Europe Tightens Curbs; J&J Pauses Vaccine Trial: Virus Update

Johnson & Johnson paused its Covid-19 vaccine trial due to a participant’sunexplained illness. Singapore marked a milestone in its virus fight, reporting no new local cases for thefirst time since February.

A study in the Lancet showed reinfection can occur swiftly, and thesecond bout can be more severe. President Donald Trump held a rally after testing negative for Covid-19, even as top U.S. infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci saidthe events could spread the virus.

The World Health Organization said global cases set a new weekly record, as countries across Europewidened curbs to try to regain a grip on the pandemic. Infections rose at thefastest pace since April in Germany, and investor confidence in the outlook for the country’s economyplunged. Russia and Hungary reported record daily death tolls.

Key Developments:

  • Global Tracker: cases pass 37.8 million; deaths 1.08 million
  • Covid, Brexit and job cuts converge on adefiant English town
  • WHO’s Tedros urges countries not to seekherd immunity
  • Volunteers for Covid infection could soon get the call in Britain
  • Amazon pandemicPrime Day steals rivals’ Black Friday spotlight
  • Europebraces for surge in virus patients to hit hospitals soon

Subscribe to a daily update on the virus from Bloomberg’s Prognosis teamhere. Click CVID on the terminal for global data on coronavirus cases and deaths.

EU Loosens Aid Rules for States to Cover More Virus Losses (6 a.m. NY)

European Union aid rules wereloosened again to allow governments to cover as much as 3 million euros ($3.5 million) of companies’ fixed costs as the European economy suffers the steepest recession in living memory.

14% of Cases in Study Were Health Workers: WHO (5:40 p.m. HK)

In a study of 83 countries, mostly in Europe and the Americas, about 14% of the cases reported to the WHO affected health-care workers, who make up less than 3% of the global population. However, the data also signal there’s been a “substantial” decline in health-care worker infections since the start of the pandemic, the WHO said.

Malaysia Will Be Priority Recipient of China’s Vaccine: PM (5:34 p.m. HK)

Malaysia will be the priority recipient of the coronavirus vaccine that China is developing, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said in a televised address on Tuesday. Muhyiddin had a video discussion with China’s foreign minister on cooperation between the two countries.

Hong Kong Extends Distancing Measures for Week (5:22 p.m. HK)

Hong Kong will extend all social distancing rules for another week to Oct. 22, according to a government statement. Rules include a public-gathering limit of four people, compulsory mask-wearing and no dining in restaurants after midnight.

Investor Hopes for German Recovery Plunge (5:06 p.m. HK)

Investor confidence in the outlook for Germany’s economy plunged, in a sign of concern that resurgent infections could hurt the recovery. The ZEW’s gauge of prospects for the next six months dropped to 56.1 in October — the lowest in five months — from 77.4 in September. That’s far below the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey. The measure for the euro area also dropped.

Germany had 6,541 new infections in the 24 hours through Tuesday morning, taking the total to 332,850, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. That’s thehighest daily increase since April 3 and only slightly below the peak levels of almost 7,000 registered in spring this year. There were 19 new fatalities, lifting the overall number of deaths to 9,640.

Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday warned that Germany faces a crucial moment. She will meet the premiers of the country’s 16 states on Wednesday to decide on new measures.

Italy Targets Bars, Restaurants in New Curbs (4:07 p.m. HK)

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte imposed a series of new curbs on nightlife, social events and amateur sports as the pandemic intensifies, albeit at a slower pace than in other major European nations. He signed a decree that focuses especially on bars and restaurants, as the government seeks to avert a new national lockdown after one of the strictest and longest in the continent earlier this year.

Paris ICUs May Be 90% Full of Covid Patients by End-October (4 p.m. HK)

Intensive care beds in hospitals run by Assistance Publique-Hopitaux de Paris may be 90% occupied with Covid-19 patients by the end of October, AP-HP head Martin Hirsch said in an interview with local newspaper Le Parisien published late Monday.

The AP-HP hospitals have about 1,150 intensive care beds in normal times, of which 450 are currently taken by Covid patients, Hirsch said. Based on how many people are testing positive for the virus and the occupancy rates, that could rise to about 1,000 by the end of the month, he said.

Russia, Hungary Report Record Daily Death Toll (3:50 p.m. HK)

Russia reported its highest number of deaths over 24 hours from Covid-19. The total of 244 exceeds the previous high of 232 on May 29, according to data from the country’s anti-coronavirus task force. Overall, 22,966 people have died from the disease, it said.

Russia’s Federal Statistics Service estimates the fatality toll from the virus at double the level reported by the virus-response center, including cases in which people didn’t die directly from Covid-19. Russia has recorded the fourth-largest number of infections in the world.

Hungary also registered record coronavirus deaths on Monday, as well as 1,025 new cases, official data show.

Singapore Reports No New Local Virus Cases (3:45 p.m. HK)

Singapore recorded no new local cases of Covid-19 for the first time since February, rebounding from an outbreak in migrant worker dormitories that had contributed to more than 1,000 infections a day. There wereno cases in the community or the worker dormitories, according to a statement Tuesday from the Ministry of Health. The city-state still had four new imported cases. Two months ago, Singapore declared dormitories clear of the virus, though some clusters persisted.

U.K. Scientists Clash With Johnson Over Lockdown Plans (3:28 p.m. HK)

Boris Johnson clashed with his own government’s scientific advisers afterdocuments were released showing they wanted tougher action against the resurgent coronavirus outbreak in the U.K. in September.

The British prime minister announced Monday that bars and pubs will be closed in the worst-hit parts of England from Wednesday to control the pandemic as he tried to restore clarity and credibility to hismuch-criticized strategy. He said he hoped to avoid another full national lockdown and that his plan would work if people followed the advice.

But England’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty warned the new measures won’t be enough, and newly released papers showed the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) recommended national or regional restrictions to slow the spread of the virus last month.

U.K. job cuts jumped themost on record in the three months through August even as the lockdown eased, raising concern that the worst is yet to come.

Philippines Relaxes Transport Rules Despite Case Uptick (3:26 p.m. HK)

The Philippines will ease distancing rules in public transport and may allow more businesses to operate at full capacity, despite daily cases hitting a four-week high. Buses and trains are allowed to sit passengers one-seat apart, even if it’s less than the 1-meter distance the government requires, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said. Trains can also operate at half capacity, and commuters may eventually be allowed to sit beside each other as long as there’s a barrier.

Dutch Woman Dies After Second Covid-19 Infection (2:20 p.m. H.K.)

An 89-year-old Dutch woman died after testing positive a second time for Covid-19, according to researchers, in what may be the first case of a death from a reinfection.

The woman, who was also underchemotherapy treatment for a rare white blood cell cancer, became sick again two months after the first test, according to a report published by Oxford University Press for the Infectious Diseases Society of America. While there were no negative tests between the two episodes, the viral genomes were different, suggesting a second infection.

IEA Sees Long-Term Damage to Oil Demand (12:50 p.m. H.K.)

Oil demand will take years to recover from the pandemic and will peak at a lower level, the International Energy Agency said. After an unprecedented 8% drop this year, global oil consumption will return to pre-crisis levels in 2023, if Covid-19 is brought under control next year, the agency said. Even in that case, the most optimistic scenario for oil considered by the IEA, the pandemic will have anenduring impact.

J&J Vaccine Study Paused Due to Illness (10:27 a.m. H.K.)

Johnson & Johnson paused its Covid-19 vaccine study due to the “unexplained illness” of a participant, the second time that a front-runner developer has suspended a trial amid the intensifying race to create a viable immunization against the virus.

The participant’s illness is being probed, and the company will share more information after a further investigation. The company will also report results later today. “Adverse events – illnesses, accidents, etc. – even those that are serious, are an expected part of any clinical study, especially large studies,” it said.

Earlier this month, J&J joined the short list of vaccine makers that have moved an experimental coronavirus shot into late-stage human studies in the U.S. It has since begun dosing up to 60,000 volunteers, marking the first big trial of an Covid-19 inoculation that may work after just one shot. STAT earlier reported that a document sent to outside researchers running the trial said that a “pausing rule” has been met, that the online system used to enroll participants in the study has been closed, and that the data and safety monitoring board would convene.

Sinopharm Units Rally on Report on Covid-19 Vaccine (11:38 a.m. H.K.)

Units of China National Pharmaceutical Group, known as Sinopharm,rose on a report that inoculation by its coronavirus vaccines is available through appointments in Beijing and Wuhan. The company will administer two vaccines being developed by subsidiary China National Biotec Group, local news outlet Jiemian reported, citing unidentified sources.

China reports 7 imported infections for Oct. 12 (9:57 a.m. H.K.)

China reported 13 coronavirus cases for Oct. 12, including 7 imported infections. The remaining six were from a new clusterdisclosed yesterday in the eastern port city of Qingdao, when China ended a streak of more than two months without local transmission.

Underscoring the country’s continued recovery from its pandemic-induced economic slump, deliveries of sedans, SUVs, minivans and multipurpose vehiclesrose 7.4% in September from a year earlier to 1.94 million units, according to the China Passenger Car Association. That’s the third straight monthly rise and contrasts with weakness in the U.S. and Europe.

Corona Struck Nevada Man Worse the Second Time (9:09 a.m. H.K.)

The first study to probe the case of a person in the U.S. who contracted Covid-19 twicefound re-infection can occur swiftly and the second bout of illness can be more severe. A 25-year-old man in Nevada became infected with two different genetic variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in less than two months, with negative tests in between. The second bout led to his hospitalization.

“Our findings signal that a previous SARS-CoV-2 infection may not necessarily protect against future infection,” saidMark Pandori, director of the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory and lead author of the study. “The possibility of reinfections could have significant implications for our understanding of Covid-19 immunity, especially in the absence of an effective vaccine.”

— With assistance by Adrian Kennedy

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