For the first time, Uber drivers and other gig workers qualify for unemployment insurance as part of the Senate’s $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill

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A protester outside Uber’s office in Massachusetts.

The Senate’s $2 trillion coronavirus economic bailout bill includes help for gig-economy workers, like Uber and Lyft drivers, who have seen their livelihood dissolve during the coronavirus crisis.

For the first time, these workers would qualify for unemployment insurance.

They would also qualify for the additional four months of extra payments this bill would provide to everyone who collects unemployment.

It isn’t clear exactly how much money a month drivers, contract workers, and freelancers could get, but they should qualify for a weekly payment equivalent to if they were a laid-off full-time employee.

The maximum weekly amount varies by state, but the extra unemployment insurance would add up to a maximum of $600 more a week.

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Coronavirus pandemic could prove ‘tipping point’ for robots looking after humans, scientists and experts say

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A hotel in China used a robot to deliver food to people in coronavirus quarantine ( XHN )

Robotics experts say AI and machines could save lives by performing the ‘dull, dirty and dangerous’ jobs

The development of robots to save lives and reduce human exposure to the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak could lead to a new era of robotic human helpers, researchers have said.

Robotics professor Henrik Christensen from the University of California San Diego, was among a group of leading experts who outlined how robots could be used to combat the coronavirus pandemic by doing the “dull, dirty and dangerous” jobs.

“Already, we have seen robots being deployed for disinfection, delivering medications and food, measuring vital signs, and assisting border controls,” the scientists wrote in an editorial in the journal Science Robotics.

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The rich are scrambling to escape COVID-19 on private jets

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As air travel becomes more restrictive around the globe, the ultra-wealthy are becoming more desperate to get to where they want to be for the crisis.

Small countries are taking extreme measures to halt international travel in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. Those accustomed to private jet travel are used to demanding what they want and getting it. As a result, private jet flights escaping from and running to resort countries, such as those in the Caribbean, are currently in high demand—and they do not always occur under the most lawful of circumstances.

The most wealthy among us are trying to get around flight bans with private jet flights as they are desperate to get into or home from Caribbean countries, many of which have partial or full international travel bans. Those with complete bans include Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Trinidad and Tobago, Columbia, Panama, Costa Rica, and Ecuador. Partial international travel bans are in effect for Belize, Jamaica, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Antigua and Barbados, Saint Lucia, Grenada, and Venezuela. These countries are home to many affluent expatriates. The money some of them spend on private jet flights is staggering. One round trip to Europe in a Gulfstream 550 jet from the United States with five passengers can easily cost the client six figures.

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Once the pandemic is over, we will return to a very different airline industry

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The airline industry will wear the scars of the coronavirus pandemic for a very long time.

 On Thursday, Qantas announced it was grounding its entire international fleet. American Airlines suspended three quarters of its long haul international flights on Monday.

Significant demand shocks aren’t new to the airline industry. In this century alone it has weathered the storms caused by the 2001 September 11 attacks and the 2002-04 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome pandemic.

But we have never before seen a shock of this magnitude affecting the entire world for what looks as if it will be a very long time.

So, will the airline industry be able to handle this predicament? What role will and should the governments play? And, when all this is over, what will have changed for good?

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As coronavirus forces millions to work remotely, the US economy may have reached a ‘tipping point’ in favor of working from home

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Companies are enabling remote work to keep business running while helping employees follow social distancing guidelines.

A typical company saves about $11,000 per half-time telecommuter per year, according to Global Workplace Analytics.

As companies adapt to their remote work structures, the coronavirus pandemic is having a lasting impact on how work is conducted.

With the U.S. government declaring a state of emergency due to the coronavirus, companies are enabling work-from-home structures to keep business running and help employees follow social distancing guidelines. However, working remotely has been on the rise for a while.

“The coronavirus is going to be a tipping point. We plodded along at about 10% growth a year for the last 10 years, but I foresee that this is going to really accelerate the trend,” Kate Lister, president of Global Workplace Analytics, told CNBC.

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Amazon looking to buy four Fairway stores amid coronavirus chaos

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The Woodland Park, New Jersey Fairway Market (pictured) is one the locations Amazon is targeting.

Amazon is on the prowl once again — and this time it’s eyeing a handful of supermarkets owned by New York City grocer Fairway Market, The Post has learned.

The tech juggernaut run by Jeff Bezos is bidding on four stores owned by the bankrupt Fairway in New York and New Jersey, including one in Brooklyn, home to a popular waterfront mega-market in Red Hook, sources told The Post.

The auction, which kicked off Monday and continued into Thursday, comes as the coronavirus brings the country to its knees, raising recession fears. But COVID-19 has also proven a boon for Amazon’s online ordering business as people hunker down at home.

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Elon Musk has made 250,000 scarce N-95 masks. Sending them out tomorrow

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Elon Musk has shifted his work and is making ventilators and N95 masks at a time when they are in greatest need in the fight against Covid-19.

Ventilators are needed, but the N95 masks are in short supply and desperately needed by health care workers all over the country. In fact, the lack of N95 masks is called one of the biggest bottlenecks in the fight to treat patients and prevent vital workers from becoming carriers.

So news that Elon Musk has made these, using his Tesla and SpaceX businesses, could not have come at a better time.

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Teva to send US millions of malaria pills with potential to help COVID-19

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Hydroxychloroquine one of several drugs cited in recent days as being possibly effective against coronavirus; Israeli firm says it will provide as many as possible at no cost

Israeli generic drug giant Teva announced Friday that it will provide ten million doses of its anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, which could potentially prove effective in fighting the coronavirus pandemic, to US hospitals free of charge.

The company said six million doses will be delivered to US hospitals by March 31, and more than ten million in a month.

“We are committed to helping to supply as many tablets as possible as demand for this treatment accelerates at no cost,” Teva executive vice president Brendan O’Grady said.

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WTTC says 50 million tourism jobs are at stake

Empty St. Mark's square in the morning in Venice

The World Travel & Tourism Council on Friday said up to 50 million jobs in travel and tourism are at risk from the Covid‐19 pandemic, and WTTC called for measures to be taken to ensure a swift recovery.

The organization also joined fellow travel groups in condemning the President Donald Trump’s ban on most travel from Europe to the U.S., saying it will damage the U.S. economy but isn’t likely to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

“We all share the priority to stop the spread and should take all necessary actions,” WTTC CEO Gloria Guevara said in a statement. “However, the new travel ban will have a dangerous economic impact on the U.S. and many other countries, and there is little evidence to show this will stop the spread of Covid‐19.”

Guevara suggested that rather than an outright ban, “the priority should be on public health within the country and mitigating the potential harm to individuals.”

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Oxford scientists develop new coronavirus test that provides results in just 30 minutes

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Scientists at the University of Oxford have developed a new coronavirus test that produces results around three times faster than the current fastest testing methods, and that requires only relatively simple technical instrumentation. In addition to these benefits, the researchers behind the test’s development say that it could even help detect patients affected by coronavirus in earlier stages of infection vs. current methods, and that its results can can “read by the naked eye,” which makes it more accessible to a broader range of healthcare facilities and professionals.

The Oxford-developed test can provide results in only half an hour – the fastest current methods that focus on viral RNA, like this one does, produce results in between 1.5 and 2 hours. The new tests have already been validated using real clinical samples of the virus at the Shenzhen Luohou People’s Hospital in China, and though they’ve so far only been used on 16 samples, evenly split between those positive for the virus and those that contain none, they’ve demonstrated a 100% success rate, which is a very reassuring result.

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