It was only a few weeks ago that the UK put the clocks back and entered a second period of lockdown, accepting both the physical and metaphorical darkness that accompanies those actions. Since then we have seen some light in the form of the US elections and Covid developments, leading to some interesting reactions in equity markets.
As the UK government finalises its Covid guidance for the festive season, other nations are also taking stock of their situations. In France, where restrictions have been tight for a number of weeks, the number of new cases is falling and it looks like restrictions will be relaxed, much to the relief of beleaguered retailers who have been lobbying the French government on the issue. The World Health Organisation has expressed some anxiety about the prospect of loosening restrictions in Europe, stating that this should not happen unless the number of cases is consistently low. It’s easy to understand the WHO’s concerns: After getting the first wave of Covid under control, Europe didn’t have the necessary infrastructure ready in the summer to head off a second wave. Without adequate test and trace infrastructure, Europe could be facing a third wave next year. A valid point, but one that seems likely to be overlooked since the WHO’s credibility is low and no government wants to be remembered for, quite literally, cancelling Christmas. Conversely, in Asia, South Korea is warning of possible tighter restrictions to help tackle a small but persistent increase in cases.
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23rd November 2020