Air Canada lays off 5,000, France tries to save food supply


The rapid spread of the coronavirus since it was first reported in China has dealt an unparalleled shock to the world economy.
Following are business developments Monday related to the outbreak as governments attempt to stabilize their economies, companies struggle to cope and millions of people face job losses and disruptions in supplies of goods and in services.
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AIRLINES: Air Canada is laying off more than 5,000 flight attendants as the country’s largest airline cuts routes amid plunging demand. The Montreal-based carrier is laying off about 3,600 employees, plus 1,549 flight attendants at its low-cost subsidiary Rouge, according to Wesley Lesosky, head of the Air Canada Component of the Canadian Union of Public Employees. The layoffs will take effect by April and affect roughly 60% of flight attendants. Air Canada says it will suspend most of its international and U.S. flights by March 31. The carrier says employees will be returned to active duty status once flights resume.
The United Arab Emirates is suspending passenger transits through Dubai, the world’s busiest international airport, for two weeks to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. Suspending transit through Dubai, which connects Europe with Asia and Australia, will affect travelers around the world.
Low-cost airline Eastar Jet has become the first South Korean carrier to shut down all flights as demand plunges. The company says it will temporarily suspend its domestic flights from Tuesday to April 25. Another budget South Korean carriers including Air Seoul, Air Busan, and T’Way Air operate only domestic flights after suspending their international services.
HEAVY INDUSTRY: Airbus is canceling a planned dividend payment and lining up 15 billion euros ($16 billion) in new credit to give the European aircraft giant more cash to weather the crisis. Airbus The planemaker is withdrawing the proposed 2019 dividend payment of 1.8 euros ($1.9) per share will save the company 1.4 billion euros ($1.5 billion). Airbus is also making pension savings and says it has significant liquidity to cope with the crisis. It had shut several plants last week to adapt them to safer health conditions.
Royal Dutch Shell will reduce its operating costs by between $3 billion to $4 billion for the next 12 months to adapt to the virus outbreak crisis and plunging oil prices. The company is also reducing capital expenditure to a maximum of $20 billion, down from its previous expectation of $25 billion.
FINANCIAL MARKETS: U.S. futures are down more than 3% after shares fell in Europe and Asia as shutdowns aimed at containing the coronavirus pandemic expanded around the globe.
Stocks fell in Paris, Frankfurt, and London after a brutal session in Asia on Monday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 index was the outlier, gaining 2.0% after the International Olympic Committee and Japanese officials indicated they are considering postponing the Tokyo Games, due to begin in July.
U.S. futures slipped after work on more stimulus for the U.S. economy hit snags in the U.S. Senate. Top-level negotiations between Congress and the White House continued after the Senate voted against advancing the nearly $2 trillion economic rescue package.
SUPERMARKETS: President Emmanuel Macron urged employees to keep working in French supermarkets and some other businesses deemed essential amid a spreading shutdown imposed to fight the coronavirus.
“We need to keep the country running,” Macron said.
Finance minister Bruno Le Maire said Friday the whole supply chain for the food industry must be guaranteed after France shut down this week all restaurants, cafes, cinemas and retail shops that are deemed nonessential. Many employees are working from home. Businesses that are allowed to remain open must enforce rules about social distancing, washing hands, and disinfection.
How are you meant to keep on top of a full day's output while also managing the school's expectations of what learning the children should be doing from home?
Anecdotal evidence suggests parents are struggling to realize how these dual demands will be met.
"We've only got one computer at home, who gets to use it, me or the kids?"
"I'm lucky in that I can work from home easily enough, but with three kids under 10, that's a full day there before I even think of work."
"I'm unsure whether to just take leave to make sure the kids are ok, rather than try and do both, but I don't have much leave left."
Nicole Avery, mother of five, parenting blogger at Planning with Kids, and the most organized person you'll ever meet, has some tips for making it work.
"I have been working from home for the last 10 plus years," she says.
"My work has varied in the number of hours I work a week and where I would find the hours in the day to work. But I have learned that working productively from home with kids around can be very challenging."
While two of her children are now at university, she has children in year 11, year 8 and year 6.
"The younger the kids are the more challenging it is," she says.
"When the kids are prep age, preschoolers or younger, you have to be realistic about what you can achieve with them awake and around."
These are some strategies that worked for her when she still had little ones at home:
Use the early morning hours - get up well before the kids are up (at least an hour), have a big drink of water and get straight to work. It is amazing what you can achieve in an hour when you know the clock is ticking before the house erupts into the morning activity buzz. This can be hard if you are not used to working in the early hours, but to get through periods like this, it might just have to be something you have to adjust to for a short time.
Use screen time wisely - work out what time of the day you will need to be interrupted as little as a possible eg conference call, report deadline, etc and keep screen time for then.
Early dinner time - aim to eat dinner at a reasonable early time so if you have a partner, you can be ready to tag them as soon as they walk in the door and you can secure another hour or two of work time where you will be interrupted as little as possible. Plan this with your partner if they are still going to work and even leave the house and work in the library/cafe if you need to in order to prevent the kids from coming to you.
Nicole Avery has some excellent tips on working from home. Picture: Supplied
 Nicole Avery has some excellent tips on working from home. Picture: Supplied
These next tips apply to those with kids of any age:
Have an effective to-do list - create this the day before. When you finish up your work for the day, write up the key work and home activities you will need to achieve the next day. You want to be able to get started on your key activities as soon as you can. Having a well organized and prioritized to-do list prevents procrastination and allows you to move from one activity to the other without losing time.
Have a plan for the day for primary school kids - as they are not actually on holidays, work with what the school has sent out and what you know will work for your child/ren in terms of structure for the day. Include indoor and outdoor time and use screen time sessions strategically for when you need them to be quiet.
Stick to your normal routine as much as possible - if you are an early morning exerciser or meditator for example, still get up and do that at the same time as you would if you had to leave for work. It can be tempting to sleep in because you are working from home, but you are going to have many more interruptions to your day than normal, so you want to be able to have some buffer in it.
  • Make the lunches the night before - keep your normal processes for school lunches, making them the night before. This means you can then have a lunch break with the kids and spend time with them, not making them something to eat. It also means they have snacks easily available without having to bother you for them.
Set expectations with the kids on noise and mess - everyone is different but personally,
 I can work with noise, but find it difficult to work when I am surrounded by mess. Set up what your expectations are with the kids about how loud and how messy they can be.
Set additional household tasks - discuss with the kids that at times like this, it requires everyone to work together. Give extra tasks to kids that will help decrease your workload. Primary school kids can easily peel and cut up veggies for dinner, sweep floors and fold washing.
Stay active - go for a walk around the block or jump on the trampoline with the kids for morning and afternoon tea. Everyone will be better off for some fresh air and some physical activity.
For more ideas on how to combine working from home and looking after the children head to planningwithkids.com
  • You can also call the Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080
  • If you have serious symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, call Triple Zero (000)
The Federal Reserve unveiled a major expansion of lending programs Monday that are designed to unclog credit markets that seized up last week, expanding its facilities to include certain types of corporate and municipal debt.
The rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee said the purchases of Treasury and mortgage securities that it approved one week ago are essentially unlimited, and the central bank said it would buy $375 billion in Treasury securities and $250 billion in mortgage securities this week.
It also said that it would begin purchasing commercial mortgage-backed securities issued by government-supported entities, which primarily consist of debt on apartment buildings.
“While great uncertainty remains, it has become clear that our economy will face severe disruptions,” the central bank said Monday morning. “Aggressive efforts must be taken across the public and private sectors to limit the losses to jobs and incomes and to promote a swift recovery once the disruptions abate.”
The Fed also said it would launch three new lending facilities, including the crisis-era Term Asset-Backed Securities Lending Facility, or TALF, which the central bank in 2008 used to support consumer and business credit markets. The Fed will lend money to investors to buy securities backed by credit-card loans and other consumer debt.
The central bank unveiled plans for two lending facilities to support corporate credit markets. One will lend to investment-grade companies and provide bridge financing of four years, while a second will buy corporate bonds issued by highly rated companies and U.S.-listed exchange-traded funds in the investment-grated corporate-bond market.
Those three facilities are designed to support $300 billion in new financing and the Treasury Department will cover $30 billion in losses.
It expanded two others that were unveiled last week to include additional classes of municipal debt and said it would lower the pricing on one of those, the Commercial Paper Funding Facility.
The Fed also said it would soon roll out a Main Street Business Lending Program that will support lending to eligible small and midsize businesses.
With the prospect of a novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic looming, it’s essential to uphold high standards of hygiene. Minimize the transmission of infection: Stay in your house if you’re under the weather, sneeze or cough into the crook of your elbow, and sanitize your hands, your home, and your workplace.
Hand sanitizer and bleach are two important tools for reducing the spread of disease. Find out how to use them effectively.

Sanitize hands

1. Washing your hands with soap and water, following the steps below, is actually a better way to sanitize than using a commercial hand sanitizer.
2. Frequent, thorough hand washing is key, especially after using the toilet, after sneezing; coughing and blowing your nose; after touching hard surfaces such as doorknobs or railings in public places; before and after touching your mouth, nose, or eyes (for example eating, biting your nails, scratching your nose, putting on mascara or rubbing your eyelids); and after putting laundry into the washer or the dryer.
3. Use liquid soap as opposed to a bar, and scrub for 20 seconds. (Singing “Happy Birthday” twice is the recommended way of timing your washing, though when I tested it, I only got through 1 1/4 renditions in the specified time.) Lather up in between your fingers, around and under the nails and all over the fronts and backs of your hands.
4. Dry hands with a paper towel, not cloth, when you are away from home, to reduce the spread of infection. Make sure your hands are completely dry.
5. Try to use a barrier such as disposable surgical gloves or even a tissue when touching potentially contaminated surfaces. Then discard the barrier.

Hand sanitizer

1. Clean your hands with hand sanitizer when you don’t have the opportunity for a full wash.
2. Choose sanitizer that’s at least 60% alcohol. Use benzalkonium chloride if nothing else is available. Purse- or pocket-size bottles of hand sanitizer are likely in short supply in your area due to concern about the coronavirus, so consider buying a larger container and “decanting” it into a smaller, spill-resistant bottle. Or make your own with this DIY hand sanitizer recipe.
3. I prefer individually wrapped wipes. They’re the most hygienic and easy to carry if you’re on the go — exactly when you most need fast, easy hand sanitization. You may have trouble finding the exact type you want, though. My local drugstore was sold out and my Amazon search kept resulting in the message “Currently unavailable. We don’t know when or if this item will be back in stock.” So be flexible as to brand.
4. Never ever reuse a sanitizing wipe — viruses can live on the damp surface.

Disinfecting with bleach: Do’s and don’ts

FACT: Coronavirus can survive on hard surfaces for a week or more. Liquid laundry bleach (sodium chlorite) is an excellent, easily obtainable and cost-effective method of killing the virus. However, it must be handled with care, according to these do’s and don’ts.
DO protect yourself with waterproof gloves and wear old clothes when using bleach.
DO provide protective gear if you hire a cleaner who will be working with bleach.
DO clean with soap and water first, to remove surface dirt. Rinse well before spraying on bleach.
DON’T use bleach full strength. Dilute it with 9 parts water to 1 part bleach.
DON’T believe the caveat that bleach should be used only with cold water. Clorox recommends combining bleach with hot water for the best results.
DO use paper towels or clean rags to apply the bleach and safely dispose of them afterward.
DO leave bleach solution on surfaces at least 10 minutes for full disinfecting action. Then rinse and dry.
DON’T store diluted bleach in a sunny place or for longer than 24 hours; it will lose its effectiveness.
DO be especially careful cleaning toilets, as coronavirus can be spread via contaminated feces.
DON’T overdo it. Your home and most workplaces will not need to be disinfected more than 1-3 times a day unless you’re employed in a hospital or similar facility.
Most crucially, DON’T mix bleach with ammonia (found in popular glass cleaners, among other cleaning products) or acid (such as vinegar or lemon juice). Both these mixtures are highly toxic.

Sanitizing your phone

1. Scaremongering internet articles warn that your cell phone is covered in germs. However, as long as they are your own germs, you have nothing to worry about.
2. Disinfect your phone only if other people handle it.
3. Sanitize with a mild alcohol solution. Don’t spray or pour it directly onto your phone. Instead, apply to a microfiber cloth and use that to dab the mixture onto your phone.
4. Avoid using household cleaning wipes for your phone; they’re too harsh.

Caring for a coronavirus patient at home

You can care for a household member with a mild case of coronavirus at home, but take these precautions:
1. Clean hands as above after contact with the patient.
2. If face masks are not available in your area, you can improvise with several layers of flannel. Discard or disinfect masks frequently.
3. Wash patient’s bedding and pajamas, plus any reusable face masks, in hot water with bleach. Use a laundry basket to take soiled items to the washing machine — do not hold them against your body. Disinfect the washer afterward.
4. Use disposable dishes for someone with coronavirus.
Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin on Monday gave the authorities five days to develop a system to track people who have come into contact with anyone with coronavirus by using mobile phone geolocation data.
U.S. stocks futures pared losses on Monday after the Federal Reserve launched unprecedented measures to support U.S. households and companies, seeking to blunt the economic damage from the coronavrius pandemic.