or individuals with disabilities.

Childcare services for those persons providing essential services, caregivers for children in care and out of care, elder and disability care, including disabled service support for people with physical and cognitive disabilities, residential care for individuals with mental health and substance use challenges, including licensed and registered treatment and recovery facilities

Government and non-profit service delivery staff who provide access to income supports for people in need of food and shelter, residential and care facilities and shelters for seniors, adults, children and people with disabilities, overdose prevention sites, clinical overdose prevention services or medical marijuana provision and businesses that sell, rent or repair assistive/mobility/medical devices, aids and/or supplies, or other products/services that support the health sector, including mental-health and addictions/counselling supports.

Critical infrastructure service providers

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Infrastructure, drilling and production, refineries, processing, completion facilities, utilities, transportation, transmission, stations and storage facilities critical in supporting daily essential electricity needs, drinking water, waste water, electricity (including associated infrastructure), steam, alternative energy production, waste and hazardous management, industrial recycling, oil and natural and propane gas, fuel and other fuel sources, such as heating oil and wood pellets, as well as operating staff.

Manufacturing of goods necessary for the continued and immediate operation of other essential infrastructure and businesses, gas stations, diesel, propane and heating fuel providers including providers of motor vehicle, aircraft and water/marine fuels, and providers of charging stations for electric vehicle.

Operations and employees needed to operate and maintain drinking water and wastewater/drainage infrastructure, including: operational staff at water authorities, operational staff at community water systems, operational staff at wastewater treatment facilities, workers repairing water and wastewater conveyances and performing required sampling or monitoring, operational staff for water distribution and testing, operational staff at wastewater collection facilities

Operational staff and technical support for supervisory control, data-acquisition control systems,
chemical disinfectant suppliers for wastewater and personnel protection; workers who maintain digital systems infrastructure supporting water and wastewater operations.

Food and agriculture service providers

Food cultivation, including farming, livestock, aquaculture and fishing, and businesses that support the food supply chain as well as community gardens and subsistence agriculture

Food processing, manufacturing, storage and distribution of foods, feed products and beverages.

Workers essential to maintaining or repairing equipment in food processing and distribution centres; workers, including temporary foreign workers, to support agricultural operations to enhance food security.

Retail workers including grocery stores, convenience stores, farmers markets and other establishments engaged in the retail sale or provision of food, pet or livestock supply, liquor, cannabis (including producers), and any other household consumer products, such as cleaning and personal care products.

This includes stores that sell groceries and also sell other non-grocery products, and products necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation and essential daily operation of residences such as home supply, hardware, building material stores, pawn brokers, and garden centres and nurseries,
farming supply, including seed, fertilizer, pesticides, farm-machinery sales and maintenance.

Inspection services and associated regulatory and government workforce and supporting businesses required for slaughter of animals, dairy production and food safety and businesses that provide for the health and welfare of animals, including veterinarians, farms, boarding kennels, stables, animal shelters, zoos, aquariums, research facilities and other service providers.

Transportation, infrastructure and manufacturing

Supply chain services needed to supply goods for societal functioning, including cooling, storing, packaging, transportation, warehousing and distribution, workers who support the maintenance and operation of cargo transportation services, including crews, maintenance, operations and other facilities workers, manufacturers and distributors (to include service centres and related operations) of packaging materials, pallets, crates, containers and other supplies needed to support manufacturing, packaging staging and distribution operations.

Truck drivers who haul hazardous and waste materials to support critical infrastructure, capabilities, functions, and municipal and provincial services, local, regional, and provincial delivery services, including but not limited to businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food, goods or services directly to business and residences and mailing and shipping services.

Services to support and enable transportation, including highway, road, bridge maintenance and repair; employees who repair, maintain and overhaul vehicles, aircraft and parts, rail equipment, marine vessels, and the equipment and infrastructure that enables operations that encompass movement of cargo and passengers, as well as vehicle rentals and leasing.

Services that facilitate the transportation of essential supplies, personnel and services, including port/waterfront operations, road, air and rail operations, facilities supporting interprovincial and intra-provincial delivery of goods, including truck scales, commercial vehicle inspection stations, brokerages, truck towing and repair services, commercial cardlock fuel providers, truck and rest stops.

Government-owned or leased buildings.

Businesses that supply other essential businesses and people working from home with the support or supplies necessary to operate; private transportation services, such as taxis, ride-hailing, helicopter, aircraft and marine vessels and public transportation services under rules for physical distancing or other recommendations from the provincial health officer.

Workers supporting the chemical and industrial gas supply chains, including workers at chemical manufacturing plants, workers in laboratories, workers at distribution facilities, workers who transport basic raw chemical materials to the producers of industrial and consumer goods and support the natural resource sector, as well as workers supporting safety at such facilities.

Provision of public services that support the safe operation of regulated businesses those that support those businesses to meet other regulatory requirements

Workers who support the operation, inspection, and maintenance of essential public works facilities and operations as well as workers who support the inspection and maintenance for ongoing safety at industrial facilities.

Inspectors who ensure worksites are safe and health for workers, and who investigate serious workplace accidents, workers who process and manage claims made by injured workers, including services related to their care and treatment, as well as the provision of workers’ compensation benefits.

Hotels and places of accommodation.

Activities of the consuls general and staff who support the work of the consuls general.

Landlords of buildings where consulates are located and those who must guarantee access to consular offices as well as the operation of the consular offices.

Storage for essential businesses.

Businesses that provide materials and services for the operation, maintenance and safety of transportation systems (road, transit, rail, air and marine) including delivery of maintenance services, such as clearing snow, response to collisions and completing needed repairs to transportation systems.

Businesses that extract, manufacture, process and distribute goods, products, equipment and materials, including businesses that manufacture inputs to other manufacturers (e.g., primary metal/steel, blow moulding, component manufacturers, chemicals, etc., that feed the end-product manufacturer).

Vegetation management crews and traffic workers who support environmental remediation/monitoring and who respond to environmental emergencies.

Businesses providing staffing services, including temporary labour services

Businesses that support the safe operations of residences, essential businesses and facilities/buildings.


Cleaning services necessary to provide and maintain disinfection.

Manufacturing of sanitary products, household paper products, chemicals, microelectronics/semi-conductor, including companies able to retrofit their production facilities to produce goods/services that can be used to address critical shortages of sanitary and protective goods.

Businesses that support environmental management/monitoring and spill cleanup and response, including environmental consulting firms, professional engineers and geoscientists, septic haulers, well drillers, pesticides applicators and exterminators, management of industrial sewage/effluent (e.g., for mining operations) and environmental laboratories and waste (garbage and organics) and recycling collection, processing and disposal.

Communications, information sharing and information technology (IT)

Workers maintaining IT and communications infrastructure for medical facilities, governments facilities, emergency response and command agencies, energy and utilities, banks and financial institutions, employees working from home, and other critical infrastructure categories and personnel, including managing information and cyber-security incidents.

Newspapers, television, radio, online news outlets and other media services.

IT, radio, cable providers and telecommunications services, including phone, internet, wireless communications and data centres.

Satellite operations, undersea cable landing stations, internet exchange points, and manufacturers and distributors of communications equipment.

Non-health essential service providers

Feed, water, bedding, veterinary care, veterinary supply, transport and processing services for livestock, animal shelters and pets.

Coroners and workers performing mortuary services, including funeral homes, crematoriums and cemeteries, as well as workers supporting the appropriate handling, identification, storage, transportation and certification of human remains.

Banks and their branches, credit unions and related financial institutions, as well as workers who support security and technical operations supporting financial institutions.

Capital markets, including the BC Securities Commission, self-regulatory organizations, exchanges, clearing agencies and investment-fund dealers, advisers and managers.

Services related to bankruptcy/credit restructuring and non-bank sources of capital, cheque-cashing outlets, money sending and money remittance services, currency exchange services and pawn brokers.

Accounting, payroll, translation services, legal services and insurance providers; insurance assessment and adjudication providers.

Plumbers, electricians, elevator maintenance providers, exterminators, property management services, custodial/janitorial workers, cleaning services, fire safety and sprinkler systems, building systems maintenance and repair technicians, engineers, mechanics, smelters and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation and daily essential operation of residences and commercial buildings.

Educational institutions — including public and private K-12 schools, and public post-secondary institutions — for purposes of facilitating remote learning or performing essential functions, including services that are needed to ensure the safety, security, welfare, integrity and health of the community, property and research and certain operational and contractual activities, if operating under public-health orders for social and physical distancing or other recommendations.

In relation to research universities, services including COVID-19-related research, residential housing and food services for students on campus, building operations and risk management, animal care services, health services for students, IT including data security and infrastructure, finance/payroll/administration/HR/communications and childcare for essential university staff.

Laundromats, dry cleaners and laundry-service providers.

Restaurants and other facilities that prepare and serve food, if operating under public-health orders for social and physical distancing or other recommendations.

Towing services and other vehicle repair/maintenance operations.

Schools and other entities that provide free food services to students or members of the public, if operating under rules for physical distancing or other health recommendations.

Construction work, in accordance with health-official direction, construction firms, skilled trades and professionals, and construction and light industrial machinery and equipment rental.

Businesses that ensure global continuity of supply of primary and value-added forestry/silviculture products (e.g., lumber, pulp, paper, wood fuel, etc.) including soft-pulp products, such as protective masks, gowns, drapes, screens and other hospital supplies, as well as household paper products;
postal services, including both public and private mailing, shipping, logistics, courier, delivery services and post office boxes.

Research services supporting essential sectors, including medical/clinical research and industrial research.

All government (local, regional, provincial) functions or services.

Businesses and non-profits that provide support services to citizens and businesses on behalf of government – these include but are not limited to: income assistance and disability assistance, pensions, residential tenancy, BC Services Card, drivers’ licensing, Affordable Child Care Benefit, Medical Services Plan, forest-worker support programs, notary, commissioner, affidavits, pesticide exams, invigilation for essential trades, 1 888 COVID19, verify by video, and helpdesk for BCeID.

Weather forecasters.

Businesses that ensure global continuity of supply of mining materials and products (e.g., metals such as copper, nickel and gold) and that support supply chains including mining operations, production and processing; mineral exploration and development and mining supply and services that support supply chains in the mining industry including maintenance of operations, health and safety.

Workers at operations centres necessary to maintain other essential functions.

Professional services, including lawyers and paralegals, engineers, accountants, translators.

Land registration services and real estate agent services.

Building code enforcement, inspection of buildings, building sites and building systems by building officials and registered professionals (architects and engineers).

Public washrooms and hygiene facilities (toilets, handwash stations, showers) for unsheltered persons.

Parks and green space for public health and sheltering (for people experiencing homelessness).

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Mask shortage ‘like sending someone to a forest fire with a water pistol’: nurses union

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“We are soliciting for help to collect the supplies we need in order to guard Manitobans against COVID-19.”

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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Coronavirus: Three-day rally of markets is over as FTSE 100 falls 6%

Stock markets have endured a renewed rout in values as investors fret over the extent of coronavirus damage expected to be inflicted on the global economy.

The brakes were firmly applied on Friday after a three-day rally for major indices in Europe and the United States which had raised hopes, in some quarters, that the worst was over after five weeks of turmoil.

The collapse began as COVID-19 took hold in Europe and losses on Monday, over the year to date, averaged more than 30% for the likes of the FTSE 100 and Dow Jones Industrial Average.

As the weekend market closure neared, analysts said investors were moving to protect their positions ahead of the two-day shutdown when they are unable to react to the news flow.

The FTSE 100 in London was 6.5% lower by mid-afternoon, with every constituent company trading in the red.

It closed the day 5.3% lower at 5,510. It meant just shy of £77bn had been erased from the value of the index but it ended the week 300 points above where it had started.

The CAC in France lost 4.2% on Friday while the German DAX was 3.7% off.

On Wall Street, the Dow was 3% down having recovered some losses earlier in the session.

Only on Tuesday, the US index had enjoyed its best single day percentage gain since 1933 as the market eagerly awaited details of the $2trn relief plan for the US economy agreed between Donald Trump’s White House and Capitol Hill.

The House of Representatives is due to vote on the package later on Friday, allowing the president to sign the bill over the weekend.

Stimulus from governments and central banks over the past few weeks have helped bolster sentiment but there are fears it will not be enough to offset the damage left behind – given there is so much uncertainty over what is to come.

Craig Erlam, senior market analyst for the UK and Europe at Oanda, said in a note: “Rallies don’t last forever and clearly investors are happy to call time on this one as we head into another uncertain weekend.

“We may have had a good run this week but the weekend can feel like a long time at moments like this and the numbers we’re getting from the US, which now has more cases than China or Italy, are getting uglier by the day.”

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'Cooking for heroes': Michelin-starred restaurant helps Berlin medics fight coronavirus

BERLIN (Reuters) – A Michelin-starred restaurant in Berlin forced to close its doors by the coronavirus lockdown has turned its culinary skills to helping to feed doctors, nurses, policemen and firefighters who cannot work from home.

“We are doing ‘Cooking for heroes’, that means we are cooking for people in operational professions where it’s not an option to work from home,” said Max Strohe, head chef and co-owner of Tulus Lotrek.

Restaurants, cinemas, gyms and most stores have been shut since mid-March in Germany, which has reported nearly 43,000 cases of the coronavirus and 253 deaths, in the hope of slowing the spread of the virus and easing the pressure on hospitals.

The soups, goulash and curries lovingly prepared by Strohe and his staff are helping to sustain hundreds of doctors, nurses and other medical staff at the Jewish Hospital as they treat patients with the virus.

“I saw a post from Tulus Lotrek with the hashtag ‘cooking for heroes’ and I thought, we have a lot of heroes stationed here in the operational sector, and I sent them an email,” said hospital spokeswoman Jessica Maass.

“The very next day I received an email. It was a yes, the only question was: ‘How many meals should we send you?’ and then the very next day, 400 portions of great food came to us.”

Strohe said he and his staff have been overwhelmed by “heartwarming” messages of support from those who have enjoyed the meals and from their family members.

Brigitte Seelig, deputy head of the nursing department at the hospital, said the exquisite meals provided a welcome break from hospital canteen food.

“It’s really good food – Michelin-starred food! It’s something good for once,” she said with a smile.

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City of Peterborough closes all playground equipment, exercise station amid coronavirus pandemic

The City of Peterborough has closed all city playground equipment and the outdoor adult exercise station at Beavermead Park effective Friday morning to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

The city issued the directive at 11:30 a.m. Friday.

The city says Peterborough Public Health has recommended the closure of public playgrounds due to the types of playground surfaces as well as the limited cleaning and sanitization practices for outdoor playground equipment. Signage will be posted advising people of the closures.

“It’s a good strategy to help our children right now,” said Julie Ingram, the health unit’s manager of environmental health.

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Parks, trails and green spaces remain open to enable residents to get outdoors, however physical distancing must be observed, the city stated.


On Friday morning, the health unit announced there are now 13 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in its jurisdiction, which includes Peterborough, Peterborough County, Hiawatha First Nation and Curve Lake First Nation.

The city continues to monitor the situation in consultation with health officials and will make additional changes as warranted.

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British PM Johnson still working with mild symptoms of coronavirus

LONDON, March 27 (Reuters) – Prime Minister Boris Johnson is still able to work in an office and study at No. 11 Downing Street, his spokesman said on Friday after the British leader announced he had contracted coronavirus and had mild symptoms.

He is self-isolating for seven days, the spokesman said.

“There was an 0930 meeting, which we call the COVID-19 meeting … that went ahead. The PM played his role entirely via video conferencing,” the spokesman said

“That’s how it will continue while the PM is self-isolating. He will do the same things, but that will be done exclusively by teleconferencing on his part.”

On a conference call with journalists, Johnson’s spokesman said the prime minister was receiving meals left outside his door for him but would no longer appear in person at a daily news conference.

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Singapore Airlines latest to get massive rescue amid coronavirus crisis

SINGAPORE/SYDNEY (Reuters) – Singapore Airlines Ltd (SIAL.SI) said it had secured up to S$19 billion ($13 billion) of funding to help see it through the coronavirus crisis and expand afterward, in a sign of confidence travel demand will eventually return.

It is the single biggest financing package announced by an airline since demand plunged because of the pandemic, forcing carriers around the world to ground planes, put staff on unpaid leave and scramble to raise more cash to ensure their survival.

American Airlines Group Inc (AAL.O), a much larger carrier, on Thursday evening disclosed it would be eligible for $12 billion of U.S. government aid as part of a $58 billion loan and grant package for the airline industry.

Singapore Airlines’ majority shareholder, state-fund Temasek Holdings, said it would underwrite the sale of shares and convertible bonds for up to S$15 billion. Singapore’s biggest bank DBS Group Holdings Ltd (DBSM.SI) provided a S$4 billion loan.

“This transaction will not only tide SIA (Singapore Airlines) over a short term financial liquidity challenge, but will position it for growth beyond the pandemic,” Temasek International Chief Executive Dilhan Pillay Sandrasegara said. “The delivery of a new generation aircraft over the next few years will provide better fuel efficiencies as well as meet its capacity expansion strategy.”

For the time being, the airline, a major customer for Airbus SE (AIR.PA) and Boeing Co (BA.N), has cut capacity by 96% and grounded almost its entire fleet after the Singapore government banned foreign transit passengers, the lifeblood of the hub carrier.

Some other financially strong carriers are also banking on a return to more normal times once the pandemic has passed, such as Australia’s Qantas Airways Ltd (QAN.AX), which is continuing with costly plans to refurbish the interiors of its fleet of 12 grounded A380 superjumbos.

Others, including Air New Zealand Ltd (AIR.NZ) and Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd (VAH.AX), have warned they expect to be smaller carriers in the future.

South Korean low-cost carrier Eastar has begun returning some of its Boeing 737 planes to lessors, while Southwest Airlines Co (LUV.N) said it would consider actions to reduce the company’s size if passenger traffic remains significantly lower six months from now.

Nearly one-third of the world’s aircraft fleet is now in storage, data provider Cirium said.


Brendan Sobie, an independent aviation analyst, said normal commercial financing arrangements such as credit lines or the sale and leaseback of planes were unlikely to be enough to help most airlines survive the crisis and thrive afterward.

“When these airlines raise cash privately, they won’t get the kind of terms Singapore Airlines got from Temasek,” he told Reuters.

“They may be able to get the cash to pay bills such as monthly leasing bills at a time of virtually no revenue but later on, the cost of the capital is very high – and that in turns limit what they can do,” Sobie said. “That in turn slows the potential recovery of air transport in some markets.”

Airport traffic at 12 major hubs in Asia-Pacific region plunged by 80% on average in the second week of March compared with the same period last year, Airports Council International Asia-Pacific said on Friday as it called for government relief measures for airport operators.

U.S. airlines are preparing to tap the government for up to $25 billion in grants to cover payroll, even after the government warned it may take stakes in exchange for bailout funds, people familiar with the matter said.

After the U.S. House of Representatives approves the airline bailout and President Donald Trump signs it as early as Friday, airlines are to receive initial payments within 10 days.

European lawmakers overwhelmingly agreed on Thursday to suspend until Oct. 24 a rule requiring airlines to use at least 80% of their flight slots to keep them the following year.

China, which had been showing some early signs of a recovery in flight capacity, on Thursday ordered airlines to sharply cut the number of flights in and out of the country out of concern that infected travelers from overseas could reignite the coronavirus outbreak that paralyzed the country for two months.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said it had directed Chinese airlines to maintain only one route to any country and limit the number of flights to one per week, effective March 29.

CAAC also ordered foreign airlines to reduce their international routes to China to one per week and only operate one route into the country.

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Coronavirus researchers tasked with balancing speed, scientific rigour

OTTAWA — Researchers in the race against time to provide a proven treatment for COVID-19 will have to balance scientific rigour against speed, according to global experts.

Clinical trials for possible treatments and cures have begun around the world, including an unprecedented international study by the World Health Organization.

But the scientific gold standard to test the efficacy of new, unproven treatments isn’t always practical with new cases of COVID-19 spreading around the world.

Earl Brown, a professor emeritus of virology at the University of Ottawa, says even in a pandemic, studies still need to meet all the usual scientific checks and balances.

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