Wed. Oct 21st, 2020
EU Strikes Vaccine Deal; India Death Toll Mounts: Virus Update

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The European Commission reached a provisional agreement with BioNTech SE and Pfizer Inc. for the supply of 200 million doses of any successful Covid-19 vaccine. AstraZeneca Plc, meantime, paused its late-stage vaccine study after a participant became ill.

Germany’s virus reproduction number remained above a key threshold, fresh evidence of the pandemic’s resurgence in Europe. India recorded more than 1,000 fatalities for an eighth straight day.

    The Czech Republic will require face masks in indoor spaces to curb Covid-19 after new infections rose to records. U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is forbidding social gatherings of more than six people in England.
    <h3 id="key-developments">Key Developments:</h3><ul><li><a href="" id="458" itemprop="StoryLink" itemscope="itemscope" title="Link to data" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer"><meta itemprop="type" content="WebLink"/>Global Tracker</a>: Cases surpass 27.5 million; deaths exceed 897,000</li><li>AstraZeneca’s <a href="" itemprop="StoryLink" itemscope="itemscope" title="AstraZeneca’s Setback Delivers Reality Check on Vaccine Risks" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><meta itemprop="suid" content="QGDMCNDWX2PT"/><meta itemprop="type" content="StoryLink"/>setback</a> delivers reality check on vaccine risks</li><li><a href="" itemprop="StoryLink" itemscope="itemscope" title="Island Mystery Highlights Uncoordinated U.K. Travel Quarantines" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><meta itemprop="suid" content="QGDHT7DWRGGL"/><meta itemprop="type" content="StoryLink"/>Island mystery</a> highlights uncoordinated U.K. travel quarantines</li><li>JPMorgan warning shows banks at risk in hunt for <a href="/news/terminal/QGD060T0AFB5" itemprop="StoryLink" itemscope="itemscope" title="JPMorgan Warning Shows Banks at Risk in Hunt for Pandemic Fraud" class="terminal-news-story" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><meta itemprop="suid" content="QGD060T0AFB5"/><meta itemprop="type" content="StoryLink"/>pandemic fraud</a></li><li>Covid lockdowns boost Eastern Europe’s <a href="/news/terminal/QGCIC0DWLU6G" itemprop="StoryLink" itemscope="itemscope" title="Covid Lockdowns Boost Eastern Europe’s Video Game Companies" class="terminal-news-story" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><meta itemprop="suid" content="QGCIC0DWLU6G"/><meta itemprop="type" content="StoryLink"/>video game</a> companies</li><li>The <a href="" itemprop="StoryLink" itemscope="itemscope" title="The Keys to Speed in Race for Vaccine, and Its Perils: QuickTake" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><meta itemprop="suid" content="QGDS7HT0G1KX"/><meta itemprop="type" content="StoryLink"/>keys to speed</a> in race for vaccine, and its perils: QuickTake</li></ul>Subscribe to a daily update on the virus from Bloomberg’s Prognosis team <a href="" itemprop="StoryLink" itemscope="itemscope" title="Newsletter signup" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><meta itemprop="type" content="WebLink"/>here</a>. Click CVID on the terminal for global data on coronavirus cases and deaths.</p><figure data-align="center" data-id="364480863" data-image-size="full" data-image-type="chart" data-type="image" id="469" class="figure-expandable"><div class="image" tabindex="0" role="button" aria-label="Open image in viewer"><div id="lazy-img-364480863" class="lazy-img"><img src="" alt="India's virus cases pass Brazil to make it world's second-worst hit country" data-native-src="" class="lazy-img__image" data-img-type="chart"/></div></div></figure><h3 id="singapore-to-step-up-contact-tracing-713-am-ny">Singapore to Step Up Contact Tracing (7:13 a.m. NY)</h3><p>Singapore will pilot contact tracing to enter selected venues using a mobile app or tokens provided by the government, an effort that may pave the way for larger gatherings.

    “TraceTogether-only SafeEntry” may be expanded to include venues for groups like business meetings, the Ministry of Health said Wednesday. About 2.4 million people have downloaded the TraceTogether phone app, Vivian Balakrishnan, the minister of foreign affairs who’s charged with Singapore’s Smart Nation Initiative, told reporters at a briefing.</p><h3 id="lvmh-pulls-out-of-tiffany-deal-704-am-ny">LVMH Pulls Out of Tiffany Deal (7:04 a.m. NY)</h3><p>LVMH said it’s <a href="" itemprop="StoryLink" itemscope="itemscope" title="LVMH Pulls Out of $16 Billion Tiffany Deal, Citing Tariffs (1)" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><meta itemprop="suid" content="QGDZIODWLU6R"/><meta itemprop="type" content="StoryLink"/>calling off</a> a deal to buy Tiffany, citing delays to the proposed $16 billion agreement stemming from a U.S. move to impose tariffs on French goods. The Louis Vuitton owner’s retreat followed Tiffany’s move to push back the closing date from a previously set November target, according to a statement from the French luxury giant.

    Tiffany countered with a lawsuit seeking to enforce the merger agreement. The French company has been seeking to leverage the U.S. protests against police brutality and the Covid-19 pandemic to seek a lower price, the jeweler said in a separate statement.</p><h3 id="czech-republic-requires-face-masks-618-am-ny">Czech Republic Requires Face Masks (6:18 a.m NY)</h3><p>The Czech Republic ordered face masks be worn in all indoor spaces to curb Covid-19 as infections accelerate across eastern Europe.

New cases on Tuesday exceeded 1,000 for the first time since the start of the pandemic, only about 200 fewer than in neighboring Germany, which has a population 8 times larger. The government in Prague has pledged to avoid a repeat of a nationwide lockdown.

EU in Vaccine Accord With Pfizer, BioNTech (6:03 a.m. NY)

The preliminary deal by the European Commission, the European Union’s executive arm, includes an option for a further 100 million doses, and follows similar accords with other drug companies and the signing of an actual contract last month with AstraZeneca for 300 million doses.

The EU didn’t disclose financial terms. Pfizer and BioNTech previously agreed to supply 120 million doses to Japan, while the U.S. in July reached a deal to pay $2 billion for an initial 100 million doses, with an option for 500 million more.

Austrian Cases Hover Near Highest Since April (5:53 p.m. HK)

Austria added 502 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours after 520 the previous day, the highest level since April 1. Most of the new cases were recorded in the capital Vienna, where school restarted on Monday and returnees from Balkan countries represent a large part of the infections.

The rise hasn’t translated into a significant increase of deaths, hospitalizations or intensive care patients, however, suggesting milder symptoms than in March and April are prevalent.

French PM to Isolate Even After Testing Negative (5:30 p.m. HK)

The French government will hold its weekly cabinet meeting under special circumstances, as its premier remains isolated after coming into contact with an infected person at the Tour de France.

Prime Minister Jean Castex will work from home for a week despite testing negative for the coronavirus, until he can confirm he doesn’t have it with a second test, his office said. Castex rode in a car last week with the head of the Tour de France, Christian Prudhomme, who has tested positive.

China Airshow Canceled (3:46 p.m. HK)

China’s biggest airshow, which takes place every two years in the southern city of Zhuhai, has been canceled due to the coronavirus, according to a statement Wednesday.

The China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition was due to take place in November and feature industry giants including Boeing Co. and Airbus SE. The biennial show first took place in 1996 and is often used by China to showcase its vast array of military equipment.

India Sees 1,000+ Virus Deaths for Eighth Straight Day (2:41 p.m. HK)

India’s fatalities from coronavirus infections are creeping up after the country surpassed Brazil to have the world’s second-highest number of cases.

India has reported more than 1,000 deaths from Covid-19 for eight consecutive days. That’s higher than the daily death toll in other hard-hit nations like the U.S., Brazil, Russia and Mexico. With almost 74,000 virus-related deaths, India has the world’s third-most people killed by the virus.

AstraZeneca Pauses Vaccine Trial After Illness (2:10 p.m. HK)

AstraZeneca Plc stopped giving shots of its experimental coronavirus vaccine after a person participating in one of the company’s studies got sick, a potential adverse reaction that could delay or derail efforts to speed an immunization against Covid-19 for the world.

The pause stemmed from a standard review of the company’s vaccine trials after one person developed an unexplained illness, AstraZeneca said in a statement. The move was intended to give researchers time to examine safety data while maintaining the integrity of the trials, the company said.

The vaccine, which AstraZeneca is developing with researchers from the University of Oxford, has been viewed as one of the leading candidates to reach the market. Earlier, frontrunners in the race for a Covid-19 vaccine pledged to avoid shortcuts on science as they face pressure to rush a shot to market.

<figcaption readability="2.5"><div class="news-figure-caption-text" readability="33"><p>AstraZeneca has paused research on its experimental coronavirus vaccine after a person who is participating in a clinical trial became ill. Bloomberg’s Riley Griffin reports on “Bloomberg</p></div><div class="news-figure-credit" readability="7"><p>Markets: China Open.” (Source: Bloomberg)</p></div></figcaption></figure><h3 id="germanys-new-cases-above-1300-infection-rate-stays-above-10-203-pm-hk">Germany’s New Cases Above 1,300, Infection Rate Stays Above 1.0 (2:03 p.m. HK)</h3><p>New coronavirus cases hovered around 1,300, while the reproduction number of the virus, known as R-naught, remained over the key threshold of 1.0 for a fourth day.

    There were 1,331 new cases in the 24 hours through Wednesday morning, bringing the total to 254,957, according to data from from Johns Hopkins University. That compares with 1,898 the previous day, the highest increase since April, and with daily growth rates of above 1,000 throughout the past week. Fatalities increased by five to 9,336.</p><h3 id="central-london-office-values-seen-falling-by-10-on-covid-1-pm-hk">Central London Office Values Seen Falling by 10% on Covid (1 p.m. HK)</h3><p>Offices in central London are set to decline in value by as much as 10% this year as the pandemic drives down demand for space.

Short-term demand for offices has slumped, with many companies’ employees still working from home after lockdown, according to Simon Wallace, co-head of alternatives research and strategy at DWS Group. That’s likely to push rents in the capital’s most expensive areas down by about 8%, denting investor returns.

Philippines Seeks to Reopen More, Shifts to Managing Virus Risk (12:45 p.m. HK)

Philippines is moving toward further economic re-opening as it shifts from total avoidance to management of coronavirus risks, acting Economic Planning chief Karl Chua says at live-streamed Senate budget hearing.

Economic managers propose further reviving public transport to help people go back to work. The government is changing its policy stance to balance saving lives from Covid-19 and averting hunger.

U.K.’s Johnson Bans Gatherings of More Than Six (12:30 p.m. HK)

All social gatherings of more than six people will be banned in England, under new limits to be announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday, as coronavirus cases grow.

Coronavirus - Tue Sep 8, 2020
A couple of diners eat at a restaurant during a quiet night in central London on Sept. 8.

Photographer: Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images

At a press conference, the premier will confirm that police will have new powers to disperse and fine any group larger than six people meeting indoors or outdoors from Sept. 14. That marks a significant tightening of the current rules, under which police can break up gatherings of more than 30.

There will be exceptions for people grouping for work, weddings and funerals, and for organized sports, but parties in pubs and restaurants, and gatherings in public spaces will all be hit by the new limits.

L.A. Bans Halloween Activities to Curb Virus Spread (12:20 p.m. HK)

Los Angeles is not allowing door-to-door trick or treating and other traditional Halloween gatherings this year to curb the spread of the virus, the city’s department of public health said in a statement.

So-called trunk-or-treating events — where children go from car to car instead of door to door to receive treats — have also been banned as have gatherings with non-household members, even outdoors. Carnivals, festivals, live entertainment and haunted house attractions also won’t be allowed.

California reported its lowest single-day tally since mid-June, though Governor Gavin Newsom cautioned that Labor Day weekend gatherings may cause a setback.

People gather on the beach on the second day of the Labor Day weekend in Santa Monica, on Sept. 6.

Photographer: Apu Gomes/AFP via Getty Images

South Korea’s Virus Cases Stabilize (11.47 a.m. HK)

South Korea added 156 more coronavirus cases in 24 hours versus 136 a day earlier, according to data from Korea Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. The number of confirmed cases remained below 200 for a seventh day.

The trend in the number of confirmed cases has continued to fall and has been “stably lowered” to around the 100-person level, Sohn Young-rae, a health ministry official, said at a briefing.

The impact of continued stricter social distancing rules will become more visible next week, Sohn said. A further extension of stricter measures may not be needed if citizens cooperate with social-distancing rules for the next five days and the virus is contained, Sohn said.

Argentina Reports Daily Record of New Cases (10:03 a.m. HK)

Argentina reported a daily record of 12,027 Covid-19 cases for a national tally of 500,034, according to the government’s evening report. It reported 228 more deaths, putting total at 10,405.

Mexico Reports 5,351 New Covid-19 Cases, 703 More Deaths (8:13 a.m. HK)

Mexico reported 5,351 new Covid-19 cases, bringing the total to 642,860, according to data released by the Health Ministry Tuesday night. Deaths rose by 703 to 68,484. Cases rose by 0.8%, in line with the seven-day average. Deaths rose 1% versus the seven-day average of 0.7%, according to Bloomberg calculations.

Biden Campaign Questions Trump Vaccine Process (6:49 a.m. HK)

The Biden campaign worked to sow doubt about the Trump administration’s ability to keep politics out of a coronavirus vaccine rollout, saying the president routinely overstates progress and likes to punish political opponents.

“The concern they have is that Donald Trump could end up moving this process in a way that undermines the credibility of the vaccine and that will set our country back,” Jake Sullivan, a senior policy adviser to the campaign, said on a call with reporters about the concerns of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris.

Campaign advisers asked the administration to release the criteria that will be used to ensure a Covid-19 vaccine meets the scientific standard of safety and efficacy, who will assure that decisions are driven by science and not politics and what the plan will be to allocate and distribute the vaccine “cost-free, safely, equitably and without politics.”

<figcaption readability="1.5"><div class="news-figure-caption-text" readability="33"><p>Watch: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says colleges with more than 100 Covid-19 cases may have to switch to remote learning.</p></div><div class="news-figure-credit"><p>(Source: ABC/Bloomberg)</p></div></figcaption></figure><h3 id=""/><p><em>— With assistance by Mark Schoifet, Ari Altstedter, Thomas Mulier, Anne Pollak, Boris Groendahl, and Ania Nussbaum</em>

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