Coronavirus latest: US disease control agency pledges to help revive cruise ship sector

Belgium and Greece have joined a growing number of European countries that
have imposed or are preparing tough new social curbs to quell a resurgence of coronavirus. Stella Kyriakides, EU health commissioner, said rising cases, hospital admissions and deaths put intense pressure on member states.

London mayor Sadiq Khan and UK prime minister Boris Johnson have struck a rescue deal worth up to £1.8bn to keep bus and Tube services running for another six months. The agreement would prevent a collapse of Transport for London until the end of the financial year.

Oil traders and analysts are scrambling to calculate the hit to demand from renewed coronavirus lockdowns in France and Germany, as fears over their impact drove oil prices to their worst week in six months. Brent crude, the international marker, fell 10 per cent in the past week to just above $37 a barrel.

Poles streamed through towns and cities across the country, protesting against a court ruling that paves the way for an almost total abortion ban. Police said almost half a million people have taken part in demonstrations despite a ban on public gatherings put in place to stem the coronavirus pandemic.

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Sean Doyle, British Airways’ new chief executive, urged the UK aviation regulator to block Heathrow airport’s attempt to increase its landing fees. Mr Doyle said the Civil Aviation Authority should reject the extra £1.20 charge for each touchdown, which was proposed to help offset losses from the pandemic.

The chairman of PwC has warned auditors will find it more difficult to judge that company accounts are free from fraud or errors during the coronavirus pandemic. “Judgment calls this year will be harder than ever,” said Kevin Ellis, head of PwC in the UK and Middle East since 2016.

Major League Baseball owners voted to approve hedge fund billionaire Steve Cohen as the new owner of the New York Mets. Mr Cohen pledged to reinstitute pre-pandemic salaries to the club’s staff — whose pay was cut between 5 and 30 per cent — and establish a relief fund for seasonal workers.

Kingfisher is putting its physical hardware stores at the heart of its ecommerce strategy. The pandemic kick-started ecommerce as lockdowns spurred a DIY boom among homebound consumers. Online sales rose from 7 per cent to 19 per cent of the total, and four-fifths of those are collected from stores.

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