Beijing Curbs Travel; German Rate Lowest in a Week: Virus Update

(Bloomberg) — Beijing’s growing outbreak is posing a new test for Chinese President Xi Jinping. Cases in the city exceeded 150 in the country’s worst flare-up since Wuhan.

Japan is set to lift travel curbs Friday. Hong Kong Disneyland reopened under health restrictions to check the spread of infections.

President Donald Trump said the coronavirus pandemic will “fade away” even without a vaccine, but researchers are close to developing one anyhow. U.S. states including Texas, Florida and Arizona reported a jump in cases, increasing concerns about a new wave of infections. New York City, once the outbreak’s epicenter, is moving toward additional reopening next week.

Virus Tracker: Global cases top 8.3 million; deaths exceed 448,000Doctors fear Arizona overload; Oregon joins Florida, Texas in confronting resurgenceWhere to invest as second wave of virus infections hits marketsFrom Savile Row to Swiss watches, luxury’s rules have changedVolunteers are lining up to be infected with the coronavirusPandemic could erase more global wealth than financial crisis

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German Infection Rate Lowest in Seven Days (1:29 p.m. HK)

Germany’s coronavirus infection rate fell to 0.86 on Wednesday, the lowest in a week, according to the latest daily report by the Robert Koch Institute. The government is trying to keep the figure below 1.0 to prevent exponential growth in the number of cases and a second wave of infections.

There were 352 new infections in the 24 hours through Thursday morning, bringing the total to 188,604 according to data from Johns Hopkins University. That compares with 570 the previous day and almost 7,000 at the peak of the pandemic in late March. Fatalities increased by 31 to 8,851.

Hong Kong Disneyland Reopens to Masked Guests (1:21 p.m. HK)

Hong Kong Disneyland reopened Thursday under health restrictions to check the spread of infections in a pandemic that’s seeing a second wave of outbreaks, including a flare up this week in Beijing.

About 100 visitors were lined up Thursday morning to enter the park, which had been closed since late January. The scene was more subdued than the mid-May restart of operations at Shanghai Disneyland, which drew long lines including fans dressed head-to-toe in Disney character costumes.

China Pledges Faster Credit Growth (12:53 p.m. HK)

China’s central bank wants the total flow of credit to rise by almost a fifth this year, as part of efforts to push the economy out of the coronavirus-induced slump.

That’s to be achieved through record special-purpose bond issuance as well as a 19% increase in bank loans, according to People’s Bank of China Governor Yi Gang. In all, total social financing flow should rise to at least 30 trillion yuan ($4.2 trillion) this year, Yi said during a speech in Shanghai Thursday.

Japan Tourism Numbers to Plunge (12:46 p.m. HK)

Fewer than five million tourists could end up visiting Japan in 2020 as the government’s goal of welcoming 40 million visitors meets the reality of the coronavirus pandemic, according to SMBC Nikko Securities economist Koya Miyamae, who warns of a longer-term economic impact.

The number of visitors to Japan tanked last month to 1,700, according to data from the Japan National Tourism Organization Wednesday. That was a new low in records that go back to 1964, as the pandemic largely shut down the country’s borders. So far only 3.9 million visitors have arrived in Japan this year.

Wealth Destruction (12:42 p.m. HK)

The rich are still getting richer, but the coronavirus crisis may slow the breakneck pace of wealth accumulation for years to come.

Volatile markets and the economic fallout from the virus could wipe out as much as $16 trillion of global wealth this year and hinder growth for the next five years, according to a study by Boston Consulting Group. By comparison, the 2008 financial crisis erased $10 trillion.

India’s Outlook Cut (12:23 p.m. HK)

India’s credit rating outlook was cut to negative from stable by Fitch Ratings Ltd., citing the economy’s weakening growth outlook and increased challenges with public debt levels. Fitch cited challenges associated with a high public-debt burden for the move, while affirming the nation’s foreign issuer rating at BBB-, the lowest investment grade score.

Fitch expects India’s economic activity to contract by 5% in the fiscal year ending March 2021 on account of the strict lockdown measures imposed to contain Covid-19.

Beijing Tightens Outbound Travel (12:06 p.m. HK)

The city tightened outbound travel and this doesn’t mean that Beijing is sealed off, Pan Xuhong, vice head of the city’s public security bureau, said at a briefing. The city, however, barred some people from leaving, especially those who are confirmed of coronavirus infection, people who had close contact with infected ones, asymptomatic patients and those with fever.

Sunak’s Borrowing Spree (12:01 p.m. HK)

Rishi Sunak, Britain’s finance minister for just four months, has presided over a borrowing surge that appears set to dwarf the record posted during the financial crisis.

Figures due Friday are forecast to show the budget deficit jumped about 50 billion pounds ($63 billion) in May as the government continued its extraordinary interventions to support the economy through the coronavirus pandemic. That would take the total for Sunak’s first full three months to well in excess of 125 billion pounds.

Pompeo for Full Transparency (11:05 a.m. HK)

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stressed about full transparency on virus in a conversation with his China counterpart, according to a readout by the State Department. Pompeo “stressed important American interests and the need for fully-reciprocal dealings between the two nations across commercial, security, and diplomatic interactions,” the State Department said.

Coronavirus Will Fade Away: Trump (10:42 a.m. HK)

The coronavirus pandemic will “fade away” even without a vaccine, but researchers are close to developing one anyhow, Trump said.

“We’re very close to a vaccine and we’re very close to therapeutics, really good therapeutics,” Trump said Wednesday night in a television interview with Fox News. “But even without that, I don’t even like to talk about that, because it’s fading away, it’s going to fade away, but having a vaccine would be really nice and that’s going to happen.”

Trump also told Fox news that “China should have kept it where it was,” referring to Covid-19. “They could have easily stopped it.”

Japan to Lift Domestic Travel Curbs (9:53 a.m. HK)

The Japanese government will lift all domestic travel restrictions Friday as it looks to move into the next phase of reopening, including a restart of events and nightlife.

The new guidelines, which will no longer discourage the movement of people between prefectures, are expected to be announced by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Thursday evening. Professional sporting events without spectators, as well as indoor events of as many as 1,000 people at 50% capacity, will also be allowed. The scale of indoor events is expected to be expanded July 10.

Australian Employment Declines (9:41 a.m. HK)

Australian unemployment surged in May and another swathe of jobs were lost as ongoing restrictions to stem the spread of the coronavirus kept large parts of the economy shuttered.

The jobless rate advanced to 7.1% from a revised 6.4% in April vs economists’ median estimate of 6.9%, data from the statistics bureau showed in Sydney Thursday. Employment plunged by 227,700 in May after falling an upwardly revised 607,400 in April. The participation rate fell to 62.9%. Economists had penciled in 63.6%.

Beijing Outbreak Tops 150 (9:32 a.m. HK)

A coronavirus outbreak continued to spread in Beijing, with 21 new cases announced Thursday, presenting the biggest challenge yet in China’s efforts to prevent a second wave of infections.

The total number of infections in China’s capital is now more than 150. While the daily count of new infections is slowing from previous days, health officials have warned that the outbreak stemming from the city’s largest wholesale fruit and vegetable market is expected to continue growing.

South Korea Has 59 More Cases (9:19 a.m. HK)

South Korea adds 59 more coronavirus cases in 24 hours, marking a total of 12,257 cases in the country, according to data from the health ministry. One more death was reported, taking the total to 280.

New Zealand Reports One New Case (9:14 a.m. HK)

New case is man who arrived from overseas, Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield tells media conference Thursday in Wellington. The man is now in quarantine. This takes the total number of active cases in the country to three.

Protester Tests Positive in Melbourne (8:41 am HK)

A third person who attended a Black Lives Matter protest earlier this month in Melbourne has tested positive for Covid-19 as cases continue to rise in the Australian state of Victoria. The demonstrator at the June 6 rally was unlikely to have been contagious at the event, but did work for two days at a clothing store in a shopping center while infectious, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported, citing state Health Minister Jenny Mikakos.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Tests Positive (8:34 a.m. HK)

Hewlett Packard Enterprise Chief Executive Officer Antonio Neri tested positive for Covid-19.

“Yesterday I tested positive for Covid-19,” Neri, 53 years old, said in a tweet. “The good news is, I feel much better already and plan to proceed with business as usual while I quarantine from home.”

Mexico Has 770 More Deaths (8:15 a.m. HK)

Mexico reported 4,930 new confirmed Covid-19 cases, bringing the total to 159,793, according to data released by the Health Ministry Wednesday night. As many as 770 people died, taking the total number to 19,080.

Brazil Nods to More Easing (7:49 a.m. HK)

Brazil’s central bank left the door open to more monetary easing after cutting its interest rate to a record low, reflecting fresh doubts the economy would quickly recover from the pandemic.

The central bank on Wednesday cut the benchmark Selic by 75 basis points to 2.25% in the eighth straight reduction. Policy makers wrote in an accompanying statement that uncertainty about an expected second-half recovery is “larger than usual.”

U.K. Says Apple Blocking App (7:27 a.m. HK)

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told members of parliament that Apple is attempting to block government-created contact tracing apps so as to promote use of its own, the Telegraph reported, without citing where it obtained the information.

Qantas Announces Cancellations (7:11 a.m. HK)

Qantas Airways Ltd. canceled most international flights until late October after the government indicated Australia’s borders won’t reopen any time soon. The cancellations don’t apply to services between Australia and New Zealand.

London City Airport Reopening (7:01 a.m. HK)

London City Airport will reopen this weekend after almost three months without a single passenger flight, reviving a key travel artery to the U.K. capital’s main financial districts.

Services will initially be confined to the British Isles, starting with the Isle of Man from Sunday and links to Scotland, northern England and Dublin next month.

Honduran President Hospitalized (6 a.m. HK)

Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez was hospitalized and diagnosed with pneumonia, a day after he said he tested positive for the coronavirus.

Hernandez is in a military hospital in the capital Tegucigalpa, where he is receiving I.V. treatments and is in “good health,” his doctor Francis Contreras told reporters Wednesday.

The president’s wife is also infected with the virus and is asymptomatic, Contreras said.

Texas Cases Accelerate Past Average (5 p.m. NY)

Texas reported a 3.4% jump in new cases Wednesday, exceeding the seven-day average of 2.7%, according to the state health department. The increase pushed the cumulative total to 96,335.

Amid a surge in hospitalizations statewide, Houston health authorities warned that two hospitals in the fourth-largest U.S. city are “saturated” and unable to accept additional Covid-19 patients, David Persse, the city’s director of emergency medical services, said during a media briefing.

Biden Calls on Trump to ‘Wake Up’ to Crisis (4:49 p.m. NY)

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden called on President Trump to “wake up,” accusing him of waving a “white flag and retreating” from the fight against the coronavirus.

“Donald Trump wants to style himself as a wartime president. Unlike any other wartime leader, he takes no responsibility, he exercises no leadership, now he has just flat surrendered the fight,” Biden said during a campaign stop in Darby, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia.

Vice President Mike Pence, the head of the White House’s coronavirus task force, has backed Trump’s efforts to move on from the crisis. There is no “second wave” of the virus, Pence wrote in a Tuesday op-ed in the Wall Street Journal.

U.S. Cases Rise 1.2% (4 p.m. NY)

Coronavirus cases in the U.S. increased by 25,083 from the same time Tuesday to 2.15 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The 1.2% increase was in line with the average daily increase of 1.1% over past seven days. Deaths rose 0.6% to 117,301.

Arizona — among states where cases and hospitalizations are surging — saw cases rise 11% to 40,937, according to the data from Johns Hopkins and Bloomberg News.Florida reported 82,719 cases, up 3.3% from a day earlier, compared with an average increase of 2.8% in the previous seven days. Deaths reached 3,018, an increase of 0.8%.New York added 567 cases for a total of 385,142, according to the state’s health department.California cases rose 2.2% to 157,015 while deaths increased 1.7% to 5,208, according to the state’s website.

Hydroxychloroquine Testing Halted in WHO Trial (12:39 p.m. NY)

Researchers decided to halt the hydroxychloroquine portion of a World Health Organization trial of potential Covid-19 treatments, an official said.

A group of experts advising the WHO’s solidarity trial concluded that the drug shows no benefit compared with the standard of care in reducing deaths, Ana Maria Henao-Restrepo, a WHO medical officer, said at a briefing in Geneva.

NYC on Track For Phase 2 Monday (12:05 p.m. NY)

New York City is on track to enter the second phase of reopening on Monday, a step that includes outdoor dining, Governor Andrew Cuomo said.

Statewide, less than 1% of New Yorkers tested positive for the coronavirus on June 16, the lowest percentage since the start of the pandemic, Cuomo said. There were 17 deaths on June 16, also a low.

The Westchester, Rockland, and Hudson Valley regions are on track to enter phase 3 on Tuesday, and Long Island is on track for Wednesday, he said.

Florida Positivity Rate Highest Since April (12 p.m. NY)

The positivity rate among Florida Covid-19 tests surged to the highest daily level since at least April, undercutting Governor Ron DeSantis’s case that a recent increase in cases is in part the result of elevated testing.

The new rate of people testing positive for the first time surged to 10.3% for Tuesday, from 7.4% on Monday. The last time it was around 10% was April 13.

On a rolling seven-day basis, Florida’s new cases reached 15,348, the highest level ever and about triple what they were for most of May. Cumulative hospitalizations rose by 183, or 1.5%, to 12,389.

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