Asia: what you could have missed
American airlines withdrew the billion dollar loan taken out a week ago. Like other airlines, sought liquidity as demand for air travel evaporated amid the pandemic and travel restrictions trying to curb it. Delta Air Lines obtained $ 3 billion in loans and Southwest Airlines used $ 2 billion.
Finland cuts the region around its capital Helsinki from the rest of the Nordic country in order to slow the pace of the coronavirus epidemic. Sanna Marin, the center-left Finnish Prime Minister, announced Thursday evening that travel to and from the Uusimaa region which includes Helsinki would be prohibited until April 19, with a few exceptions.
The British High Court dismissed a court challenge which had provisional release of detainees in immigrant removal centers if they were at risk of coronavirus. On Wednesday evening, two judges rejected a request for judicial review filed by Detention Action, a charity, against the Interior Ministry.
Diplomats look to the Ministry of Defense for thousands of American citizens at home as international travel stops to stem the spread of the coronavirus. The US State Department said it plans to repatriate 9,000 people in 66 flights in the next few days, but estimated that 50,000 may seek to return to the United States. It has already brought back 9,000 people from 28 countries.
Director of the European Central Bank Mario Draghi said the coronavirus pandemic is a human tragedy of potentially biblical proportions. “Many today live in fear of their lives or mourn their loved ones,” said the FT. “The measures taken by governments to prevent our health systems being overwhelmed are courageous and necessary. They must be supported.
Walmart grants rent relief to approximately 10,000 companies operating on its premises in the United States as concerns grow over how small businesses can cope with the shutdown of the coronavirus. The world’s largest retailer said it proposed to waive April payments for hairdressers, restaurant franchises, community banks and other outlets that rent space in its stores.
Four of the five largest US banks pledged to freeze 90-day mortgages for anyone in California affected by Covid-19, state governor Gavin Newsom has announced. The participating banks are Citigroup, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase and US Bank. The outlier is Bank of America, which only accepted a 30-day “forbearance”.
Almost 100,000 French companies will receive € 4 billion in government support for 1.2 million workers temporarily laid off due to the coronavirus pandemic and the ensuing blockage, said the Ministry of Labor.