In Jersey hotels will be allowed to open for staycations and arriving passengers who are required to isolate, from Monday 22 February, but household mixing is unlikely to be allowed for several weeks, the Chief Minister has announced. Senator John le Fondre said that all steps must be taken to avoid a third wave of infections and that there were currently no plans to relax border controls. At present all travellers arriving in Jersey must isolate for a period of 10 days upon arrival.
Last week Ministers announced plans to gradually ease restrictions with restaurants and cafes due to begin reopening on Monday with strict social distancing and mask wearing measures in place.
As of today the number of known active cases in the Island remained at 43 with no one in hospital. Meanwhile in Guernsey the Lockdown continues with Islanders still following strict measures to leave their homes for no more than 2 hours per day unless for essential purposes. As of today Guernsey had 88 cases with 2 in hospital.
Yesterday it was announced that 74% of ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ (high risk) Islanders aged 16 to 69 had now received their first vaccine dose. Jersey’s Chief Minister, in a statement on Wednesday evening said that whilst the vaccination programme was progressing well, it was still only at the start and that it would be early summer before the majority of Islanders had received their second dose. He urged Islanders to continue to abide by the guidance. He continued, ‘assessments about whether activities such as singing and indoor sport could restart would take place after the school half term break’. ‘Once the majority of the over 50 year olds had been vaccinated with at least one dose by the end of March, we will lift further restrictions’. In parallel to this, He added ‘we are developing plans on when, and under what criteria, we can relax our borders to those jurisdictions that have Covid under tight control’. He added, ‘the decisions taken so far to reopen sections of the economy had been taken with islanders’ mental and physical well being in mind’.
- Oil prices rally as Texas Freezes
- US inflation rate threat as Trillion Dollar stimulus package announced
- Recovery in Cruise stocks is there light at the end of the Covid Tunnel for the travel industry
- And a Cat on a Zoom chat goes Viral
Despite the global turmoil caused by Covid, markets are rallying perhaps in anticipation that an end to the pandemic may be in sight. In the US, President Bidens announcement of a massive $1.9tn stimulus package has drawn mixed reviews as it threatens to cause a rapid rise to the Inflation rate.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is to spend this weekend finalising his “roadmap” for easing Covid restrictions in England and opening up the economy. The Prime Minister has said his top priority will be the re-opening of schools.
Whilst the UK came out of its own winter freeze, abnormally low temperatures in Texas have been creating chaos. Widespread power outages have been reported and oil wells have literally frozen up. With Texan oil output normally being 1m barrels a day the reduction in supply contributed to Oil climbing to $63 a barrel, its highest in more than a year. The US stimulus package announcement and easing of lockdowns also contributed to this increased demand for oil.
Stocks and Markets
With all three major US stock indices notching record closing prices at the end of last week. Year-to-date, the NASDAQ100 is leading the way, with a 7.1% gain. A combination of strong corporate earnings, continued acceleration of the Covid-19 vaccine rollout and reassurance from Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell combined to push US stocks to new record highs last week. US markets were closed on Monday in observance of Presidents’ day however by Thursday Markets began to fall back.
The UK FTSE100 kept pace with its US counterparts last week, adding 1.6%, taking its year-to-date gain to 2%. Mining stocks were among the biggest drivers, with Anglo American adding 7.2% thanks to the surging price of platinum. Insurer Prudential also delivered a solid week, closing it out 8.9% higher. Despite figures out at the end of the week showing that the UK economy shrank by 9.9% in 2020 – the worst contraction since records began – investors are eyeing a sharp recovery, due to the UK’s rapid Covid-19 vaccine rollout.
In Asia, the Nikkei225 surged more than 500 points at the beginning of the week crossing the 30,000 mark, the first time in more than 30 years.
Another barometer of recovery in preparation for a post Covid economy was the rise in stock of Cruise companies by Wednesday Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and Norwegian were up over 9%. Vaccination progress appears to be the driver for the share price move, with investors eyeing a potentially lucrative comeback in cruise stocks as they are able to sail again and pent-up demand from holidaymakers is released.
The ebb and flow of the pandemic brings daily changes both up and down, with some of the stocks that had benefited from consumers working from home including Peloton, DocuSign and Zoom, falling by more than 3% yesterday. Falling covid-19 cases and the accelerating vaccine rollout pose questions about future growth prospects for these companies.
Also this week Blockchain firm Riot rose 30.9%. The gains being attributed to the recent rally in the crypto market, which has positively influenced companies in the blockchain industry.
Sterling reached $1.40 against the U.S. dollar for the first time since April 2018 this morning. The dollar has been in decline on the back of a weak U.S. jobs report on Thursday, while the pound is reacting positively to the U.K.’s uniquely successful Covid-19 vaccination rollout.
A Texas lawyer’s technical gaff during a court hearing conducted on Zoom has led to a lot of catty comments.
That’s because a cat filter covered attorney Rod Ponton’s face during the proceedings, leading to an amusing exchange with Judge Roy B. Ferguson.
“Mr. Ponton, I believe you have a filter turned on in your video settings,” Ferguson perceptively noted.
“Can you hear me, judge?” Ponton replied.
“I can hear you. I think it’s a filter,” the judge responded.
Ponton agreed and explained the situation: “I don’t know how to remove it. I’ve got my assistant here and she’s trying to remove it but, uh … I’m prepared to go forward with it.”
He then added, “I’m here live. I’m not a cat.
So for all of you working from home beware the perils of pressing the wrong buttons when on a video conference call.