China Cluster Emerges; Poll Sees Leadership Crisis: Virus Update

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The coronavirus continued its unrelenting spread, with resurgences across Europe and North America. India’s cases climbed past 7 million, while China recorded its biggest cluster in months.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to step up efforts to contain Covid-19 on Monday. South Korea eased social distancing requirements, and the governor of Jakarta relaxed restrictions in Indonesia’s capital.

U.S. President Donald Trump was flagged by Twitter for declaring himself immune to the Covid-19 virus, a day before returning to the campaign trail. The pandemic has exposed a leadership deficit around the world, according to a survey.

Key Developments:

Global Tracker: cases pass 37.4 million; deaths top 1.07 millionInhaled vaccines aim to fight coronavirus at its point of attackThe new coronavirus may remain infectious for weeks on banknotesFauci says he was taken out of context in Trump campaign adCoronavirus has exposed global leadership crisis: survey

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chart: A Steep Covid-19 Curve

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A Steep Covid-19 Curve

Poland May Declare Emergency If Cases Rise: DGP (1:40 p.m. HK)

Poland is considering whether to introduce a state of emergency if the coronavirus outbreak starts to clog the health-care system, Dziennik Gazeta Prawna reported, citing unidentified people from the government. A state of emergency would allow the government to move more health-care workers to deal with Covid-19 patients, and open the door for companies to receive compensation for any potential losses.

Portugal Says Science Minister Heitor Tested Positive (1:30 p.m. HK)

The Portuguese government said Science Minister Manuel Heitor was informed on Sunday that he tested positive for Covid-19. Heitor has no symptoms of the infection, the government said in an emailed statement. All members of the government who attended a cabinet meeting on Thursday are being tested for the virus, even if they didn’t have close contact with Heitor.

India Adds 66,732 Cases (12:25 p.m. HK)

India reported 66,732 additional coronavirus cases on Monday, bringing total infections to 7.12 million. While the daily rate of cases appears to be slowing, India is expected to surpass the U.S. as the worst hit nation in the world by as early as next month. The country’s death toll rose to 109,150.

Pandemic Exposes Global Leadership Crisis: Survey (12:06 p.m. HK)

The coronavirus pandemic has shown there’s a leadership deficit around the world, according to a survey that said more people trust companies over their governments to keep economies going during the crisis.

Over 70% of citizens around the globe say they are experiencing the lowest point in their nation’s history, while nearly two-thirds say their leaders are out of touch or “don’t really care what happens” to them, the Milken Institute and the Harris Poll said in a report.

“While COVID-19 is a public health crisis, it has also been a contagion across many other socio-economic challenges and government institutions,” said John Gerzema, chief executive officer of the Harris Poll. “Maybe even more than the virus, our common crippling hardship is the lack of leadership being observed on the world stage.”

New Zealand to Buy Vaccine for 750,000 People (10:26 a.m. HK)

New Zealand agreed to purchase enough vaccines from Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE for 750,000 people. The pact is subject to the vaccine successfully completing all clinical trials and passing regulatory approvals in New Zealand, according to Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods and Health Minister Chris Hipkins in an emailed statement.

The agreement is complementary to other aspects of the government’s vaccine strategy, such as the global Covax facility that could provide up to 50% of the population’s needs.

Hipkins also said the government has established a new category that will allow 250 international doctorate and postgraduate students to enter New Zealand and continue their studies.

South Korea Confirms 97 More Cases (8:36 a.m. HK)

South Korea added 97 cases in 24 hours, according to data from Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency. The country’s death toll rose by one to 433.

South Korea over the weekend revised its social distancing alert to its lowest level, lifting restrictions on indoor meetings and open-air gatherings and opening sporting events to spectators.

Singapore, Indonesia to Start Travel Green Lane (8:28 a.m. HK)

Singapore and Indonesia will establish a reciprocal green lane for travel, according to a joint statement from the countries’ ministries for foreign affairs. The green lane will enable cross-border travel for essential business and official purposes. Applications for the green lane will open on Oct. 26 and travel will commence soon after.

China’s Qingdao Reports More Cases (7:48 a.m. HK)

China reported a new cluster of coronavirus infections in the eastern port city of Qingdao, snapping a streak of over two months without local transmission, underscoring the risk of resurgence in countries that have achieved near-eradication of the pathogen.

The city in Shandong province said on Sunday that it found three asymptomatic cases linked to a hospital which treats Covid-19 patients coming from abroad. Expanded testing of hospital patients and staff then found another nine infections — of the total of 12 in the cluster so far, six are asymptomatic.

More testing is under way and aims to cover the entire city of 9.5 million within five days, the local health commission said on Monday.

Trump Campaign Ad Irks Fauci (6:30 a.m. HK)

Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease expert, says he was taken out of context in a new campaign ad that praises Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. The advertisement was released by the Trump campaign last week, after the president was discharged from Walter Reed hospital.

“The comments attributed to me without my permission in the GOP campaign ad were taken out of context from a broad statement I made months ago about the efforts of federal public health officials,” Fauci said in a statement.

U.K. Set to Tighten Restrictions (5:30 p.m. HK)

The U.K. prime minister is set to announce a new tiered system of alert levels Monday that would see millions of Britons subject to more stringent curbs on their everyday lives.

Johnson will unveil plans to divide England into areas of “medium,” “high” and “very high” alert, with the levels determining the extent of restrictions imposed. The government said it’s working with local leaders to decide which places need to be in the top category, and what curbs are required in those areas.

Brazil’s Deaths Reach Six-Month Low (5:20 p.m. NY)

Brazil reported 290 virus-related deaths in its latest daily count, the fewest since April 5, according to Health Ministry data. Weekly new cases fell to the lowest since early June during the seven days that ended Saturday.

The country, which has the most reported infections behind the U.S. and India, added 12,342 cases, bringing the total to almost 5.1 million. The official death toll rose to 150,488.

New French Cases Decline (1:46 p.m. NY)

France reported a drop in new coronavirus cases to 16,101, the lowest number in five days following two record-breaking 24-hour periods. Deaths have increased at a slower pace.

Several provincial cities have been added to a list of urban centers, including Paris, that are on the highest alert for spread of Covid-19. The most recent is Toulouse, where bars will be ordered to shut down.

Trump, Pelosi Spar Over Stimulus (1:06 p.m. NY)

Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi blamed each other for a lack of progress on new plan to support the U.S. economy, while a senior White House aide said he expects talks to continue and a Fed official called for fiscal help.

Trump Says He’s Now Immune, Unlike Biden (12:02 p.m. NY)

Trump pitched what he called his post-infection immunity to Covid-19 as an advantage over Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, in his first interview since doctors certified he was no longer at risk of transmitting the deadly virus.

“Once you do recover, you’re immune, so you don’t have a president who has to hide in his basement, like his opponent,” Trump said Sunday in a lengthy interview on Fox News Channel’s “Sunday Morning Futures.”

Twitter took issue with a Trump tweet on the subject, flagging it as a rules violation for “spreading misleading and potentially harmful information related to Covid-19.”

Italy Cases Above 5,000 for Third Day a Row (11:10 a.m. NY)

Italy reported 5,456 new cases on Sunday, the second highest since late March, despite that lower numbers of testing were processed. The positivity rate, which has almost doubled in the last 10 days, jumped to 5.2%.

Italy’s government is considering reinforcing measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic as infections surge. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, Health Minister Roberto Speranza and some members of the ruling coalition reviewed additional measures Saturday including restrictions on private parties, amateur sport activities and social gatherings, according to SkyTG24.

Coronavirus Can Persist on Banknotes, Study Finds (9:40 a.m. NY)

The new coronavirus may remain infectious for weeks on banknotes, glass and other common surfaces, according to research by Australia’s top biosecurity laboratory that highlights risks from paper currency, touchscreen devices and grab handles and rails.

Scientists at the Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness showed SARS-CoV-2 is “extremely robust,” surviving for 28 days on smooth surfaces such as glass found on mobile phone screens and plastic banknotes at room temperature, or 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit). That compares with 17 days survival for the flu virus.

More Spanish Regions Tighten Restrictions (8:05 a.m. NY)

After a state of emergency was imposed on Madrid last week, other Spanish regions are tightening restrictions to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Authorities in Navarra said they plan to reduce capacity to 30% in restaurants and bars, which must now close by 10 p.m., and limit social gatherings to no more than six people, according to El Mundo. Unlike in Madrid, the Navarra government said it won’t forbid people from leaving the region.

a narrow city street: Spanish Capital Under Lockdown as Alarm in Europe Grows

© Bloomberg
Spanish Capital Under Lockdown as Alarm in Europe Grows

A person rides an electric scooter down a street lined with closed businesses in Madrid, Spain, Oct. 8.

Photographer: Paul Hanna/Bloomberg

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