Two US healthcare companies have brought new hope in the fight against coronavirus, with Johnson & Johnson announcing a potential vaccine that could be available early next year and Abbott Laboratories launching a rapid test kit. J&J on Monday said it had identified a vaccine candidate and was teaming up with the US government to invest $1bn in its development, expecting to start testing in humans by September. Abbott said it was launching a test for the virus that could take as little as five minutes and could be run on a portable machine the size of a toaster.The proportion of people who have died from the disease varies strikingly from country to country. Researchers warn there are so many uncertainties — not least over the true number of infections — that it remains almost impossible to draw firm conclusions about the death rate. Meanwhile, the Covid-19 therapeutics accelerator, founded by the Wellcome Trust, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Mastercard, are giving $20m to clinical trials designed to accelerate the development of drugs to stall the coronavirus pandemic. Here’s how other philanthropists are helping during the pandemic. (FT, New York Times)Coronavirus digest Beijing’s efforts to get people back to work in China have been met with widespread opposition from citizens who do not trust government assurances that the virus outbreak is under control.The Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8, 2021 — exactly one year after they had been originally scheduled to take place.US retailers are teetering on the brink as 630,000 outlets close. Tens of thousands of US retail employees were told on Monday that they would be temporarily laid off.France has reported its highest coronavirus death toll in 24 hours, with 418 patients dying in hospital to take the country’s total to 3,024.From tax deferrals to loan guarantees, here are the main measures announced so far by some of the world’s biggest economies to mitigate the coronavirus shock. The US Department of Justice is investigating stock transactions that lawmakers made ahead of the market downturn. (FT, CNN)Follow our live coverage and keep up to date on the latest numbers with our coronavirus tracker, which is free to read. What should policymakers, both in the UK and globally, do to avert a potential depression and get our economies on the road to recovery?Join the FT’s economics editor Chris Giles in conversation with top economic commentators Martin Wolf, Lord Adair Turner and Rain Newton-Smith for an exclusive live online event on April 1 from 16.00 to 17.00 BST (GMT + 1). The free one-hour session will include polling and audience Q&A. Register here.In the newsUS crude oil price falls below $20 US crude oil prices fell close to their lowest level in 18 years on Monday, as traders bet production would have to shut to cope with the collapse in demand from the coronavirus pandemic. (FT)Orban handed power to rule by decree Hungary’s parliament on Monday approved a controversial bill that will extend the state of emergency declared earlier this month and allow premier Viktor Orban to govern by decree for an indefinite period of time. In July, we reported on Mr Orban’s critics accusing the premier of trying to play up his role in the overthrow of communism. (FT) Big hedge funds raise money to capitalise on market turmoil DE Shaw is raising $2bn in the first fundraising for its flagship vehicle in seven years, joining rivals Baupost Group and TCI Fund Management in an attempt to capitalise on opportunities thrown up by market turmoil. (FT)Singapore upholds law criminalising gay sex The high court has upheld a colonial-era law that criminalises sex between men, putting the international financial centre at odds with the liberal trend to embrace same-sex relationships. (FT)Australia tightens investment rules on foreign takeovers The country has temporarily tightened its rules on foreign takeovers because of concerns strategic assets could be sold cheaply as a result of the coronavirus crisis. (FT)Japan Airlines ditches mandatory high heels and skirts In a victory for Japan’s #KuToo movement, the airline has become the first major employer in the country to stop enforcing a dress code for women. (Guardian) Barclays targets net zero carbon emissions by 2050 The largest financier of fossil fuels in Europe has become the first big British bank to target net zero carbon emissions by 2050, following a pressure campaign from shareholders and activists. (FT)Van Gogh painting stolen The Singer Laren museum in east Amsterdam said “The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring 1884” was stolen overnight from the museum that was closed to prevent the spread of coronavirus. (Associated Press)The day aheadChina PMI The data released on Tuesday will be closely watched as they were one of the first economic indicators to reveal how badly the coronavirus outbreak had hit the world’s second-largest economy in February. (FT)Hong Kong retail sales Figures released on Tuesday are expected to show a fall about 40 per cent year on year because of a slowdown in domestic and tourism demand after the island clamped down on the entry of visitors shortly after the Covid-19 outbreak. (FT)Duke and Duchess of Sussex officially step down Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will no longer use their “royal highness” titles starting on Tuesday. They posted a final message on Monday to their Instagram account, which will go dark. (Washington Post)
One could look at the period between 1918 and 1932, for example, and say “we haven’t hit the bottom yet”. But even that negative comparison is tough to make, writes Rana Foroohar in this week’s Swamp Notes newsletter. Sign up here for more on money and power in Trump’s America. What else we’re readingCoronavirus crushed Japan’s Olympics dream The government estimated that from winning the bid in 2013 to a decade after the games in 2030, the country’s economy would enjoy a $294bn boost. For Shinzo Abe, the 2020 Olympic Games offered a potent symbol of national recovery. Coronavirus has stopped every part of that in its tracks. (FT)
Indian consumers’ hunger for education The Indian edtech company Byju has grown on the enduring content of its maths and science app. Started in 2011, the company — whose founder was a star maths tutor — today has 3m subscribers: students who pay $170 a year to access tutorials and game-based practice tests. Read more in our Boldness in Business series. (FT) Even Covid-19 cannot damp partisanship This virus will not kill off political disputes, writes Gideon Rachman. On the contrary, as the human and economic damage caused by Covid-19 mounts, so old political divides are likely to re-emerge, widen and become more bitter. Even social distancing has become a political act. (FT, Atlantic)The new Labour leader must play a patient game On Saturday, Labour will announce Jeremy Corbyn’s successor. If, as all indications suggest, Keir Starmer, the party’s Brexit spokesman and a former director of public prosecutions, is chosen, it may be the first time in five years that the public has a leader of the opposition it can imagine in Downing Street, writes Robert Shrimsley. (FT) Staying at home is a luxury many Indian workers cannot afford Imposing the curfew, Narendra Modi did not utter a word about how millions of workers — mainly rural migrants — were to get by for three weeks without any earnings. With public transport suspended, thousands began long, dangerous treks on foot back to their villages, in a mass exodus, writes Amy Kazmin. (FT)
The future of energy How has Covid-19 and the Russia-Saudi oil price war convinced Wall Street to call time on the US shale revolution? Plus: learning to love new power sources as architectural landmarks and why we need to end gluttony for cheap power. Read more in our Special Report: the Future of Energy. (FT)Against pandemic productivity Being isolated at home may mean you aren’t spending an hour commuting to work, but that doesn’t mean we all suddenly have more time on our hands. You don’t have to write a book, or get in shape or even organise your closet. You don’t have to “optimise” yourself during a pandemic. (New Republic)Video of the dayCoronavirus trajectory tracker explained The FT’s senior data-visualisation journalist John Burn-Murdoch explains the must-see daily graphs, which show how cases and deaths are growing around the world.