As the bones of the economic structures that our societies rely on have been laid bare, the fragility of the global economic ecosystem has been revealed. This is particularly true for novel markets that don’t have ‘circuit breakers’ and other protections in place that many traditional markets do: in particular, cryptocurrency.
Indeed, perhaps more than in most traditional markets–or at least, in unique ways–the economic fallout from the coronavirus has dealt a number of blows to crypto: at times, prices cliff-dived; the trading frenzy that ensued revealed vulnerabilities in the trading infrastructure that crypto holders rely on.
Of course, the economic havoc that the coronavirus wreaked was certainly not unique to crypto: when financial markets began to react to the coronavirus, cryptocurrency prices were (at times) less volatile than, for example, oil prices.
Still, the chaos that the coronavirus has wrought on crypto has ignited an important debate in the cryptocurrency sphere: should crypto markets have circuit breakers or other, similar protections in place? And indeed, is their eventual presence on cryptocurrency exchanges an inevitability?
In a way, circuit breakers violate the guiding principles of the crypto community
In a way, the very concept of protections like circuit breakers goes against the written or unwritten law of the cryptocurrency ethos–many cryptocurrency traders and community members are ardent advocates of a truly “free” crypto market.
Pankaj Balani, chief executive of cryptocurrency derivatives trading platform Delta Exchange, told Finance Magnates that indeed, “having a blanket protection such as a circuit breaker is at odds with the core belief of a free market and that of a demand-supply driven price discovery–ideas that are quite popular in the crypto community.”
Additionally, Jose Llisterri, co-founder of cryptocurrency derivatives exchange Interdax, echoed Balani’s sentiments–he told Finance Magnates that in his view, “there should not be protections in place, so crypto can continue to operate as a truly free market, purely driven by supply and demand.”
“Putting circuit breakers in place violates this principle, as there’s always one side of a particular trade that is adversely affected by a pause in trading,” he explained.
However, not bringing circuit breakers into the cryptocurrency trading space could allow a different kind of price distortion to take place–with less control, and potentially higher consequences.
“Because of the nascent stage of the industry, and as evidenced during the March crash, the liquidation engines of the most popular derivatives trading venues are oftentimes cannot handle the [trading] load,” Llisterri explained.
This “ends up distorting the market.”
If circuit breakers aren’t implemented, infrastructural failures may distort prices anyway
This phenomena was also explained by Miko Matsumura, co-founder of the Evercoin cryptocurrency exchange and general partner at Gumi Cryptos Capital, in an interview last month.
Specifically, Miko referenced the infrastructural failures that may have temporarily locked in traders’ funds on cryptocurrency exchange BitMEX on March 12th, 2020, also known as “Black Thursday.”
“BitMEX as an example–”what we saw was $700 million in leveraged margin trading essentially getting liquidated–so they got kind of ‘blown up’” he told Finance Magnates. This sudden and large-scale liquidation “create[d] a local pricing phenomenon.”
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“There [was] so much leverage on margin trading that when people’s stacks get liquidated, it creates a locally lower point for the Bitcoin price than the global price. But the problem is that if your assets are stuck in that bubble, you’re unable to access the global price…that creates more potential for panic-selling and those kinds of things.”
Kyle Samani, co-founder and managing partner at Multicoin Capital, also explained this particular phenomenon in a report that was issued in mid-March on the corona-related crisis.
“During times of crisis, [exchanges] become so congested that arbitrageurs cannot keep prices in line across venues, causing massive dislocations on individual exchanges,” he wrote.
In the case of BitMEX, “massive dislocations on a single exchange caused Bitcoin to dip below $4,000 for 15-30 minutes; however, this would not have happened if the market operated correctly.”
Finding a protective middle-ground
Therefore, it may well be that crypto exchanges and traders are damned if they do, and damned if they don’t; in other words, circuit breakers may not be an ideal fix for preventing chaos on crypto markets, but until cryptocurrency exchange infrastructure can be designed to support large-scale liquidations without price distortion, circuit breakers may be the best solution.
Jose Llisterri said that for this reason, some may find it “sensible to seek a middle-ground and add a minimal set of breakers that ensure an orderly market at all times while preserving the ideological aspects as much as reasonably possible.”
And in fact, the practice of implementing protections such as or similar to circuit breakers already seems to have increased in the time since the mid-March coronavirus chaos–though they aren’t quite as easily-triggered as those in traditional financial markets.
“After the Covid market rout, some crypto derivatives exchanges have introduced measures similar to circuit breakers, although these work differently than the traditional markets counterparts,” Llisterri explained. For example, “on traditional venues such as NYSE, trading is completely halted after specific percentage price deviations (7%, 13%, 20%).”
For example, on March 9th, 2020, and again on March 16th, circuit breakers were triggered at the NYSE as the DJIA fell more than 7% at the open.
However, Llisterri explained that “instead, crypto exchanges, such as FTX, Huobi or Interdax, resort to more suitable solutions without causing disruption to the market,” Llisterri explained.
“These solutions range from; unwinding gracefully the positions of traders operating on high leverage, locking the price movements around trading bands which prevent exacerbated flash crashes/spikes, to improving the calculations of their indices with formulas robust to outliers.”
Circuit breakers will only truly be effective if they are adopted by all crypto trading venues
But are these kinds of protections sufficiently effective?
Pankaj Balani said that the unique qualities of the cryptocurrency trading ecosystem–specifically, the “fragmented nature of the industry and that of liquidity in the crypto markets”–provide a set of challenges that make designing protections difficult.
In other words, there are a huge number of crypto exchanges, many of them unregulated–as such, traders who weren’t happy with an environment equipped with circuit breakers could easily move their business onto another exchange.
Indeed, “having an effective circuit breaker is difficult to implement given the current state of the crypto ecosystem,” Balani said. “To have an effective circuit breaker, one that can absorb market shocks, a consensus on price limits, time limits, and other mechanics is needed between various spot and derivatives exchanges.”
Michael Creadon, a board advisor at Inveniam Capital Advisors, shared a similar point with CoinTelegraph: “circuit breakers won’t work because there are too many exchanges and no centralized rule-making body” he said.
“If Coinbase freezes up but the market moves another 50% on Binance, you won’t be able to get out. So you’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t. For long term hodlers, I think this is less important. For day traders, this is very important. Circuit breakers are a good thing, but hard to deploy when there are hundreds, if not thousands, of trading venues.”
1. Get paid to shop
They operate through referrals. If you visit a store and make a payment through one of their websites, the retailer will pay them as a reward, and subsequently, they’ll pay you a cut of that payment.
It’s easy to sign up to – all you have to do is enter basic details to create an account. Once you’re in, you’ll be able to start shopping – avoid logging out of your account as the website will need to track your payment.
2. Ask for vouchers
If there is a special offer in a supermarket but the item is out of stock, you can ask in store customer services for a voucher offering you either a similar product at the same price, or a coupon to take advantage of the offer at a later date when it’s back in stock.
This is not something you are entitled to, however, ask nicely, and in most cases, you won’t be refused.
3. Buy reduced items
As products approach their expiry date, supermarkets will start to stash costs in a bid to recoup as much as they can before the item is taken off the shelf. This is great news for the consumer, as it means you’ll be able to snap up groceries for a fraction of the costs – we’ve spotted bread down to 10p in the past.
This is easier said than done though. Each store will have its reduced hour – a period of the day in which they’ll scour the shelves for products approaching shelf life and reduce the cost – usually around 5-7pm – and many shoppers will know about it, so prepare to be quick.
Remember, if items are close to their sell by date, you can just put them in the freezer for later use.
4. Buy own brand basics
There are certain cupboard items that just don’t taste the same as own brand, like Heinz baked beans for instance. But, on the other hand, there are many basics that you CAN switch to and make a saving without even noticing the difference.
These include kitchen roll, salt, sugar, chopped tomatoes and most cleaning or household products.
5. Use loyalty rewards
Loyalty schemes are designed to reward regular customers and keep them coming back for more. This is often achieved through exclusive deals, discount codes, coupons and cash off once you’ve accumulated a certain amount. Don’t be too loyal though – as you’ll end up missing out on deals elsewhere.
You can collect points when you buy in-store, which you can use as a discount on your next purchase. Note, loyalty schemes are not a substitute for a good deal and will not save you money if you go back to the store without shopping around first.
6. Don’t be fooled by discounts
As tempting as these may look, not all ‘bargains’ are as good as they seem. Look closer, and you’ll spot deals like ‘2 for £2’ on items that cost just 95p each. Don’t be fooled by such trickery – always do your maths.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-NEW MEXICO
New Mexico chile farms may face worker shortage amid virus
HATCH, N.M. (AP) — A chile farmer in southern New Mexico says his workers aren’t tending the fields because they’re worried about contracting COVID-19. KVIA-TV in El Paso, Texas, reports Sergio Grajeda says fears over the novel coronavirus are keeping workers away from his chile farm in New Mexico’s Hatch Valley. Grajeda has more than 100 acres of pecans and chile. He told the station he employs dozens of workers typically during the harvest. He had to tend to his own fields on Monday. New Mexico Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Kristie Garcia says the state has not yet received this specific complaint but has guidance online for farmers and workers to stay safe.
Agency wants $8K reimbursement from lawmaker, ex-leader
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — An agency that promotes the Los Alamos National Laboratory is asking a state lawmaker to pay back $8,000 in reimbursements paid to her while she served as the organization’s executive director. The Albuquerque Journal reports the Regional Coalition of Los Alamos National Laboratory Communities wants Democratic state Rep. Andrea Romero to pay back the money she made before her election in 2018. Romero previously reimbursed the agency $2,200, but that was before the state Auditor’s Office released a report in August 2018 that identified 18 negative findings. Romero said she would not comment until she had seen the letter asking for new reimbursements.
Deputies: New Mexico man attacked woman, family with machete
LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico man is facing charges after authorities say he attacked a woman and her family with a machete. The Las Cruces Suns-News reports Zachary Tanner Cadena was arrested Friday in Las Cruces following a fight with the woman and her family. According to Doña Ana County Sheriff’s deputies, Cadena went to the woman’s home because he believed she and her family had some of his belongings. He is facing three counts of aggravated battery that may cause death or bodily harm, battery on a peace officer, and two counts of assault on a peace officer. It was not known if he had an attorney.
BUDGET CRUNCH-NEW MEXICO
New Mexico finance secretary resigns as budget crisis builds
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The governor’s office says New Mexico’s top finance official is leaving the administration of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham as the state anticipates a budget crisis linked to the coronavirust pandemic. In the email, Finance and Administration Secretary Olivia Padilla-Jackson told agency staff that she will leave her position at the end of May for a job closer to family in Albuquerque. The governor’s officState budget director Debbie Romero will step in as acting agency secretary in June. Padilla-Jackson could not be reached for further comment. Financial analysts with the Legislative Finance Committee say state spending during the coming budget year could quickly wipe out reserves.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-REOPEN FIGHT
New Mexico mayor fires official after reopening city
RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) — The mayor of a small New Mexico city who allowed businesses to open Monday has fired the city manager. Grants Mayor Martin “Modey” Hicks confirmed he fired City Manager Laura Merrick Jaramillo on Tuesday but declined to give a reason. Jaramillo’s friend Jesse Daniel James said the firing came after she told Hicks that he was putting staff at risk by reopening the city-owned golf course. The firing came hours after Hicks told protesters in the small western New Mexico town of 9,000 residents that the time had come to end the shutdown despite warnings from Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-NEW MEXICO
Albuquerque mayor wants businesses reopened with precautions
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The mayor of New Mexico’s largest city says he favors reopening nearly all businesses with precautions such as reduced indoor crowds, face coverings and COVID-19 screenings for workers. Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller answered questions Tuesday in a town hall-style meeting by phone about business restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus. His comments provide clues about a possible statewide approach to ending closures as the number of cases in New Mexico approached 3,000. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has indicated she’ll extend the lockdown through at least May 15, with some revisions. A commission advising her on economic recovery related to the pandemic will meet in private.
SANTA FE ARCHDIOCESE-BANKRUPTCY
New Mexico diocese sues over limits on virus relief funds
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico’s largest Catholic diocese has filed a complaint against the U.S. Small Business Administration. The Archdiocese of Santa Fe claims the agency is illegally blocking it from applying for federal aid meant to help businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The archdiocese says loan applications from entities that are involved in bankruptcy proceedings are being rejected. The archdiocese filed for bankruptcy in 2018 in the wake of clergy sex abuse lawsuits that began decades earlier. The archdiocese says it’s struggling to make payroll since parishes haven’t been able to gather collections since state public health orders prohibit in-person services.
Appeal: New Mexico ignored rules in OK of nuke site work
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A watchdog group wants the New Mexico Court of Appeals to put the brakes on a key construction project at the nation’s only underground nuclear waste repository. The Southwest Research and Information Center alleges state environmental officials ignored regulations and past practices in giving temporary approval for contractors to begin building a new ventilation shaft at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. The state stands by its decision. A radiation release in 2014 forced the repository’s temporary closure. Resulting contamination limited the air flow underground, prompting the need for a new system so full-scale operations can resume.
(Reuters) – It will be easier to bring back community level sport such as Parkruns as the coronavirus lockdowns are eased than bigger events due to the risk of travel from larger gatherings, a member of a World Health Organization expert group said.
However, the lessons learned on marshalling and enforcing social distancing at such local races or a small-scale soccer match could help with the management of elite gatherings such as major marathons when they are possible, Brian McCloskey said.
“The bigger the competition the more complicated mitigating actions will have to be and therefore the less likely it is that they can be done safely,” McCloskey, a member of the World Health Organization Novel Coronavirus-19 Mass Gatherings Expert Group, told the BBC.
“So an event that involves lots of travel across the country or between countries … (it is) much more complicated to see how that happens. A local event, community football, running … much easier to see how that happens.”
McCloskey said community events, in which a limited number of people join in near their homes, could then provide professional contests with information to help organisers scale back up to events drawing athletes from all over the world.
“If you look at something like road running, if we go back to Parkruns, you could start those because they don’t involve a lot of travel around the country,” he said.
“Involve local communities, you can manage how it’s done and in doing that you can learn how marshalling can help with social distancing in a run.
“That helps you work out ‘how can I do a city marathon?’, and ultimately ‘how can I get the London Marathon and Boston Marathon back up again?’.”
The World Players Association, an association representing some 85,000 athletes around the world through more than 100 player associations in over 60 countries, said on Tuesday professional athletes should not be rushed back to action.
The coronavirus has infected more than 3.11 million people globally, causing more than 216,600 deaths, prompting a shutdown of business, education and world sport.
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Alison Williams)
The Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:
The Spanish Vuelta cycling race will not start in the Netherlands as originally planned.
This year’s race was set to begin in the Dutch regions of Utrecht and North Brabant but the changes in the cycling calendar because of the coronavirus pandemic forced organizers in the Netherlands to cancel the country’s participation.
Dutch organizers say the project “had been designed as a big summer party” which would not be able to happen because of the changes in the Vuelta’s original dates. They say they “preferred to request the official departure’s cancellation.”
Spanish organizers say they hope to plan a new start in the Netherlands “in the very near future.”
This year’s Vuelta was set to start on Aug. 14. New dates have not been announced.
More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Published Apr 29, 2020 at 8:00 am
(Updated Apr 29, 2020 at 7:53 am)
A Pan American Health Organisation expert helped one of Bermudas laboratories set up for coronavirus tests.
Lionel Gresh, of the PAHO Health Emergencies Department, said that a good working relationship continued with Helix Genetic and Scientific Solutions. Dr Gresh said that the fundamentals of the molecular or PCR polymerase chain reaction method used for testing were the same whether youre trying to detect a bacteria or a virus or a human DNA.
He added: The core of skills you need were already present in country, right at the Helix lab.
They already had the experience in working this type of technique, so it was the case where the amount of training that was needed was not as important as, for example, other countries where theyre really building that capacity from scratch.
Dr Gresh explained that travel restrictions because of the coronavirus pandemic meant that he was unable to visit the island from PAHO headquarters in Washington after he made trips to help Barbados and Dominica in February.
He said that a request from Bermudas Department of Health was made on about March 12 and that materials were shipped to the island before training was carried out remotely over two days.
David Burt, the Premier, announced on March 20 that on-island testing had started in a partnership between the Ministry of Health, Helix and the Bermuda Hospitals Board, with assistance from Public Health England and the PAHO.
Samples were earlier sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency in Trinidad to be tested, which meant a four to five-day wait for results.
Dr Gresh said that training by the PAHO, which operates like a regional office of the World Health Organisation, started in the Americas area before the end of January.
He explained that Covid-19 testing involved taking a genetic fingerprint of the virus using a machine and other specialist equipment.
Dr Gresh added: We mostly provided countries with the specific ones primers and probes but also, depending on the countries, we have also provided some of the generic reagents, so countries could start the implementation of the testing without any delay.
He said on Friday: I think the most recent shipment we did to Bermuda was last week, so thats a process that we try to continue, to understand that procuring some of the reagents is complicated right now because also the demand, especially in the developed world, is very high and some of these reagents are in short supply.
Dr Gresh added: We have a very good working relationship with the team at the Helix lab, so we are in constant communication and they know they can reach us in case they feel they need some technical advice.
Helix is owned and run by Desiree Spriggs.
She is assisted in the testing work by Marshalita Tota, the senior medical technologist and laboratory manager, as well as Rachel Parsons, a Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences microbiologist who uses a similar PCR instrument for her research into marine microbes.
BIOS said last week that the team was working on implementing and validating testing kits and a new protocol, now accepted worldwide, that is more sensitive with regard to detecting Covid-19 infections.
Dr Gresh, a virologist, said that the PAHO had not been training directly at the Bermuda Government Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory, which started operating just over a week ago and is run under the supervision of biochemist Carika Weldon.
He added: Weve been approached by the Government to review some of the protocols and so on, so thats a process thats ongoing.
Dr Gresh said: The decision on a particular lab to be declared fit for testing is not ours, its really the local governments prerogative. We just try to provide as much training and share the knowledge we have to help them through that process.
A Ministry of Health spokeswoman said last week that test kit manufacturers asked for approval from the US Food and Drug Administration.
She added: Validations are then conducted by the user to ensure quality assurance within their testing facility.
The spokeswoman said only FDA-approved kits were used. She added: Each laboratory validates their own equipment. However, these validations are reviewed by third parties to ensure appropriate testing has occurred. Every laboratory writes a policy and procedure which begins from the collection of samples to processing and reporting. Both follow PAHO testing protocols.
The health ministry did not respond to questions on who carried out the validation reviews.
The UK loses over half of job vacancies in 10 weeks
The UK has seen its biggest drop in vacancies as it enters six weeks of lockdown, according to the latest research by job search engine Adzuna.co.uk. Government policies to extend the closure of employment heavy sectors such as hospitality and catering has led to an 82% drop in vacancies in the sector in the past 10 weeks, and a 57% drop in retail vacancies this week.
The downfall marks an additional loss of 40,000 jobs week on week as economic uncertainty around output and consumption continue to take hold in the UK. The manufacturing industry has lost 64% of advertised vacancies in the past ten weeks, while the property sector has lost 70% of all vacancies. Traditional office roles are also starting to feel the strain with sales (78%), Admin (77%), and HR vacancies (-77%) falling to their lowest levels in over eight years.
The figures mean the UK continues to be the worst-hit when it comes to job vacancy reduction worldwide. The US is the second biggest casualty in the job market with a 50% reduction in advertised vacancies, as the US finds itself in the grip of the crisis. Australia is the third-worst affected market with a 48% reduction in vacancies after thousands of shops, restaurants, and small businesses were forced to close.
The UK loses over half of job vacancies in 10 weeks
The UK travel industry also saw some of the highest drops in vacancies compared to ten weeks ago (-57%). The number is notably higher than the global outlook, which has seen an overall decline of 44%. Online searches for travel jobs have also fallen by one-third month on month as shifts in job seeker behaviour take hold. Search terms for ‘working from home’ have increased by 1192% amidst the coronavirus pandemic, while searches for ‘online jobs’ have increased by 1769% as jobseekers look to avoid travel.
Social work is the only sector to defy the economic slump and see a small but significant upturn in vacancies year to date, followed by domestic workers and cleaning jobs, which have seen a have remained comparatively stable in the past two weeks.
Social work jobs (+0.13%)
Online searches last month – 8,100
Open vacancies in the UK – 40,544
Social workers continue to be in demand as councils continue to call on staff to support vulnerable children and families across the UK in the wake of the pandemic. Full-time positions have increased as councils look to move away from part-time or agency staff to meet the demands of those in need. Interest in social work jobs remains steady throughout the pandemic with 8,100 searches last month.
Cleaners and domestic workers (-0.4%)
Online searches last month – 18,100
Open vacancies in the UK – 8,094
Demand for cleaners, domestic workers, and hospital cleaning staff have remained steady in the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak. However, searches for cleaning positions drop 18% month on month as interest croppers off. Government and public health officials emphasise the importance of clean working and living areas to contain the virus, which has led to increased demand across the country for these roles.
Admin jobs (-77.1%)
Online searches last month – 6,600
Open vacancies in the UK – 7,405
Despite a 77% reduction in live vacancies, there are still 7,405 admin jobs available in the UK, The drop in vacancies corresponds with falling jobseeker demand, as online searches decline by 18% to 6,600 month on month. The global figure is less severe but is still significant with a 44% drop in vacancies across the world.
Sales jobs (-78%)
Online searches last month – 5,400
Open vacancies in the UK – 16,033
Vacancies within the sales sector have decreased by a staggering 78% since the Coronavirus outbreak, falling from 67,812 to 16,033 in the UK. This figure is notably higher than the impact being felt in other countries, with a 43% drop in sales jobs globally.
Hospitality and catering jobs (-82%)
Online searches last month – 12,000
Open vacancies in the UK – 10,042
The hospitality and catering industry in the UK has lost over three-quarters of all advertised vacancies in the year to date (-82%) as lockdown continues into its sixth week, with no sign of restrictions being lifted soon. The number of open vacancies has dropped from 51,998 to 10,042 across the UK this year. Interestingly, hospitality positions across the globe have dropped 63% with live vacancies decreasing from 292,565 to 108,575 in the last ten weeks as the industry continues to suffer globally.
Andrew Hunter, Co-Founder of Adzuna, comments; ‘Key sectors in the UK job market have taken another hit this week after the Government announced an additional three weeks of lock-down to control the spread of the virus.
“The UK has now lost over half of all advertised positions across the country and is showing little sign of recovery, as economic uncertainty continues to grow and job security continues to fall. The hospitality industry has fallen to its lowest levels since we started reporting over eight years ago and is likely to continue until the Government ease lock-down regulations. Indirect casualties of the pandemic are also starting to show this week, as HR, sales, and admin positions all lose over three-quarters of vacancies over an eight week period. These are worrying figures to the UK economy, but we hope to see improvement if regulations ease in the following months’.
By JILL LAWLESS, Associated Press
LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his fiancee Carrie Symonds announced the birth of a son on Wednesday, just two days after Johnson returned to work following hospitalization for the coronavirus.
Johnson’s office said Symonds gave birth to a “healthy baby boy at a London hospital” on Wednesday morning, and both mother and infant were doing well.
Johnson, 55, and Symonds, 32, announced in February that they were engaged and expecting a child together. At the time they said the baby was due in early summer. No wedding date has been announced.
Johnson only returned to work Monday after suffering from a bout of coronavirus that left him dangerously ill. He spent a week in London’s St. Thomas’ hospital, including three nights in intensive care, before recovering for two weeks away from London.
Symonds, an environmental campaigner and former Conservative Party staffer, also said she was sick for a week with COVID-19 symptoms, though she wasn’t tested for the virus. The newborn boy is her first child.
Johnson has four children with his second wife Marina Wheeler, from whom he is divorced, and has fathered at least one other child outside his marriages.
The baby is the third born to a sitting British prime minister this century. The wives of leaders Tony Blair and David Cameron also had babies while their husbands were in office.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether Johnson planned to take paternity leave.
The birth comes as the British government faces big decisions about how and when to ease the nationwide lockdown imposed March 23 to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The measures are due to be in place at least until May 7.
Britain is among the countries hardest hit by the pandemic. As of Tuesday, 21,678 people with COVID-19 had died in U.K. hospitals, and several thousand more in nursing homes and other settings.
Johnson’s government faces growing criticism over its slowness in getting enough protective equipment to medics and nursing home staff and its struggle to increase the number of tests being performed for the virus.
Johnson had been due to return to Parliament on Wednesday to take part in the weekly Prime Minister’s Questions session. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab will stand in for him.
Opposition Labour Party leader Keir Starmer, who had been due to face off against Johnson in the Commons, tweeted that the birth was “wonderful news.”
House of Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle congratulated the couple.
“Such happy news amid so much uncertainty – 2020 is certainly a year they will never forget,” he said.
Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.