Coronavirus Outbreak: Live Updates and News for Mar. 20, 2020

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The coronavirus pandemic has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people globally, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The disease is infecting people at a faster rate now — it took three months for the first 100,000 cases, but only 12 days for the next 100,000, according to the World Health Organization.

The number of dead in Italy surpassed those in China, which again reported no new cases in the outbreak’s initial epicenter.

California announced a statewide stay-in-place order, the most stringent U.S. effort yet to curb the spread of the virus.

The U.S. warned Americans not to travel abroad and recommended that those who are overseas come home. U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell released a massive stimulus plan for consumers, companies and local governments.Key Developments:

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.

Note: WHO reporting began on Jan. 21. Chart shows only the first 30 days with more than 100 cases for each area.

The Bank of England canceled its annual health check of eight major U.K. banks and building societies due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The move was made to “help lenders focus on meeting the needs of U.K. households and businesses via the continuing provision of credit,” the BOE said. The 2019 stress tests showed the U.K. banking system “resilient to deep simultaneous recessions in the U.K.”

The U.K. grocer said it’s no longer possible to give meaningful guidance on its future earnings prospects, as U.K. shoppers self-isolate and work from home. Clothing sales will be severely impacted by the virus, it said, and it’s not getting the same benefit from hoarding that’s boosting other British grocers.

Marks & Spencer’s clothing arm is expected to suffer in particular from the downturn. The company said it may have to close some stores and doesn’t know when things will return to normal.

The World Health Organization said it developed new guidelines to investigate the extent of infection among the population with antibody tests. Thirteen countries have begun to implement some of the investigation protocols, and another 18 said they plan to do so. More widespread testing would give better information about the disease.

The U.K. government has worked with rail operators to agree a reduction in rail services in an effort to minimize the spread of the virus. Rail services will be reduced from March 23 and kept under review, with the government saying the move reflects a decrease in passenger demand.

Coronavirus data tracked by Johns Hopkins University show total number of deaths stemming from the growing pandemic at 10,030. The number of people infected worldwide is nearing 245,000 with most cases in China, followed by Italy and Iran, according to its data.

Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon will reduce capacity by 96% across their passenger network in April and May in light of the severe drop in demand due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to an emailed statement.

Earlier, HK Express, Cathay Pacific’s budget airline, said it will suspend all flights from March 23 to April 30 because of a significant drop in travel demand.

Saudi Arabia will suspend local flights, buses, cabs and trains for two weeks, state-run Saudi Press Agency said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a five-month delay in handing down the federal budget as his government grapples to limit the economic impact of the coronavirus.

The CFA Institute postponed its June exam and candidates who had signed up for this test will get a chance in December. The institute is working with its partners globally to determine when that might be, according to a statement Thursday. December is the earliest opportunity for the exam to be re-administered.

Governor Gavin Newsom outlined the measure at a press conference. The entire state of California will be under a stay-in-place order starting Thursday evening. The order, however, allows people to leave their homes for essential work like purchasing groceries. Newsom earlier estimated 56% of the state’s population will become infected.

“This is a moment where we need some straight talk,” he said. “As individuals and as a community we need to do more to meet this moment.

President Alberto Fernandez announced a mandatory isolation measure starting March 20 until March 31. Supermarkets and pharmacies will remain open while food producers and refineries are exempt from the decree. Security forces will patrol the streets to strictly enforce the measure.

All 39 additional coronavirus cases on March 19 are imported, according to China’s National Health Commission.

China’s total death toll rose by 3 to 3,248. Of the latest fatalities, two are from Hubei province, the original epicenter of the outbreak.

New York City will run out of medical supplies in two to three weeks if not replenished, Mayor Bill de Blasio told CNN.

De Blasio called on U.S. President Donald Trump to bring in the military to help distribute supplies and other support. New York City currently needs 50 million surgical masks, 25 million hospital gowns and 15,000 ventilators.

President Donald Trump will hold this June’s Group of Seven meeting by video conference rather than hosting world leaders at Camp David as world leaders grapple with the coronavirus outbreak, the White House said.

Amid widespread complaints about a shortage of testing capacity, the U.S. will fly weekly military airlift missions to Italy to pick up pallets of coronavirus testing kit swabs and vials, Peter Navarro, the White House director of trade and manufacturing policy, said in an interview.

The swabs are made by an Italian facility of Copan Diagnostics Inc. The first shipment of 800,000 swabs and collection vials were delivered this week via C-17 cargo planes arriving to Memphis, Navarro said. Another flight is on its way Thursday, and as many as three flights a week will continue for as long as necessary, he said.

Cars line up at a coronavirus drive-thru test clinic at the San Mateo County Event Center on March 16.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell released a massive stimulus plan to counter the economic consequences of the pandemic. A centerpiece of the package is tax rebates to individuals of $1,200 and $2,400 for married couples. The legislation also provides $208 billion worth of loans for businesses suffering due to the coronavirus pandemic, including $58 billion for the airline sector and $150 billion for other distressed areas of the economy.

The U.K.’s chief negotiator for its trade talks with the European Union, David Frost, is isolating himself after showing symptoms of coronavirus, a British official said. It comes after Michel Barnier, Frost’s EU counterpart, announced on Twitter earlier on Thursday that he had tested positive for the disease. The two men had not had contact since the first round of talks in Brussels two weeks ago.

The news is likely to crush any hopes that the negotiations over the two sides’ future trade relationship can make any substantial progress while the global pandemic continues. This week’s round of talks, scheduled for London, had already been put on hold.

The U.S. Justice Department escalated a global travel alert to its highest level, telling Americans to avoid all international trips. U.S. citizens in other countries should arrange for immediate return home unless they are prepared to stay abroad indefinitely, the agency said in an advisory.

“If you choose to travel internationally, your travel plans may be severely disrupted, and you may be forced to remain outside of the United States for an indefinite timeframe,” the advisory says.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that some Londoner aren’t doing enough to contain the spread of the coronavirus and that he would take more steps if necessary. He said earlier, however, that London wouldn’t be locked down.

He also said Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak will announce actions on Friday to support struggling businesses.

Italy surpassed China as the country with the most coronavirus deaths, as its number of fatalities reached 3,405 and the pandemic’s global spread accelerates. China has reported 3,248 deaths.

While African nations have some undetected cases, it’s probably not a large number, said Matshidiso Moeti, the region’s director at the World Health Organization. It’s difficult to estimate the true case load, she said.

Social distancing and proper hand-washing can be a challenge in some parts of Africa, she added. Families might not have room to isolate infected patients, and soap and clean water are limited in some locations, she said. Non-governmental organizations can help to ensure access to clean water, sanitation and soap in Africa.

The U.K. is contacting 15,000 retired and former doctors who have left the profession in the last three years to see if they are willing to help with efforts to fight the pandemic, the General Medical Council said in a statement Thursday. A third of those being contacted are aged 44 and under.

The GMC will grant the entire group automatic temporary registration to practice with no reassessment.

The Food and Drug Administration has been told by President Donald Trump to see if it can expand the use of an experimental malaria drug, chloroquine, to treat patients in the middle of the U.S. coronavirus outbreak.

At a press conference at the White House Thursday, Trump and the head of the FDA gave apparently conflicting comments about the availability of the drug. Trump said chloroquine had been approved and could be given to patients by doctors with a prescription.

Donald Trump speaks during a teleconference with governors at the Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters on March 19.

Minutes later, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, said that use of the drug would be in a clinical trial to find out whether or not it works, and if so, what dose would safe and effective.

Post time: Mar-20-2020
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