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Florida Cases Spike; Records Break Across Europe

Thursday, 22 October 2020 12:44 PM

Europe’s wave of infections keeps rising: Italy, Germany, the Netherlands and at least seven other nations reported record numbers of coronavirus cases. U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak increased support to businesses for a third time in less than a month.

Florida’s cases jumped. The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell for the third time in four weeks, suggesting the labor market is recovering but still far from pre-pandemic health.

India’s government is budgeting about $7 billion to vaccinate the nation’s 1.3 billion people. AstraZeneca Plc and Johnson & Johnson may resume U.S. trials as soon as this week after the companies previously halted testing when participants fell ill.

Key Developments:

  • Global Tracker: Cases pass 41.3 million; deaths exceed 1.1 million
  • Pelosi, Mnuchin to talk stimulus again as Trump hints at failure
  • Europe facing dearth of medical staff in test of virus readiness
  • Doctors fight ‘infodemic’ with Americans seeing virus as a hoax
  • Minorities’ Covid risk unlikely due to genetics
  • High-end products are back in vogue after lockdown
  • Investors brace for barrage of Covid vaccine data to roil market

Subscribe to a daily update on the virus from Bloomberg’s Prognosis team here. Click CVID on the terminal for global data on coronavirus cases and deaths.

Greece Sets Restrictions as Cases Reach Record Again (12:28 p.m. NY)

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced on Thursday a ban on nighttime movement from 12:30 a.m. to 5 a.m. in high-risk areas including the capital Athens and the second-largest city of Thessaloniki. Mitsotakis also said that the wearing of masks is now also compulsory in indoor and outdoor spaces.

Greece recorded a third straight record daily increase with 882 new coronavirus cases bringing the total to 28,216 in a country of just under 11 million people. It recorded 15 more deaths in the past 24 hours with the total number of dead at 549.

Florida Cases Start to Jump Again (12:06 p.m. NY)

Florida posted 5,558 new Covid-19 cases Thursday, the most mid-August, excluding two days affected by technical issues. The percent positive for new cases dropped slightly from a day earlier, but was also among the highest readings in two months, according to the health department report, which includes data through Wednesday.

Italy Reaches Record (11:24 a.m. NY)

Italy’s daily virus cases reached a record 16,079, up from 15,199 Wednesday as daily fatalities rose to 136. Patients in intensive care units rose by 66 to 992, the most since early May, while below the April peak of more than 4,000.

Lombardy, the region around Milan, reported 4,125 new cases, ahead of a night-time curfew starting Thursday.

Portugal to Limit Travel Between Municipalities (11:17 a.m. NY)

Portugal said it will limit travel between municipalities from Oct. 30 through Nov. 3.

The government on Thursday reported the biggest daily increase in confirmed virus cases since the start of the outbreak: 3,270 new infections, more than the previous record of 2,608 on Friday. The total is now 109,541. The number of patients in intensive care units rose by 13 to 200, still below the peak of 271 reached in April.

Sweden Clamps Down on Nightclubs (10:28 a.m. NY)

Sweden will cap the number of club-goers at 50, after images of people partying in Stockholm sparked outrage in the country.

Sweden, which has stood out for its hands-off strategy in tackling the Covid-19 crisis, registered a higher death rate than most other European countries during the spring. The country had hoped that higher levels of infections would give some protection against a second wave, but recent numbers show a steady increase in the number of cases.

“It’s time for partying in nightclubs to stop,” Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said.

Belgian PM Downplays Likelihood of Full Lockdown (9:39 a.m. NY)

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo downplayed the likelihood that the country will re-introduce a strict lockdown, telling lawmakers that frequent strategy changes won’t motivate people to abide by the rules. A meeting of regional government heads on Friday will focus on the tightening of existing rules for cultural and sport events, he said.

Bank of Israel Expands Bond Buying Plan (9:13 a.m. NY)

The Bank of Israel will buy as much as 35 billion shekels ($10.3 billion) more in government bonds to boost the economy that is now emerging from a second national lockdown.

The new amount is on top of the 50 billion shekels of sovereign debt the central bank committed to purchase at the start of the pandemic, and is intended to drive down costs for government borrowing and inject liquidity in the local market.

U.S. Jobless Claims Decline (8:46 a.m. NY)

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell for the third time in four weeks, suggesting the labor market is still gradually recovering while remaining far from its pre-pandemic health.

Initial jobless claims in regular state programs declined to 787,000 in the week ended Oct. 17, according to Labor Department data Thursday. Without adjustments for seasonal fluctuations, claims dropped by about 73,000.

Continuing claims -- the total pool of Americans on ongoing state unemployment benefits -- fell by 1.02 million to to 8.37 million in the week ended Oct. 10, though the number of Americans on extended unemployment benefits rose. That reflects people who exhausted regular state benefits.

Netherlands, Denmark Report Daily Record (8:28 a.m. NY)

The Netherlands reported a record 9,283 new infections in the last 24 hours, according to Dutch news agency ANP. It was the first time the daily tally exceeded 9,000 cases.

Denmark recorded 760 new cases of coronavirus over the past 24 hours, its highest daily tally since the pandemic broke out. Health officials warned earlier on Thursday that new restrictions might be needed after a recent spike in cases.

Sunak Fires Third U.K. Aid Salvo in a Month (7:03 a.m. NY)

Chancellor of the Exchequer Sunak increased the generosity of the U.K. aid package for businesses hamstrung by the resurgent coronavirus pandemic, his third push in less than a month to stop a wave of job losses sweeping across the country.

Sunak increased government contributions to workers’ wages, and reduced the hours employees have to work in order to qualify for a state program that takes over from the furlough system on Nov. 1. He also announced package of grants to businesses that aren’t required to close, but are suffering because of coronavirus restrictions.

Romania Infections, Deaths Surge at Record Pace (6:21 a.m. NY)

Romania reported a new daily record of Covid-19 cases and the most deaths since the start of the pandemic as more regions in the country prepare to impose restrictions.

The eastern European nation reported 4,902 new cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of infections to over 196,000. It also registered 98 deaths, the highest daily toll so far. The total number of fatalities stands at 6,163, the worst death toll in the European Union’s eastern nations.

India Plans for $7 Billion to Roll Out $2 Vaccine (5:21 p.m. HK)

India’s government has set aside about 500 billion rupees ($7 billion) to vaccinate the world’s most populous nation after China against the coronavirus, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration estimates an all-in cost of about $6-$7 per person in the nation of 1.3 billion, the people said, asking not to be identified as the details are private. The money provisioned so far is for the current financial year ending March 31 and there will be no shortage of further funds for this purpose, they added.

Indonesia Considers Opening Borders to Travelers (5:12 p.m. HK)

Indonesia is considering reopening its international borders to regular travelers, even as it struggles with the region’s largest virus outbreak.

The issue is still being discussed by various authorities and the government hasn’t set a time frame for when a decision would be made, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said in a Thursday briefing.

Poland, Slovenia Have Record Number of New Cases (4:43 p.m. HK)

Poland registered 12,107 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, a 21% jump from the previous record set a day ago, according to data published by the Health Ministry on Thursday.

The death toll in the country of 38 million rose by a record 168 to 4,019. The government is due to announce further restrictions on Thursday in its battle against the pandemic.

Slovenia reported a record 1,663 daily infections while the number of hospitalized patients doubled in the past 10 days to 357.

Spain Warns Pandemic Out of Control (4:19 p.m. HK)

The spread of coronavirus is out of control in certain parts of Spain, according to Health Minister Salvador Illa.

“We are in the middle of a second wave, it’s no longer a threat but rather a reality,” Illa said in an interview on Madrid-based Onda Cero radio. “In some parts of our country the epidemic isn’t under control, so we need to take more drastic measures.”

Spain on Wednesday became the first country in Western Europe to surpass 1 million coronavirus infections, as authorities struggle to control fresh outbreaks and contemplate a curfew for the capital Madrid and its surrounding area.

India Restores Most Traveler Visas (3:54 p.m. HK)

The Indian government will relax visa and travel restrictions for more categories of citizens and foreign nationals who wish to enter or leave the country, the home ministry said in a statement.

Earlier, India added 55,839 new daily cases, bringing the country’s total infections to 7.7 million, while deaths from the virus topped 116,000. A government panel of scientists said earlier this week that India has seen a peak in new infections.

British Airways Owner Cuts Flights (3:29 p.m. HK)

IAG SA, the owner of British Airways, slashed its capacity for the current quarter and no longer expects to break even during the period as fresh travel restrictions and virus infections keep would-be travelers at home.

The airline group, which also includes Spain’s Iberia and Irish carrier Aer Lingus, now plans to operate no more than 30% of its usual schedule in the three months, according to a statement Thursday. The company had expected to gradually rebuild services and operate at more than half of its capacity.

Hungary Reports Record Daily Infections (3:05 p.m. HK)

Hungary reported a daily record 2,032 new coronavirus cases on Thursday as the country began to ramp up testing.

The number of tests performed rose to over 16,000 from just over 9,000 a day earlier after virologists advising the government warned that the nation was losing track of the pandemic due to insufficient detection. Data showed 46 people died from the virus on Wednesday, two less than the day before.

South Africa Reports Resurgence in Cases (2:35 p.m. HK)

South Africa is recording a worrying increase in infections, especially in the Western Cape province, which saw a 42% spike in new cases in the past week, according to Health Minister Zweli Mkhize.

Nationwide, new cases increased 9.1% in the last seven days, prompting the health department to urge South Africa’s nine provinces to “quickly mount a response, including contact tracing and quarantine,” Mkhize said in a statement Wednesday.

Roche Buys Covid Treatment Rights (1:34 p.m. HK)

Roche Holding AG agreed to pay $350 million in an alliance with Atea Pharmaceuticals Inc. to develop a potential treatment for Covid-19.

The Swiss drugmaker will get the rights to distribute Atea’s AT-527 drug outside of the U.S. under the agreement, Atea said Thursday. Roche may also pay milestone payments and royalties.

Germany’s New Cases Jump to Record (1 p.m. HK)

Germany reported 12,331 new infections in the 24 hours through Thursday morning, the first time since the outbreak started that the daily increase exceeded 10,000. The number of new cases was up from 8,523 a day earlier, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. That took the total to 397,922.

Germany has added the U.K., Ireland, Switzerland and Poland to a list of coronavirus risk areas, the country’s RKI public health institute said Thursday. Twelve Italian regions and five Austrian regions were also added to the list, which determines who must quarantine upon arrival.

South Korea’s 121 New Cases Is Most in Month (8:50 a.m. HK)

South Korea reported 121 more coronavirus cases on Thursday, up from 91 cases a day earlier. The number of new infections is the biggest in a month, with 62 cases in Gyeonggi and 18 in Seoul.

Cluster infections in nursing hospitals and senior-care centers have continued, Yonhap News reported, citing Vice Minister of Interior and Safety Kim Gye-jo.

United Tries Virus-Test App on Trans-Atlantic Flight (6 a.m. HK)

A United Airlines Holdings Inc. flight from London to Newark, New Jersey, performed the first U.S. trial of a new digital health app designed to share travelers’ coronavirus test results.

The CommonPass mobile app, created by the Commons Project Foundation and the World Economic Forum, is seen as a tool to help governments reopen borders by providing test data. The approach offers a common standard while avoiding paper documents and the risk of identity fraud, Paul Meyer, the foundation’s chief executive officer, said at a news conference in Newark.

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Europe's wave of infections keeps rising: Italy, Germany, the Netherlands and at least seven other nations reported record numbers of coronavirus cases. U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak increased support to businesses for a third time in less than a...
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Thursday, 22 October 2020 12:44 PM
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