(Bloomberg) — The U.K. became the latest nation to put its citizens under lockdown, while President Donald Trump said the U.S. economy can’t remain slowed for too long, declaring the country “was not built to be shut down.”
The Federal Reserve announced a second wave of initiatives after Democrats blocked the Senate from advancing a rescue plan. Even as Trump said America will reopen in sooner than three or four months, governors from Washington to Massachusetts implemented stay-at-home policies.
China’s imported infections nearly doubled, and global deaths topped 16,500. An International Olympic Committee member said a decision to postpone the Games in Tokyo has already been made, though a delay hasn’t been announced yet. German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s first coronavirus test came back negative.
Cases top 375,000 and 16,500 dead: Johns Hopkins tallyTrump says U.S. isn’t ‘built to be shut down’ over virusU.S. governors clamp downIOC member says Olympics will be postponedCVS to hire 50,000 workers to meet demand
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NYC Region’s Infection Rate Far Exceeds Other Areas (9:25 a.m. HK)
The New York metropolitan area, the center of the outbreak in the U.S., has a higher infection rate than in the rest of the country and a greater share of tests that come out positive, said Deborah Birx, a member of the Trump administration’s coronavirus task force. The attack rate in the region is close to one in 1,000, five times what other areas are seeing, Birx said a Trump press briefing. About 28% of the submitted tests are positive, compared with less than 8% in the rest of the country, she said.
“Clearly the virus had been circulating there for a number of weeks to have this level of penetrance into the general community,” Birx said.
FDA Lifts Curbs on Maker of Drug Touted by Trump (9:22 a.m. HK)
U.S. regulators have lifted import restrictions on an Indian pharmaceutical company in an effort to increase supplies of a malaria drug touted by President Donald Trump as a potential coronavirus treatment.
Mumbai-based Ipca Laboratories Ltd. said in a March 21 securities filing that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration “has made exception to the import alert” for three of its facilities, allowing it to supply tablets as well as raw materials for making chloroquine phosphate and hydroxychloroquine sulphate.
The U.S. is facing possible shortages of both drugs, which are also widely prescribed to treat rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. Hospitals have been stocking up on the treatments in recent weeks following reports from doctors outside the U.S. that they were effective against Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. There have been no large-scale clinical trials to support those claims.
Washington State Shuts Down (8:52 a.m. HK)
Washington State Governor Jay Inslee issued a stay-at-home order that begins in 48 hours and will be in force for at least two weeks. The order bans all gatherings and shutters non-essential businesses. Grocery and pharmacy shopping, doctor appointments and restaurant takeout will still be allowed.
The actions come on a day in which Seattle and King County announced 12 fatalities, the largest single-day death toll yet in that area, and Boeing shut down in-state production after a worker at its Everett plant died of Covid-19 yesterday. There are 2,221 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Washington State, according to the Department of Health, and 110 deaths.
The step follows similar actions by New York and California, but also by states that have fewer infections than Washington such as Oregon and West Virginia.
China’s Imported Cases Almost Double (8:20 a.m. HK)
China reported 78 additional coronavirus cases for March 23, with 74 of them from abroad, according to statement from the country’s National Health Commission. The other four, including one from Wuhan, are locally reported cases.
While the number of local cases in China has been dwindling, reaching zero in recent days, the number of imported infections has been rising. The latest figure is almost double the number of imported cases reported a day earlier.
China now has 81,171 total confirmed coronavirus cases. The nation’s death toll rose by seven to 3,277. All the latest fatalities are from Hubei. Discharged patients rose by 456 to 73,159.
Trump Says First Lady Tested Negative for Virus (8:17 a.m. HK)
President Donald Trump said first lady Melania Trump had tested negative for the coronavirus. The president was asked if she was tested since both he and Vice President Mike Pence tested negative. Trump did not say whether the first lady had symptoms of the disease or had a known contact with someone who had the virus.
Amazon Suspends Seller Accounts Over Price Gouging (8:14 a.m. HK)
Amazon.com Inc. said it has suspended thousands of seller accounts for price gouging during the coronavirus pandemic. The operator of the largest U.S. online marketplace said it has pulled well over half a million offers and suspended more than 3,900 selling accounts in the U.S. for violating its fair pricing policies.
Trump Says Boeing Will Need Help (8:12 a.m. HK)
U.S. President Donald Trump said Boeing Co. will need government “help” amid the economic slowdown stemming from the coronavirus crisis that has hit the travel industry.
“Boeing’s going to need some help,” Trump said at a White House news conference. “Obviously the airlines are going to have a problem, but the airlines aren’t going to be buying from Boeing or anybody else right now because of this difficulty.”
The planemaker announced Monday that it is shutting its Seattle-area manufacturing hub for two weeks after a worker died of coronavirus complications, adding to a wave of plant closings sweeping the globe as the aviation industry navigates the biggest disruption in decades.
AB InBev Withdraws Outlook on Virus Impact (7:25 a.m. HK)
Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, the world’s largest brewer, withdrew its 2020 outlook. The company cited the uncertainty, volatility and fast-moving developments of the coronavirus pandemic in markets where it operates, according to an emailed statement.
In February, AB InBev cut its chief executive’s bonus and forecast the steepest decline in quarterly profit in at least a decade as the coronavirus damps barhopping.
Trump Says U.S. to Reopen in Less Than 3 or 4 Months (6:38 a.m. HK)
President Donald Trump said the U.S. economy can’t remain slowed for long to fight the coronavirus, declaring the country “was not built to be shut down.”
“America will again and soon be open for business. Very soon,” Trump said at a news conference. “A lot sooner than three or four months.”
The president also said he was delaying the Oct. 1 deadline for Americans to get a REAL ID. The identification will eventually be required to board a domestic flight in the United States.
Florida Orders Self-Isolation for Travelers From N.Y., N.J. (5:34 p.m. NY)
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said he will issue an executive order making it mandatory for all arrivals from New York and New Jersey to self-isolate for two weeks upon entering the state.
Trump Administration May Reopen Obamacare Exchange (5:20 p.m. NY)
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is considering reopening enrollment for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act in response to the outbreak. Americans who don’t currently have coverage may see if they qualify for “special enrollment periods” if they’ve lost their job or have been subject to other life-changing circumstances, a CMS spokesperson said.
CMS is working closely with the states and health plans to assess other necessary actions to ensure Americans have coverage and access to services during the pandemic, the spokesperson said.
Boris Johnson Puts U.K. on Three-Week Lockdown (4:38 p.m. NY)
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson approved radical measures to ban all unnecessary movement of people for at least three weeks. Police will break up gatherings and have the power to fine individuals who break the tough new laws. Shops selling non-essential items, playgrounds, libraries and places of worship will be closed.
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Work to Begin on Hospital at Javits Center (3:33 p.m. NY)
Construction will begin this week to turn the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan into a 1,000-bed hospital, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said.
The main showroom of the center will be broken up into four 250-bed hospitals each about 40,000 square feet in size, Cuomo said at the center. The state is hoping to add an additional 1,000 beds at the center for less-intensive medical care, for a total of 2,000 new beds, Cuomo said.
New Jersey, too, expects to increase patient capacity and is asking the Federal Emergency Management Agency to operate four pop-up hospitals, a step that has support from President Donald Trump, Governor Phil Murphy said.
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France Advises Against Test Drug (3:03 p.m. NY)
As deaths climbed almost 30% in France, Health Minister Olivier Veran said the government recommends against prescribing the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine or using it for anything other than severe cases. France is participating in a multi-country study looking at the efficacy of four experimental treatments, including hydroxychloroquine.
New Deaths Fall in Italy for Second Day (2:27 p.m. NY)
Italy reported 601 new deaths from the coronavirus on Monday, posting a decline for a second day, as the country enters its third week of lockdown measures designed to keep the spread of the disease in check.
Total cases in the country rose to 63,927, civil protection officials said, while the hard-hit Lombardy region around Milan, which accounts for about half of the nation’s infections, registered a decrease in the number of hospitalized virus patients, top health official Giulio Gallera said Monday.
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IMF Predicts Recession (1:30 p.m. NY)
The International Monetary Fund said it expects a global recession this year that will be at least as bad as the downturn during the financial crisis more than a decade ago, followed by a recovery in 2021.
Nearly 80 countries have asked the Washington-based IMF for emergency finance, Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said in a statement Monday following a conference call of Group of 20 finance ministers and central bankers. Georgieva said the fund strongly supports extraordinary fiscal actions already taken by many countries and welcomes the moves of major central banks to ease monetary policy.
“Even more will be needed, especially on the fiscal front,” she said.
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Boeing Closes Washington Plants (1:15 p.m. NY)
Boeing Co. is temporarily shuttering its Seattle-area factories, compounding hurdles for a company already reeling from the grounding of its top-selling plane.
The shutdown will begin March 25 and last 14 days. The company will conduct deep cleaning at affected sites and establish “rigorous criteria for return to work.”
The closing leaves Boeing with just one fully functioning jetliner factory.
Read the full story here
Germans Offer to Help Stricken Italy (1:10 p.m. NY)
German officials are ready to help Italy get through the coronavirus pandemic and are prepared to support an emergency loan from the euro area’s bailout fund.
The preferred option in Berlin would see Italy granted an enhanced credit line by the European Stability Mechanism with minimal conditionality, according to a German official with knowledge of the government’s thinking. While Chancellor Angela Merkel has said she’s happy to discuss Italy’s request for jointly issued coronavirus bonds to shore up euro members’ finances, the official said Germany isn’t ready to move forward with that idea.
Read the full story here
Dow Loses Gains Under Trump (12:02 p.m. NY)
The Dow Jones Industrial Average has lost more than 30% of its value in just over a month, wiping out all of its gains since Donald Trump was elected on Nov. 8, 2016. The S&P 500 Index isn’t too far behind, while the Nasdaq Composite Index’s return remains in the green — albeit on a downward trajectory with the rest.
New Cases May Be Slowing in Germany (10:25 a.m. NY)
Germany’s public health authority has seen a trend toward the exponential growth in new cases flattening out and expects to see by Wednesday whether this is the case, Lothar Wieler, president of the authority, said at a press conference earlier on Monday. “I am optimistic.”
RKI repeated that many local health agencies don’t report over the weekend and that those numbers will trickle in during the course of the week.
NYC May Lose $6 Billion in Tax Revenue (10:21 a.m. NY)
New York City is “staring down a fiscal emergency” and may lose as much as $6 billion in tax revenue over the next 15 months, as the the Covid-19 epidemic shuts down a broad swath of the city’s economy, comptroller Scott Stringer said.
Moderna’s Vaccine May Reach Some This Fall (10:10 a.m. NY)
Moderna Inc.’s experimental vaccine for the new coronavirus could be available to a select few as soon as this fall. That’s ahead of expectations for a commercial launch in another year.
Stephane Bancel, the biotech’s chief executive, told Goldman Sachs representatives on Friday that the vaccine could be made available to a few, potentially health-care workers under emergency-use authorization. Moderna has been working with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on the vaccine and just started testing in humans earlier this month.
A potential vaccine isn’t expected to be commercially available for at least a year. Moderna is also scaling up manufacturing so that the company can produce millions of doses each month, according to a company statement.
Trump Weighs Easing Curbs (8:50 a.m. NY)
President Trump began talking privately late last week about reopening the nation, despite the swiftly rising number of coronavirus cases and against the advice of health professionals, because he’s worried about the economic damage from an extended shutdown, according to people familiar with his thinking.
He earlier retweeted several posts calling for healthy people to return to work after 15 days of precautions. “The fear of the virus cannot collapse our economy that President Trump has built up,” says a post retweeted by Trump. “Flatten the curve NOT the Economy,” another says.
Singapore Sees Largest Daily Increase (8:35 a.m. NY)
Singapore reported its biggest one-day jump in coronavirus infections with 54 new cases, of which 48 were imported. Earlier, Malaysia confirmed 212 new cases, the biggest daily jump, bringing the total to 1,518 despite imposing a lockdown that began on March 18.
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