(Bloomberg) — Tokyo’s governor told residents to avoid unnecessary trips outdoors over a holiday weekend amid rising numbers of infections in Japan’s capital. Australia, once hailed as a success in containing the virus, hit a daily record for infections.
President Donald Trump warned that the U.S. outbreak will probably get worse before it gets better. The U.S. accused two Chinese hackers of working with Beijing to steal coronavirus research from Western companies.
Aviation regulators in the European Union and Singapore are working together to establish health safety measures for air travel.
Global Tracker: Cases pass 14.9 million; deaths top 616,000First vaccine may be approved this year, EU regulator saysU.S. infections far exceed reported cases, CDC findsTrump encourages use of masks after initial resistanceCovid-19 threatens to undo women’s economic progress, IMF saysSweden says Covid immunity can last 6 months after infection
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Taiwan Drops HK, Australia From List of Mid-to-Low Risks (2:40 p.m. HK)
With infections rising in Hong Kong and Australia, travelers from those areas will need to undergo 14-day quarantines when entering Taiwan, the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control said in a statement on its website. Travelers from low-risk or mid- to low-risk areas can apply for a shorter quarantine period.
Foreigners will be allowed to enter Taiwan for medical treatment from Aug. 1, provided they present relevant medical documents and negative test results for Covid-19. The foreigners must undergo a 14-day quarantine and get another negative test result before receiving medical treatment.
Singapore, EU Aviation Regulators Working on Health Steps (2:26 p.m. HK)
The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore and European Union Aviation Safety Agency are working together to establish health safety measures for air travel, the agencies said in a joint press release.
The agencies aim to protect health and safety of passengers, crew and airport staff, while boosting travelers’ confidence to facilitate recovery of air travel between Singapore and Europe.
Bavarian, Adaptvac Sign Deal to License Virus Tech (2:14 p.m. HK)
Bavarian Nordic A/S signed a final agreement with AdaptVac ApS to license AdaptVac’s proprietary capsid virus-like particle technology for coronaviruses, including Covid-19, according to a statement.
Bavarian will get global commercialization rights to a Covid-19 vaccine and will pay EUR4 million upfront to AdaptVac, in addition to potential future development and sales milestones and tiered royalties.
Hong Kong to Require Masks in Indoor Public Venues (1:59 p.m. HK)
Masks will have to be worn in Hong Kong’s indoor public venues — including malls, shops, supermarkets, markets and building lobbies — from Thursday through Aug. 5, Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan said. That came as the South China Morning Post, citing unidentified people, reported that the city’s case tally topped its previous daily record of 108.
The territory will extend the mandatory 14-day quarantine for those with travel history to mainland China, Taiwan and Macau by another month, to Sept. 7. Hong Kong’s government also is making contingency plans to ensure Legislative Council elections will be held as scheduled Sept. 6, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported.
Evotec Gets Contract to Develop Virus-Treatment Process (1:54 p.m. HK)
The U.S. Department of Defense awarded Just-Evotec Biologics Inc., a unit of Evotec SE, a contract worth as much as $18.2 million to develop and manufacture monoclonal antibodies for treatment or prevention of coronavirus.
Thailand Set to Extend Emergency, Allow Film Crews (1:44 p.m. HK)
Thailand’s Covid-19 committee, chaired by the prime minister, has approved a one-month extension for the nationwide state of emergency. The extension will go to the Cabinet next week for final approval.
While the borders remain closed to most foreign visitors, film crews will be allowed to enter Thailand in the next round of easing. Seven productions have stated their intentions to film there, the Department of Tourism said, including “Mrs. Churchill’s War,” starring Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth.
Germany’s New Cases Decline, Infection Rate Eases (1:19 p.m. HK)
Germany recorded a drop in the number of new coronavirus cases and the infection rate eased further, while remaining just above the key threshold of 1.0. The country reported 392 new cases and five deaths in the 24 hours through Wednesday morning, bringing the total caseload to 203,717 and fatalities to 9,099, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
The reproduction factor dropped to 1.04 on Tuesday, from 1.15 the day before, according to the latest estimate from the Robert Koch Institute.
India’s Death Tally From Virus Passes Spain’s (1:14 p.m. HK)
India reported 648 new deaths Wednesday to take its total to 28,732, passing Spain to rank seventh globally in deaths, according to data compiled by John Hopkins University. The country already ranks third in the number of infections.
Deaths in India so far have lagged the casualty rate seen elsewhere — aided partially by the country’s younger population mix — but fatalities are gaining momentum and India is rapidly closing in on former European hot spots France and Italy.
Indonesians Tiring of Social Distancing: Survey (1:02 p.m. HK)
Two out of three Indonesians oppose continuing strict social-distancing orders, according to a survey. The government should prioritize efforts to revive the economy rather than tackling virus spread, a majority of participants told pollster Indikator Politik Indonesia. The proportion opposed to tough mobility restrictions jumped to 60.6% from 34.7% in May, the July 13-16 survey showed.
New cases in Jakarta jumped 433 on Tuesday, a daily record, taking the total infections to almost 90,000. The world’s fourth-most populous nation is the worst virus-hit country in Southeast Asia, with a death toll of 4,320.
Tokyo Urges Stay-Home Weekend as Cases Top 10,000 (12:42 p.m. HK)
Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike told residents to avoid unnecessary trips outdoors during an upcoming four-day weekend, as the total number of coronavirus cases in the city topped 10,000. The city confirmed 238 news cases Wednesday, one more than the previous day, TV Asahi reported.
Tokyo will secure 2,000 hotel rooms by end-July for mildly ill and asymptomatic patients, Koike said, as a monitoring panel said infections were spreading among middle-aged and elderly persons. The governor is set to speak again at a press conference at 5 p.m., ahead of the holiday that starts Thursday.
New Zealand Near Maximum Size for Quarantine System (11:59 a.m. HK)
New Zealand’s housing minister said the country can house about 6,900 people in 32 quarantine hotels, with no plans to boost that capacity in the near term. Occupancy of the hotels, currently at 44%, is projected to rise to 81% over next two weeks, Megan Woods said at a briefing Wednesday.
A new arrangement linking passage to New Zealand to an available room will be in place from August, Woods said. Officials are giving each airline flying to New Zealand a rolling, 14-day quota of returnees to better align seat demand with the supply of quarantine rooms.
Indonesian Pharma Stocks Gain Amid Vaccine Test Plan (11:34 a.m. HK)
Shares of Indonesian state-owned pharmaceutical companies jumped by the maximum daily limit for a second straight day Wednesday as the government plans to start human trials of a vaccine next month, aiming to begin commercial production in early 2021. Shares of Indofarma and Kimia Farma were both up 25%, building on Tuesday’s 25% gain.
Australia Sets Record For Cases With Victoria Surge (10:44 a.m. HK)
Australia suffered its worst day of coronavirus infections, with Victoria state recording 484 new cases as a second wave threatens to derail the nation’s economic recovery.
After initial success in containing the virus, Australia is battling a spike in Victoria, which has forced around 5 million people in Melbourne back into lockdown. The shutdown of the nation’s second-biggest city, which contributes about one-quarter of gross domestic product, could prolong the nation’s first recession in almost three decades.
Singapore Looks to Resume Business Events (10:29 a.m. HK)
Singapore is preparing for the resumption of business events such as meetings, conventions, exhibitions and trade shows as economic activities restart, according to a statement by the Singapore Tourism Board. STB has developed a risk-management framework for business events with as many as 50 attendees, based on strict safe management measures, according to Wednesday’s statement.
A government minster said Singapore will step up enforcement of social distancing measures after more people gathered in public areas over the weekend.
South Korea Has 63 More Cases, Biggest Gain in 2 Weeks (9:24 a.m. HK)
South Korea reported 63 more Covid-19 cases in 24 hours, raising the total tally to 13,879, according to data from the Korea Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.
Cathay Pacific in Pact With Airbus to Defer Jet Deliveries (9:08 a.m. HK)
Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. said it reached an agreement with Airbus SE to defer aircraft deliveries as part of its move to preserve cash amid slowing business due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The delivery of A350-900s and A350-1000s will be delayed to 2020-2023 from 2020-2021, while A321neo deliveries will be changed to 2020-2025 from 2020-2023, the airline said in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange. The company is in advanced negotiations with Boeing Co. to defer 777-9 deliveries.
Silver, Gold Both Soar on Virus Concerns (8:54 a.m. HK)
Silver jumped to the highest in almost seven years and gold continued its march toward a record on expectations more stimulus is needed to help the global economy recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
Holdings in exchange-traded funds backed by the metals are at an all-time high.
Mexico Cases, Deaths Continue to Rise (8:22 a.m. HK)
Mexico reported 6,859 new Covid-19 cases, bringing the total to 356,255, according to data released by the Health Ministry Tuesday night. Deaths rose 915 to 40,400.
Mexico has the seventh-most cases in the world, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
U.S. Says China Hackers Stole Secrets, Sought Virus Data (8:13 a.m. HK)
The U.S. accused two Chinese hackers of working for Beijing to steal or try to steal terabytes of data, including coronavirus research, from Western companies in 11 nations — the second time in a week a foreign nation has been singled out for vaccine-related hacking.
The Justice Department released an indictment Tuesday against the individuals, whom it identified as Li Xiaoyu and Dong Jiazhi. It said that the two men were assisted by China’s Ministry of State Security and that defense contractors and weapons systems were hacked along with medical research.
Vegas Union Drops MGM Coronavirus Lawsuit (7:55 a.m. HK)
A Las Vegas hospitality union dropped a lawsuit against MGM Resorts International for allegedly failing to protect workers from the coronavirus. The Culinary Workers Union Local 226 said it abandoned legal action in favor of “expedited” arbitration over new safety measures. The union is still pursuing a similar lawsuit against Caesars Entertainment Corp.
Republicans Mull 70% Wage Replacement for Unemployed (7:40 a.m. HK)
Senate Republicans are considering whether to cut the unemployment insurance subsidy to 70% of the $600 weekly addition to state-run unemployment programs provided by the last round of economic aid, or pushing for 70-75% of prior wage replacement, a smaller benefit.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will make the final call, which could be made public as soon as Wednesday. McConnell is trying to fit many policy proposals under a $1 trillion cap in an effort to acknowledge concerns over increased deficits.
Japan Backs Dexamethasone as Coronavirus Treatment (7:23 a.m. HK)
Japan’s health ministry approves the use of dexamethasone, a steroid, as second drug for coronavirus treatment, according to public broadcaster NHK. Meanwhile, the government will forgo lifting restrictions on large-scale events on Aug. 1, maintaining the cap of 5,000 people for the time being, Sankei reported.
Trump Warns of Worsening Crisis (6:06 a.m. HK)
President Donald Trump rebooted his coronavirus briefings with a warning about a surge in U.S. cases even as he sought to reassure Americans that his administration has the crisis under control. He took a notably more reserved tone than in earlier briefings, encouraging Americans to wear masks and avoid risky behavior.
“We will defeat the virus,” Trump said. But he added: “It will probably, unfortunately, get worse before it gets better.”
U.S. Cases Rise 1.7%, Less Than Average (5:30 p.m. NY)
Coronavirus cases in the U.S. climbed 1.7% to 3.86 million as of 1:56 p.m. New York time, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. That was less than the average 1.9% increase over the past week. Deaths rose 0.5% to 141,426.
California reported 9,231 new virus cases, a 2.4% increase and greater than the 14-day average of 8,606, according to state health data. The rise pushed the total above 400,000. The state had 61 new deaths, compared with the 14-day average of 95Texas’s cases increased by more than 9,300, according to state health department figures. It had 131 new deaths, the second-highest daily tally since the pandemic beganMississippi recorded the biggest daily increase in cases among states, according to the Johns Hopkins and Bloomberg data, with a 3.7% rise
Infections Far Exceed Reported Cases, CDC Estimates (3 p.m. NY)
Far more people were infected with the novel coronavirus than previously reported in several corners of the U.S., according to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The agency conducted a survey looking at antibodies to the virus in 10 U.S. regions. It found prevalence was highly variable from one region to the next, but far higher than the reported number of cases across the board. The presence of antibodies in the blood is evidence that a person’s body had mounted an immune response to the coronavirus.
In the New York City metropolitan area, for example, the CDC estimated based on samples collected in March and April that 6.9% of the population had contracted the virus, a level that would be equivalent to at least 12 times the number of reported cases.
Florida Creates Nursing Homes for Virus Patients (1:15 p.m. NY)
Florida officials are trying to ease pressure on the health-care system by creating a network of nursing homes for people who have Covid-19 but aren’t sick enough to be hospitalized. The state now has about 1,400 beds where elderly Covid-positive patients can be isolated without taking up a bed in a hospital, said Governor Ron DeSantis.
“We cannot allow a contagious patient to be sent back into a long-term care facility that doesn’t have the capability to appropriately isolate them,” DeSantis said at a roundtable discussion about Covid-19 in Tallahassee. “It’s also helpful for hospitals to manage caseloads.”
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has been criticized for a March directive forcing nursing homes to accept patients released from hospitals who were infected with Covid-19.
Antibodies Fade Quickly, NEJM Report Says (12:20 p.m. NY)
Covid antibodies in patients with mild symptoms fade quickly, raising concerns that their immunity from a future infection may not last very long, researchers said in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The first analysis was done on antibodies taken an average of 37 days after symptoms began, with a second after about 86 days, or less than three months. The researchers determined that antibody levels had fallen precipitously, with a half-life of about 73 days between the two time frames. That raises concern that immunity may not last long in people who develop a mild infection, which accounts for the majority of cases.
The results call for caution regarding antibody-based “immunity passports,” herd immunity and perhaps vaccine durability, especially in light of short-lived immunity against common human coronaviruses, according to the researchers led by F. Javier Ibarrondo, from the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California Los Angeles.
N.Y. Quarantine List Grows to 31 States (12:08 p.m. NY)
Ten states were added to New York’s quarantine list — Alaska, Delaware, Indiana, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, Virginia and Washington — for a new total of 31, Governor Andrew Cuomo said. Minnesota was removed.
Cuomo said he’s looking at potentially adding territories such as Puerto Rico to the mandatory quarantine list. The advisory is based on a seven-day rolling average of the number of positive tests in excess of 10%, or the number of positive cases exceeding 10 per 100,000 residents.
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