U.K. in Lockdown; Florida to Isolate N.Y. Arrivals: Virus Update

Bloomberg News
U.K. in Lockdown; Florida to Isolate N.Y. Arrivals: Virus Update

(Bloomberg) --

The U.K. will go into lockdown after Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered sweeping measures to keep people from leaving their homes for at least three weeks.

Governors of Michigan, Massachusetts, West Virginia and Wisconsin implemented stay-at-home policies. The Federal Reserve announced a second wave of initiatives to support the U.S. economy after Democrats blocked the Senate from advancing a rescue plan.

Deaths in Italy, the epicenter of the outbreak in Europe, slowed for a second day. Germany was ready to approve aid to Italy, and Chancellor Angela Merkel’s first coronavirus test came back negative.

Key Developments:

Cases top 372,000 and 16,000 dead: Johns Hopkins tallyCrisis in aviation industry deepensIOC member says Olympics will be postponedCVS to hire 50,000 workers to meet demandCases in New Jersey rise almost 1,000 overnight to 2,844Fed’s Bullard says U.S. unemployment may hit 30% in 2QRhode Island postpones its presidential primary from April 28 to June 2

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Click VRUS on the terminal for news and data on the coronavirus and here for maps and charts. For analysis of the impact from Bloomberg Economics, click here. To see the impact on oil and commodities demand, click here.

Florida Orders Self-Isolation for Travelers From N.Y., N.J. (5:34 p.m. NY)

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said he will issue an executive order making it mandatory for all arrivals from New York and New Jersey to self-isolate for two weeks upon entering the state.

Trump Administration May Reopen Obamacare Exchange (5:20 p.m. NY)

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is considering reopening enrollment for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act in response to the outbreak. Americans who don’t currently have coverage may see if they qualify for “special enrollment periods” if they’ve lost their job or have been subject to other life-changing circumstances, a CMS spokesperson said.

CMS is working closely with the states and health plans to assess other necessary actions to ensure Americans have coverage and access to services during the pandemic, the spokesperson said.

Boris Johnson Puts U.K. on Three-Week Lockdown (4:38 p.m. NY)

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson approved radical measures to ban all unnecessary movement of people for at least three weeks. Police will break up gatherings and have the power to fine individuals who break the tough new laws. Shops selling non-essential items, playgrounds, libraries and places of worship will be closed.

Read the full story here

Work to Begin on Hospital at Javits Center (3:33 p.m. NY)

Construction will begin this week to turn the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan into a 1,000-bed hospital, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said.

The main showroom of the center will be broken up into four 250-bed hospitals each about 40,000 square feet in size, Cuomo said at the center. The state is hoping to add an additional 1,000 beds at the center for less-intensive medical care, for a total of 2,000 new beds, Cuomo said.

New Jersey, too, expects to increase patient capacity and is asking the Federal Emergency Management Agency to operate four pop-up hospitals, a step that has support from President Donald Trump, Governor Phil Murphy said.

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France Advises Against Test Drug (3:03 p.m. NY)

As deaths climbed almost 30% in France, Health Minister Olivier Veran said the government recommends against prescribing the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine or using it for anything other than severe cases. France is participating in a multi-country study looking at the efficacy of four experimental treatments, including hydroxychloroquine.

New Deaths Fall in Italy for Second Day (2:27 p.m. NY)

Italy reported 601 new deaths from the coronavirus on Monday, posting a decline for a second day, as the country enters its third week of lockdown measures designed to keep the spread of the disease in check.

Total cases in the country rose to 63,927, civil protection officials said, while the hard-hit Lombardy region around Milan, which accounts for about half of the nation’s infections, registered a decrease in the number of hospitalized virus patients, top health official Giulio Gallera said Monday.

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IMF Predicts Recession (1:30 p.m. NY)

The International Monetary Fund said it expects a global recession this year that will be at least as bad as the downturn during the financial crisis more than a decade ago, followed by a recovery in 2021.

Nearly 80 countries have asked the Washington-based IMF for emergency finance, Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said in a statement Monday following a conference call of Group of 20 finance ministers and central bankers. Georgieva said the fund strongly supports extraordinary fiscal actions already taken by many countries and welcomes the moves of major central banks to ease monetary policy.

“Even more will be needed, especially on the fiscal front,” she said.

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Boeing Closes Washington Plants (1:15 p.m. NY)

Boeing Co. is temporarily shuttering its Seattle-area factories, compounding hurdles for a company already reeling from the grounding of its top-selling plane.

The shutdown will begin March 25 and last 14 days. The company will conduct deep cleaning at affected sites and establish “rigorous criteria for return to work.”

The closing leaves Boeing with just one fully functioning jetliner factory.

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Germans Offer to Help Stricken Italy (1:10 p.m. NY)

German officials are ready to help Italy get through the coronavirus pandemic and are prepared to support an emergency loan from the euro area’s bailout fund.

The preferred option in Berlin would see Italy granted an enhanced credit line by the European Stability Mechanism with minimal conditionality, according to a German official with knowledge of the government’s thinking. While Chancellor Angela Merkel has said she’s happy to discuss Italy’s request for jointly issued coronavirus bonds to shore up euro members’ finances, the official said Germany isn’t ready to move forward with that idea.

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Dow Loses Gains Under Trump (12:02 p.m. NY)

The Dow Jones Industrial Average has lost more than 30% of its value in just over a month, wiping out all of its gains since Donald Trump was elected on Nov. 8, 2016. The S&P 500 Index isn’t too far behind, while the Nasdaq Composite Index’s return remains in the green -- albeit on a downward trajectory with the rest.

New Cases May Be Slowing in Germany (10:25 a.m. NY)

Germany’s public health authority has seen a trend toward the exponential growth in new cases flattening out and expects to see by Wednesday whether this is the case, Lothar Wieler, president of the authority, said at a press conference earlier on Monday. “I am optimistic.”

RKI repeated that many local health agencies don’t report over the weekend and that those numbers will trickle in during the course of the week.

NYC May Lose $6 Billion in Tax Revenue (10:21 a.m. NY)

New York City is “staring down a fiscal emergency” and may lose as much as $6 billion in tax revenue over the next 15 months, as the the Covid-19 epidemic shuts down a broad swath of the city’s economy, comptroller Scott Stringer said.

Moderna’s Vaccine May Reach Some This Fall (10:10 a.m. NY)

Moderna Inc.’s experimental vaccine for the new coronavirus could be available to a select few as soon as this fall. That’s ahead of expectations for a commercial launch in another year.

Stephane Bancel, the biotech’s chief executive, told Goldman Sachs representatives on Friday that the vaccine could be made available to a few, potentially health-care workers under emergency-use authorization. Moderna has been working with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on the vaccine and just started testing in humans earlier this month.

A potential vaccine isn’t expected to be commercially available for at least a year. Moderna is also scaling up manufacturing so that the company can produce millions of doses each month, according to a company statement.

GE Aviation to Cut About 10% of U.S. Workforce (9:27 a.m. NY)

GE Aviation plans to cut about 10% of its total U.S. workforce, its chairman said in a message to employees. There will be a temporary lack of work impacting approximately half of its U.S. maintenance, repair and overhaul employees for 90 days.

Merkel Is Tested, Awaiting Results (9:16 a.m. NY)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was tested today for the coronavirus and is awaiting the results, her spokesman said at a news conference. He said the chancellor is in good health and continuing with her work. The German leader quarantined herself at home on Sunday following earlier contact with a doctor who later tested positive.

The government has signed off on taking on billions in new debt as part of an unprecedented package totaling 750 billion euros ($800 billion).

Trump Weighs Easing Curbs (8:50 a.m. NY)

President Trump began talking privately late last week about reopening the nation, despite the swiftly rising number of coronavirus cases and against the advice of health professionals, because he’s worried about the economic damage from an extended shutdown, according to people familiar with his thinking.

He earlier retweeted several posts calling for healthy people to return to work after 15 days of precautions. “The fear of the virus cannot collapse our economy that President Trump has built up,” says a post retweeted by Trump. “Flatten the curve NOT the Economy,” another says.

Russia Expects 10% Slump This Year in Worst-Case Scenario (8:45 a.m. NY)

Russia’s economy could shrink by as much as 10% this year if the spread of coronavirus requires a full lockdown, according to a worst-case scenario being discussed by the government.

Forecasts show the contraction could be around 5%-10%, according to people familiar with the estimates, who asked to remain unidentified since discussions are ongoing. That would be as deep as the 7.8% contraction Russia suffered in 2009.

Singapore Sees Largest Daily Increase (8:35 a.m. NY)

Singapore reported its biggest one-day jump in coronavirus infections with 54 new cases, of which 48 were imported. Earlier, Malaysia confirmed 212 new cases, the biggest daily jump, bringing the total to 1,518 despite imposing a lockdown that began on March 18.

U.K. Won’t Hesitate to Take Further Measures (8:22 a.m. NY)

U.K. will take further measures “quickly” to restrict movement of people if there’s evidence current steps aren’t working, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman, James Slack tells reporters on a conference call on Monday.

The U.K. economy will contract at least 10% in the first half of the year as the fallout form the coronavirus hammers output, according to Bloomberg Economics’ estimates. In a report released Monday, senior U.K. economist Dan Hanson said support provided by the Bank of England and the Treasury should prompt a turnaround in the second half of the year if the outbreak is contained by the summer.

H&M Warns It May Need to Cut Thousands of Jobs (8:22 a.m. NY)

H&M has already temporarily closed all stores in several of its biggest markets including Germany and the U.S. and during the last few days also closed all its stores in the U.K. That means 3,441 of the group’s 5,062 stores are now shuttered. The Swedish fashion retailer said its response to the crisis is “likely to affect tens of thousands of employees in all parts of the business” across the globe.

U.K. in Talks to Increase Delivery of Virus Tests (8:05 a.m. NY)

The U.K. is in talks with firms to boost delivery of coronavirus tests to front line health and social care staff, the FT reports, citing two people familiar. Sending test kits to people at home is also being explored, the paper said.

Fed Signals Unlimited QE (8 a.m. NY)

The Federal Reserve on Monday announced a second wave of initiatives, including buying an unlimited amount of bonds to keep borrowing costs low and setting up programs to ensure credit flows to corporations and state and local governments.

The Fed will buy Treasuries and agency mortgage-backed securities “in the amounts needed to support smooth market functioning and effective transmission of monetary policy to broader financial conditions and the economy,” and will also buy agency commercial mortgage-backed securities, according to a statement.

CVS Health to Hire 50,000 (8 a.m. NY)

CVS Health Corp. said it plans to hire 50,000 people in full-time, part-time and temporary jobs to tackle surging demand for drugstore services and health goods. The drugstore chain said it plans to hire store workers, delivery drivers, distribution center workers and customer service employees. Rival drugstore chain Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. on Sunday said it plans to hire more than 9,500 people, while Amazon.com Inc. plans to hire 100,000, and Walmart Inc. 150,000.

New Jersey Unemployment Has ‘Gone up Dramatically’ (7:41 a.m. NY)

New Jersey unemployment has “gone up dramatically” as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Governor Phil Murphy said. The state will report labor statistics today, according to an interview on CNN. States need a “huge amount” of direct cash assistance, and they’re also looking for equipment and other help from the federal government, Murphy said.

(A previous version of this story corrected new number of cases in New Jersey.)

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