By Powerscourt on 23/08/2020

Powerscourt Coronavirus Briefing – 23 August 2020


The office market may be more resilient than widely believed. Savills forecasts that London office vacancies will rise from 6.5% this year to 7.2% next year, before peaking at 8% in 2022, compared with a peak of 10.4% during the financial crisis

Nearly 6,000 people globally are dying every 24 hours from COVID-19, with the United States, Brazil and India leading the rise in fatalities. India’s infections crossed the three-million mark and about 56,706 people have died there from the disease. South Korea reported its highest daily rise since early March, with health authorities saying they may eventually deploy the toughest stage 3 social-distancing rules, where schools and business are urged to close.

Australia recorded a further 17 deaths on Sunday, all in Victoria, but infections are showing a downward trend. Other than in Victoria, the country has largely avoided high casualty numbers with about 24,500 infections and 502 deaths.

Democrats continue to attack President Trump’s handling of the coronavirus, with Joe Biden saying the president had presided over “the worst performance of any nation on earth” and claiming he would “shut down” the country to stop the spread of coronavirus if scientists recommended it.

Boris Johnson has said that failure to reopen schools is not an option as the UK’s four chief medical officers agreed a joint endorsement of the Government’s efforts saying that children are at far less risk of becoming seriously ill and have an exceptionally small risk of dying. Chris Whitty warned the public it could take another year before a safe vaccine is developed and ready for widespread distribution.




Retail & Consumer

The company’s holding company, Celine Group Holdings, has appointed administrators, according to media reports. Trading company Debenhams Retail has been in administration since April.



Sky News reported that BT is preparing to defend itself against takeover bids. Sky reported that there have not yet been any formal approaches, but that bankers have been asked to update the bid defence strategy in recent weeks.


Financials & Real Estate 

The bank is set to “evolve to opening hours that are bespoke and appropriate to each branch location”. In an internal presentation the bank said that “customer demand levels are still highly variable”. All branch staff are working full hours, with staff reassigned to other roles when branches are closed.



UK records 1,288 new COVID-19 cases – government data – Reuters

Boris Johnson: failure to reopen schools is not an option – The Sunday Telegraph

Remote working leaves office landlords facing worst crunch since 2008 – The Sunday Times