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As world in lockdown...

BA boss warns of job losses, stock markets stabilise

Philip Jansen, BT CEO, has tested positive

British Airways is to ground flights ‘like never before’ and lay off staff in response to the coronavirus.

BA boss Alex Cruz sent a video message to all staff on Friday warning jobs would go as a result of the impact of coronavirus on the airline’s business.

He also warned that the airline industry is facing a “crisis of global proportions” worse than SARS or 9/11.

As the world economy adjusts to new ways of working and the prospect of a global recession, there were some glimmers of hope in China and London led a rebound in battered stock markets.

China’s vice industry minister Xin Guobin said 95% of large factories and 65% of small firms outside Hubei province, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, have resumed production.

The country is trying to get back to work after imposing strict restrictions on transport and people to slow the spread of infections.

Apple said it is reopening all 42 of its branded stores in China on Friday.

The company sold fewer than half a million iPhones in China in February, government data showed on Monday, as the outbreak halved demand for smartphones.

Further positive news included a statement from coffee chain Starbucks which is to invest 900 million yuan ($130m) to build the first phase of a coffee complex in the Chinese city of Kunshan, near the commercial hub of Shanghai. Completion is targeted for 2022.

It is Starbucks’ largest investment in a production facility outside the United States and the first production-related investment in Asia.

After suffering its biggest one-day loss in value terms yesterday and giving up 639 points or 11% at 5,237.48, the FTSE 100 index surged 6% in the first minutes after opening and closed 2.46% or 128.63 higher at 5366.11.

Other updates:

– Mayoral and local elections in England have been postponed for one year

Spain‘s prime minister says a state of emergency will come into effect on Saturday. Spanish police were blocking roads out of four quarantined towns near Barcelona today as the death toll reached 120

– The Czech Republic has banned all foreign travellers coming in and Czechs leaving the country from 16 March

Gatherings of more than 500 people will be banned in Scotland, a move that will hit the conference and sporting calendars. Several major conferences and awards ceremonies have been cancelled or postponed in Scotland. Full report here. Big sports events, including tennis, football, rugby, Formula One, the London Marathon and golf are off. List here.

– The Scottish Government has set up a helpline for businesses: The number is 0300 303 0660 and it will be open Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5.30pm

Philip Jansen, the chief executive of BT Group, has tested positive for Covid-19. A deep cleaning of relevant parts of its headquarters is taking place. Others affected include Arsenal FC boss Mikel Arteta and Sophie Trudeau, wife of Canada’s Prime Minister

– A single factory in China owned by BYD has expanded its production line and is operating at capacity, with hundreds of staff working day and night shifts around the clock producing five million face masks and 300,000 bottles of disinfectant every day

– The Financial Conduct Authority has banned the short selling of some stocks

The US Federal Reserve has announced a three-day $1.5 trillion blitz of liquidity to the markets. The European Central Bank said it would provide an additional €120 billion of stimulus to help the eurozone economy, but disappointed markets by leaving interest rates unchanged.

– The FTSE‘s £160bn loss yesterday is the biggest ever recorded on the index.

Sterling is down 0.17 cents at $1.2552

Brent crude is up 55 cents at $33.77 a barrel

Airlines are pleading for a bailout from ministers as the industry reels in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. Norwegian Air will lay off around half of its staff and cancel 4,000 flights as it struggles to stay afloat

Disney will close its theme parks in Florida and Paris from Sunday, after announcing its California resort would shut

Saga has suspended its cruise operations until the beginning of May

Cineworld has warned that it could collapse due to coronavirus as shares in the FTSE 250 chain tumbled as much as 49%.

– Shopping centre owner Intu Properties has warned of a “material uncertainty” over its ability to continue as a going concern as it reported a £2 billion loss.

Lloyd’s of London will shut its underwriting floors for the first time in its history on Friday as a test of the 333-year-old insurance market’s coronavirus contingency plans.

Sporting calendar decimated by call offs. List here

Gatherings of 500 face ban as events fall victim to virus fears. See latest list

This article will be updated throughout the day as news breaks



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