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Coronavirus latest: Hong Kong hands out shopping vouchers as finance chief forecasts recovery due to vaccine rollout

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InterContinental Hotels Group, owner of the Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza brands, has warned that the difficulties of the “most challenging year” in its history have stretched into 2021 as new strains of coronavirus force countries to close borders and limit travel. Keith Barr, chief executive, said recovery was “totally related to vaccines”.

A senior Mexican legislator has floated the idea of making the mega rich pay a one-off Covid-19 contribution as “an act of social justice and solidarity” that could raise nearly $5bn. Only those with fortunes of more than $1m would have to pay, Alfonso Ramírez Cuéllar, a deputy for the ruling Morena party and its one-time chief, said in a statement

Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, on Tuesday set out a framework for easing coronavirus restrictions that was markedly more cautious than the UK government’s route map for England. The plan makes clear that there is unlikely to be any easing of restrictions on the retail sector before the second week of April.

Rafael Ojeda, Mexico’s navy minister, has contracted Covid-19 for a second time, four months after his first infection. He announced the news on Twitter, saying he would isolate and continue working. Reinfection has proved relatively rare worldwide. Mexico has confirmed 2.04m coronavirus cases and 180,536 related fatalities.

Sports Direct shoppers walk down Buchanan Street in Glasgow
Sports Direct shoppers walk down Buchanan Street in Glasgow © Getty Images

Frasers Group has put investors on notice over a potential impairment charge of more than £100m as lockdown restrictions on high streets drag on. The group behind Sports Direct and Evans Cycles, as well as the eponymous department stores, said it would take a “material” non-cash accounting hit on the value of freehold properties and other assets.

Home Depot sold an additional $22bn worth of goods last year as housebound Americans bought patio furniture, ride-on lawnmowers and living room decorations in their droves. The Atlanta-based company, which has more than 2,200 stores across North America, produced $132.1bn in revenues in 2020, the most in its history

Macau gaming stocks gained the day after the former Portuguese colony lifted all quarantine restrictions for mainland Chinese visitors. Galaxy Entertainment shares closed 8.9 per cent higher while SJM Holdings climbed 7.9 per cent. Sands China gained 7.5 per cent, Melco International rose 6.3 per cent, while MGM China and Wynn Macau rose 5 per cent.

Budget airline easyJet has reported a surge in bookings since the UK revealed a “roadmap” out of lockdown that included rebooting international travel later this year. Bookings for flights from the UK have more than quadrupled week on week, the carrier said, while its package holiday unit has experienced a more than seven-fold jump in bookings.