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U.S. Cases Hit Two-Week High; India in Crisis: Virus Update

(Bloomberg) — Surging cases in the Midwest helped push the number of daily U.S. infections to their highest in more than two weeks as the nation’s vaccination push regains pace. A divided U.S. Supreme Court eased California’s curbs on at-home religious services.Chancellor Angela Merkel’s governing coalition agreed on proposed nationwide rules for lockdowns and curfews in a bid to force compliance by some regional governments. European Union officials said the bloc is overcoming its vaccine supply problem.Vaccines are in shorter supply in India, as the world’s second most populous country confronts a new viral wave. Japan is imposing restrictions in Tokyo and other cities.Key Developments:Global Tracker: Cases pass 134.7 million; deaths 2.91 millionVaccine Tracker: More than 748 million shots given worldwideVaccine requirements spread in U.S., sowing concern on overreachNew York City rat complaints surge as urban life revivesU.K. races toward elusive milestone in quest to curb CovidIndia’s hospitals swamped by second virus wave as shots run lowSubscribe to a daily update on the virus from Bloomberg’s Prognosis team here. Click CVID on the terminal for global data on cases and deaths.Minneapolis Spike Leads U.S. Metro Areas (1:30 p.m. NY)Weekly Covid-19 cases in 10 U.S. metro areas increased the fastest in Minneapolis, home to companies such as 3M Co. and Target Corp., according to data through Thursday compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Cases increased 27% in the Minneapolis area, followed by rises of more than 20% in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Detroit. Adjusted for population, new cases over the seven-day period rose the most in Detroit, Grand Rapids and Buffalo, New York. Minneapolis ranked sixth by that measure.Italy Cases Slow (12:02 p.m. NY)Italy reported 17,567 new coronavirus cases Saturday, 17% less than than 7 days ago in another sign the outbreak is slowing in the original epicenter of the pandemic in Europe.Pressure on hospitals is decreasing with Covid-19 patients falling for a fourth consecutive day.Italy will ease lockdown restrictions in most regions, including the one around Milan, from April 12. All retail businesses will be allowed to open, and people will be given more freedom to move around within their municipalities.Schools will reopen with some limitations. Bars and restaurants however will remain operating only for takeout orders and travel to other regions will still be mostly banned.Merkel Presents German Lockdown Plan (10:43 a.m. NY)Chancellor Angela Merkel’s governing coalition agreed on proposed nationwide rules for lockdowns and curfews in a bid to force compliance by some regional governments. Hot-spot designations would be based on per capita infections at the county level, according to the draft law seen by Bloomberg on Saturday.Merkel’s biggest hurdle is parliament’s upper house, where her governing parties lack a majority. Germany hospitals have come under strain after Covid-19 infection rates began rising in February, though vaccinations have picked up and reached daily records this week.U.S. Top Court Eases Worship Curbs (10:24 a.m. NY)A divided U.S. Supreme Court eased California’s curbs on at-home religious services, adding to a string of orders that have freed worshipers from state and local restrictions designed to stem the Covid-19 pandemic.In an unsigned 5-4 order issued late Friday night, the court cleared two Northern Californians to resume hosting weekly Bible studies and communal worship for eight to 12 people.U.S. Cases Continue to Accelerate (8 a.m. NY)The U.S. added almost 81,000 new cases Friday as the virus spreads fast in pockets around the nation, especially in the Midwest, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg. The seven-day average has risen for five consecutive weeks.Another 962 deaths were reported Friday, down for the second day, the data show, amid a general decline in fatalities. The U.S. recorded 4 million vaccine doses on Friday, as the pace picked up again after the Easter and Passover holidays, according to the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker.Italy Companies Cut Growth Forecast (7:53 a.m. NY)Italy’s biggest industrial lobby group cut its forecast for economic growth after a surge in infections in the country earlier this year.Confindustria now sees Italy’s economic growth at 4.1% this year, 0.7 percentage points below its October forecast, after the health crisis led to a weaker than expected performance in the final quarter of 2020 and first quarter of 2021. It said the new forecast hinges on progress in vaccinations in Italy and the rest of Europe.Astra Shot Linked to Clots: Study (6:53 a.m. NY)A Norwegian study into blood clots and abnormally low levels of platelets in five people who were given the AstraZeneca vaccine for Covid-19 has found that their condition was a vaccine-induced syndrome, according to an article in the New England Journal of Medicine.“By providing a link between thrombosis and the immune system, these results strengthen the view that vaccination may have triggered the syndrome,” the article cited the study as saying.Denmark and Norway are avoiding use of the Astra vaccine even though it’s been approved for use there, saying they need more time to review the risks. Sweden and Finland are only offering it to people over the age of 65.EU Predicts Rapid Vaccine Pace (5:32 p.m. HK)Europe could have fully vaccinated 70% of adults before the U.K. reaches its own target of one dose for all over-18s by the end of July, Thierry Breton, the European commissioner leading Brussels’ vaccine task force, said in an interview with the Guardian.Europe was expecting 360 million doses from five manufacturers in the second quarter, with European factories set to produce 200 million shots a month by September for an overall capacity of 2 to 3 billion by year end. The “extremely rapid” increase in European production capacity should allow the EU’s 27 nations to compensate for first-quarter shortfalls and allow “an almost normal tourist season,” Breton said.Airlines Want Probe of U.K. Test Price (5:05 p.m. HK)Global airline body IATA called on the U.K. Competition and Markets Authority to launch an inquiry into pricing of Covid-19 tests for travel, as separate research showed travelers had to pay twice as much for the PCR tests in Britain as they do in much of Europe, the Guardian reported on Sunday.While the cheapest U.K. pre-departure PCR tests are available for 60 pounds ($82) — the subsidized rate for passengers at Gatwick Airport — most travelers are being charged an average of 128 pounds, more than double the price for much of Europe, according to research from the Association of British Travel Agents and the Airport Operators Association.Jet2, one of the biggest tour operators in the U.K., postponed all holidays until June 23 citing lack of clarity from the government, the Guardian reported in a separate story. The tour operator said “not knowing when we can start to fly and where we can fly to” led to suspension of flights and holidays.Russia Cases Slow, Deaths Stable (4:09 p.m. HK)Russia reported 8,704 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, down from the 9,150 reported a day earlier as the caseload continues to stabilize. Authorities reported 402 deaths yesterday from the virus, unchanged from the previous day.Pakistan Approves Sinovac Shot (3:35 p.m. HK)Pakistan’s drug regulator approved Sinovac Biotech Ltd.’s vaccine for emergency use, Xinhua News Agency reported, citing the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan. The move adds a third Chinese vaccine to Pakistan’s arsenal as the country faces a new wave on infections. Pakistan previously approved shots developed by Sinopharm and CanSino Biologics Inc.Tokyo Cases Top 500 Again (2:25 p.m. HK)Tokyo reported 570 additional infections on Saturday, topping 500 for a fourth straight day, and the daily number of virus cases in Osaka hit a record of 918, according to Kyodo News. Japan on Friday said it will reimpose restrictions in Tokyo, Kyoto and Okinawa, aiming to rein in a rapid spread of the coronavirus in those areas three weeks after ending a state of emergency in the capital.Thailand Cases Jump (12:57 p.m. HK)Thailand reported 789 new cases, the highest since Feb. 4, bringing the total to 31,658 infections, according to the Health Ministry. Most cases are linked to entertainment venue clusters in the Thai capital. One new death was reported Saturday, raising the total to 97.New Wave Swamps India’s Hospitals (12:34 p.m. HK)India is facing an escalating health crisis, with its second wave of virus infections hitting record highs, overwhelming hospitals around the country as supplies of intensive care beds and vital drugs come under pressure.Across the South Asian nation, from the wealthiest and also the worst-hit state of Maharashtra to its most populous, Uttar Pradesh, reports are emerging of hospital beds running short and immunization centers turning away people as they run out of vaccines. India reported more than 145,000 new infections Saturday, and with over 13 million virus cases lags behind only the U.S. and Brazil.U.K. Urges Mourners Not to Gather (12:29 p.m. HK)U.K. officials urged people not to gather or lay flowers following the death of Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth II’s husband, a sign of how longstanding traditions will have to be put aside due to the pandemic. Well-wishers congregated outside Buckingham Palace and laid floral tributes on Friday, following the news of the Duke of Edinburgh’s passing at Windsor Castle, west of London, at the age of 99.China Approves New Sinopharm Trial (4:40 p.m. HK)China has approved the third vaccine from Sinopharm Group Co. to start clinical trials, the company said. The green light to begin testing comes after two inactivated vaccines from Sinopharm were approved and widely used both at home and in developing countries.China’s ambitious effort to vaccinate 560 million people — 40% of its population — by the end of June is nonetheless running into a supply shortage, forcing authorities to extend the intervals between doses and leaving some people unable to book second shots. China had administered 161.1 million doses of Covid vaccines as of Friday, the National Health Commission said in a statement.South Korea Calls Meeting on Virus (11:32 a.m. HK)South Korean President Moon Jae-in will hold an urgent meeting on Monday with the country’s top health officials to review the response to the pandemic and discuss vaccine supplies, Yonhap News reported Saturday, citing a presidential spokesman.Health authorities warned this week that the country is in the early stage of another wave of infections. They also said they may consider stricter social distancing measures and curtail some business activities if the weekly average of cases rises. South Korea confirmed 677 more infections on Saturday.CureVac May Win EU Nod in May (10:04 a.m. HK)CureVac NV could win European Union approval for its vaccine as early as May, sooner than expected, a German newspaper cited a company spokesman as saying.“We’re already very far advanced in the third phase of clinical trials and are awaiting data for the final application package,” CureVac spokesman Thorsten Schueller told Augsburger Allgemeine. “We hope the approval will come in May or June.”CureVac’s boosters include Elon Musk, who deleted a Twitter post on Friday saying that the biotech sounded to be “a few months away from regulatory approval.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.


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