Categories: International

Coronavirus Cases Surpass 1,000 in Japan; Amazon Office Worker Confirmed Case

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

An employee who works out of one of Amazon’s Seattle offices has had a positive test result for the coronavirus, CNBC reported. The eCommerce retailer requested that workers who feel symptoms remain in their homes and ask for medical assistance. It noted in a memo that it "notified the employees who we know were in close contact with this employee,” and “the risk of transmission for employees who were not in close contact with this individual is assessed to be low.” The state of Washington, for its part, has reportedly experienced the biggest increase of U.S. coronavirus cases.

In other news, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Japan surpassed 1,000, and organizers of the Olympics dismissed talk of a cancellation of the summer games in Tokyo, Reuters reported. On Wednesday, 36 new infections were reported from Hokkaido to Kumamoto prefecture. And, in mainland China, the number of cases has arrived at 80,270. The virus is appearing in different countries, and Iran, South Korea, and Europe have been particularly impacted. Multiple nations have reported their first cases that have been confirmed.

Meanwhile, El Al, the flag carrier of Israel, said it is was reducing top management pay and laying off 1,000 employees as it grapples with the coronavirus’ impact, Reuters reported. The government of Israel has put into place strict rules when it comes to world travel, and El Al has reduced or suspended many trips to Europe and Asia as a result. It has also cautioned that revenue has been impacted.

On another note, the debate over a ban for WhatsApp and Skype in the United Arab Emirates has come to the surface amid an order to close schools to prevent the coronavirus from spreading, Bloomberg reported. The UAE blocks calls through applications like WhatsApp, FaceTime and Skype. The measures, however, have long been a source of frustration for expatriates who want to work in a more flexible way and stay in contact with friends as well as family. Private schools, public schools, and institutions of higher education will shutter in the UAE for a month.

As it stands, international firms like JPMorgan and Twitter are encouraging their workers to telecommute. Sultan Sooud al-Qassemi, a columnist, told his followers on Twitter, “I highly recommend that the UAE now re-visits its ban on VoIP [Voice over Internet Protocol] video calls in light of the spread of coronavirus. If we want people not to meet in person, let them conduct their business online.”

In other news, the incoming Bank of England governor, Andrew Bailey, said that financial support will likely have to be made for firms that are grappling with interruption from the outbreak, Reuters reported. Investors foresee that interest rates will be reduced by the bank and potentially prior to March 26, when the first scheduled policy announcement under the new governor will take place. In the U.K., the number of confirmed coronavirus cases increased to 85 on Wednesday (March 4). The U.S. Federal Reserve, for its part, unveiled a surprise interest rate cut on Tuesday (March 3), which brought about discussions that the BoE and other central banks would follow in its footsteps.

And, to work toward an effective coronavirus response, the Financial Conduct Authority of the U.K. said it is closely coordinating with the financial services industry, Bloomberg reported. The FCA said, “We expect firms to take all reasonable steps to meet their regulatory obligations. For example, we would expect firms to be able to enter orders and transactions promptly into the relevant systems, use recorded lines when trading, and give staff access to the compliance support they need.”

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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.