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U.S. Adds Almost 50,000 Cases; France Hits Record: Virus Update

Bloomberg logoBloomberg 19/9/2020 Bloomberg News

(Bloomberg) --

The U.S. added almost 50,000 coronavirus cases, while deaths nationwide approached 200,000, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg. Florida reported the most new cases among residents in eight days.

The U.K. remained a focus in Europe, with Scotland’s leader asking for an emergency cabinet meeting to coordinate policy after Prime Minister Boris Johnson said restrictions may need to “go further.” France again recorded a record number of cases since lockdown ended. New infections in Germany exceeded 2,000 for a second straight day.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s main political opponent and French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire both tested positive for Covid-19.

Key Developments:

Global Tracker: Cases surpass 30.5 million; deaths exceed 953,000Fewer people are dying of Covid as doctors gain practice, drugs improveA rash of infections on trading floors threatens Wall Street’s return to workUBS tries to simulate the trading floor experience with VR glasses, FT reportsTrump’s vaccine-in-weeks pledge risks letdown or public mistrustEurope’s virus surge hits French finance chief, threatens London

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.

a screenshot of a cell phone: Global coronavirus cases top 30 million as death toll closes in on 1 million © Bloomberg Global coronavirus cases top 30 million as death toll closes in on 1 million

California Cases, Deaths Rise (2:25 p.m. NY)

California’s latest numbers climbed above the 14-day averages for both new cases and deaths, according to the health department’s website. The state reported 4,304 new coronavirus cases, versus the 14-day average of 3,350. The number of deaths increased by 100, compared with a 91 average. There have been 14,912 fatalities in all.

France Hits Another Record Since Lockdown (2:15 p.m. NY)

France’s daily coronavirus cases surged to the highest since the national lockdown ended in May. Another 13,498 cases were reported on Saturday, the second straight day over 13,000.

The higher numbers reflect to some degree increased testing, now five times the level performed in May to over one million a week. But the pace of infections is at its highest since the start of the outbreak, based on rolling 7-day data that smooths out reporting spikes.

Authorities have been calling on the population to step up social distancing measures as the number of clusters has been increasing in past weeks, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire became on Friday the country’s most senior official to become infected.

New York’s Cases Tick Up Slightly (1:26 p.m. NY)

New York reported 986 cases, the most since early June. That was the last time infections in the state rose above 1,000. But the daily rise remained at 0.2%, in line with the average increase of the previous seven days.

The transmission rate also remained less than one, still below the point at which the virus is considered to be increasing. Two more fatalities were reported, Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a news release.

Arizona Surge in Cases Eases (12:42 p.m. NY)

Arizona’s spike in cases tapered as the state added 610 infections, compared with double that number reported Friday and nearly triple the day before. The 0.3% rise on Saturday was slightly less than the average 0.4% daily increase of the previous seven days. Total cases are now 213,551.

The death toll declined to 16, the lowest in five days, for a total of 5,467.

Florida’s Positive-Test Rate Rises (12:20 p.m. NY)

Florida reported the most new cases and the highest positive-test rate among residents since Sept. 10, according to a state Department of Health report that reflects data received through Friday. Test positivity increased to 4.5% from 4.1% a day earlier.

Cases, including people diagnosed with Covid-19 who don’t reside in Florida, increased by 3,573 to 681,233. Virus-related deaths among residents declined for the second consecutive day to 67, bringing the total to 13,287.

Italy Deaths Return to July Level (11:50 a.m. NY)

Italy reported 24 new coronavirus deaths Saturday, more than doubling the 10 recorded the day before to levels not seen since July.

While new cases declined by almost 300 to 1,638, the number of Covid-19 patients in intensive care at hospitals rose by seven to 215, according to health authorities. That compares with a peak of more than 4,000 ICU patients in April.

U.K. Cases Exceed 4,000 for Second Day (11:25 a.m. NY)

The U.K. reported 4,422 more cases on Saturday, the second consecutive day with the most new infections since May 8. Another 27 people died within 28 days of testing positive.

U.K. cases have surged in the last two weeks, prompting Prime Minister Boris Johnson to warn that tighter restrictions on public life may be needed.

The country is facing a “perfect storm” after easing controls over the summer, former government adviser Neil Ferguson told the BBC on Saturday. The government needs to resume some nationwide measures “sooner rather than later” to prevent a new surge leading to more deaths, said Ferguson, an Imperial College London professor whose modeling led to the U.K. lockdown in March.

Scottish Leader Seeks Emergency Meeting (9:04 a.m. NY)

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon repeated her request for Prime Minister Boris Johnson to call an emergency cabinet meeting for the four nations of the U.K. in the next 48 hours, as 350 new cases were recorded in Scotland, up from 203 the previous day. Three people died. In a post on Twitter, Sturgeon urged people to stick to social distancing guidelines and be “extra careful.”

Saudi Arabia Has 28 More Deaths, Kuwait Cases Rise (8:36 a.m. NY)

Saudi Arabia recorded 551 new Covid-19 cases and 28 deaths on Saturday, the health ministry said. Kuwait had 521 new infections and one death.

U.S. Adds Almost 50,000 Cases (8 a.m. NY)

U.S. cases increased by 49,299 on Friday, a 0.7% increase that compares with a 0.6% daily average over the previous week. It was the second-highest number of new infections on a single day in the last two weeks.

Confirmed cases nationwide since the start of the pandemic rose to more than 6.7 million, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg. Another 932 people died of Covid-19.

Polish Coalition Dispute Stokes Talk of Early Election (6:31 a.m. NY)

Poland’s ruling coalition is at risk of collapse over a proposal to grant limited immunity to officials who break the law while fighting the pandemic.

Joachim Brudzinski, a deputy chief of the ruling Law & Justice party, told Radio RMF FM on Saturday that there’s a 50% chance that its alliance with two smaller partners will fall apart, which would lead to a minority government and ultimately to an early parliamentary election.

Iran Deaths Climb as New Cases Slow (6:08 a.m. NY)

Iran recorded 166 more deaths from coronavirus in the past 24 hours, up from 144 a day earlier. The number of daily new cases eased to 2,845 from a three-month high of 3,049 reported the previous day. The country now has 24,118 fatalities in 419,043 known cases.

Health Minister Saeed Namaki said an unidentified Indian company “has promised to sell 20 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine” to Iran, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported on Saturday. “The U.S. has already pre-ordered 100 million doses of the vaccine...but we’re promised to get it at a lower price and better down payment terms,” the minister said.

Poland Registers Record Number of Cases in One Day (5:24 p.m. HK)

Poland had a record daily number of 1,002 new coronavirus infections on Saturday, the Health Ministry said. Until now, the country has not seen a significant uptick in cases since August, even as neighboring countries such as the Czech Republic and Ukraine are struggling to contain the pandemic.

UBS Experiments With VR Glasses for Traders, FT Says (5:08 p.m. HK)

UBS Group AG has experimented with virtual reality headsets for its bankers to simulate the trading floor experience at home, the Financial Times reported.

The investment bank has tried Microsoft Corp.’s HoloLenses with its London traders, the newspaper said.

Germany New Cases Top 2,000 for Second Day (4:59 p.m. HK)

Germany added 2,179 coronavirus cases on Friday. That marked the second day in a row that new cases exceeded 2,000, leaving infections increasing at a pace not seen since April.

Merkel Wants to Speed Digitalization of German Schools (4:35 p.m. HK)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for greater adoption of digital tools in schools to mitigate the disruption to education. The government should accelerate digitalization to ensure young people aren’t disadvantaged by the pandemic, she said in her weekly podcast.

Indonesia Cases Hit New Daily Record (4:30 p.m. HK)

Indonesia continues to see rising Covid-19 cases, with another daily record on Saturday. Southeast Asia’s largest economy reported 4,168 infections, the most since the outbreak, with the total figure hitting 240,687. The number of people succumbing to the disease has reached 9,448.

Myanmar Won’t Postpone November Polls (3:54 p.m. HK)

Myanmar will hold the Nov. 8 general election as planned by ensuring social-distancing measures at polling stations across the country even as Covid-19 cases surge, an election commission official said.

“We don’t have any plan to postpone the general election for Covid-19 reason,” Myint Naing, a member of the Union Election Commission, told reporters in an online briefing on Saturday. The commission has a strategy to prevent the virus from spreading at polling stations, in line with the health ministry’s guidelines, he said.

Russia Reports Most New Cases Since July (3:40 p.m. HK)

Russia reported 6,065 cases of coronavirus in the past day, the first time the indicator has pass the 6,000 mark since July 19.

The Health Ministry’s chief infectious disease specialist said the country isn’t facing a second wave, just a “slight increase” in the number of infections through October, as the first wave hasn’t passed, the Tass news service reported.

Russia remains fourth in the world by number of reported infections, with a total 1,097,251. Moscow reported 825 cases overnight, the highest since June 25. The death toll for the country was 144, as the weekly average climbed to the level of early August.

Singapore Airlines Pilots Agree to Deeper Pay Cuts (11:05 a.m. HK)

Singapore Airlines Ltd. pilots have agreed to further pay cuts to remain in employment, the carrier said Saturday.

The city-state’s flag carrier and the Air Line Pilots Association - Singapore reached the agreement Friday and the company will implement the measures for all remaining pilots in Singapore Airlines and SilkAir with effect from Oct. 1. The deal will help to mitigate further job losses for pilots, it said.

Under the agreement, salaries for re-employed captains and first officers will be cut by 60% and 50% respectively, the Straits Times reported, citing an internal circular.

Trudeau Rival Tests Positive (11:02 a.m. HK)

Justin Trudeau’s main rival tested positive for coronavirus five days before the Canadian prime minister is scheduled to unveil a new agenda that could trigger an election.

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole received the diagnosis late Friday, according to a statement from the party. A staff member he traveled with contracted Covid-19 earlier in the week.

Australia’s Worst-Hit City on Track for Easing as Cases Fall (8:55 a.m. HK)

The number of new virus cases in Victoria, Australia’s worst-hit state, fell to the lowest level in almost three months, signaling the region could be on track to begin reopening Melbourne later this month.

The state recorded 21 new cases in the last 24 hours and seven more deaths, Victoria’s Department of Health and Human Services said in a Twitter post on Saturday morning. That’s the fewest new infections since June.

Read more here.

Thai Lawmakers Pass $105 Billion Budget (7:54 a.m. HK)

Thailand’s lower house of parliament approved the government’s 3.28 trillion baht ($105 billion) budget, clearing a key hurdle in Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha’s efforts to boost spending to revive the pandemic-battered economy.

Most of the budget will be used to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak, which has put Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy on track for its deepest annual contraction ever. The government and the central bank in April unveiled a 1.9 trillion baht stimulus package after exports and tourism slumped.

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