Boris Johnson

Coronavirus weekly round-up: England gears up for stage two of Boris Johnson’s ‘road map’ while IMF optimistic on global growth


England prepared to move into stage two of the road map for coming out of lockdown as the Moderna vaccine was rolled out in Wales. But domestic businesses hit back at Boris Johnson’s mooting of Covid-19 passports.

Meanwhile, controversy surrounding the health implications of the Astrazeneca jab continued as health secretary Matt Hancock defended the decision only to restrict people under the age of 30 from having this form of the vaccine.

Elsewhere, the IMF released optimistic growth forecasts for the global economy this year and next.

In the asset management world, Amundi revealed it had entered into exclusive negotiations for the acquisition of  rival ETF manager Lyxor.

Monday 5 April

-The UK government announces everyone in England will have access to free twice-a-week coronavirus tests from 9 April

-Boris Johnson confirms that England would move to step two of the “road map” for lifting the lockdown on 12 April, which includes the reopening of outdoor pubs, shops, gyms and hairdressers

Tuesday 6 April

-The IMF forecasts that the global economy is set to enjoy two years of rapid growth in 2021 and 2022 of 6% and 4.4%, respectively

-Oxford university pauses a clinical trial in children of the Covid-19 vaccine developed with Astrazeneca, ahead of new risk assessments by regulators investigating possible links between the jab and rare but potentially fatal blood disorders in adults

-Businesses hit back at the introduction of so-called Covid-19 passports and Boris Johnson faces a Tory rebellion after the government mulls the idea of providing some form of certification to help people prove their Covid status

-France will contribute up to €4bn to strengthen Air France-KLM’s balance sheet. The French state is a 14.3% shareholder in the airline

Wednesday 7 April

-The Moderna Covid-19 vaccine is rolled out for the first time in the UK to residents in west Wales

-Amundi reveals it has bought rival ETF provider Lyxor, taking its combined ETF assets to €142bn (£123bn)

-Federal Open Market Committee’s meeting minutes for March show most participants viewed the risks to the outlook for inflation as “broadly balanced”

-The IMF suggests high earners and companies that prospered in the coronavirus crisis should pay additional tax to show solidarity with those who were hit hardest by the pandemic

-JP Morgan Chase chief executive Jamie Dimon’s annual letter to shareholders predicts a huge rise in US government spending will boost the economy over at least the next two years

Thursday 8 April

-Minutes for the latest European Central Bank meeting on 11 March reveal the central bank’s governing council is concerned the slow pace of Covid-19 vaccinations in the bloc could delay its economic recovery

-UK recruiters report the strongest rebound in permanent hiring for six years in March, according to a monthly survey, compiled by IHS Markit for KPMG and the Recruitment & Employment Confederation

-UK health secretary Matt Hancock defends the decision only to restrict people under the age of 30 from having the Astrazeneca vaccine, in contrast to many other countries limiting its use to anyone over 60

-Online apparel retailer Asos reports pre-tax profit in the six months to the end of February as £106m, up from £30.5m the year before

-UK construction activity expanded at the fastest pace in more than six years in March, according to the IHS Markit/Cips UK construction purchasing managers’ index, which rose to 61.7 last month, up from 53.3 in February

Friday 9 April

-Europe’s largest travel firm Tui announces plans to raise up to €400m via a convertible bond, initially aiming for €350m, with the option for €50m more

-Transport secretary Grant Shapps announces plans in England for a “traffic light system” for foreign travel, meaning people could travel from 17 May to a small number of countries but will have to pay about £100 on their return for a Covid-19 test

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