China Cases Jump; IMF to Further Lower Forecast: Virus Update

(Bloomberg) —

China cases jumped the most in almost two months as Beijing shut a major food market and nearby housing districts amid fears of a resurgence of the coronavirus.

The International Monetary Fund expects to further revise down its forecast for the global economy this year. U.S. cases rose at the fastest pace in two weeks while Brazil’s infections increased 2.6% and deaths climbed 2.1%.

AstraZeneca Plc pledged 400 million doses of Oxford University’s vaccine at no profit. Pfizer’s CEO expects a vaccine by October. Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd. has a deal with Gilead Sciences Inc. for Remdesivir. and Sinovac Biotech Ltd. said its coronavirus shot is safe.

Key Developments:

Virus Tracker: Cases pass 7.7 million; deaths exceed 430,000Beijing shuts biggest fruit and vegetable marketBusinesses transformed by Covid-19 plan to keep the changesAsia’s densest slum has become a model for beating the virusAs lockdown lifts, New York City still longs for its old selfHow a “second wave” sparks renewed pandemic fears

Subscribe to a daily update on the virus from Bloomberg’s Prognosis team here. Click VRUS on the terminal for news and data on the coronavirus. For a look back at this week’s top stories from QuickTake, click here.

South African Scientists Seek More Focused Testing System (3:14 p.m. HK)

Scientists in South Africa, which reported its highest daily infections on Saturday, are asking the government to stop mass testing in favor of a more focused strategy.

The current process needs to be dropped in favor of testing health workers and people in hospitals, due to serious resource constraints and testing backlogs, Francois Venter, a senior member of the Ministerial Advisory Committee, told local newspaper News 24.

The country has done about 180,000 tests and reported 1,423 deaths. On Saturday it registered 3,809 new cases, bringing total infections to 65,736. Cape Town, the main tourist hub, and the surrounding Western Cape province, remains the nation’s epicenter for the pandemic, with 62% of infections.

Beijing Airport Shuttle Bus Driver Infected With Virus (2:18 p.m. HK)

A bus driver for Beijing’s civil airport shuttle bus company has been infected with the coronavirus.

The 56-year-old man visited the Xinfadi market on June 3 and felt discomfort two days later before going to a hospital that confirmed his infection, the Global Times reported citing government officials. The market, Beijing’s biggest for fruits and vegetables, was closed on Saturday after a spike of infections in the city.

IMF to Further Lower 2020 Global Economic Forecast: Georgieva (12 p.m. HK)

The IMF will probably lower its 2020 economic growth estimate from its April forecast of a 3% contraction, said Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva.

A new outlook will be released on June 24 and is expected to reflect extremely challenging conditions, Georgieva said in a speech on June 13 and posted on IMF’s website.

“We are likely to revise downward further on the basis of incoming data, which tells us that most countries are doing worse than we had projected,” she said, noting that only a small number of states are doing better, but not enough to prop up growth. “The real economy is hit hard.”

New Zealand to Spend $60 Million Boosting Labs, Pharmacies (10:30 a.m. HK)

New Zealand, which last week reported zero active cases of Covid-19, will spend NZ$92.6 million ($60 million) to improve health services and deal with any resurgence of the virus.

The spending includes NZ$37 million for testing, NZ$18 million for community pharmacies and also money for ventilators and respiratory equipment, Health Minister David Clark said in a statement Sunday.

The country has said it would remove remaining restrictions on people and businesses, other than border controls, after the last of its coronavirus patients recovered, making it one of the few countries to successfully eradicate the pathogen.

Sinovac’s Vaccine Trial Data Suggest Potential in Virus Defense (9:49 a.m. HK)

Sinovac said its shot is safe and capable of eliciting an immune response from human trials, suggesting it has potential in defending against infection of the novel coronavirus.

The Beijing-based company’s vaccine, called CoronaVac, hasn’t caused severe side effects and more than 90% of people administered with the shot on a 14-day interval have induced neutralizing antibodies two weeks after inoculation, Sinovac said in a press release on Sunday. The preliminary findings come from phase I and II trials in China.

Using a killed version of the coronavirus, Sinovac’s vaccine is among five Chinese experimental shots that have reached the crucial final stage of human testing before they can be approved for public use.

China Reports 57 New Virus Cases, Most of Them in Beijing (8:53 a.m. HK)

China reported 57 new virus cases for June 13, the biggest spike since mid-April, with most of the infections coming in Beijing.

Imported cases accounted for 19 of the infections with 36 of the 38 local transmissions came in the capital. Beijing closed the Xinfadi fruit and vegetable supply center from early Saturday and locked down 11 nearby residential sub-districts amid increased fears of a resurgence in the pandemic.

Of the more than 500 samples collected from the center, 45 people were found with Covid-19 and they had no clinical symptoms, local authorities said. The Xinfadi market covers an area of 112 hectares and has some 1,500 management personnel and more than 4,000 tenants. Beijing authorities said at least 10,000 people at Xinfadi will take a nucleic acid test, CGTN reported. The virus was detected on a chopping board used by a seller of imported salmon, according to the Global Times.

Australia’s Victoria Further Eases Social Distancing Rules (7:28 a.m. HK)

Victoria, Australia’s second most populous state, will allow as many as 50 people to attend religious ceremonies and be seated in pubs and restaurants from June 22 as part of the latest easing of social distancing requirements.

Sports training and competition for people 18 years or younger will resume while non-contact sports can return for all age groups, Premier Daniel Andrews said in a statement Sunday. Indoor sports centers and gyms will be able to have as many as 20 people per space.

Australia has 7,302 cases and has recorded 102 deaths from Covid-19, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Cuomo Hails N.Y. Turnaround (7:15 a.m. HK)

Governor Andrew Cuomo said New York had a “dramatic turnaround,” from a rapid spread and almost 800 coronavirus deaths in one day in April to reaching one of the lowest infection rates in the nation.

“New York is the anomaly,” Cuomo said at his daily briefing. “From the worst infection rate to the best, that’s what New Yorkers have accomplished. The most dramatic turnaround in the country.”

The transmission rate is 0.77, he said, lowest in the nation, meaning a person with the disease infects fewer than one person. Above one, he said, “You’ve lost control of the virus.”

Brazil Cases Climb 2.6% (6:05 a.m. HK)

Brazil reported 21,704 new cases, a 2.6% increase, bringing the total to 850,514, according to data released Saturday by the States Health Secretaries. The nation added 892 deaths, a 2.1% increase, to 42,720. On Friday, Brazil reported 909 fatalities.

The biggest economy in South America has almost four times as many infections as Peru and more than double the deaths in Mexico.

WHO Reports Record for New Cases (5:40 p.m. NY)

The World Health Organization reported 142,672 new coronavirus cases in the 24 hours ended early Saturday, a 4.5% increase. New infections have exceeded 120,000 for three straight days, the WHO said. The total on Friday was 136,572.

Latin America countries from Mexico to the Caribbean account for almost 40% of new infections, led by Brazil. WHO said cases in the region’s biggest economy jumped more than 30,000, quadruple the total for Chile, which ranks second in the region.

Washington State Warns of Surge in Cases (4:40 p.m NY)

Washington state’s cases and deaths may “soon increase substantially” in four counties in the south-central region as transmission continues to accelerate, the health department said in a report.

The uptick is probably tied to Memorial Day activities and not recent protests, the department said. However, The trend “will lead to increasingly explosive growth in cases and deaths if not contained,” according to the report. The counties in the region may need efforts to expand hospital capacity and testing, it said.

Governor Jay Inslee said the state will develop “some creative solutions” to control the spread.

U.S. Cases Rose 1.4%, Biggest Jump in June (4 p.m. NY)

Cases in the U.S. increased by 28,312 from the same time Friday to 2.06 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The 1.4% jump was above the average daily increase of 1.1% for the past week, and the highest so far in June. Deaths rose 0.8% to 115,059.

New York had 916 new cases, a 0.2% increase, raising the total to 382,630, and deaths reported by the health department at 24,527.New Jersey reported 523 new cases, a 0.3% advance, pushing the total to 166,605, with 103 new deaths, for a total of 12,589.California cases rose 2.6%, or 3,660 — the second-biggest one-day increase — for a total of 145,643, with 46 new deaths, a 0.9% rise, to 4,989.Illinois registered 673 new cases, a 0.5% rise, for a total of 131,871, with 29 deaths, pushing the toll to 6,289.Pennsylvania reported 463 new cases, a 0.6% increase, bringing the statewide total to 78,462, with 49 new deaths, taking the toll to 6,211.

Subway Ridership Up 19% For Week (3 p.m. NY)

New York City is slowly riding back to work as businesses started to reopen, with a fifth more subway commuters from the previous work week, according to Metropolitan Transportation Authority data.

The subway carried an average of 877,158 passengers from Monday to Friday, up from 735,747 the same days a week earlier. That’s also twice as many as in mid-April, peak of the outbreak. Before Covid-19, the system carried almost 6 million riders on Feb. 5.

At Penn Station, the hub for the Long Island Rail Road and Amtrak, weekday traffic posted a similar gain to an average of 15,430, down from the year’s high of about 166,000 in January. Subway ridership at Grand Central Terminal, which serves points north of the city, rose 15% from the week before, to an average of 13,248, less than a 10th of its 2020 peak.

Pfizer CEO Expects October Vaccine (1:40 p.m. NY)

A vaccine to fight Covid-19 could be ready in October, barring any setbacks, Pfizer’s Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla said in an interview with the Greek newspaper Kathimerini.

If things continue to go well and “we won’t find ourselves in front of any surprises, in October we may have a vaccine,” he said. The aim is for pharmaceutical companies and the relevant authorities worldwide to be sure the vaccine is safe and effective when it’s ready, Bourla said.

He said Pfizer’s budget has $2 billion for investments in research on anti-virus drugs and mainly for the vaccine.

Italy’s New Cases Rise (12:20 p.m. NY)

Italy registered 346 new cases Saturday, compared with a daily average of 274 this month through Friday. The country had a one-day peak of 6,557 on March 21. A total of 236,651 cases have been reported since the end of February. The death toll rose to 34,301 with 55 fatalities on Saturday. About 61% of new cases were reported in Lombardy, the virus epicenter in Italy’s north that includes Milan.

Latin America Accounts for 40% of New Cases (10:30 a.m. NY)

Infections in Latin America now exceed 1.4 million, more than a quarter of the world’s total, and the region accounts for more than 40% of all new cases, based on World Health Organization data.

Mexico reported 5,222 cases on Friday, Chile announced 6,754 and Argentina had 1,391 — all of them new highs. Chile registered its highest daily death toll to date, with 222. Brazil, the largest country in Latin America, has almost four times as many cases as any other country in the region.

AstraZeneca Europe Vaccine Deal (9:06 a.m. NY)

AstraZeneca Plc said it will provide up to 400 million doses of a vaccine it’s developing with Oxford University to Europe starting at the end of the year. The company said it struck an agreement with the Inclusive Vaccines Alliance spearheaded by Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands. It’s reached similar agreements with the U.K., U.S. and global vaccine groups.

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