Coronavirus: Amazon Adjusts Attendance Policy; Chairman, CEO To Stop Taking Salaries


The coronavirus could have wide-reaching effects on medical facilities, eCommerce retailers, technology and the economy as a whole. Here are the latest updates on the coronavirus around the world.

Hospitals around the world from Europe to Asia have reported that supplies of hand sanitizer and masks have disappeared as the coronavirus spurs a run on medical inventories, The Wall Street Journal reported. A French hospital, in one case, noted that nearly 2,000 surgical masks were removed from its main operating room, while a trauma doctor reportedly took 12 boxes of masks from a storage room at a hospital in Spain. U.S. authorities — and those in other places — also noted the presence of fraud in which people are led to purchase medical supplies that don’t exist or give financial information to criminals who purport to be health workers.

Meanwhile, because of the continued proliferation of the coronavirus, Amazon is offering a more flexible attendance policy for warehouse workers and other staff, CNBC reported. The eCommerce retailer told employees Sunday (March 8) that it would not count unpaid time off if they have to use it this month. It has made multiple changes to its workforce during recent times because of the virus. In February, the company made it known that it was stopping tours at all North American fulfillment centers. And Amazon also told employees in Seattle, Bellevue and the San Francisco Bay Area to telecommute if they have the ability to through the conclusion of March.

On another note, the two top executives of Group will halt taking salaries amid multiple moves to reduce wages to contend with the coronavirus, Bloomberg reported. CEO Jane Sun and Chairman James Liang won’t get salaries any longer starting in March. Other top management members will also willingly reduce theirs by as much as 50 percent until the travel market bounces back. The company, which is also known as Ctrip, provides a range of offerings from flights to hotel reservations, as well as train ticketing and packaged tours.

In other news, Hanwang Technology, has reportedly created facial recognition technology that can figure out the identity of people even when they have a mask on, Reuters reported, noting that the firm also goes by the English name of Hanvon. Hanwang Vice President Huang Lei told Reuters, “If connected to a temperature sensor, it can measure body temperature while identifying the person’s name, and then the system would process the result, say, if it detects a temperature over 38 degrees.” China, for its part, has some of the most complicated digital surveillance around the globe with the inclusion of facial recognition.

Meanwhile, in a move to reduce stress affecting worldwide financial markets due to the coronavirus, the New York Federal Reserve is putting billions of additional funds into the financial system, CNN reported. The New York Fed noted Monday (March 9) that it is increasing overnight cash infusions to $150 billion at a minimum from $100 billion at a minimum. Authorities have increased the amount offered over two-week term “repo” agreements to a minimum of $45 billion. The move occurred on a day that the Dow plummeted over 2,000 points.

In other news, airlines are reportedly putting jet fuel to waste by flying empty planes because of European rules that make operators lose their flight slots if they don’t fly their planes, MSN reported. With current European rules, airlines operating in the area have to keep flying 80 percent of the slots assigned to them or a rival could receive them. Grant Shapps, U.K. transport secretary, wrote to the independent airport coordinator requesting that the rules be halted because of the situation. As it stands, demand for flights has plummeted throughout the world due to increasing worries because of the coronavirus.

And, Giuseppe Conte, the prime minister of Italy, said he will sign an order that will grow the reach of the Lombardy region lockdown to the whole nation, according to published reports. Public transportation will still be running, but universities as well as schools will stay closed until April 3. All of the nation’s schools were previously shuttered until mid-March. Conte said people should not move about except for emergencies or work. Sporting events will be suspended, while public gatherings will be prohibited.