April 19, 2021

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German Cases Hold Steady; Tokyo Tops 100 Again: Virus Update

(Bloomberg) —

Germany’s coronavirus infection rate remained below a key threshold, while the number of cases in Tokyo exceeded 100 for the fourth straight day.

Hong Kong’s three-week stretch of no new local Covid-19 cases may have been broken after two people tested positive for the virus on Saturday, Radio Television Hong Kong reported.

The World Health Organization reported a one-day high for global coronavirus cases and U.S. President Donald Trump said a vaccine remedy will be ready by the end of the year.

Australians quarantined in Melbourne will get hardship payments and rent will be suspended as authorities enforce a lockdown on hot spots. Pret a Manger, the British coffee and sandwich shop, may have to close a tenth of its locations due to the pandemic, the Daily Mail reported.

Key Developments:

Global Tracker: Cases top 11.2 million; Deaths exceed 530,000Cheers? English pubs shake off lockdown into uncertain worldAmericans aren’t much interested in going out and spendingLow-income U.S. households suffer inflation shock from virus

Subscribe to a daily update on the virus from Bloomberg’s Prognosis team here. Click VRUS on the terminal for news and data on the coronavirus.

German Infection Rate Holds Steady (2:51 p.m. HK)

The European country’s reproduction factor — or R-value — rose to 0.93 on Saturday, from 0.84 the day before, according to the latest estimate from the Robert Koch Institute, the country’s health body.

That’s the 11th straight day below the key threshold of 1.0, while the number of new cases stayed far below the level at the height of the outbreak. There were 418 new cases reported in Germany in the 24 hours through Sunday morning, bringing the total to 197,198, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Hong Kong’s Virus-Free Streak May End (2:26 p.m. HK)

If confirmed, the two suspected cases would end Hong Kong’s three-week stretch of no new local infections.

Hong Kong further relaxed social-distancing measures in mid-June, allowing public gatherings of up to 50 people. The city’s government is in talks with Guangdong provincial authorities for a plan to ease cross-border travel restrictions, including lifting the 14-day mandatory quarantine for qualified people.

Tokyo Cases Hover Above 100 for Fourth Straight Day (2 p.m. HK)

The number of daily infections in the Japanese capital will reach 111, broadcaster NHK said on Sunday. A day earlier, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike urged residents to avoid unnecessary and non-urgent travel outside Tokyo due to the rising number of cases.

While authorities have stressed there are no plans to call for business restrictions or implement another state of emergency, further elevated levels of infections could prompt the local or national government to implement stricter measures.

Hospitalizations in the city remain low, and the total has risen during June as people returned to workplaces, restaurants and clubs. Officials have expressed concern that infections will spread beyond these zones.

Australia Offers Assistance to Citizens in Lockdown (11:26 a.m. HK)

About 3,000 people quarantined in public-housing tower blocks in Melbourne will get hardship payments and their rent will be suspended, Victorian State Premier Daniel Andrews said on Sunday. Residents of the buildings who have jobs but are unable to work because of the lockdown will receive a hardship payment of A$1,500 ($1,040) per household, while families with no one employed will get a A$750 check, Andrews said at a press conference.

The state government’s announcement Saturday marked the toughest coronavirus control measures in Australia to date, with police moving in overnight to cordon off nine public-housing towers for at least five days in an effort to test every resident following a week of surging case counts.

India Cases Rise 7.2% (10 a.m. HK)

The number of confirmed cases in the coronavirus outbreak in India has risen 7.2% from Saturday to 648,315, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News.

Mexico Is Now Fifth in Covid-19 Deaths (8:06 a.m. HK)

Deaths in the North American country reached 30,366, overtaking France, while the number of infections rose by a daily record 6,914 to 252,165, according to data released by the Health Ministry Saturday night. Mexico also overtook Spain this week as the pandemic’s toll on the country continued to mount.

Like in other Latin American countries, Mexican officials have had to balance their response to the virus with consideration for significant groups of people who must work to meet basic daily needs. President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has largely focused on reactivating the economy over imposing strict lockdowns.

Trump Vows Vaccine, Therapeutic By Year-End (7:15 a.m. HK)

President Donald Trump said a “therapeutic or vaccine solution” for the coronavirus will be ready before the end of the year, without offering any details.

“We are now doing unbelievably well” on remedies, and “deep testing” on vaccines is under way, Trump said at a July 4 event at the White House. U.S. infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci has said a vaccine could be ready by early next year.

“We’ve made a lot of progress, our strategy has moved along well,” Trump said of the response. “We’ve learned how to put out the flame.”

Pret a Manger May Close as Many as 45 Locations (5:38 a.m. HK)

The coffee and sandwich chain may have to close as many as 45 of its U.K. shops as part of a major restructuring due to the pandemic, the Mail on Sunday reported, potentially affecting up to 800 of the chain’s 8,000 employees.

Man in 9/11 Photo Dies of Covid-19 (5:15 p.m. NY)

A New York electrical engineer photographed in a crowd fleeing the smoking World Trade Center in 2001 died of the coronavirus, the Palm Beach Post reported, citing his family. Stephen Cooper, 78, died March 28 in Delray Beach, Florida, where he lived part-time. The photograph was widely published and is part of the 9/11 Memorial Museum in New York.

U.S. Cases Rise in Line With Week’s Average (4 p.m. NY)

Coronavirus cases in the U.S. increased by more than 46,000 from the same time on Friday, to 2.82 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University. The 1.7% increase was below the average daily increase of 1.8% over the past week. Fatalities rose 0.3% to 129,601.

Florida reported another record jump in Covid-19 cases, rising by 11,458 cases, or 6.4%. That’s compared with the seven-day average of 5.5%, for a total of 190,052 cases. Another 18 people died, the fewest since June 22, for a total of 3,702.New York, once the nation’s epicenter for the outbreak, reported a 0.2% rise in cases, in line with the past 7 days, or 726 cases. The state’s total is now 396,598. Eleven more people died, for a total of 24,896.California reported 6,510 new cases, and increase of 2.6%. In total, 254,745 people have tested positive. The number of deaths rose by 50 to 6,313. The state website warned some data might be delayed from Los Angeles County.Arizona reported 2,695 new cases, a 2.9% rise from a day earlier. It was the slowest rate of increase in five days, and below the record for daily cases set on Wednesday. Cases in the state have been rising at a 4.4% rate over the past seven days and now stand at 94,553.New Jersey reported 303 new cases, for a total of 173,033. That is a slight drop from 386 reported the day before. The state had 25 deaths, down from 58 the day before, for a total of 13,333.

WHO Ends One Malaria Drug Trial (2:30 p.m. NY)

The World Health Organization halted one of the clinical trials of hydroxychloroquine, touted by President Donald Trump for Covid-19, and lopinavir/ritonavir, accepting a steering committee recommendation.

WHO set up the so-called Solidarity Trial to find a treatment for patients in hospitals, but interim results showed the two drugs did little to reduce mortality rates while not adding to the risk of death.

This decision doesn’t affect possible evaluation in other studies of the two drugs in non-hospitalized patients or as pre- or post-exposure protection for Covid-19, the agency said in a statement. Trump took hydroxychloroquine in May.

Johnson Dad Defends Trip Despite Guidance (2 p.m. NY)

The father of U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson defended his trip to Greece this weekend made after the government advised British citizens to avoid all but essential international travel, including to Greece.

Stanley Johnson, 79, said his visit was “essential business” because he needed to “Covid-proof my property” ahead of the rental season, the Press Association reported. The elder Johnson, who owns a villa in Greece, earlier posted a picture on social media as he arrived wearing a face mask: “I didn’t put them up… in a spirit of defiance, or anything like that,” he told reporters, the PA said.

Boris Johnson refused to condemn his father for the apparent breach of travel guidance during a radio call-in program on a London sation.

WHO Reports Most New Cases for a Day (12:25 p.m. NY)

The World Health Organization reported a record 212,326 new coronavirus cases in the 24 hours ended early Saturday, the first infection total to top 200,000. The WHO has reported more than 163,000 new cases every day for the past week, led by a rise in the Americas.

The Americas region — chiefly the U.S. and Brazil — account for 61% of all new cases, followed by Southeast Asia, which made up 12% of the daily infections. Europe, once an epicenter for the outbreak, represented 9.3%, the WHO daily report showed. Cases in the U.S. and Brazil were 48% of the global total.

The Americas make up 51% of all cases, or 5.58 million of 10.92 million, followed by Europe with 25% and the Eastern Mediterranean, including the Middle East, with 10%. The WHO total often lags behind tallies from John Hopkins University, which showed 11.13 million cases as of midday Saturday.

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