Tag: virus

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.

Copyright AFP. All rights reserved.

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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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Hong Kong and Singapore Postpone Travel Bubble: Virus Update

(Bloomberg) —

Hong Kong and Singapore will postpone the world’s first quarantine-free travel bubble for two weeks after a surge in infections in Hong Kong.

Europe is risking a third virus wave early next year unless it takes more action now, according to David Nabarro, the World Health Organization’s special envoy on Covid-19 preparedness and response.

The U.S. reached a record for daily cases with more than 195,000 infections as states including Ohio and California posted new Covid-19 highs. Russia posted a record for daily deaths and infections.

Global Tracker: Cases reach 57.5 million; deaths 1.3 millionGermany May Extend Lockdown to Slow Virus Before ChristmasPfizer’s Covid vaccine still faces hurdles after FDA filing FridayOne in five U.S. hospitals face staffing crisis within a weekEU could approve BioNTech, Moderna vaccines in DecemberOnly the best London offices thrive in an emerging Covid divideVaccine Tracker: Encouraging breakthroughs offer hope

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: Covid-19 patients more than doubled since Labor Day


© Bloomberg
Covid-19 patients more than doubled since Labor Day

Hong Kong and Singapore Delay Travel Bubble (5:30 p.m. HK)

Hong Kong and Singapore will postpone the world’s first quarantine-free travel bubble for two weeks after a surge in infections in Hong Kong. That’s a setback for their flagship airlines and tourism businesses looking to kickstart a recovery.

Under the current agreement between the two financial hubs, the arrangement is suspended for two weeks if the seven-day moving average of unlinked cases rises to five in either city. The average rose to 3.9 on Saturday from 2.1 a day earlier. The details of the formal re-introduction of the plan will be announced early next month, according to Edward Yau, Hong Kong’s secretary for commerce and economic development.

U.K. to Ease Restrictions Over Holidays (5 p.m. HK)

The government is preparing to relax the U.K. lockdown to allow “several” families to form a bubble for up to a week over the Christmas period, the Telegraph said on Saturday. The so-called winter plan will outline replacement measures to the current lockdown and will be announced as soon as Monday, the newspaper reported.

Separately, a British hospitality organization warned that the government cutting the job retention bonus will cost the industry 2.1 billion pounds ($2.8 billion) and lead to job cuts, the Telegraph said. U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak will unveil the government’s spending plans for the next year on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted on Saturday that he’s still self-isolating and working from his Downing Street office.

Iran Offers More Support as Lockdown Starts (5 p.m. HK)

The Iranian government will make monthly payments to almost 30 million people over the next four months to support the economy during the coronavirus outbreak, President Hassan Rouhani said. Iran started a two-week lockdown on Saturday, reducing economic activity to essential services and businesses in many areas.

Hungary Posts Record Deaths as Infections Plateau (4:50 p.m. HK)

Hungary reported

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Japan to Suspend Domestic Travel Campaign in Virus Hotspots

(Bloomberg) — Japan will partially suspend the country’s “Go-To” domestic travel campaign in areas where coronavirus cases are increasing, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said.



a group of people standing in front of a building: Passengers line up waiting to aboard an East Japan Railway Co. (JR East) Shinkansen the bullet train on a platform of Tokyo Station in Tokyo, Japan, on Aug. 7, 2020. Mid-August is a traditional time for many Japanese to leave the densely populated cities and travel to meet family in rural areas. But reservations of the bullet trains over this year’s Obon period are at just 16% of last year’s, according to JR East.


© Bloomberg
Passengers line up waiting to aboard an East Japan Railway Co. (JR East) Shinkansen the bullet train on a platform of Tokyo Station in Tokyo, Japan, on Aug. 7, 2020. Mid-August is a traditional time for many Japanese to leave the densely populated cities and travel to meet family in rural areas. But reservations of the bullet trains over this year’s Obon period are at just 16% of last year’s, according to JR East.

Suga didn’t specify the places where the campaign will be suspended. New virus cases in Tokyo reached a daily record of 539 on Saturday.

Suga and his Cabinet gathered on Saturday to discuss the campaign, which had been a boost to the local economy with subsidies provided on travel and dining. The country’s virus task force had recommended that the government consider reviewing the program, Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said Friday.

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Get a virus test before you travel, experts say as some US states revert to ‘near-lockdown’ | National News

The coronavirus is taking an increasingly dire toll across the U.S. just as a vaccine appears close at hand. The country is now averaging over 1,300 COVID-19 deaths per day — the highest since the calamitous spring in and around New York City.

With health experts deeply afraid Thanksgiving travel and holiday gatherings next week will fuel the spread of the virus, many states and cities are imposing near-lockdowns or other restrictions. California ordered a 10 p.m.-to 5-a.m. curfew starting Saturday, covering 94% of the state’s 40 million residents.

Amid the bleak new statistics, Pfizer said Friday it is asking U.S. regulators to allow emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine, setting in motion a process that could make the first, limited shots available as early as next month, with health care workers and other high-risk groups likely to get priority.

But it could take months before the vaccine becomes widely available. Pfizer has said the vaccine appears 95% effective at preventing the disease.



Daily COVID-19 deaths in US reach highest level since May

Other developments today:

As college students prepare to go home for the holidays, some schools are quickly ramping up COVID-19 testing to try to keep infections from spreading further as the coronavirus surges across the U.S.



Heading home for the holiday? Get a virus test, colleges say

This summer’s huge motorcycle rally in Sturgis, S.D. led to dozens of coronavirus cases in neighboring Minnesota, a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds.

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CDC recommends against Thanksgiving travel as virus cases spike

New guidance says the best way to protect yourself and others is to stay home.

The Centers for Disease Control is advising Americans not to travel for Thanksgiving next week, saying Thursday that the extraordinary spike of a million new cases over the last week raises new concern that family gatherings could spread the virus among families and communities.

“Travel may increase your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. Postponing travel and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others this year,” the new guidelines state.

Erin Sauber-Schatz, the head of CDC’s community intervention and critical population task force, said the agency is asking people to consider whether their holiday plans could bring them in contact with someone at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

The number of Americans diagnosed with and hospitalized for COVID-19 have skyrocketed in almost every state in recent weeks. The country reported more than 165,000 new cases on Wednesday, according to CDC, and 20 states were at the highest numbers of people hospitalized for COVID-19 than any other point in the pandemic earlier this week, according to the COVID Tracking Project.

And given increases in case numbers after previous holidays like Labor Day and Memorial Day experts are concerned traveling and gathering for Thanksgiving could increase the risk of exposure for vulnerable populations.

“We’re seeing exponential growth in cases,” CDC COVID-19 incident manager Dr. Henry Walke said. “The opportunity to translocate disease or infection from one part of the country to another leads to our recommendation to avoid travel at this time.”

CDC officials said they concerned not just about people spending time on planes, buses, trains, or in cars but also about transportation hubs like airports where it could be difficult to maintain distance from others.

CDC’s COVID=19 incident manager Henry Walke said they know canceling Thanksgiving plans is a difficult decision, saying he plans to stay home for the holiday despite not seeing his parents since January.

“With Thanksgiving approaching our hearts and minds turned to seeing families and friends as part of one of our nation’s great traditions. And we all need to consider the safest way to celebrate this holiday. Amidst this critical phase of the COVID-19 pandemic CDC is recommending against travel during the Thanksgiving period,” Walke said.

“These times are tough. It’s been a long. It’s been a long outbreak, almost 11 months now and people are tired.

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