Italy's UniCredit also told some staff to go home after two new infections were reported among its employees - one in Germany and one in Italy.
Here’s what you need to know about coronavirus:
The outbreak is getting ever closer to the nerve centres of the world’s financial system. HSBC bank has sent more than 100 staff in London home after a worker tested positive for the coronavirus, the first known case at a major company in Europe’s main financial hub.
Italy’s UniCredit also told some staff to go home after two new infections were reported among its employees – one in Germany and one in Italy. The European Central Bank has asked euro zone banks to urgently test their large scale remote working arrangements, or other flexible working arrangements for critical staff, a letter dated Tuesday that was seen by Reuters showed.
There are now over 95,300 cases worldwide and more than 3,200 people have died, a Reuters tally shows. Everyday life for Italians is about to be turned on its head after the death toll there rose to 107 and cases totalled almost 3,090. The decision to shut all schools and universities until March 15 will have massive knock-on effects for working parents – and their employers. Leisure won’t be the same either: a government decree calls for the closure of cinemas and theatres and tells Italians not to shake hands or hug each other, and to avoid “direct physical contact with all people.”
Italy’s bishops have meanwhile ordered Masses not be held during the week in churches in areas of the north of the country affected by the coronavirus outbreak – a step thought to be unprecedented. And to cap it all, top flight Serie A soccer matches are to be played in empty stadiums.
California declared a state of emergency after its first coronavirus fatality, the first in the United States outside Washington state. The U.S. death toll from coronavirus infections rose to 11 on Wednesday as new cases emerged around the New York City and Los Angeles areas.
An ocean liner that previously carried two passengers who contracted the coronavirus has been barred from returning to its home port of San Francisco from a voyage to Hawaii after at least 20 people aboard fell ill. For now, the Grand Princess cruise ship has been told to remain at sea until further tests. What of course no one wants is a repeat of last month’s saga involving another ocean-bound princess – when the Diamond Princess cruiser was quarantined off the coast of Japan and was for a time the largest concentration of virus cases outside China.
Big oil cuts in the pipeline
The coronavirus outbreak has dented the global economy and with it the demand for oil. In an attempt to shore up prices for the black stuff, OPEC ministers meeting in Vienna on Thursday are expected to approve a big cut in oil production. At present, they they are still waiting for Russia to indicate whether it will back such a move.
Airlines take a hit
The epidemic could cost passenger airlines up to $113 billion in lost revenue this year, the IATA industry body has said in a new a forecast more than three times a projection it made just two weeks ago. The warning came as British regional carrier Flybe became the first big casualty of the slump in travel demand due to the crisis and Norwegian Air scrapped its profit forecast for this year.
Not the time for 007
Among public events to be cancelled or postponed is the global release of Daniel Craig’s last outing as James Bond. The world premiere of “No Time to Die”, planned for March 31 in London, with 5,000 attendees, has now been postponed till November.
Toilet paper scare
A delivery truck carrying toilet paper caught fire after its engine exploded in the Australian city of Brisbane, adding to a sense of panic about the availability of the product after the coronavirus outbreak prompted panic buying.
The driver escaped without injury and the cargo, including toilet paper, was also largely unaffected.