Airbnb CEO says travel never going back to the way it was before pandemic

By Subrat Patnaik

(Reuters) – Airbnb Chief Executive Officer Brian Chesky on Thursday predicted travel would permanently change due to the pandemic with people seeking out thousands of smaller cities and spending more time visiting friends and family.

Traditional tourism and sightseeing at top global destinations would be significantly reduced by travelers who will drive to smaller communities and fly less for business meetings.

The startup was hit by the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020 and its business dropped by 80% in a little over eight weeks.

However, as lockdowns eased, more travelers opted to book homes instead of hotels, helping Airbnb post a surprise profit for the third quarter. The San Francisco-based firm gained from increased interest in renting homes away from major cities.

The home rental firm went public in a blockbuster initial public offering in December, its shares more than doubling in their stock market debut. Shares of Airbnb rose as much as 10% to record high of $187.42 on Thursday.

WILL NOT FACILITATE VIOLENCE

The rental platform has been canceling home-sharing reservations in the Washington D.C. area for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration’s next Wednesday after law enforcement warned of a threat from armed militias.

Speaking during the Reuters Next conference, Chesky recalled the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia and said that he did not want the platform facilitating people traveling to commit violence in communities.

Airbnb made the decision after consulting local and federal officials and after a number of hosts worried about potential attacks sought to cancel bookings.

However, major hotel chains including Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc and Marriott International have said they planned to uphold existing reservations.

(Reporting by Subrat Patnaik in Bengaluru; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

Europe extends and tightens lockdowns, with fingers crossed for vaccines

By Claudia Cristoferi and John Revill

ROME/ZURICH (Reuters) – Governments across Europe announced tighter and longer coronavirus lockdowns and curbs on Wednesday amid fears of a fast-spreading variant first detected in Britain, with vaccinations not expected to help much until the spring.

Vaccines are being rolled out across the continent, but not as quickly as many countries had wished, and the effects are not expected until inoculations are widespread among the population.

Italy will extend its COVID-19 state of emergency to the end of April, Health Minister Roberto Speranza said as infections show no sign of abating.

Switzerland announced tighter measures to tackle new variants of the COVID-19 virus and extended the closure of restaurants, cultural and sport sites by five weeks to run until the end of February.

Germany is also likely to have to extend COVID-19 curbs into February, Health Minister Jens Spahn said, stressing the need to further reduce contacts to fend off the more infectious variant first identified in Britain.

The German cabinet approved stricter entry controls to require people arriving from countries with high caseloads or where the more virulent variant is circulating to take coronavirus tests.

Chancellor Angela Merkel told a meeting of lawmakers on Tuesday that the coming 8 to 10 weeks would be very hard if the more infectious variant spread to Germany, according to a participant at the meeting.

Health Minister Spahn told Deutschlandfunk radio it would take another two or three months before the vaccination campaign really started to help.

The Dutch government said late on Tuesday it would extend the lockdown, including the closure of schools and shops, by at least three weeks until Feb. 9.

“This decision does not come as a surprise, but it is an incredible disappointment,” Prime Minister Mark Rutte told a news conference, adding that the threat posed by the new variant was “very, very worrying”.

He said the government was considering imposing a curfew, but was reluctant and had sought outside advice before deciding on such severe restrictions.

In France, President Emmanuel Macron was discussing possible tighter rules with senior ministers. A nationwide curfew could be brought forward to 6 p.m. from 8 p.m., as has already happened in parts of the country, French media reported.

The French government’s top scientific adviser said new restrictions were needed in light of the variant first detected in Britain, adding that if vaccines were more widely accepted the crisis could be over by September.

“The coming three months will be difficult, the situation will slightly improve during the spring but should really get better at the end of the summer,” Jean-François Delfraissy told franceinfo radio.

In Switzerland, officials cancelled the Lauberhorn World Cup downhill race, out of fear that the new variant – brought in by what health authorities said was a single British tourist – was spreading now spreading rapidly among locals.

At least 60 people have tested positive in the Alpine resort of Wengen in the last four weeks.

Switzerland, which has so far taken a lighter touch to restricting business and public life than its neighbors, said it will close shops selling non-essential supplies from Monday.

It also ordered companies to require that employees work from home where possible. The country also eased rules on allowing pandemic-hit businesses to apply for state financial aid in hardship cases.

There was more optimistic news from Poland, where COVID-19 case numbers have stabilized after surging in the autumn.

“I hope that in two to three weeks the restrictions will be a little smaller, the vaccine will work,” Poland’s Finance Minister Tadeusz Koscinski said in an interview for Money.pl.

“Some restrictions will remain for quite a long time, but I think that 80% of these restrictions will start to disappear at the turn of the first and second quarter.”

(Reporting by Anthony Deutsch and Bart Meijer in Amsterdam, John Miller in Zurich, Benoit Van Overstraeten in Paris, Sabine Siebold and Hans-Edzard Busemann in Berlin, Pawel Florkiewicz in Warsaw, writing by Emma Thomasson; editing by Philippa Fletcher and Nick Macfie)

Global coronavirus cases surpass 90 million in battle on new variant

By Roshan Abraham and Anurag Maan

(Reuters) – Worldwide coronavirus cases surpassed 90 million on Monday, according to Reuters tally, as nations around the globe scramble to procure vaccines and continue to extend or reinstate lockdowns to fight new coronavirus variants.

The new COVID-19 variants discovered initially in the United Kingdom and South Africa are rapidly spreading globally.

The novel coronavirus has picked up pace in the past few months with about one-third of total cases registered in the last 48 days, according to a Reuters tally.

Europe, which became the first region to report 25 million cases last week, remains the worst-affected area in the world, followed by North and Latin Americas with 22.4 million and 16.3 million cases respectively.

Europe has reported around 31% of about 1.93 million coronavirus-related deaths globally.

The United Kingdom, the worst-affected European country, crossed 3 million cases last Friday.

The nation is on course to have immunized its most vulnerable people against COVID-19 by mid-February and plans to offer a shot to every adult by autumn.

To control the spread of new coronavirus variant, countries across the globe have started to extend movement and business restrictions.

In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel and state premiers last week agreed to restrict non-essential travel for residents of hard-hit areas all over Germany for the first time, after a lockdown decreed in December failed to significantly reduce infection numbers.

French authorities imposed a stricter evening curfew in Marseille after authorities said the new variant of the COVID-19 virus initially found in the UK had been discovered in the Mediterranean city.

The United States, world’s worst affected country, reported its highest death toll on Wednesday, with over 4,000 fatalities in a single day.

The nation has recorded more than 22 million cases since the pandemic started, reporting on average 245,000 new infections a day over the last seven days, according to a Reuters analysis.

In Asia, India crossed 150,000 deaths last Tuesday, becoming the third nation to reach the grim milestone.

The south Asian nation has approved two COVID-19 vaccines and will start its vaccination drive from Jan. 16 with priority given to about 30 million healthcare and frontline workers.

(Reporting by Roshan Abraham and Anurag Maan in Bengaluru; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Michael Perry)

Merkel warns Germany needs tougher lockdown to get through winter

By Andreas Rinke

BERLIN (Reuters) – German leaders came out on Monday in favor of stricter measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus, a few days after the country posted its highest one-day death toll so far.

Chancellor Angela Merkel told party colleagues that existing lockdown measures – with bars and restaurants closed and shops admitting limited numbers – were too little to get the virus under control.

“The situation is getting very serious: these measures will not be enough to get us through the winter,” participants said she had told a meeting of her conservative bloc’s legislators.

Daily infections are no longer rising as sharply as previously in Germany, Europe’s largest economy, but they have stagnated at a high level and the highest single-day coronavirus death toll yet was reported last Wednesday.

Markus Soeder, premier of the southern state of Bavaria, which has the nation’s highest death toll, said he was certain regional and national leaders would agree tighter measures before Christmas. They had previously agreed not to revisit lockdown rules before Jan. 10.

Although vaccines that are expected to help contain the pandemic are on their way, available doses are limited, meaning that only certain groups, notably the very elderly, can expect to be inoculated during the winter, an expert panel ruled on Monday.

Meanwhile, some states are going further on their own initiative: Rhineland-Palatinate banned takeaway sales of mulled wine in a bid to discourage disease-spreading impromptu street parties.

From Wednesday, Bavaria will allow people to leave home only for essential reasons, while evening curfews are planned for hotspots with the highest infection rates.

Data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases on Monday morning showed the number of confirmed cases rose by 12,332 in the past 24 hours to 1,183,655. The reported death toll rose 147 to 18,919 – still well below that of large European peers such as Spain, France and Italy.

(Writing by Thomas Escritt and Caroline Copley Editing by Mark Heinrich)

California bans private gatherings, New York expands hospitals to battle coronavirus surge

By Dan Whitcomb and Maria Caspani

LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK (Reuters) -California compelled much of the state to close shop and stay home on Monday and New York ordered hospitals to increase bed capacity by 25 percent, as the United States braced for yet another coronavirus surge during the upcoming holidays.

California Governor Gavin Newsom’s order came into effect one day after the state set a record with more than 30,000 new COVID-19 cases, triggered in areas of Southern California where fewer than 15% of intensive care hospital beds remain available.

In addition, five counties in Northern California surrounding the San Francisco Bay Area have voluntarily imposed the restrictions even before reaching the intensive care unit threshold. Combined, the areas cover about three-quarters of the state’s nearly 40 million people.

Dr. Celine Gounder said California had little choice. “Given how out of control the virus is at this point, we are having to dial up some of those restrictions again,” Gounder told CBS News. “Ideally, we should be more proactive than this.”

In reporting more than 30,000 new cases on Sunday, the state exceeded its previous high of 21,986 set on Dec. 4, and notched a record high for hospitalized COVID-19 patients as well.

Nationwide, COVID-19 infections in United States are at their peak with an average of 193,863 new cases reported each day over the past week, according to a Reuters tally of official data.

There have been 14.7 million confirmed infections and 282,253 coronavirus-related deaths reported in the country since the pandemic began, the most in the world.

California has been under a stay-at-home order for all but essential services since March. The new order, which will last at least three weeks, bans private gatherings of any size, shuts all but critical infrastructure and retail operations, and requires everyone to wear a mask and maintain physical distancing.

But the sheriffs of Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside counties have said they will refuse to enforce the order.

Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco said in a videotaped message that his office “will not be blackmailed” into enforcing the governor’s orders, and Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes said in a statement his deputies would not respond to calls to enforce violations of the mask mandate, stay-at-home orders or the ban on social gatherings.

FAUCI SEES ‘BAD TIME’ AHEAD

To avoid a critical shortage of hospital beds, New York state health officials will order hospitals to increase their capacity by 25% and ask retired doctors and nurses to come back to work, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Monday.

If the hospitalization rate fails to stabilize over the next five days, indoor dining in New York City will be halted, Cuomo said.

Dr. Anthony Fauci warned the nationwide surge could get worse after the year-end holiday season.

After millions ignored expert advice and traveled for the Thanksgiving holiday in November, Fauci anticipated Americans would once again behave recklessly during Christmas and New Year’s Eve festivities.

Spikes in the death toll typically appear about three weeks after surges in infections and hospitalizations.

“Mid-January is probably going to be a bad time,” said Fauci, appearing with Cuomo in his video news conference.

Anticipating U.S. Food and Drug Administration emergency authorization of the first vaccine within the coming days, the White House will host a vaccine distribution summit on Tuesday with governors, retail pharmacy chains and shipping companies, Health Secretary Alex Azar told Fox News.

The aim of the meeting was “to be very transparent and show the world how comprehensively we have planned out every aspect of this distribution,” Azar said.

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb, Maria Caspani, Doina Chiacu, Lisa Lambert, Peter Szekely and Daniel Trotta; Writing by Daniel Trotta; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Jonathan Oatis and Bill Berkrot)

Britain hopes Christmas can be saved as COVID cases flatten

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain could ease stringent COVID-19 rules to allow families to gather for Christmas as signs indicate that coronavirus cases are starting to flatten as a result of current lockdowns, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Friday.

The United Kingdom has the worst official COVID-19 death toll in Europe and Prime Minister Boris Johnson has imposed some of the most stringent curbs in peacetime history in an attempt to halt the spread of the coronavirus.

But heading into the holiday season, the government faces a dilemma – to ease restrictions, with the risk of renewed spread of the disease and death, or to ban large get-togethers.

“It of course won’t be like a normal Christmas, there will have to be rules in place,” Hancock told Sky News.

He said he hoped that restrictions, which include a strict lockdown in England, could be eased to “allow for a bit more of that normal Christmas that people really look forward to”.

Hancock said he was working with the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – which manage their own policies on combating the pandemic – for a UK-wide approach to rules for Christmas.

The head of London’s Metropolitan Police, Cressida Dick, said that while police might try to stop wild parties, there were better uses of police time than trying to catch families out.

“Let’s see what the rules are, but I have no interest in interrupting family Christmas dinners,” she told LBC radio.

There was some sign that infection numbers were flattening. The Office for National Statistics said incidence had levelled off in recent weeks, with daily infections increasing by 38,900 in England in the latest week, down from around 50,000 previously.

The government also reduced their estimate of the reproduction “R” number, and said the daily growth rate had fallen to between 0% and 2%.

England has been under lockdown for two weeks. It is due to end on Dec. 2, although ministers have not ruled out that it could be extended.

Scotland’s biggest city Glasgow and parts of the nation’s west and central regions begin a stricter lockdown regime on Friday to last until Dec. 11, including the closure of pubs and restaurants and non-essential shops.

(Reporting by Alistair Smout, Sarah Young, Kate Holton and Michael Holden, editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Angus MacSwan)

Europe COVID death toll tops 300,000 as winter looms and infections surge

By Shaina Ahluwalia, Anurag Maan and Roshan Abraham

(Reuters) – More than 300,000 people have died of COVID-19 across Europe, according to a Reuters tally on Tuesday, and authorities fear that fatalities and infections will continue to rise as the region heads into winter despite hopes for a new vaccine.

With just 10% of the world’s population, Europe accounts for almost a quarter of the 1.2 million deaths globally, and even its well-equipped hospitals are feeling the strain.

After achieving a measure of control over the pandemic with broad lockdowns earlier this year, case numbers have surged since the summer and governments have ordered a second series of restrictions to limit social contacts.

In all, Europe has reported some 12.8 million cases and about 300,114 deaths. Over the past week, it has seen 280,000 cases a day, up 10% from the week earlier, representing just over half of all new infections reported globally.

Hopes have been raised by Pfizer Inc’s announcement of a potentially effective new vaccine, but it is not expected to be generally available before 2021 and health systems will have to cope with the winter months unaided.

Britain, which has imposed a fresh lockdown in England, has the highest death toll in Europe at around 49,000, and health experts have warned that with a current average of more than 20,000 cases daily, the country will exceed its “worst case” scenario of 80,000 deaths.

France, Spain, Italy and Russia have also reported hundreds of deaths a day and together, the five countries account for almost three quarters of the total fatalities.

Already facing the prospect of a wave of job losses and business failures, governments across the region have been forced to order control measures including local curfews, closing non-essential shops and restricting movement.

France, the worst-affected country in the EU, has registered more than 48,700 infections per day over the past week and the Paris region’s health authority said last week that 92% of its ICU capacity was occupied.

Facing similar pressures, Belgian and Dutch hospitals have been forced to send some severely ill patients to Germany.

In Italy, which became a global symbol of the crisis when army trucks were used to transport the dead during the early months of the pandemic, daily average new cases are at a peak at more than 32,500. Deaths have been rising by more than 320 per day over the past three weeks.

While the new vaccine being developed by Pfizer and German partner BioNTech will take time to arrive, authorities are hoping that once winter is passed, it will stem further outbreaks next year.

Citi Private Bank analysts described the news as “the first major advance toward a Post-COVID world economy”.

“More than any fiscal spending package or central bank lending program, a healthcare solution to COVID has the greatest potential to restore economic activity to its full potential…” it said in a note.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Monday said the European Union would soon sign a contract for 300 million doses of the vaccine, just hours after the drugmaker announced promising late-stage trials.

Yet health experts cautioned that the vaccine, should it be approved, was no silver bullet – not least because the genetic material it’s made from needs to be stored at temperatures of minus 70 degrees Celsius (-94 F) or below.

Such requirements pose a challenge for countries in Asia, as well as Africa and Latin America, where intense heat is often compounded by poor infrastructure.

(Reporting by Anurag Maan, Shaina Ahluwalia, Chaithra J and Roshan Abraham in Bengaluru, Sujata Rao-Coverley in London; editing by Jane Wardell, James Mackenzie, Nick Macfie and Mike Collett-White)

Oil drops 3% as U.S. vote count continues and coronavirus cases rise

By Jessica Resnick-Ault

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Oil fell below $40 a barrel on Friday as drawn-out vote counting in the U.S. presidential election kept markets on edge and new lockdowns in Europe to halt surging COVID-19 infections sparked concern over the demand.

In the U.S. election, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden took the lead over President Donald Trump in Georgia and Pennsylvania on Friday, edging closer to winning the White House as a handful of states continue to count votes.

Three days after polls closed, Biden has a 253 to 214 lead in the state-by-state Electoral College vote that determines the winner, according to Edison Research. Winning Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes would put the former vice president over the 270 he needs to secure the presidency.

Coronavirus cases in the United States surged by at least 120,276 on Thursday, according to a Reuters tally, the second consecutive daily record rise as the outbreak spreads in every region.

Italy recorded its highest daily number of COVID-19 infections on Thursday while cases surged by at least 120,276 in the United States, the second consecutive daily record as the outbreak spreads across the country.

Brent crude fell $1.28, or 3.13%, to $39.65 by 11:33 a.m. EST (1633 GMT). U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) dropped $1.24, or 3.08% to $39.65 a barrel.

Still, Brent was heading for a 6% weekly gain, and U.S. crude was up 4.5% on the week.

Diminishing prospects of a large U.S. stimulus package were also weighing on the market.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Friday that economic statistics including a 1 percentage point drop in the U.S. unemployment rate showed that Congress should enact a smaller coronavirus stimulus package that is highly targeted at the effects of the pandemic.

“Crude oil is very sensitive to the stimulus expectations, which just took a hit for the worse,” said Bob Yawger, director of energy futures at Mizuho. “The coronavirus situation is as negative a demand indicator as you can get,” he said.

Providing some support, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies including Russia, a group known as OPEC+, could delay bringing back 2 million barrels per day of supply in January, given weaker demand after new lockdowns.

U.S. crude inventories plunged last week by 8 million barrels, against analyst expectations for an increase.

(Additional reporting by Aaron Sheldrick; Editing by David Goodman and Louise Heavens)

Europe’s COVID curbs prompt pushback amid bleak countdown to Christmas

By Guy Faulconbridge and Richard Lough

LONDON/PARIS (Reuters) – A wave of COVID lockdowns and curbs has stirred resistance across Europe, with the right-wing British politician who helped force a referendum on Brexit harnessing popular anger at a new lockdown by recasting his Brexit Party under a new banner.

The United Kingdom, which has the highest official death toll in Europe from COVID-19, is grappling with more than 20,000 new coronavirus cases a day and scientists have warned the “worst-case” scenario of 80,000 dead could be exceeded.

Cast by his supporters as the godfather of the movement to quit the European Union, Brexit Party founder Nigel Farage said Johnson had terrified Britons into submission with a second lockdown.

“The single most pressing issue is the government’s woeful response to coronavirus,” Farage and Brexit Party chairman Richard Tice said in a joint article in the Daily Telegraph, announcing his Reform UK party.

“Ministers have lost touch with a nation divided between the terrified and the furious. The debate over how to respond to COVID is becoming even more toxic than that over Brexit.”

Instead of a lockdown, Farage proposed targeting those most at risk and said people should not be criminalized for trying to live normal lives such as meeting family for Christmas.

France, Germany, Italy, Britain, the Netherlands and other countries have announced second lockdowns or strict new curbs as infections surge.

Small shopkeepers in France have complained about being forced to close while supermarkets are allowed to sell “non-essential goods” such as shoes, clothes, beauty products and flowers because they also sell food.

CHRISTMAS CANCELLED?

Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Monday French supermarkets would face the same limits on selling non-essential goods but shop owners were not allowed to challenge the lockdown, in place until at least Dec. 1.

“I am not optimistic that in just four weeks we will lower the number of new cases to the level announced by the president (5,000 new cases per day),” said epidemiologist Dominique Castigliola, director of research at the National Institute of Health and Medical Research.

“We will need more time. I don’t think we’ll be able to hold big family meals at Christmas. That seems very unlikely to me.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel last week denounced populists who say the coronavirus is harmless as dangerous and irresponsible.

“Throughout the winter months, we will have to limit private contacts,” she told a news conference. “The light at the end of the tunnel is still quite a long way off.”

Police in the Spanish capital, Madrid, on Sunday raided 81 illegal parties, 18 drinking sessions known in Spain as “botellones,” and 10 bars which broke COVID-19 curbs.

Protests flared against new restrictions across Italy last week, with violence reported in Milan and Turin. Italy will tighten restrictions but is holding back from a lockdown, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Monday.

Italy’s daily tally of infections has increased 10-fold over the last month.

“It is a monumental debacle. The fact that Italy is in the same situation as other countries in Europe is no comfort to me,” virologist Andrea Crisanti told Reuters. “We had five months to strengthen our surveillance, tracking and prevention systems and instead we are heading towards a new lockdown.”

More than 46.37 million people have been infected globally and 1,198,168​ have died from the respiratory disease, according to a Reuters tally. The United States, which holds a presidential election on Tuesday, leads the world with more than 9 million cases and 230,700 deaths.

Iran, the Middle East country worst hit by COVID-19, reported a record 440 deaths in the past 24 hours.

World shares recovered from one-month lows as strengthening factory data in China and Europe offset news of lockdowns, while investors prepared for more volatility arising from the U.S. presidential election.

U.S. President Donald Trump has continually downplayed the virus, mocking Democratic challenger Joe Biden for wearing a mask and social distancing at campaign rallies, a tactic which enlivens his base supporters but infuriates his opponents.

Trump has also ridiculed his top coronavirus task force adviser, Anthony Fauci, who has contradicted Trump’s assertions that the U.S. fight against the virus is “rounding the turn”.

The United States reported 67,862 new cases on Sunday, the highest number it has reported on the last day of any week. The seven-day average hit 81,540, a new record, and has risen for 30 days in a row.

(Reporting by Reuters bureaux worldwide; Writing by Nick Macfie; Editing by Giles Elgood/Mark Heinrich)

Global CO2 emissions show biggest ever drop in first half of 2020

By Nina Chestney

LONDON (Reuters) – Global carbon dioxide emissions fell by 8.8% in the first six months of this year, the biggest drop for a first half-year period, due to the effects of coronavirus-related restrictions, a study showed on Wednesday.

Research published in the journal Nature Communications by a group of scientists from China, France, Japan and the United States, said emissions fell by 1,551 million tonnes or 8.8% in the first half of the year, compared to the same period last year.

The 8.8% reduction represents largest ever fall in emissions over the first half year, larger than for any economic downturn. The drop was also larger than the annual decrease during World War Two, although mean emissions are much bigger now than at that time.

The scientists used data based on real-time activity and analyzed the daily, weekly and seasonal trends of CO2 emissions before and after the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic downturn it triggered.

This spring, governments around the world imposed lockdowns to contain the COVID-19 pandemic which curtailed energy use for industrial production and transport. This resulted in greenhouse gas emissions declining.

Warmer-than-usual weather across much of the northern hemisphere also meant that emissions were somewhat lower than they would have been in the same period of last year.

The study said the fall in daily CO2 emissions was most pronounced in April when the toughest restrictions were in place. Emissions began to recover in late April and May as economic activity resumed in China and parts of Europe.

But falls in transport-related emissions persisted.

“By July 1, the pandemic’s effects on global emissions diminished as lockdown restrictions relaxed and some economic activities restarted, especially in China and several European countries,” the paper said.

“However, substantial differences persist between countries, with continuing emission declines in the U.S. where coronavirus cases are still increasing substantially,” it added.

(Reporting by Nina Chestney. Editing by Jane Merriman)