Tag: virus

Japan Debates Travel Campaign; Astra’s New Trial: Virus Update

(Bloomberg) —

As the coronavirus resurges in Japan, politicians and experts are growing more divided on the impact that a subsidy program encouraging people to travel is having on the spread of Covid-19. AstraZeneca Plc’s Covid-19 vaccine looks like it’s headed for an additional global trial as the drugmaker tries to clear up uncertainty and confusion surrounding favorable results in its current study.

New infections in New York reached a seven-month high, while hospitalizations rose to their highest level since June. In Europe, the total number of cases in Germany topped 1 million, and the number of patients in intensive care rose to record levels. Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Germans to do more to rein in the pandemic and called on Europe’s ski resorts to close.

Elsewhere, London will avoid the toughest coronavirus restrictions when England’s partial lockdown ends next week, the number of severely ill French patients in intensive care fell to the lowest level in more than three weeks. Argentines mourning the death of soccer icon Diego Maradona ignored virus restrictions.

Key Developments:

Global Tracker: Cases top 60.8 million; deaths top 1.4 millionBiden warns of ‘long, hard winter’ for virus in somber addressLondon avoids toughest curbs as Tories protestAirline claims that flying is safe stir doubts among expertsThe best and the worst places to be in the coronavirus eraCovid vaccine rush in China raises fears of booming black 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.



chart, histogram: U.S. death toll tops 1,600 a day, highest since mid-May


© Bloomberg
U.S. death toll tops 1,600 a day, highest since mid-May

Debate Erupts Over Japan Travel Campaign (10 a.m. HK)

As the coronavirus resurges in Japan, politicians and experts are growing more divided on the impact that a subsidy program encouraging people to travel is having on the spread of Covid-19.

The popular “Go To Travel” campaign, which discounts trips to boost regions hit hardest by a lack of tourists, is one of the government’s most prized projects for spurring the economy, and has been heavily backed by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.

U.K. Moves to Get Vaccine Approved Before EU (8:03 a.m. HK)

Health Secretary Matt Hancock asked the U.K. medical regulator to potentially bypass its European Union counterpart and approve the supply of AstraZeneca Plc’s Covid vaccine to speed its deployment.

AstraZeneca Eyes Extra Global Vaccine Trial (8:02 a.m. HK)

AstraZeneca Plc’s Covid-19 vaccine looks like it’s headed for an additional global trial as the drugmaker tries to clear up uncertainty and confusion surrounding favorable results in its current study.

The company wants the new test to confirm the 90% efficacy rate that the shot showed in a portion of an existing trial, Chief Executive Officer Pascal Soriot said. It’s favoring that option rather than adding an arm to a separate study that’s already underway in the U.S.

California’s Positive-Test Rate Hits 6.1% (6:15 p.m. NY)

California reported 14,640 new cases on Thursday, bringing the total for the state to

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Police forced to isolate after virus exposure at hotel

An incident at a Queensland quarantine hotel has led to almost a dozen officers being forced into isolation after potentially being exposed to COVID-19.

Some 11 police officers have been asked to isolate in hotels or at home after a returned traveller tried to flee their hotel, a Queensland Police spokesperson confirmed to news.com.au.

A police source told 7 News the returned traveller, 41, was suffering from psychosis when they tried to leave the Rydges Hotel Southbank. The man was stopped by police given a medical assessment.

Police later took him back to his hotel, and the man later tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday.

RELATED: Tourists face lengthy queues in sweltering heat when Qld reopens

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RELATED: Queensland border restriction to ease early with Sydney, Victoria

The officers involved have been told to self isolate. Some are quarantining in their homes and others are in the Rydges Hotel Southbank.

A Queensland Police spokesperson said the officers were wearing personal protective equipment at the time of the incident.

“The 11 officers remain in isolation and as of today, all have returned negative tests,” the spokesperson said.

“The Queensland Police Service is conducting welfare checks on the members each day and has been able to make arrangements to ensure adequate staffing is in place while they are isolating.”

Meanwhile, traces of coronavirus have been detected in wastewater in far north Queensland, despite the state celebrating more than 70 days without transmission.

Viral fragments were found in samples of wastewater collected in Cairns last Tuesday, in sewers servicing quarantine hotels and Cairns Hospital, according to reports.

A spokesperson for Queensland Health told The Cairns Post the discovery could mean there are undetected cases in the area.

“People shouldn’t be alarmed but they shouldn’t be complacent either, if you are sick with symptoms which could be due to COVID-19 go and get tested and then stay home until you get your results,” the spokesman said.

He added the detection of the virus in the wastewater did not necessarily indicate there was a positive case in the community.

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VIRUS TODAY: Americans travel as Biden addresses nation

Here’s what’s happening Wednesday with the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S.:

– Millions of Americans are traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday despite warnings from health officials that family gatherings could make a bad situation worse.

– More people are applying for unemployment benefits as the economy remains burdened by the coronavirus. About 778,000 people applied for unemployment last week, the second straight week the number has risen.

– Authorities are desperately pleading with people to stay home for the holidays and dramatically increasing fines for businesses that break the rules. In Connecticut, Gov. Ned Lamont says he will fine businesses $10,000 for violating virus restrictions.

THE NUMBERS: COVID-19 deaths have been shooting up all week. The average number per day is now over 1,600. The country is averaging 174,000 new cases of the virus per day.

QUOTABLE: “I don’t want to be South Dakota.” – West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice in saying he would not follow the lead of other Republican governors who resist mask mandates. He cited the grim statistics in South Dakota and the governor’s refusal to require masks.

ICYMI: The virus has scuttled a long-standing holiday tradition in the tiny Kansas town of Norcatur. In a decades-old tradition that evokes Norman Rockwell nostalgia, the whole town gathers for a potluck dinner at Christmastime and conducts a prize drawing for a plethora of donated meats, crafts and goodies. This year, it’s off.

ON THE HORIZON: President-elect Joe Biden is ramping up his response to the pandemic. He i s delivering a national Thanksgiving address in an attempt to unify the country in the face of the resurgent virus, and congressional leaders are waiting for his strategy for fighting the pandemic.

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VIRUS TODAY: Americans travel as Biden addresses nation | Nation



Americans risk traveling over Thanksgiving despite warnings

Holiday travelers crowd the ticketing area of terminal one Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020 at MSP in Minneapolis. Millions of Americans took to the skies and the highways ahead of Thanksgiving at the risk of pouring gasoline on the coronavirus fire, disregarding increasingly dire warnings that they stay home and limit their holiday gatherings to members of their own household.




Here’s what’s happening Wednesday with the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S.:

— Millions of Americans are traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday despite warnings from health officials that family gatherings could make a bad situation worse.

— More people are applying for unemployment benefits as the economy remains burdened by the coronavirus. About 778,000 people applied for unemployment last week, the second straight week the number has risen.

— Authorities are desperately pleading with people to stay home for the holidays and dramatically increasing fines for businesses that break the rules. In Connecticut, Gov. Ned Lamont says he will fine businesses $10,000 for violating virus restrictions.

THE NUMBERS: COVID-19 deaths have been shooting up all week. The average number per day is now over 1,600. The country is averaging 174,000 new cases of the virus per day.

QUOTABLE: “I don’t want to be South Dakota.” — West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice in saying he would not follow the lead of other Republican governors who resist mask mandates. He cited the grim statistics in South Dakota and the governor’s refusal to require masks.

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VIRUS TODAY: Americans travel as Biden addresses nation | National News



VIRUS TODAY: Americans travel as Biden addresses nation

Holiday travelers crowd the ticketing area of terminal one Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020 at MSP in Minneapolis. Millions of Americans took to the skies and the highways ahead of Thanksgiving at the risk of pouring gasoline on the coronavirus fire, disregarding increasingly dire warnings that they stay home and limit their holiday gatherings to members of their own household.




Here’s what’s happening Wednesday with the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S.:

— Millions of Americans are traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday despite warnings from health officials that family gatherings could make a bad situation worse.

— More people are applying for unemployment benefits as the economy remains burdened by the coronavirus. About 778,000 people applied for unemployment last week, the second straight week the number has risen.

— Authorities are desperately pleading with people to stay home for the holidays and dramatically increasing fines for businesses that break the rules. In Connecticut, Gov. Ned Lamont says he will fine businesses $10,000 for violating virus restrictions.

THE NUMBERS: COVID-19 deaths have been shooting up all week. The average number per day is now over 1,600. The country is averaging 174,000 new cases of the virus per day.

QUOTABLE: “I don’t want to be South Dakota.” — West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice in saying he would not follow the lead of other Republican governors who resist mask mandates. He cited the grim statistics in South Dakota and the governor’s refusal to require masks.

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Cuomo Warns of Major Surge; NYC Plans Checkpoints: Virus Update

(Bloomberg) — New York City will have vehicle checkpoints at key bridges and crossings during the Thanksgiving holiday period, and will strictly enforce its coronavirus travel quarantine. Governor Andrew Cuomo warned that the state could face at a least a 20% surge in new infections.

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European executives are losing confidence in the outlook as virus restrictions threaten economic growth. People will probably have to take precautions against Covid-19 for the next year as countries need time to vaccinate their populations, the World Health Organization’s chief scientist said.

The airline industry’s main trade group expects record losses to balloon further in 2021 amid lackluster travel demand, and Deutsche Bank AG may allow most employees to permanently work from home two days a week. Hong Kong will shut bars and clubs after a recent spike in cases.

Key Developments:

Global Tracker: Cases pass 59.3 million; deaths 1.4 millionAstra shot that works better in smaller doses raises questionsThe best and the worst places to be in the coronavirus eraU.S. unwinds in-person education with closings in over 30 statesVaccine breakthroughs put Covid protection within reachWorld economy risks buckling into 2021 despite vaccine nearingWhy making a Covid vaccine is only the first hurdle: QuickTake

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.



chart: The euro area is slipping into a second contraction because of virus restrictions


© Bloomberg
The euro area is slipping into a second contraction because of virus restrictions

Ireland Has Fewest Cases in 2 Months (1:05 p.m. NY)

Ireland reported the fewest new coronavirus cases in two months, ahead of a easing of current restrictions. There were 226 newly diagnosed cases on Tuesday, the health ministry said, the least since Sept. 21. The government is expected to decide on loosening the current lockdown later this week, with restrictions due to expire on Dec. 1. Ireland also formally introduced fines for breaches of coronavirus rules Tuesday, including for not wearing masks and for hosting or attending house parties.

French ICU Patients Seen Falling Below 1,500 Mid-December (12:30 p.m. NY)

France’s number of Covid-19 patients in intensive care is forecast to fall below 3,000 by the end of November and below 1,500 by mid-December, according to projections by Institut Pasteur, Les Echos reports. Health authorities on Monday reported 4,454 ICU patients. Close to 11% of the French population has been infected with Covid, while in the Paris region it’s close to 21%, according to the research institute.

N.Y.’s Cuomo Warns of Major Surge (11:55 a.m. NY)

New York state is headed toward a major surge in coronavirus cases, at least a 20% increase over the holiday season, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Tuesday.

At the low end, experts say the state could see a 20% increase in cases between now and January, with the positive test rate reaching 12.46%, Cuomo said at a virus briefing on Long Island.

If the state sees more, emergency hospital beds would be needed, he said. “That’s a problem,” Cuomo said, urging New

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NYC Plans Travel Checkpoints; Airlines See Losses: Virus Update

(Bloomberg) — New York City will have vehicle checkpoints at key bridges and crossings during the Thanksgiving holiday period, and will strictly enforce its coronavirus travel quarantine. The city was the original U.S. epicenter of the pandemic.

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European executives are losing confidence in the outlook as virus restrictions threaten economic growth. People will probably have to take precautions against Covid-19 for the next year as countries need time to vaccinate their populations, the World Health Organization’s chief scientist said.

The airline industry’s main trade group expects record losses to balloon further in 2021 amid lackluster travel demand, and Deutsche Bank AG may allow most employees to permanently work from home two days a week. Hong Kong will shut bars and clubs after a recent spike in cases.

Key Developments:

Global Tracker: Cases pass 59.3 million; deaths 1.4 millionAstra shot that works better in smaller doses raises questionsVaccine breakthroughs put Covid protection within reachWorld economy risks buckling into 2021 despite vaccine nearingThe best and worst places to be in the coronavirus eraWhy making a Covid vaccine is only the first hurdle: QuickTake

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.



chart: The euro area is slipping into a second contraction because of virus restrictions


© Bloomberg
The euro area is slipping into a second contraction because of virus restrictions

NYC Plans Travel Checkpoints (11:05 a.m. NY)

New York City will have vehicle checkpoints at key bridges and crossings, and will strictly enforce the travel quarantine, Sheriff Joseph Fucito said.

The sheriff’s office will conduct spot checks when out-of-state buses drop riders off at the curb. Test and tracing teams will be on the ground to direct individuals to testing sites and provide education on quarantine, Fucito said.

The 14-day quarantine mandates that travelers quarantine or test out. Violations of self-quarantine will be enforced and may carry fines of $1,000 to $2,000, according to the mayor’s office.

The city will enforce the completion of traveler forms at airports, Penn Station and the Port Authority Bus Terminal. There will be self-test site teams on the premises.

New York, the early center of the U.S. outbreak, reported a seven-day average of 1,476 new cases, and a seven-day positive test rate of 3.17%, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio.

South Africa Lines Up Vaccines Through Covax (10:20 a.m. NY)

South Africa has paid 500 million rand ($33 million) to the Covax program, which strives to supply low- and middle-income countries with proven Covid-19 vaccines to ensure equitable access around the world, according to Finance Minister Tito Mboweni.

Mboweni said he will find a further 4.5 billion rand from the budget to make sure South Africa has an adequate supply and is at “the front of the queue” when vaccines become available. There may also be scope to help some neighbors, he said.

The global Covax alliance has raised more than $2 billion and secured deals for roughly 700 million doses so far.

Spain Lines Up Vaccine Doses for 80

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Hong Kong To Singapore Travel Bubble Popped By Virus Spike

A planned travel bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore was scrapped a day before its launch on Saturday after the southern Chinese city announced a sudden spike in coronavirus cases.

The decision is both a blow to the two cities’ battered tourist industries and also for other countries who had been hoping the scheme might be a model to replicate during the pandemic.

The two financial hubs have both suffered mild outbreaks. But with small populations and a heavy dependence on links to the outside world they have been hard hit as the global economy collapsed.

Desperate to help their key tourism and aviation sectors, they came up with the plan allowing limited, quarantine-free travel between the cities as long as visitors test negative for Covid-19.

The travel corridor was set to kick off on Sunday morning.

Hong Kong's tourist industry has been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic, with travel restrictions severely limiting arrivals Hong Kong’s tourist industry has been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic, with travel restrictions severely limiting arrivals Photo: AFP / Dale DE LA REY

But on Saturday, Hong Kong announced the scheme would have to be delayed for two weeks following a sudden rise in coronavirus infections.

“In the light of recent surge of local cases we have decided, together with the Singapore government, to defer the air travel bubble’s launch by two weeks,” commerce secretary Edward Yau told reporters.

After weeks of single-digit infections, Hong Kong health authorities reported 36 local coronavirus on Saturday.

Crucially, 13 were from unknown transmission sources, prompting fears the city has a new wave of out-of-control infections.

The sudden spike was enough for authorities in both cities to postpone the travel bubble.

“This is a sober reminder that the Covid-19 virus is still with us, and even as we fight to regain our normal lives, the journey will be full of ups and downs,” Singapore transport minister Ong Ye Kung wrote on his Facebook page.

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Hong Kong, Singapore Travel Bubble Popped By Virus Spike

A planned travel bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore was scrapped a day before its launch on Saturday after the southern Chinese city announced a sudden spike in coronavirus cases.

The decision is both a blow to the two cities’ battered tourist industries but also for other countries who had been hoping the scheme might be a model to replicate during the pandemic.

The two financial hubs have both suffered comparatively mild outbreaks with strict social distancing and border measures imposed soon after the pandemic first emerged.

But with small populations and a heavy dependence on links to the outside world they have been hard hit as the global economy collapsed.

Desperate to help their key tourism and aviation sectors, they came up with the plan allowing limited, quarantine-free travel between the cities as long as visitors test negative for Covid-19.

The travel corridor was set to kick off on Sunday morning.

But on Saturday, Hong Kong announced the scheme would have to be delayed for two weeks following a sudden rise in coronavirus infections.

“In the light of recent surge of local cases we have decided, together with the Singapore government, to defer the air travel bubble’s launch by two weeks,” commerce secretary Edward Yau told reporters.

After weeks of single-digit infections, Hong Kong health authorities have begun reporting a sudden uptick in cases in recent days.

On Saturday they recorded 36 local coronavirus cases. Crucially, 13 were from unknown transmission sources, prompting fears the city has a new wave of out-of-control infections.

Hong Kong's tourist industry has been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic, with travel restrictions severely limiting arrivals Hong Kong’s tourist industry has been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic, with travel restrictions severely limiting arrivals Photo: AFP / Dale DE LA REY

Both Hong Kong and Singapore agreed that seven straight days of five or more unknown transmission cases would be enough to halt the travel bubble.

But Saturday’s double-digit spike was enough for authorities in both cities to postpone the travel bubble.

“This is a sober reminder that the Covid-19 virus is still with us, and even as we fight to regain our normal lives, the journey will be full of ups and downs,” Singapore transport minister Ong Ye Kung wrote on his Facebook page.

Shukor Yusof, an analyst with aviation consultancy Endau Analytics, said that travel bubbles are fraught with challenges.

“Although widely supported by aviation bodies, bilaterally agreed air corridors is not the answer to the crisis,” Shukor told AFP.

“There is no solution until the vaccine is available to all. The more airlines swim against the COVID tide, and try to beat the odds, the worse it will become. Best to endure, stay put, refine the business model and conserve cash,” he added.

Neither Hong Kong nor Singapore have domestic air routes to fall back on. So flagship carriers Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific have been hit especially hard.

Singapore is a major market for Hong Kong’s tourism industry with more than 450,000 arrivals from the city-state recorded in 2019, according to the Hong Kong Tourism Board.

Hong Kong

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Iran closes businesses, curtails travel amid virus surge

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran on Saturday shuttered businesses and curtailed travel between its major cities, including the capital of Tehran, as it grapples with the worst outbreak of the coronavirus in the Mideast region.

Top Iranian officials initially downplayed the risks posed by the virus outbreak, before recently urging the public to follow measures like wearing masks and avoiding unessential travel.

Iran has recorded daily death tolls of above 430 over the past five days. The Iranian Health Ministry said on Saturday that the total number of confirmed cases has risen to above 840,000.

The new lockdown measures, which include shuttering most businesses, shops, malls, and restaurants, include Iran’s largest cities of Mashhad, Isfahan, and Shiraz. Iranian authorities have designated the nearly 160 towns and cities affected as hot spots because these urban centers have the highest daily per capita positive coronavirus test results.

On Saturday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in a televised speech urged people to follow the measures to help “lessen the death toll.” He added that the government plans to supply cash subsidies to Iran’s 30 million poorest people for four months to help them to manage the economic fallout from the new outbreak.

The latest round of restrictions to stem the outbreak came as a spat among top Iranian health officials led to the resignation of at least two officials.

Iranian newspapers said Saturday that the deputy health minister in charge of research, Reza Malekzadeh, resigned from his post in reaction to recent remarks by the Minister of Health Saeed Namaki, who said government-led research projects were not successfully addressing the current needs of the ministry.

In reply, Malekzadeh in his resignation letter criticized public mismanagement of the virus outbreak by the minister.

“The pandemic’s very wrong management that was caused by a lack of consultation and paying attention to warnings from experts has led to a large number of human deaths,” Malekzadeh said in his statement.

Iranian news websites also said that Ali Nobakht, an advisor to the health minister, resigned over similar reasons, without providing further details.

In Tehran, the head of the city’s chamber of commerce, Qassem Nodeh, said that the restrictions will lead to the closure of 70% of business in the capital and its surrounding areas.

Manoochehr Nassiri, who runs a lighting shop in Tehran’s Grand Bazaar, complained about the closures.

“We shop owners don’t know what to do, considering the economic situation of the country,” he said standing outside his shuttered store.

The closures are set to last two weeks but can be automatically extended.

Beginning on Saturday, government offices that provide essential public services —including banks, post offices, communications and utilities services —will continue their work with half of the regular number of staff. All other government offices will continue working with one third of their staff.

All schools in the capital will also be closed and required to switch to virtual instruction by Internet. Authorities will also close shrines in Tehran and cancel mass prayers in mosques, though

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