U.K. Premier Hospitalized; Deaths Slow in Hotspots: Virus Update

Bloomberg News
U.K. Premier Hospitalized; Deaths Slow in Hotspots: Virus Update

(Bloomberg) --

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson went to a hospital Sunday suffering persistent symptoms 10 days after testing positive for Covid-19.

In a possible respite after days of sobering developments, the reported daily death toll in some of the world’s coronavirus epicenters was lower on Sunday.

New York State fatalities fell for the first time. Italy had the fewest deaths in more than two weeks. France reported the lowest number in five days and Spain’s tally fell for three days in a row.

Key Developments:

Global cases pass 1.2 million; deaths top 68,000: Johns HopkinsU.S. cases exceed 321,000, a quarter of the world totalU.K. to tighten lockdown if neededBiden suggests virtual conventionIndia bans exports of “game changer” virus drugReligious gatherings move onlineThe fast spread pits treating patients against finding a cure

U.K. Premier Sent to Hospital (4:15 p.m. NY)

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson was admitted to a hospital Sunday night after having “persistent symptoms” 10 days after testing positive for Covid-19, a spokesperson said.

“This is a precautionary step,” the official said.

Johnson had been in isolation with a high temperature which had not abated. Two days ago, he posted a video on Twitter about his condition.

He remains in charge of the government, and is in contact with ministerial colleagues and officials.

NYC Welcomes Added Medical Staff (4 p.m. NY)

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said 291 medical staff have arrived to work in the besieged hospital system, but said as many as 1,450 are needed. The first wave includes 74 nurses, 104 doctors and 12 respirator therapists.

The city has a supply of breathing machines for about 48 to 72 hours, which he said was an improvement since officials had feared the ventilator supply would be exhausted by Sunday.

“I see a few signs that are a little hopeful, for sure,” de Blasio said. “I think it’s early to be able to declare” a corner has been turned.

Boston Mayor Imposes Curfew (3:45 p.m. NY)

Boston imposed new measures including an overnight curfew for non-essential activities and encouraging the use of face coverings. Starting Monday, non-essential trips to businesses, restaurants and other locations are banned from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m., Mayor Martin Walsh said. The city encourages the use of delivery services for items needed after 9 p.m. City parks, including sports courts and fields, will close. Walking and jogging paths remain open.

Ackman ‘Optimistic’ After Seeing Data (3:30 p.m. NY)

Pershing Square founder Bill Ackman is “beginning to get optimistic” as cases appear to be peaking in New York, the billionaire said in a series of tweets.

Ackman, who has repeatedly called for a complete shutdown of the U.S., said hydroxychloriquine and antibiotics appear to help, and he envisions a time in the next few months where everyone is tested and all but the most vulnerable return to more normal life.

The activist investor has previously invested a portion of his personal wealth to help manufacture antibody test kids made by Covaxx, a new subsidiary of closely held United Biomedical Inc..

French Deaths Cut by Half in a Day (2:10 p.m. NY)

France reported the lowest daily coronavirus deaths in five days in a possible sign that three weeks of confinement are starting to help contain the outbreak. The country had 518 fatalities on Sunday, the fewest since last Tuesday, according to figures published by French health authorities. New cases dropped to 1,873, the fewest since March 21.

Irish Premier Will Help as Doctor (2:15 p.m. NY)

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, a doctor by training, has re-registered as a medical professional seven years after leaving the field to pursue politics, the Irish Times reported. Once a week, Varadkar will help carry out assessments by phone for people fearing they may have been exposed to the virus, the newspaper said.

Ireland reported 21 new deaths and 390 new cases on Sunday—bringing the total cases nationwide to almost 5,000.

N.J. Death Fall Sharply (1:50 p.m. NY)

New Jersey, which has the second-highest number of U.S. cases, reported a slowdown in the death rate: Fatalities rose by 71 compared with 200 the day before.

The state also reported fewer new cases, 3,381, for a total of 37,505. Total deaths are 917.

Austria Readies Lockdown Exit Plan (1 p.m. NY)

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has vowed to chart a step-by-step way out of the lockdown on Monday, as the number of active coronavirus patients dropped for the first time this weekend. Recoveries outnumbered new positive tests on Saturday and Sunday. Fatalities are still rising about 10% per day.

Total infections rose 270 to 12,051 and 18 more deaths for a total of 204.

Italy’s Deaths Fewest Since March 19 (12:15 p.m. NY)

Italy reported the lowest figure for single-day coronavirus deaths in 2 1/2 weeks, even as the region around Milan announced tougher containment measures.

Fatalities fell to 525, the fewest since March 19, bringing the total since the beginning of the outbreak in Italy to 15,887. New confirmed cases totaled 4,316, down from 4,805 the day before. Italy now has 128,948 cases, slightly fewer than Spain.

Hard-hit Lombardy is requiring that citizens shield their mouths and noses with masks or other coverings when they leave their homes, and insisted residents stay inside for all but essential activities, after seeing a spike in people venturing outside in defiance of the quarantine.

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U.S. Sends Military Doctors to NYC (12:10 p.m. NY)

The U.S. military will deploy 1,000 Air Force and Navy medical staff to New York City in the next three days, the Pentagon said in a statement. About 300 will be assigned to the Javits Center, which has been converted into a Covid-19 hospital. The rest will deploy to other area locations, the U.S. Northern Command said in a statement.

N.Y. Deaths, Hospitalizations Fall (11:30 a.m. NY)

New York reported 594 new coronavirus deaths, fewer than the 630 it reported on Saturday, Governor Andrew Cuomo said at his daily press briefing. He said it’s too soon to draw conclusions. The state has 4,159 fatalities so far.

There are 122,031 positive cases in total. New hospitalizations also dropped, to 574 from 1,095, Cuomo reported.

The governor said while the coronavirus has hurt the economy, it led to a drop in the crime rate and fewer trauma cases unrelated to the outbreak being taken to hospitals.

BOE Rules Out Monetary Financing of Fallout (11:20 a.m. NY)

Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey rejected the idea of using monetary financing to help contain the economic impact of outbreak, and said the bank’s current policies stop short of such action.

The central bank has boosted its own bond-buying plan by 200 billion pounds ($246 billion). That’s prompted some commentators to warn that it leaves the bank at risk of directly funding government spending, and potentially unleashing a wave of runaway inflation.

“Using monetary financing would damage credibility on controlling inflation by eroding operational independence,” Bailey said in an op-ed in the Financial Times. “It would also ultimately result in an unsustainable central bank balance sheet and is incompatible with the pursuit of an inflation target by an independent central bank.”

Biden Suggests Virtual Convention (10:15 a.m. NY)

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said the party should consider a virtual nominating convention this summer because the coronavirus has led to limits on public gatherings.

“We’re going to have to do a convention, we may have to do a virtual convention,” Biden said on ABC’s “This Week.” “We should be thinking about that right now. The idea of holding a convention is going to be necessary. But we may not be able to put 10, 20, 30,000 people in one place.”

Pentagon to Issue Mask Guidance (9:49 a.m. NY)

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the Pentagon will issue guidance Sunday on personnel wearing face coverings, after U.S. health officials recommended the step for Americans.

“We’re going to move toward face coverings,” Esper said on ABC’s “This Week” broadcast. “We want to take every measure to protect our troops.”

U.K. Coronavirus Cases Rise (9:25 a.m. NY)

Cases rose to 47,806 from 41,903 on Saturday. Total deaths were 4,934 versus 4,313, according to the Department of Health and Social Care, rising at a slower pace than those reported on Saturday.

The U.K. will tighten a nationwide lockdown if needed to halt the spread, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said, even as pressure builds on the government to explain how it will eventually ease economically devastating measures.

As many as 4,000 low-risk prisoners will be freed in England and Wales as cases inside prisons climb. Selected inmates with less than two months to serve will be released and monitored with electronic devices, the Ministry of Justice said.

Denmark May Ease Restrictions (7:56 a.m. NY)

Denmark may announce a loosening of restrictive measures aimed at curbing the outbreak as soon as Monday, local media reported.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen is seeking to present some watering down of the measures at a press conference in coming days, Berlingske and TV2 reported, without saying where they got the information. The country’s confirmed cases of the virus rose to 4,369 on Sunday, with 179 deaths.

Scottish Official Warned About Trip (7:30 a.m.)

Police in Scotland have visited the country’s chief medical officer after photos were published of her and her family traveling to their second home. Legal instructions about not leaving your home without a reasonable excuse apply to everyone, Police Scotland said in a statement.

Catherine Calderwood accepted a warning about her actions, the chief constable said. Earlier, she apologized on Twitter, saying she didn’t have legitimate reasons to be out of the house and didn’t follow the advice she is giving others.

Jakarta Commuters Must Wear Masks (7:28 a.m. NY)

Commuters in the Indonesian capital will be barred from using public transit if they aren’t wearing face masks. The country has more than 2,000 cases of Covid-19 and Jakarta is among the world’s most-densely populated cities, with more than 10 million residents.

Abu Dhabi Waives Charges for NHS (7:20 a.m. NY)

Abu Dhabi’s state-owned exhibitions company is waiving charges for Britain’s health service to use its giant London conference center as an emergency hospital, following a similar move by Blackstone Group Co.

Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Co. PJSC had initially been asking as much as 3 million pounds ($3.68 million) per month for the site near London’s Canary Wharf financial district, the Sunday Times reported earlier. The center has been turned into a 4,000-bed field hospital for virus cases, making it one of the largest in the world.

Singapore Reports Most Cases in a Day (7:17 a.m. NY)

Singapore had 120 new cases, the most in a day, bringing the total to 1,309. Of the new cases, only four involved patients with recent travel history, officials said at a briefing.

Two complexes for foreign workers have been declared “isolation areas” and any individuals residing there will have to stay in their rooms for 14 days to avoid the spread of the virus, said Manpower Minister Josephine Teo. The buildings house almost 20,000 people.

Europe Needs Marshall Plan (7:09 a.m. NY)

“Massive investments, a Marshall Plan for Europe” is needed to emerge from the virus crisis, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a column published by Welt am Sonntag. “At the center there should be a strong new EU budget,” accepted by all member states to ensure solidarity and modernization, she said. Funds must be allocated “particularly smart and in a sustainable way.”

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