(Bloomberg) -- A Westchester County man has tested positive for the coronavirus, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said. Washington state reported two more deaths, bringing the number of fatalities in the U.S. to nine.
The U.S. Federal Reserve delivered an emergency interest-rate cut, and the Group of Seven finance chiefs pledged to use all policy tools to support the global economy but no direct action was taken.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. is asking thousands of U.S. employees to work from home, and Ford Motor Co. banned all business travel. The head of the World Health Organization said countries shouldn’t be “waving a white flag” and should pursue aggressive containment strategies, even if they have no or few cases of the novel coronavirus.
Infections rose again in South Korea and Iran, where more officials were diagnosed. The International Olympic Committee urged athletes to keep preparing for the Tokyo games amid concern the outbreak could quash that event.
U.S. stocks declined and Treasuries surged as investors worried the Fed’s emergency cut won’t be enough to combat the economic impact of the coronavirus. The 10-year Treasury yield plunged below 1% for the first time ever.
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Temple Congregants Ordered to Self-Quarantine (5:14 p.m. NY)
The health department of Westchester County, New York, ordered Temple Young Israel in New Rochelle to halt all services immediately due to potential coronavirus exposure connected to a member of the congregation. The congregant, an attorney who tested positive for the virus Tuesday, was reported in serious condition at New York Presbyterian Hospital.
Congregants who attended services on Feb. 22 and a funeral and a bat mitzvah on Feb. 23 must self-quarantine until at least March 8, Westchester health officials said. Those who don’t comply will be required to do so, officials said.
The synagogue has 380 member families, according to its website.
Google Cancels Most Important Conference (4:40 p.m. NY)
Google called off its flagship conference, the latest event cancellation as concern about the coronavirus grows among businesses.
The May event, called I/O, brings together thousands of people from around the world who partner with or build apps and websites for Google’s digital services. The company will refund participants and look for ways to hold sessions digitally instead, according to an email sent to participants that Bloomberg viewed. On Monday, Google made the same decision for its Cloud Next conference.
More Travel Restrictions Coming, TSA Chief Says (4:20 p.m.)
More travel restrictions will be announced soon to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, said Transportation Security Administration chief David Pekoske.
“There will be additional countries, I’m sure, as we continue to work with the task force, and I think those announcements will be relatively soon,” Pekoske told the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee’s homeland security panel on Tuesday.
The comments underscore the potential for tougher limits on international trips as cases increase. The Trump administration has already placed restrictions on travelers who have been to China or Iran in the last 14 days. It has also issued advisories for travel to Italy and South Korea.
North Carolina Case Tied to Washington Outbreak (4 p.m. NY)
North Carolina officials reported the first presumptive case of the disease, and it appears to be linked to an elder-care facility on the other side of the country in Washington state, where several people have fallen ill and died.
The infected person from North Carolina traveled to Washington and was exposed at the long-term care facility, according to a statement from the office of Governor Roy Cooper.
Officials said it was an isolated case and that they’re identifying close contacts of the infected person to contain the spread, according to the statement, which said the patient is “doing well and is in isolation at home.”
New Washington Deaths Bring U.S. Total to 9 (3:40 p.m. NY)
Two deaths last week in the Seattle area are now confirmed to have been due to coronavirus, making them the earliest known cases in the U.S. as an outbreak spread unnoticed in a nursing home. That brings the total number of deaths in the U.S. and Washington state to nine -- eight in King County, which includes Seattle.
On Feb. 24, a 54-year-old male patient was transferred to Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center from the Life Care Center home in Kirkland, Washington. Two days later, the patient died of what is now known to be Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, the hospital and the county public health department said Tuesday.
In the interim, the patient may have exposed some staff who were treating him in the intensive-care unit, Harborview said in a statement. Those workers have been contacted and are being monitored and screened daily. The hospital doesn’t believe other patients were exposed. A second resident of Life Care, a woman in her 80s, died at her family home the same day from the virus.
Ford Bans All Business Trips (3:05 p.m NY)
Ford Motor Co. has banned all business travel after two of its employees in China contracted the coronavirus.
The employees were quarantined after being diagnosed with the virus, and they’re recovering, Anderson Chan, a Ford spokesman, said in an email. He declined to reveal the employees’ location, gender, ages or whether they were factory or office workers.
Effective Tuesday, Ford curbed all business travel -- both international and domestic -- until March 27. The U.S. automaker joins multinational companies including Nestle SA and L’Oreal SA in suspending business trips in hopes of curbing the spread of the virus that is slowing economies and sending markets into a tailspin.
JPMorgan Tests U.S. Work-From-Home Plan (2:55 p.m. NY)
JPMorgan Chase & Co. is asking thousands of U.S. employees to work from home as it tests a contingency plan for closing domestic offices should the coronavirus spread, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
Managers requested that about 10% of staff across its consumer bank work remotely as part of the plan’s resiliency testing, which has been code-named “Project Kennedy,” said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing internal matters. JPMorgan’s consumer bank, which primarily operates in the U.S., has 127,137 employees, the most of any of the firm’s divisions.
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Tesla Blames China Autopilot Issue on Supply Chain (1:45 p.m. NY)
Some Tesla Inc. customers in China have complained they were sold locally assembled Model 3s with older Autopilot-related hardware. The electric-car maker responded by blaming supply-chain issues after a temporary virus-related shutdown of its factory near Shanghai.
Tesla said in a post on the social media platform Weibo that it plans to gradually replace the hardware free of charge.
WHO: Not Time to Wave a White Flag (12:15 p.m. NY)
The head of the World Health Organization said countries shouldn’t be “waving a white flag” and should pursue aggressive containment strategies, even if they have no or few cases of the novel coronavirus.
China has managed to steadily reduce the number of new cases, which dropped to the lowest number since Jan. 20, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at the group’s daily briefing in Geneva Tuesday.
In some people the coronavirus can cause much more serious illness than influenza, even if it doesn’t spread as easily, Tedros said. Producers of medical gear need to boost supply 40% because each month the world will need 89 million medical masks, 76 million exam gloves and 1.6 million goggles, he said.
Iran, the center of the outbreak in the Middle East, is in need of medical equipment including ventilators, and the large increases in new cases are a reflection of how medical authorities are being more aggressive in trying to detect the virus, Tedros said. “Things tend to look worse before they get better.”
FDA on Watch for Drug Shortages From India (11:10 a.m. NY)
U.S. health regulators are watching for potential drug shortages after India restricted the export of some raw pharmaceutical ingredients, a move that has potential to disrupt the global supply chain of drugs manufactured around the world.
Earlier Tuesday, India said it would limit export of some common medicines as concerns grow over shortages of chemical ingredients. Many manufacturers in China are shut due to the novel coronavirus outbreak.
Though India is the source of about 20% of the world’s generic-drug supply, the country is dependent on China for about 66% of the chemical components needed to make them. India wants to ensure that there are enough supplies at home for its citizens.
Homeland Security Closes Field Office in Seattle (10:37 a.m. NY)
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security closed a field office in Seattle after an employee was potentially exposed to coronavirus.
An employee in the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office in Seattle developed flu-like symptoms after visiting a nursing home in Kirkland, Washington, where a cluster of coronavirus cases have been diagnosed, said Deputy DHS Secretary Ken Cuccinelli.
“The employee had been coming to work in the intervening days between the possible exposure (Feb. 22) and becoming ill (Feb. 26). In an effort to contain the threat of potential spread & out of an abundance of caution, the @USCIS Seattle Field Office was ordered closed,” Cuccinelli tweeted.
Fed Cuts Rates Half Point in Emergency Move (10:20 a.m. NY)
The U.S. Federal Reserve delivered an emergency half-percentage point interest rate cut Tuesday in a bid to protect the longest-ever economic expansion.
“The coronavirus poses evolving risks to economic activity,” the Fed said in a statement. “In light of these risks and in support of achieving its maximum employment and price stability goals, the Federal Open Market Committee decided today to lower the target range for the federal funds rate by 1/2 percentage point.”
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N.Y. Man in Westchester Tests Positive, Cuomo Says (9:40 a.m. NY)
A 50-year-old man who works in Manhattan and lives in the New York suburb of Westchester County has been hospitalized and tested positive for the coronavirus.
The man doesn’t have a history of foreign travel and it wasn’t immediately clear if he’d had contact with known cases in the U.S. Health authorities around the country are closely watching for coronavirus cases with unknown origins, a sign that the virus could be spreading from person-to-person.
The man lives in Westchester with his family. A school in the Bronx attended by one of his children has been closed as a precaution, Cuomo said.
There are also two families in Buffalo that are suspected of having the virus, the governor’s office said in an email.
New York City has at least one confirmed case so far, a Manhattan woman in her 30s who contracted the virus while traveling in Iran. She was isolated in her Manhattan apartment as of last weekend.
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Pence Visited School Where Student Is in Quarantine (9:40 a.m. NY)
A Florida student whose classmates shook hands last Friday with Vice President Mike Pence has been quarantined after his mother came into contact with a coronavirus patient.
Some White House aides were aware of the case in Sarasota, Florida, but there was no blanket notification about it in the executive mansion, according to people familiar with the matter. Some advisers to the vice president were unaware of the quarantine as of Tuesday morning.
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New York City High School Closes on Suspected Case (8:41 a.m. NY)
A New York City high school is closed Tuesday after a suspected case of coronavirus in its community, Reuters reported, citing a statement.
Italy’s Business Lobby Sees GDP Contraction Worsening (8:07 a.m. NY)
Italy’s GDP was already expected to shrink in the first quarter and there’s a high probability of a more significant contraction in the second quarter, Italy’s business lobby Confindustria says in monthly economic survey. “In the absence of effective and timely economic policy measures -- not only in Italy -- the worst risk is that there is a spiral of supply and demand shocks capable of causing a strong and prolonged recession.”
G-7 Ready to Take Action, Including Fiscal Tools (7:44 a.m. NY)
G-7 finance ministers “are ready to take actions, including fiscal measures where appropriate” in response to coronavirus threat, according to a joint statement released by the U.S. Treasury.
Iran Supreme Leader Says ‘Let’s Not Exaggerate’ Virus (6:53 a.m. NY)
“The coronavirus won’t affect the country for long & will leave,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Twitter on Tuesday. Iran, which has the second-highest number of fatalities from coronavirus, reported 835 new confirmed cases on Tuesday, taking the total to 2,336. The death toll climbed to 77 from 66, while 435 patients have recovered.
Hedge Fund Winners Warn of Bull Trap (6:42 a.m. NY)
Two of the best performing macro hedge funds of recent weeks have a tip for investors: buying the dip in stocks may not work this time. “This could become a textbook bull trap: the market rallies, you think it’s over, mommy and daddy are going to intervene,” said Quadriga Asset Managers’s Diego Parrilla, referring to central banks and governments. “If this doesn’t really play out, it’s game over.”
BlackRock changed its recommendation on global equities to neutral.
Satellite Data Suggest China Is Getting Back to Work (6:30 a.m. NY)
Satellite data show economic activity in China could be picking up. Nitrogen dioxide levels rose across China’s industrial heartland, according to the most recent Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service data compiled by Windy.Com.
The reddish-brown gas mainly enters the air from burning fossil fuels such as oil, coal and natural gas. Levels plummeted in February after Chinese authorities locked down communities to contain the virus.
Carney Sees ‘Powerful’ Global Response as G-7 Call Nears (6 a.m. NY)
Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said international policy makers are crafting a “powerful and timely” defense of the world economy against the coronavirus as those from the Group of Seven nations prepared to hold an emergency conference call.
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire also said he wants G7 message to be “as powerful as possible.” Le Maire said he’s in close contact with G7 counterparts and spoke with ECB President Lagarde on Tuesday. “I can assure that you at the level of the G7 and the eurozone we will have a coordinated, strong and fast response to this crisis,” he said.
Under pressure from investors to match recent pledges of economic support with concrete action, G-7 finance ministers and central bankers including Carney and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, will discuss their virus response at about 7 a.m. Washington time. A statement is expected to be released afterward.
Thermo to Buy Qiagen for $10 Billion (6 a.m. NY)
U.S. laboratory equipment maker Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. agreed to buy Qiagen NV, a Dutch maker of tests for diseases including cancer and the new coronavirus, for about 9 billion euros ($10 billion) in the biggest health-care acquisition so far this year. When a new coronavirus emerged in China in January, Qiagen got to work on a test to detect the virus in bodily fluids. The test is now being evaluated at four hospitals in China and one in France. The test gives results in about an hour.
Energy Aspects Cuts Oil Demand Growth Forecast Again (6:50 p.m. HK)
Energy Aspects cut 2020 oil demand growth forecast to 500,000 barrels a day, a 200,000 b/d reduction from previous week’s estimate, because of the impact of the coronavirus. Before the outbreak emerged in late January, EA was forecasting global oil demand growth of 1.1 million b/d this year.
U.K. Firms Are Warned 20% of Staff Could Be Off Sick (6:36 p.m. HK)
British businesses were warned as many as 20% of workers could be forced to take time off during peak periods of infection if the U.K. is hit by a widespread outbreak. The U.K. government published its plan for dealing with the disease, including an estimate that in a worst case scenario more than 6 million people could be absent. Such a peak period of infection would be likely to last around three weeks.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled a package of emergency measures to tackle coronavirus on Tuesday after he was criticized for not doing enough to prepare for the spread of the disease. He said he was ready to close schools and cancel public events and that the army was on standby to assist in the worst-case scenario
Merkel Ally Proposes Using Surplus to Offset Impact (6:20 p.m. HK)
A top official in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative bloc proposed using Germany’s budget surplus to help fund a stimulus package to offset any economic damage caused by the virus. Alexander Dobrindt, the co-head of Merkel’s parliamentary caucus, told reporters in Berlin as much as 50 billion euros ($56 billion) could be available this year and the package will be discussed March 8 by the ruling coalition. He ruled out loosening rules that limit government borrowing.
Indonesia Warns Against Hoarding (6:13 p.m. HK)
President Joko Widodo warned against hoarding of food and other essential goods after the country’s first cases of confirmed coronavirus sparked panic buying at supermarkets. The country is working on a second stimulus package, adding to the central bank’s aggressive moves to counter the impact of the coronavirus on markets.
Singapore to Bar Travelers From Iran, Italy, Korea (5:48 p.m. HK)
Singapore will bar visitors who recently traveled to Iran, northern Italy or the Republic of Korea in the last 14 days, including transits. The measures will take effect from March 4.
EDF Tracing Staff Close to Hinkley Point Worker (5:40 p.m. HK)
EDF is tracing people who were in contact with a man working on the U.K. Hinkley Point C nuclear plant site last month to see if they have shown symptoms, according to a company memo seen by Bloomberg. A Chinese national who was on secondment at Hinkley Point fell ill with coronavirus on his return to China after working at the construction project in England between Feb. 15 and Feb. 27.
Singapore to Include Swab Testing at Checkpoints (5:30 p.m. HK)
Singapore will implement new screening mechanisms at checkpoints to tackle the coronavirus spread globally. Travelers entering the country and exhibiting fever or symptoms of respiratory illness but who do not meet coronavirus suspect case definitions will still be required to undergo a swab test.
L’Oreal Freezes Headcount After Halting Business Trips (5:20 p.m. HK)
L’Oreal plans to freeze headcount through June, the company told Bloomberg News in response to questions on Tuesday. The company had suspended business travel through March 31 last week as a precautionary measure.
Confirmed German Cases Rise to 188 (5:17 p.m. HK)
The number of confirmed cases in Germany has risen to 188 and the virus has spread to 13 of the country’s 16 federal states, the Robert Koch Institute said on Tuesday. “We are seeing that the focus is moving away somewhat from China and the rest of the world is more and more affected,” RKI Vice President Lars Schaade said. The threat level for Germany remains at “moderate,” but this could quickly change and more cases are to be expected, Schaade added.
Separately, Belgium’s federal public health service said they had found five new cases after conducting tests the previous night. All of the patients had been traveling in the north of Italy.
Gilead’s Remdesivir May Be Used in South Korea (5:03 p.m.)
Gilead’s experimental antiviral drug remdesivir is expected to be used to treat patients infected with the coronavirus in South Korea as part of a trial, Yonhap reported. The company was given permission from local drug authorities to begin phase 3 clinical trials of remdesivir in adult patiences infected with the coronavirus.
Separately, a medical report on the Japanese Association for Infectious Diseases website said Teijin Ltd.’s asthma drug Alvesco helped treat three patients who contracted the coronavirus on the Diamond Princess cruise ship. Teijin shares rose as much as 8.2%, their biggest intraday gain in four years.
Hon Hai Sees China Returning to Normal Soon (4:37 p.m. HK)
Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Apple Inc.’s most important manufacturing partner, expects its Chinese plants to begin operating normally by the end of March after resolving severe labor shortages. The Taiwanese company, which assembles the majority of the world’s iPhones from China, joins a growing number of corporations envisaging a return to normalcy in the world’s No. 2 economy.
Japan Says End of May Key Stage for Olympics Decision (4:30 p.m. HK)
Japan’s Olympics minister said the end of May would be an important point in making a decision on whether to hold the Tokyo Games starting on July 24 amid worries the coronavirus could cause the first cancellation since World War Two.
Seiko Hashimoto said she was aware of the comments by International Olympic Committee senior member Dick Pound, who has said late May would be the latest a decision could be made.
China Pledges More Cuts in Taxes, Fees (4:28 p.m. HK)
China will further reduce taxes and fees to deal with the coronavirus situation and support the economy, Wang Jianfan, head of tax administration department at finance ministry, said.
Pope Tests Negative (4:28 p.m. HK)
Pope Francis has tested negative for the coronavirus after suffering a slight cold which led him to cancel several public gatherings, newspaper Il Messaggero reported on Tuesday.
South Korea Total Exceeds 5,000 (4:15 p.m. HK)
South Korea’s health ministry reported 374 more cases of the novel coronavirus, taking the country’s tally to 5,186. Yonhap News Agency said 31 people have died. The country is “at war” with the novel coronavirus, President Moon Jae-in said earlier, according to a pool report from a cabinet meeting.
Separately, Philippines is lifting a travel ban to South Korea imposed barely a week ago, and citizens are now allowed to go to the country except for the North Gyeongsang province. The ban on foreigners coming from the same South Korean province remains in effect.
Trump Says Fed Should ‘Cut Rate Big’ (2:39 p.m. HK)
President Donald Trump, noting Australia’s central bank rate cut, said the Federal Reserve’s inaction thus far in the face of the coronavirus puts the U.S. at a “competitive disadvantage” and it “must be the other way around.”
Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Philip Lowe earlier reduced the cash rate by a quarter percentage point to 0.5%, a new record low, and said the central bank is prepared to ease monetary policy further to support the economy.
--With assistance from Adveith Nair, Jordan Fabian, David R. Baker, Kara Wetzel, Dominic Lau, Isabel Reynolds, John Follain, Iain Rogers, Shaji Mathew, Robert Hutton, Thomas Penny, Thomas Mulier, Michelle F. Davis, Keith Naughton, Dina Bass, Noah Buhayar, Michaela Ross and Gerrit De Vynck.
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