Coronavirus

Coronavirus Update: Google Fully Calls Off I/O; AWS Rolls Out COVID-19 Diagnostic Initiative

coronavirus

Businesses and governments are adapting their operations, as well as rolling out initiatives, amid COVID-19. Here are the latest updates on the coronavirus from multiple industries.

The Bank of England (BoE) called off the 2020 stress tests of large banks amid the coronavirus, Reuters reported. The BoE said, according to the report, “The recent 2019 stress test showed that the UK banking system was resilient to deep simultaneous recessions in the UK and global economies that are more severe overall than the global financial crisis, combined with large falls in asset prices and a separate stress of misconduct costs.” The move to cancel the stress tests came after the EU’s action to call off its scheduled health check of top lenders.

And President Donald Trump announced a potential relief package that comes with “immediate relief to renters and homeowners” by halting foreclosures and evictions for 60 days, which advocates see as a key first step, but contend it doesn't cover enough people, the Associated Press reported. Right to Counsel NYC Coalition Coordinator Susanna Blankley said per the report, “It will help a lot of people but ... it’s a very limited subset.” The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s plan, for its part, only reportedly applies to single-family dwellings with Federal Housing Administration loans.

In other news, Amazon Web Services (AWS) is rolling out a project to speed up COVID-19 diagnostics, testing, and research by committing $20 million or clients working on diagnostic efforts, according to an announcement from the company. The program will be available to private entities and accredited research institutions that are using the platform to “support research-oriented workloads for the development of point-of-care diagnostics (testing that can be done at home or at a clinic with same-day results)” per the announcement. Support will be offered via AWS “in-kind credits” and technical support. 

On another note, JPMorgan Chase is providing tellers at banks and other “front-line employees” with a maximum $1,000 bonus to mitigate the challenges of working over the COVID-19 outbreak, CNBC reported. The bonus is for workers or branch employees who keep working at company facilities and earn under $60,000. It will be paid in April and May in portions of $500. The comes on the heels of news that the bank would close 20 percent of its branches for a time to decelerate COVID-19 proliferation. 

And, in the United Kingdom, Uber Eats is doing away with delivery fees and activations charges to help restaurants impacted by falling demand amid the COVID-19 situation, according to reports. Toussaint Wattinne, the general manager of Uber Eats UK, said in a statement per reports, “The high street is being hit hard by Coronavirus but the sector can play a critical role in helping the thousands of people who rely on it — for work and as an essential service — during this difficult time.” The policy will be in place up to March 31 when it will reportedly evaluate it. The delivery company had made a similar fee policy in the United States.

In other news, Netflix has unveiled a $100 million relief fund following the stoppage of TV and film production, according to reports. Ted Sarandos, the company’s chief creative, said in an announcement per reports that there are now “hundreds of thousands of cast and crew without jobs.” As it stands, Netflix is giving productions halted last week with two week’s pay. Sarandos said per the report that most of the funds will be given to “the hardest hit workers on our own productions around the world.” 

On another note, Google’s yearly I/O developer conference has been fully called off, CNBC reported. The company had previously transitioned the gathering to an event that would only take place in the digital world due to increasing fears over the coronavirus’ proliferation. Google said in a tweet per the report that it “will not be holding an I/O event in any capacity this year.” Microsoft, Apple and Facebook have all transitioned like developer events to digital status; however, Google is reportedly the first to altogether nix it. 

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NEW PYMNTS DATA: HOW WE SHOP – SEPTEMBER 2020 

The How We Shop Report, a PYMNTS collaboration with PayPal, aims to understand how consumers of all ages and incomes are shifting to shopping and paying online in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research builds on a series of studies conducted since March, surveying more than 16,000 consumers on how their shopping habits and payments preferences are changing as the crisis continues. This report focuses on our latest survey of 2,163 respondents and examines how their increased appetite for online commerce and digital touchless methods, such as QR codes, contactless cards and digital wallets, is poised to shape the post-pandemic economy.

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