Major coronavirus developments on Friday 27 November

Bloomberg

NYC Cases Swell; U.K.’s Infection Rate Tumbles: Virus Update

(Bloomberg) — New York City’s average daily Covid-19 cases increased to more than 1,500 for the first time since May. Black Friday crowds were sparse in the U.S. as the virus accelerated the shopping day’s move online.Britain’s estimated transmission rate is signaling the virus is no longer spreading exponentially. That’s the first such reading since early September. Ireland, the first western European country to reimpose a lockdown, is set to ease coronavirus curbs later on Friday. Germany’s patients in intensive care rose to record levels.AstraZeneca Plc’s vaccine looks like it’s headed for an additional global trial as the drugmaker tries to clear up uncertainty around favorable results in its current study.Key Developments:Global Tracker: Cases exceed 61.1 million; deaths top 1.4 millionHospitals race to set vaccine prioritiesfor health-care workersHow Covid-19 has turned the spotlight back on obesity: QuickTakeWorkers stick to office during U.K.’s second lockdowns: ChartBiden warns of ‘long, hard winter’ for virus in somber addressLondon avoids toughest curbs as Tories protestSubscribe 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.Crowds Thin on a Black Friday Reshaped by Covid-19 (11:46 a.m. NY) Crowds were sparse on Black Friday, as the virus accelerated the shopping day’s move online.On New York’s Fifth Avenue, the line outside the Philippine Consulate was longer than the tiny queue to get into Zara. At Macy’s Herald Square, the biggest department store in the U.S., it looked more like a normal day than the busiest shopping event of the year.At International Plaza and Bay Street mall in Tampa, Florida, a half-full parking lot still allowed shoppers to easily find a spot shortly after the stores opened at 9 a.m. Lindsay Grinstead, marketing and sponsorship director at the mall, said new safety measures have helped the mall gain shoppers’ trust: It provided the stores with a virtual-line app that allows customers to scan a QR code and save their spot in the queue without having to physically stand in line. The mall also doubled the curbside pick-up capacity to more than 100 parking spaces. Masks are required inside the mall as well as in the stores, with some, like Hollister and Forever 21, even providing masks at their entrances.Italy Cases, Deaths Steady (11:30 a.m. NY)Italy reported 827 virus deaths and 28,352 new daily cases, in line with the previous day. The number of patients in intensive care units across the country continued to fall for the second day, while total number of hospitalized patients fell for the fourth day. New infections declined 24% from week ago.France Expects Sanofi Vaccine in Large Amounts in June (11 a.m. NY)Sanofi’s Covid-19 vaccine is expected to be available “en masse” in June, French Industry Minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher said on RMC radio on Friday.While vaccines from competitors will be available in large quantities starting March, the minister says she pushed for the European Commission to sign a deal for Sanofi’s shot, “because it is based on a very well-known vaccine, on which we have a lot of hindsight, and for which we therefore have great hopes.” The French drugmaker’s vaccine candidate relies on technology Sanofi uses to make influenza shots, as well as GlaxoSmithKline adjuvants which enhance the body’s immune response. Pannier-Runacher said three of the six vaccines for which the commission has already signed contracts will be partly manufactured in France.NYC Daily Cases Rise Above 1,500 for First Time in Six Months (10:51 a.m. NY)New York City’s daily Covid-19 cases increased to more than 1,500 for the first time since May, based on a seven-day average.The seven-day average positive-test rate is 3.33%, the highest in recent weeks. The figure has been above 3% since it reach that level earlier this month, prompting a shutdown of city schools.While cases and the positivity rate have been causes for concern for de Blasio, the hospitalizations have not approached an unmanageable level. There were 114 admissions on Nov. 25 for Covid-like illnesses, of which 45% were positive for the virus.Spain Plans Three-Phase Vaccine Roll-Out (9:49 a.m. NY)There’ll be three phases in Spain’s vaccine treatment, starting in January and running through the European summer, Health Minister Salvador Illa said Friday. During the first phase, residents and workers in nursing homes, front-line health workers and other health-care workers will be treated. Spain will get 140 millions doses to treat 80 million people.U.K. Outbreak Stops Spreading Exponentially (8:47 a.m. NY)Government scientists estimate Britain’s nationwide transmission rate for the outbreak, or ‘R’ number, has fallen to 0.9-1.0. The measure is below 1 for first time since Sept. 4, which would mean the virus is no longer spreading exponentially.“The estimated growth rate means the number of new infections is shrinking by between 0% and 2% every day,” the government said in a statement.Austria to Share Vaccine Allocation With Balkan Nations (8 a.m. NY)Austria will share the vaccine doses it gets under the European Union’s joint procurement with the nearby countries of the Western Balkan, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said. The country is entitled to 2% of the EU’s vaccine order, which is probably more than needed domestically.The country’s Austria’s 7-day incidence of new cases fell for a 14th day, bringing the reproduction number down to 0.87, the lowest level since June. The country still recorded 400 new cases per 100,000 in the last 7 days, significantly more than neighboring Germany.Russia May Start Covid Vaccine Supplies to Hungary in Dec. (7:15 a.m. NY)Russia hopes to start supplying vaccines next month to Hungary, the first European country that received samples and documents of the Russian treatment. Russia also invited Hungarian doctors to observe testing and production in its local laboratories, Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said after meeting Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto in Budapest.Talks between the two countries include technology transfer to potentially produce the vaccine in Hungary.Cyprus Sets Nightime Curfew Starting Dec. 1 (6:30 a.m. NY)Cyprus imposed a national nighttime curfew from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. The measure, along with other restrictions, will apply Dec. 1-14. If the situation doesn’t improve, then the government will need to take further protective measures, Health Minister Konstantinos Ioannou said in a televised statement.Malaysia to Give Pfizer Shot to 20% of Population (5:57 p.m. HK)Malaysia signed an agreement with Pfizer Inc. to obtain its Covid-19 vaccine for 20% of the population, or about 6.4 million people, Science Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said. The country’s National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency will evaluate the vaccine for its safety and efficacy before it’s administered starting next year, the minister said in a Facebook post.Oxford to Study Anti-Inflammatory Drug in Trial (5:25 a.m. HK)U.K. researchers will begin testing a commonly available anti-inflammatory drug as part of a key trial by the University of Oxford.Colchicine will be administered to at least 2,500 Covid-19 patients in the Recovery trial, and be analyzed for its potential to reduce mortality when compared with standard of care. The trial, which has enrolled 18,000 patients so far, is expected to take several months to complete.Indonesia Record Deaths; Vaccine Delays Hit Nation (4:57 p.m. HK)The country reported 5,828 new coronavirus cases and 169 new deaths on Friday, the highest daily increases since the outbreak began. Indonesia seeks to counter the pandemic with vaccines. Now, as the coronavirus spreads across its vast archipelago, pressure is building to get them to 270 million people living on 17,000 islands.Ireland Set to Ease Lockdown (4 p.m. HK)Ireland, the first western European country to reimpose a lockdown, is set to sign off on an easing of coronavirus curbs on Friday.Prime Minister Micheal Martin will lay out a plan, which is likely to include reopening most stores, gyms and cinemas in coming days, after his cabinet finalizes the details. Bars serving food are likely to reopen, but so-called “wet pubs,” which serve only drinks, may remain closed. The government is also expected to relax a 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) curb on movement from home.In contrast, across the border, Northern Ireland is moving to introduce new curbs, including the closure of non-essential stores.Hungary to Decide on Christmas Opening (3:45 p.m. HK)The country’s cabinet will decide on Dec. 11 whether coronavirus curbs can be eased around Christmas, Premier Viktor Orban said on Friday on radio.While the proportion of hospitalized patients to overall infections has declined, altogether more people will need treatment as the virus is spreading and their number will reach 10,000 soon, he said. The country had 135 deaths and its 6,393 new daily cases were near a record high.Bulgaria Death Rate Rise to Highest in Europe (3:05 p.m. HK)Bulgaria surpassed the Czech Republic and Belgium to become the EU country with the highest number of deaths per 100,000 people over the past 14 days, according to data by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control.The Balkan country’s Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, who recovered from the virus two weeks ago, had repeatedly rejected a lockdown until this week. The government ordered a three-week partial closing starting Friday night — schools, restaurants, gyms and shopping centers will be closed, while private events are limited to 15 people.Tokyo Posts Record Day of Cases (2:30 p.m. HK)Tokyo posted its highest one-day number of coronavirus infections to date, with 570 cases recorded, on the final day before a request for bars and restaurants to close early comes into effect on Saturday.Some of the increase is likely due to a three-day weekend through Monday, which typically delays testing and recording of cases. The seven-day average of cases stands at 411, still lower than earlier in the week. The city also reported the most tests ever conducted in a single day, at almost 10,000.Severe Covid-19 cases in the capital, which the local government is tracking closely as its yardstick for requesting restrictions on businesses, rose to 61 from 60 the day before.India’s Hetero Gets Russian Vaccine Contract (2 p.m. HK)Russian Direct Investment Fund, which is involved in developing Sputnik V vaccine against the coronavirus, announced an accord with Hetero under which Indian company will produce 100 million doses a year of the inoculation.Separately, India’s Zydus Cadila’s vaccine is likely to enter phase III trials next month and a launch is expected by March if things go according to the plan, The Economic Times reported.Debate Erupts Over Japan Travel Campaign (10 a.m. HK)As the coronavirus resurges in Japan, politicians and experts are growing more divided on the impact that a subsidy program encouraging people to travel is having on the spread of Covid-19.The popular “Go To Travel” campaign, which discounts trips to boost regions hit hardest by a lack of tourists, is one of the government’s most prized projects for spurring the economy, and has been heavily backed by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.U.K. Moves to Get Vaccine Approved Before EU (8:03 a.m. HK)Health Secretary Matt Hancock asked the U.K. medical regulator to potentially bypass its European Union counterpart and approve the supply of AstraZeneca Plc’s Covid vaccine to speed its deployment.AstraZeneca Eyes Extra Global Vaccine Trial (8:02 a.m. HK)AstraZeneca Plc’s Covid-19 vaccine looks like it’s headed for an additional global trial as the drugmaker tries to clear up uncertainty and confusion surrounding favorable results in its current study.The company wants the new test to confirm the 90% efficacy rate that the shot showed in a portion of an existing trial, Chief Executive Officer Pascal Soriot said. It’s favoring that option rather than adding an arm to a separate study that’s already underway in the U.S.California’s Positive-Test Rate Hits 6.1% (6:15 p.m. NY)California reported 14,640 new cases on Thursday, bringing the total for the state to 1.2 million, behind only Texas in the U.S. It also reported 104 new deaths, boosting the number of fatalities to 18,979.The Golden State has raised concerns about the recent surge in cases. Its positive-test rate is now 6.1%, hovering at the highest level in three months. The number of available ICU beds also is near the lowest in four months as more patients are hospitalized.Australia’s Longest Lockdown Pays Off (4:20 p.m. NY)The state at the center of Australia’s worst coronavirus outbreak has gone 28 days with no new cases of the virus, an enviable record as the U.S. and many European countries grapple with surging infections or renewed lockdowns.One of the world’s strictest and longest stay-at-home orders enabled Victoria to crush community transmission after a daily peak of about 700 cases in early August. The success means Australia will be among a handful of western nations that can look forward to Christmas with limited restrictions on family gatherings and what authorities are calling a Covid-normal summer.Maradona Farewell Turns Chaotic, Upending Restrictions (3:23 p.m. NY)Hundreds of thousands of Argentines took to the streets of Buenos Aires to mourn Wednesday’s death of soccer icon Diego Maradona, upending the nation’s strict Covid restrictions.Pent-up emotions after eight months of curbs spilled over as people streamed into the palace known as Casa Rosada and police clashed with crowds in and around the Plaza de Mayo.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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