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The US and Europe face rising Covid-19 case numbers as they squander lessons from Asia-Pacific

The US and Europe face rising Covid-19 case numbers as they squander lessons from Asia-Pacific

While the Asia-Pacific region treads water until a coronavirus vaccine is found, the West’s biggest economies are drowning as a second wave firmly establishes itself in Europe.



a group of people standing in front of a crowd: Mandatory Credit: Photo by Top Photo Corporation/Shutterstock (10739563a) Eric Chou performs in concert and invited Ella to be his special guest. Eric Chou in concert, Taipei, Taiwan, China - 09 Aug 2020


© Top Photo Corporation/Shutterstock
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Top Photo Corporation/Shutterstock (10739563a) Eric Chou performs in concert and invited Ella to be his special guest. Eric Chou in concert, Taipei, Taiwan, China – 09 Aug 2020

Europe is now reporting more daily infections than the United States, Brazil, or India — the countries that have been driving the global case count for months — as public apathy grows towards coronavirus guidelines. Several countries are seeing infection rates spiral again after a summer lull that saw measures to contain the virus and travel restrictions relaxed.



a man wearing a suit and tie: US President Donald Trump removes his mask on his return to the White House from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he was treated for coronavirus.


© Win McNamee/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
US President Donald Trump removes his mask on his return to the White House from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he was treated for coronavirus.

In the United Kingdom, for example, questions are being asked about whether Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to lift the country’s lockdown in June was premature. Northern England’s current high rates of Covid-19 are down to the fact that infections “never dropped as far in the summer as they did in the south,” Jonathan Van-Tam, Britain’s deputy chief medical officer, told a press conference on Monday.



a large crowd of people: Thousands of revelers gathered at an open air water park in the Chinese city of Wuhan, ground zero of the pandemic, for an electronic music festival in August.


© STR/AFP/AFP via Getty Images
Thousands of revelers gathered at an open air water park in the Chinese city of Wuhan, ground zero of the pandemic, for an electronic music festival in August.

It is just the latest problem to beset Britain’s slapdash pandemic response. There are now more patients in hospital with Covid-19 in England than there were in March, when a nationwide lockdown was imposed, according to Johnson and health officials.

France and the Netherlands broke

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Shops and bars face closure as Boris confirms new ‘traffic light’ system

Shops and bars face closure as Boris confirms new ‘traffic light’ system

Watch: Boris Johnson announces a new ‘traffic light’ COVID-19 alert system

Pubs and bars in Liverpool face closure from Wednesday, after UK prime minister Boris Johnson announced tougher new restrictions to tackle the the COVID-19 second wave.

Johnson on Monday confirmed a new three tier “traffic light” system of local restrictions. Speaking in parliament on Monday afternoon, Johnson said the new alert levels would “simplify and standardise” the existing patchwork of local lockdown rules.

Each level — “medium,” “high,” and “very high” — involves escalating restrictions. Most areas in England will automatically move to the “medium” alert level, the prime minister said. This involves restricting people to socialising in groups of no more than six and a 10pm curfew for pubs and restaurants.

Under the “very high” alert level, pubs and bars will be ordered shut. Local leaders will also have discretionary powers to order other non-essential businesses to close.

The prime minister confirmed Merseyside would be placed in the “very high” alert level from Wednesday. Pubs, bars, gyms, leisure centres, casinos, and betting shops will be among the businesses told to shut.

Prime minister Boris Johnson making a statement in the House of Commons in London, setting out a new three-tier system of controls for coronavirus in England. Photo: PA

Over 1,400 businesses in Liverpool will be hit by the changes, according to analysis of official government data by the real estate adviser Altus Group.

Johnson said he took “no pleasure whatsoever” announcing further restrictions on businesses but said the measures were necessary “to save lives.”

READ MORE: Coronavirus: UK hospitality industry to take legal action against lockdown rules

The new “traffic light” system of restrictions, as they have been dubbed, come in response to a rapid rise in COVID-19 cases in the UK. New cases have risen

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Trump’s Businesses Face Debt Deadlines Amid Economic Slowdown

Trump’s Businesses Face Debt Deadlines Amid Economic Slowdown

The Trump Organization faces the prospect of paying more to borrow, getting smaller loans or selling some of its assets to manage more than $400 million of debt coming due on properties hit hard by the economic downturn.

The organization’s financial situation could become more challenging if President Trump wins re-election because of the complications, ethical quandaries and political dynamic of lending to a sitting president, according to real-estate finance executives and a lawyer who handled presidential ethics.

The Trump Organization isn’t carrying a particularly heavy debt load relative to its generally high-quality assets, and it has generated significant cash from its properties and asset sales. But the market for commercial real-estate loans is struggling.

“There’s still financing available, particularly for the right deals, but it’s definitely a more challenging environment,” said Steven Buchwald, managing director at Mission Capital Advisors, a New York-based company that helps arrange financing for commercial real-estate deals. He hasn’t worked with the Trump Organization.

Some of the Trump Organization’s properties have underperformed their lenders’ expectations.

Actual and expected cash flows

Trump International Hotel & Tower

Retail Space

Trump International Hotel & Tower

Retail Space

Trump International Hotel & Tower

Retail Space

Trump International Hotel & Tower Retail Space

Trump International Hotel & Tower Retail Space

Mr. Trump’s debt deals are likely to face more scrutiny from his political opponents if he wins a second term. Democrats have said that the debts could affect the way Mr. Trump governs. They raised the issue of the president’s finances after the New York Times reported on his tax returns and his personal guarantees of the debts he owed.

“Do you owe anybody money who is impacted by any decision you make as president of the United States?” asked California Sen. Kamala Harris, the running mate of former Vice

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Workers With Health Insurance Face Rising Out-of-Pocket Costs

Workers With Health Insurance Face Rising Out-of-Pocket Costs

The high cost of health care is persisting during the pandemic, even for people lucky enough to still have job-based insurance.

The average annual cost of a health plan covering a family rose to $21,342 in 2020, according to the latest survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit group that tracks employer-based coverage. Workers paid about a quarter of the total premiums, or $5,588, on average, with their employers picking up the rest of the cost.

An analysis of the results was published Thursday online in Heath Affairs, an academic journal. While premiums rose only slightly from the 2019 survey, the increase in premiums and deductibles together over the last decade has far outpaced both inflation and the growth in workers’ earnings. Since 2010, premiums have climbed 55 percent, more than double the rise in wages or inflation, according to the foundation’s analysis.

About 157 million Americans had coverage from their employer before the pandemic, but millions have lost their insurance along with their jobs over the past several months. Many experts expect more people to lose coverage in the coming months as companies lay off workers or drop their health benefits.

“Nothing changed much, but then everything changed,” said Gary Claxton, a senior vice president at the foundation. The survey was conducted from January through July of this year, making it hard for the researchers to see how the changed circumstances will affect costs and employers’ willingness to pay for coverage.

“Things may look different moving forward as employers grapple with the economic and health upheaval sparked by the pandemic,” Drew Altman, the foundation’s chief executive, said a statement.

The survey also underscored how much workers with health insurance still have to spend out of pocket for their care. In addition to paying for their share of premiums,

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Canada’s struggling hospitality businesses face ‘perfect storm’ as insurers flee

Canada’s struggling hospitality businesses face ‘perfect storm’ as insurers flee

TORONTO (Reuters) – Canadian hospitality businesses, already reeling from the downturn sparked by the coronavirus pandemic, are facing yet another existential threat as insurance companies spike premiums or exit the space, citing losses and the sector’s risks.

FILE PHOTO: Patrons eat in a restaurant as the Quebec government has ordered all restaurants, bars and casinos to close for 28 days effective midnight September 30 as coronavirus disease (COVID-19) numbers continue to rise in Montreal, Quebec, Canada September 30, 2020. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi/File Photo

Even before COVID-19, insurers globally were scaling back from riskier businesses to improve performance. The pandemic’s profit hits have accelerated the trend and led underwriters to exit from, or raise premiums in, select categories.

Hospitality businesses, particularly those needing coverage for accidents caused by alcohol-impaired clients, were already seen as higher risk, said Karen Ritchie, vice president at Baird MacGregor Insurance Brokers and president of the Toronto Insurance Council. The coronavirus exacerbated that.

“It’s a perfect storm,” she said.

Many hospitality companies were already operating on razor-thin margins before pandemic-driven lockdowns. An inability to access affordable insurance could spell the end for them, given they are barely managing to hang on amid distancing restrictions.

While these businesses carry the same risks as elsewhere, the Canadian hospitality industry has faced a bigger hit due to a much smaller insurance market dominated by Lloyd’s syndicates, Ritchie said. Far more domestic insurers cover the space in countries like the United States, spreading out risk, she said.

Lloyd’s is a marketplace that comprises various specialist insurers, or syndicates, who write policies.

Lloyd’s business volumes fell 8.6% in the first half of 2020, reflecting an intentional reduction by several syndicates exposed to poorly performing business segments, the group said in a statement here.

The Lloyd’s market lost 438 million pounds ($569 million), versus

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