Industries cautiously await more details on new coronavirus variant
Ben KlaymanHealthcare workers at a Michigan Health Professionals drive-thru Covid-19 testing site in Farmington Hills, Michigan, US, on November 29 2021. Picture: BLOOMBERG/EMILY ELCONINDetroit — Pandemic-weary corporations are assessing the impact of the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus, with industries from Hollywood movie studios to airlines and vehicles awaiting more details to help determine how it might affect operations and profits.
The World Health Organization warned on Monday the variant carries a high global risk of infection surges. Spooked investors wiped about $2-trillion off global stocks on Friday, but markets regained some ground on Monday.Countries have swiftly imposed bans on travel from Southern Africa, where the variant was identified. Japan and Israel went even further, announcing bans on all foreign visitors.
Some airlines said they were not heavily changing schedules, but industry sources said big carriers moved swiftly to protect their hubs by curbing passenger travel from Southern Africa.Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary saw no reason to cancel flights though he was worried about some countries potentially shutting air travel. Lufthansa, Germany’s flagship airline, said its flights were still well booked. headtopics.com
US President Joe Biden met CEOs of major retailers and other companies on Monday to discuss how to move goods to shelves as the US holiday shopping season begins in the shadow of Omicron.Before the meeting, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon cited improvement in the supply chain, noting the retailer had seen a 26% increase in shipping containers going through US ports over the past four weeks.
US commerce secretary Gina Raimondo said on Monday it was too soon to tell if Omicron will have any impact on global supply chains.The prospect of a fast-spreading variant has raised fears of a return of the sort of restrictions that shut down a swathe of industries in 2020.
In Hollywood, where production on film and television shows returned to pre-pandemic levels this summer thanks to stringent health and safety precautions, the studios were waiting to learn more about this latest mutation of the coronavirus.“With Covid, it keeps shape shifting. It’s like mercury — we can’t get our hands around it,” said Dr Neal Baer, a physician who was a longtime producer of
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.“It’s going to take a couple of weeks for us to know, one, how well vaccinations protect us, two, whether you need a booster and whether a booster helps or three, whether the vaccine needs to be modified to make it effective against this mutation.” headtopics.com
In the US, carmaker plants were closed for two months last year. Even after restarting operations, they have curtailed production schedules due to semiconductor chip shortages and other supply-chain constraints. Carmakers said it was too soon to predict the impact of Omicron.
“This is new,” Nissan Motor US spokesperson Lloryn Love-Carter said. “We’re monitoring of course, but we still have a lot of pretty strict Covid protocols in place.”General Motors, the largest US carmaker, said it was watching closely and its Covid-19 safety protocols remain in place at its plants.
“We continue to strongly encourage our employees to get vaccinated given the broad availability of safe and highly efficacious vaccines,” GM spokesperson Maria Raynal said. “We will continue to review and adjust our protocols as new information regarding this variant becomes available.”
Toyota Motor said its US management team will meet on Tuesday to discuss the Omicron variant.“Right now we’re in the ‘gathering info’ mode,” Toyota’s US spokesperson Scott Vazin said. “Since most of our employees are based in plants, we’ve never stopped Covid protocols such as social distancing, health screenings, masking up.” headtopics.comRead more: Business Day »
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Pandemic-drained companies now face OmicronIndustries cautiously await more details on new coronavirus variant
LISTEN | What you need to know about the new Omicron variantThe emergence of a new Covid-19 variant B.1.1.529, named Omicron by the World Health Organisation, has rattled many people as the world battles an ongoing pandemic.
Australia bans travellers from virus-hit Southern AfricaAustralia imposed new restrictions on Saturday on people who have been to nine Southern African countries, as the new Omicron variant of Covid-19 raises concerns about another wave of the pandemic. Australia has gone crazy Pointless, they must deal with their revolting people who are busy with superspreader protest gatherings The headline is misleading!! Pull this down if you have some shame. Australia has more vivid cases than Southern Africa
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Airlines race to respond to sudden changes brought on by new Covid variantAirlines now face a return to the uncertainty of shifting rules and public-health developments amid Omicron coronavirus variant
Ramaphosa calls on countries to urgently reverse travel bans imposed over Covid-19 variantRestrictions imposed in response to Omicron variant unscientific and ‘completely unjustified’ I continue to encourage you not to lose hope even under very difficult& trying circumstances. I pray for you &with you. Prov 3:5.. Trust in the lord with all your heart; 1 Peter 5:7.. Give all your worries & cares to God, for he cares about you. He is desperate, no one is going to take his orders, what will he do? Any reversals of the travel ban yet