APCO Worldwide's Coronavirus Beat is a twice weekly publication on the impact of COVID-19 on businesses, economies, policy and culture, and how leaders are responding. The next newsletter will appear Thursday, May 14.
Have a comment about this newsletter? We welcome your feedback.
Business & Economic Impact
1. American electric car-maker Tesla tells its employees it will reopen California factory despite its failure to meet the requirements for resuming production,The New York Times
2. Health care workers see steep job losses due to rising financial pressure in the sector after coronavirus-related lockdowns suspend medical procedures, The Wall Street Journal 3. In France, economic activity was reduced by 33% and more than 450,000 jobs were lost in the first quarter of 2020 due to reduced business activity, Le Monde
1. Regional travel-corridors, 'immunity passports' and the selective reopening of borders may be the future of tourism in the coronavirus era,CNN 2. Saudi Arabia is tripling its value-added tax rate to 15% and cutting its budget in a plan to save $27 billion amid plummeting oil prices and the coronavirus,Business Insider 3.China to reform disease prevention system by using big data, AI and cloud computing to better analyze the disease, trace the virus and distribute resources,Reuters
1. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson extends the lockdown but outlines a roadmap to reopen society including shops and schools opening in June and restaurants in July,Financial Times
2. After weeks of lockdown, Europe gradually reopens, with Spain allowing outdoor exercise, Germany starting soccer games and countries opening museums and salons, Bloomberg 3.Singapore's SafeEntry check-in system plugs holes in virus tracing, relying on QR-code scans at thousands of locations,Nikkei Business Review
1. UK construction workers, who have been urged back to work, are among the most vulnerable to the virus and have the highest death rates in England and Wales,Bloomberg
2. New outbreaks in South Korea, Germany and China show continued risk and renewed restrictions as more countries seek to reopen and ease lockdown restrictions,CNN 3.Multinationals in China must prepare for a national distancing as U.S. and Chinese governments take potentially aggressive steps to intensify de-linking, Diplomatic Courier
APCO is tracking Americans’ attitudes and behaviors related to COVID-19. The latestinstallment, from polling conducted on April 17, 2020, explored Americans’ views on how the country will recover from the pandemic:
APCO's Rachael Siefert, senior director and North America digital strategy practice lead, shares her insights on the future of advocacy and campaigning to maximize meaningful impact:
"While we may have expected an increase in election-related advocacy efforts, what we’re really seeing are people turning their concerns around COVID-19 into action.
Finding ways to connect that energy to the future elections and legislative goals that will be imperative to your grassroots campaign are the key to success moving forward. However, you can’t go about business as usual right now because attentions are more focused on COVID-19 and legislative priorities may have shifted. So, how can you use your ongoing digital advocacy campaign efforts to do this?"
As the UK begins to contemplate the easing of lockdown measures, how will crucial NHS services resume? What is the next phase of the health system response to the pandemic? What changes made over the last few weeks will remain? And, what does COVID-19 mean for the government’s health and social care reform agenda?
On Tuesday, May 12 from 8:30-9:30am BST, you are invited to join a conversation with Richard Sloggett, former special adviser to Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock, and Senior Fellow, Policy Exchange, who will discuss the impact of the lockdown measures on the UK health system. RSVP here.
BRUSSELS: CRISIS MANAGEMENT TO ECONOMIC RECOVERY
APCO colleagues are sharing on-the-ground insights and analysis on the impact of COVID-19 in markets around the world. Today’s dispatch from APCO’s Brussels office looks at the coordinated efforts of EU institutions to respond and develop a coordinated recovery plan to emerge from the crisis.
With new leadership in the European Commission, Parliament and Central Bank, and an ambitious work program, 2020 was supposed to be a year of renewal and success for the European Union. Then, the coronavirus came, and with it, the difficulties in coordinating responses across the bloc. The emblematic Schengen area was the first to feel the effects, as travel restrictions and border closures were swiftly implemented. Then came tensions between national capitals over personal protective equipment, which dominated the daily political agenda. As public health has always been a competence of the bloc’s member states, rather than the Union, critics were quick to raise questions about European solidarity, especially between northern and southern countries who started to turn on each other on issues such as funding and debt mutualization.
EU institutions are complex in structure and ill-suited to the fast decision-making required to respond to a crisis. There is, however, an overall agreement that the EU will be essential in responding to the consequences of the coronavirus and that this response will depend on both coordination and solidarity. Following tough negotiations, EU leaders have agreed on an overarching common approach to COVID-19 structured around limiting the spread of the virus, ensuring the provision of medical equipment, boosting research for treatments and vaccines, and, most importantly, supporting the economy. With the EU economy predicted to experience a recession of historic proportions this year, plans to slowly re-open most European economies are playing out at the national level. Having secured the use of the EU’s Stability Mechanism to provide member states with fresh emergency funds, the EU Commission now looks to upcoming negotiations on what Commission President Ursula von der Leyen calls an “EU Marshall Plan to counter COVID-19:” an updated budget for 2021-2027 and an ambitious €1 trillion investment package, to begin May 13. Draft documents show that the green transition and digital transformation, as well as ambitious changes in healthcare, will be critical in these discussions, offering opportunities for any stakeholder seeking to align their activities with the next chapter of the EU’s integration. As things stand, the EU recovery plan will also aim to strengthen the EU’s “strategic autonomy,” with some discussion about the importance of moving key supply chains back to Europe.
Some Positive News
Gifting Vacations to New York City’s Hospital Staff: More than 4,000 staff member at hard-hit Elmhurst Hospital were surprised with a free vacation sponsored by American Airlines and Hyatt Hotels, CBS News
Vaccine Progress: Researchers prepare for ‘human challenge trials’ after 14,000 volunteers sign up to test the vaccine in the United States, Financial Times
Increase in Sales: Florists saw a boom in sales leading up to Mother’s Day, which helps them to bring back jobs previously put on furlough, NBC Chicago
More Tips from Around the Water Cooler
Changing vaccine sentiment can change the course of health, MM&M
“While this virus may be a natural phenomenon, the crisis it both reveals and exacerbates is manmade. This moment must be a wake-up call and a turning point in the way we prevent and address calamities like this in the future.”
- Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, President of The Rockefeller Foundation
“COVID-19 is putting us all to the test and it is a test we are all rising to. This is a great shared project by the peoples of the world with a clear purpose: to find that vaccine for COVID-19. A safe vaccine, available to all, affordable to all.”
- Scott Morrison, Prime Minister of Australia
The APCO team is working with clients globally to manage this crisis, and we stand ready to support your needs. For more resources from APCO, including our latest research, information on how we can help or to contact us, visit apcoworldwide.com/coronavirus.
About Coronavirus Beat
Coronavirus Beat is a bulletin of updates and clippings from the most relevant media and government sources created to help APCO’s clients keep abreast of the impacts of COVID-19 from around the world. APCO is supporting clients in managing the issues they confront related to the outbreak. Contact our crisis team at Crisis360@apcoworldwide.com or +1.866.360.APCO (toll-free) or +1.866.483.2726 (outside the United States).
APCO Worldwide is an advisory and advocacy communications consultancy helping leading public and private sector organizations act with agility, and build organizational reputations, brands, relationships and solutions to succeed. APCO has offices in more than 30 major cities throughout the world. To find out how APCO’s integrated services can help your company, visit apcoworldwide.com.