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Weekly Wrap - 27th Match

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As COVID-19 seems here to stay for a while, nations are scrambling to readjust to a new normal – from imposing lockdowns, to whole organisations opting to work-from-home.

Anxiety created by the Coronavirus outbreak is having a significant impact on the mental health of workers globally. As millions grapple with both being involuntarily confined in their homes and a wildly uncertain economic environment, many are turning to mental health apps and teletherapy to cope with the anxiety of isolation. Mental health professionals are making the most of a recent loosening of policies allowing them to practice online. In areas under lockdown, setting up virtual dinners or happy hours to remain in contact with friends and colleagues is also increasingly common. Here’s the Washington Post’s piece on how it’s being done.

 

Sri Lanka has been working from home – is this a new working paradigm? This latest move should be widely applauded, not for its common sense nature, but rather for the effect it will have on giving businesses and employers clarity on what they should focus on over the next week. No longer will critical mental energy be spent on trying to get employees to work, nor ensuring those that do show up go about their day adhering to impeccable hygiene standards. Instead, all manpower will be targeted squarely on ensuring that as many day-to-day activities can be completed remotely.

 

The price tag of postponed Olympics: Tourism operators, retailers and advertisers are counting the costs of the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics, which is exacerbating the coronavirus-induced slowdown. Hoteliers are facing the Olympian task of replacing bookings for 46,000 rooms per day earmarked for the games' organisers. Marketing plans by firms around the world have been scrambled, Bloomberg reports, though the International Olympic Committee says sponsors will retain their rights. Nikkei reported that postponing the Olympics will cost organisers some $2.7 billion, including venue rentals, rebooking hotels and extra wages.

 

Global lockdowns spread with virus - with Europe accounting for 70% of coronavirus deaths globally and the U.S. surpassing Spain in the number of confirmed cases, governments are adopting stricter measures to keep people at home. New travel bans are in effect in Iran, South Korea, Japan and China, lockdowns are being extended elsewhere — and non-compliant citizens are beginning to see penalties.

 

More updates from around the world:

 

  • South Africa is the latest country to implement a lockdown of 21 days for its 56 million inhabitants. There are currently 552 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the country — the highest in Africa.
  • With Spain's death toll of more than 4,000 overtaking China's, its government moved to extend a lockdown.
  • India imposed a lockdown earlier this week, declaring that its entire 1.3 billion-strong population must remain at home behind closed doors for 21 days.
  • Worldwide case tracker: https://www.bing.com/covid

 

The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce

Aisha Nazim

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