Updates on Coronavirus

  • July 03, 20 - 11:20 am - LABS

    Number of COVID-19 infected in Brazil may be up to six times higher than official data

    A Brazilian study on the extent of infection by the new coronavirus estimates that the number of infected people in the country may be up to six times greater than that officially registered, of almost 1.5 million people as of last Thursday. That’s the same research that LABS first reported in April, but now, as the study evolves, the scenario is more clearer.

    Coordinated by the Epidemiology Center of the Federal University of Pelotas (UFPel), in May the study concluded that 1.9% of the Brazilian population was infected. Now, this proportion has jumped to 3.8%.

    The survey tested 89,397 people in capitals and large cities between May 14 and June 24, in three phases. Valor Econômico reports that it is the largest epidemiological study in the world on coronavirus, taking into account the number of people tested and demographic density.

    Unlike other studies in the area, the study suggested that most patients have mild symptoms. Brazilian Ministry of Health reported that it is still evaluating the results of the work and that other phases of the research will be contracted, as a way to help policies to combat the disease.

  • July 03, 20 - 11:02 am - LABS

    More than 2.7 million companies may close in Latin America

    In the next six months, more than 2.7 million companies may close in Latin America, mostly from medium to small companies from the commerce and tourism sectors. This will may lead to a loss of 8.5 million jobs, according to the Special Report COVID-19 No. 4 entitled Sectors and businesses facing COVID-19: emergency and reactivation by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).

    Photo: Shutterstock

    According to the ECLAC report, more than a third of formal jobs and a quarter of GDP in Latin America and the Caribbean are generated by sectors that the coronavirus crisis has hit hard. On the other hand, the organization points out that less than a fifth of the formal labor market and the generation of wealth in the region is in the hands of businesses moderately affected by the current crisis.

    The crisis is hitting industrial sectors with potentially greater technological dynamism the hardest and, therefore, it will deepen the structural problems of the region’s economies. This means that if the proper policies are not implemented to strengthen these branches of production, it is highly probable that a regressive structural change will be set in motion that would lead to the re-primarization of the region’s economies.

    Alicia bárcena, executive secretary of ECLAC, during the presentation of the report.

    According to the study, the vast majority of companies in the region have seen significant declines in their revenue and are struggling to maintain their activities, since they face serious problems in fulfilling their wage and financial obligations and difficulties to access financing for working capital.

    ECLAC recalls that, from March, several governments in the region have announced a broad set of measures to sustain the production structure and avert job losses (the organization has identified 351 actions, grouped into six categories). The deferment of payments and improved access to credit has been the most common actions taken to confront the emergency caused by the current crisis.

    These measures assume that companies will earn profits to be able to pay back loans, pay taxes and make deferred payments, but, according to the ECLAC, “the outlook does not indicate that this will happen by itself in the next couple of years since it is very likely that the business sector recovery will be slow and gradual, the United Nations organization warns.”

  • July 02, 20 - 5:36 pm - LABS

    Almost 30% of Brazilian professionals are going to the office amid the pandemic, says LinkedIn

    A survey conducted by LinkedIn with around 1,200 users between June 1 and 14 shows that almost 30% of Brazilian professionals have attended their workplace during the COVID_19 pandemic.

    The fear of the situation varies according to the age of the worker and the size of the company. See some of the survey highlights, pointed out by the platform editors in Brazil:

    • Employees of large companies are those who feel most compelled to return to the office despite the health crisis. About 29% of them see this as a compulsory situation. In medium and small businesses this proportion fells to 15% and 7% of the employees.
    • Older professionals are more willing to return to the office as soon as their employers allow it. That is about 28% of Baby Boomers and 26% of Generation X. At the same time, only 12% of millennials express the same desire.
    • When it comes to the risks related to the disease when commuting to the workplace, younger workers are the ones more concerned. About 47% of millennials are afraid of contagion on buses and subways. The national average, regardless of generation, is 29%.
    Passenger wearing a mask on a bus in the city of Rio de Janeiro. Photo: Tânia Rego/Agência Brasil.

    As of this Thursday afternoon, Brazil has 1,456,969 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and 60,813 deaths due to the disease, only behind the U.S.

  • July 02, 20 - 4:51 pm - LABS

    Brazil’s Central Bank President says the country started a V-shaped recovery

    According to Reuters, Brazil’s Central Bank President Roberto Campos Neto said that the country’s economy has begun a ‘V-shaped’ recovery from the worst of the COVID-19 crisis. Campos Neto said that during an online event hosted by the newspaper Correio Braziliense and the largest Brazilian bank Itau Unibanco.

    “We start to see a faster improvement in June. So energy, traffic, tax collection, TED volume, all of this we can see an improvement in June (….) So it seems that we have started a recovery that would be an initial ‘V’ move, but that we think should soften up a bit. In other words, we can see that the first part of the recovery was in ‘V’, following some other places in the world, unlike in 2008, when the recovery was slower.”

    He also said that inflation is under control, but that unemployment will get worse before it gets better.

  • July 02, 20 - 3:10 pm - LABS

    After Latam and Avianca, Aeromexico files for bankruptcy protection

    On Wednesday night Grupo Aeroméxico reported that the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York accepted its request for the voluntary process under Chapter 11.

    “We are very satisfied with the prompt resolution and approval of the court to these first requests, which help to guarantee the continuity of operations during this process,” said its CEO, Andrés Conesa.

    After analyzing various financing proposals, the group decided to start a restructuring process in the US this week, following in the footsteps of the iconic Latin American airlines Avianca and Latam, also affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

    Aeromexico aircraft
    Aeromexico aircraft in Mexico City Airport. Photo: TamasV/Shutterstock

    The Mexican airline will offer fewer flights and have fewer planes in the short term, but it will not stop operations. In fact, in July the company expects to double the number of its domestic flights and quadruple the number of international flights as compared to June.

    Differently from Aeromexico, Avianca and Latam are not operating in Colombia and Chile due to governmental decisions in these two countries. Latam also announced the suspension of its operation in Argentina last month.

    In a statement, Conesa considered that Aeromexico took a successful first step. We look forward to continuing to safely expand flight service in the coming months, in line with local regulations and customer demand.”

  • July 02, 20 - 2:35 pm - LABS

    Americas region accounts for half of the 10 million cases of COVID-19 in the world; PAHO/WHO launches a new campaign

    In the Americas region as a whole and in the world there are 5,2 million and 10.3 million cases, respectively, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

    As of this Thursday, the five largest Latin American economies (Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, and Chile) have 2,137,321 confirmed cases, according to the health authorities in each country. Among the over 508,055 deaths due to the COVID-19 around the world, 101,652 were registered in these five countries.

    Tests for Covid-19
    Laboratory of the Oswaldo Cruz Institute. Photo: Josue Damacena/Fiocruz Imagens

    On Wednesday, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) launched a new donation portal to the COVID-19 Response Fund, as a way of mobilizing more resources for its work in the COVID-19 pandemic in the Americas.

    In March 2020, PAHO launched a $95 million donor campaign to support and expand public health preparedness and response efforts in Latin America and the Caribbean by August 2020. However, it’s now estimated that $200 million are needed to properly support pandemic preparedness and response till December 2020. To date, PAHO has received $66.6 million in contributions and additional aid commitments.

  • July 02, 20 - 11:19 am - LABS

    60% of small businesses in Latin American do not have access credit or loans

    A survey commissioned by Visa and carried out by Americas Market Intelligence (AMI) shows that 83% of Latin American small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) suffered a reduction in their activities during the pandemic. According to the credit card banner, the remaining 17% are mostly suppliers of essential services, such as markets, pharmacies and gas stations. Read more about it.

  • July 01, 20 - 5:10 pm - LABS

    Microsoft launches digital skills program to the COVID-19 economy

    Microsoft announced on Tuesday that is rolling out a global skills initiative aimed at bringing more digital skills to 25 million people worldwide by the end of the year. Tools, training, and certifications will be available online to people in multiple languages through Microsoft’s new program, and the company will further provide $20 million in financial grants, plus technical support, to nonprofit organizations around the world.

    Read more about it.

  • July 01, 20 - 4:15 pm - LABS

    Unemployment in Brazil hits 12.9% and only half of the working-age population was employed from March to May

    A survey released on Tuesday by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) found that only 49.5% of working-age people were employed in the quarter that ended in May.

    As disclosed by the Continuous National Household Sample Survey (PNAD) and reported by Reuters, this is the lowest level of occupation since the beginning of the survey, in 2012. According to IBGE, the number shows a decrease of five percentage points in relation to the quarter that ended in February.

    “For the first time in the historical survey series, the level of occupation was below 50%”, says Adriana Beringuy, research analyst. “This means that less than half of the population of working age is working. This has never happened in PNAD Continuous”, she added.

    IBGE also found that the unemployment rate in Brazil was 12.9% in the quarter ended in May, compared to 11.6% until February. Thus, the number of unemployed in Brazil between March and May reached 12.710 million, from 12.343 million between December and February.

    In May, the Brazilian labor market lost 331,901 formal jobs. Since the beginning of the isolation measures against the COVID-19 outbreak in the country, in March, 1.4 million job vacancies were closed.

  • July 01, 20 - 11:43 am - LABS

    Brazilian government extends emergency aid for two more months

    The Brazilian government announced the extension of the Emergency Aid. President Jair Bolsonaro yesterday confirmed two extra installments of BRL 600 ($112,04) of the government’s emergency aid to mitigate Covid-19‘s losses.

    The financial aid is aimed at the unemployed and low-income, informal and self-employed workers affected by the economic effects of the pandemic. The program initially had a three-month term: April, May and June. Now, it will extend the amount for another two months: but the payment may be divided into four installments.

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