(Bloomberg) — The U.K. government has drawn up rescue measures for companies struggling to cope in areas forced into local lockdowns, as ministers prepare to impose tighter rules within days.
France, Spain and the Czech Republic posted record increases in coronavirus cases, underscoring growing alarm in Europe as it loses control of the pandemic.
U.S. President Donald Trump returned to work at the Oval Office and aims to get back on the campaign trail as early as Monday. Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Kamala Harris faced off in their election debate behind plexiglass screens as a precaution against the potential spread of the virus.
Global Tracker: Cases pass 36.1 million; deaths top 1.05 millionThe pandemic fuels world’s first rise in extreme poverty since 1990sFragile European banks brace for Covid-Era distressed loansQuickTake: Why Covid-19’s impact on health is a long-term worryA top White House security official contracted Covid-19 in September
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Finland’s New Cases More Than Double (3:55 p.m. HK)
Finland’s rate of new infections has more than doubled in the past two weeks, with 1,719 new cases reported in the two-week period through Oct. 4, up from 817 during the previous fortnight. About 60% of the new cases can’t be traced, authorities said on Thursday. To date, 11,049 people in Finland have contracted the virus, with 346 deaths.
Singapore Scales Up Screening Centers for Migrant Workers (3:36 p.m. HK)
Singapore is expanding swab testing operations and capacity to support routine testing for migrant workers, who make up the vast majority of total infections in the city-state.
The government will also add nine more in-dormitory facilities to conduct routine testing for foreign workers by the end of the month, from the current 24 facilities, the Ministry of Manpower and Health Promotion Board said Thursday. There are plans to increase the number of regional screening centers to as many as 30 by the end of the year, from the current 20 centers, with about two thirds of these sites conducting routine testing.
EasyJet Racks Up $1.1 Billion Loss (3:34 p.m. HK)
EasyJet Plc recorded its first-ever annual loss and is reviewing ways to raise more funds after the pandemic wreaked havoc with the budget carrier’s summer schedule.
The U.K. company lost as much as 845 million pounds ($1.1 billion) in the year through September, according to a statement on Thursday. The airline has about 2.3 billion pounds in cash to survive an extensive slump and called on the state for further support.
Hong Kong Mulls Mandatory Testing (2:47 p.m. HK)
The Hong Kong government is studying mandatory coronavirus testing, including the legal framework involved, Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan said. Radio Television Hong Kong earlier reported that the government was studying mandatory quarantine, citing Chan.
U.K. Plans Emergency Help for Business (2:45 p.m. HK)
Boris Johnson’s administration has drawn up measures for British firms struggling to cope in areas forced into lockdowns. Government ministers are planning to set tighter rules within days.
No firm date has been set for rolling out the package, which is dependent on changes to the restrictions as the pandemic unfolds, according to people familiar with the matter. Measures under discussion include closing pubs and restaurants in some parts of England where the virus is most prevalent, though no final decisions have been taken, a person familiar with the matter said.
Second Record Day for Czech Republic (2:41 p.m. HK)
The Czech Republic posted a record number of infections for a second day on Wednesday as the country emerged as a hotspot. There were 5,335 new patients according to the health ministry data, bringing the total to 43,759 cases in the nation of 10.7 million.
Health Minister Roman Prymula is set to announce stricter measures on Friday, particularly around limiting gatherings of people.
Europe Struggles to Curb Virus (1:37 p.m. HK)
New infections in France increased by 18,746, health authorities reported on Wednesday. The seven-day rolling average of new infections, which smooths out daily variations, rose to 12,853, its highest level yet.
That was more than triple the number of new cases in Spain, which had a record 5,075 in the past 24 hours, according to Health Ministry data published Wednesday. In Germany, meanwhile, the number of new cases on Thursday exceeded 4,000 for the first time since early April. Ukraine reported a record 5,397 new infections.
Infections Mount in India (12:16 p.m. HK)
India, home to the world’s second-largest outbreak, reported 78,524 cases in a day, government data show. Total confirmed cases rose to 6.84 million while coronavirus-related deaths increased to 105,526.
Virus Cases on CME Trading Floor in Chicago (11:30 a.m. HK)
CME Group Inc. reported a third case of Covid-19 on its trading floor in Chicago despite strict safety measures, highlighting the challenges businesses are facing to reopen during the pandemic.
Positive cases came even as the CME has limited access to the floor to members and employees, required the use of face masks and restricted movement in the pit.
Regeneron Seeks Emergency Clearance for Treatment (10:00 a.m. HK)
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. said it has asked federal regulars to authorize its antibody treatment for emergency use. President Trump received the antibody cocktail last Friday under a compassionate use program after becoming sick with the coronavirus. He hailed the treatment in a video posted on Twitter Wednesday.
Pence, Harris Face Off Behind Plexiglass (9:40 a.m. HK)
U.S. Vice President Pence and Senator Harris faced off in their election debate behind plexiglass screens. Harris laced into the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic, calling it the greatest failure in the history of the U.S. government. Pence endorsed the whole of President Trump’s response to the outbreak and also said that China would be held accountable for the virus.
Workers clean plexiglass dividers installed on the debate stage ahead of the U.S. vice presidential debate in Salt Lake City, Utah, Oct. 6.
Covid Cases Spike in Myanmar (8:15 a.m. HK)
Myanmar reports 1,400 new cases and 39 fatalities on Wednesday, the nation’s highest one-day spike in infections, according to the Ministry of Health and Sports.
White House Official Infected in September (8:00 a.m. HK)
A top White House security official, Crede Bailey, is gravely ill with Covid-19 and has been hospitalized since September, according to four people familiar with his condition.
The White House has not publicly disclosed Bailey’s illness. He became sick before the Sept. 26 Rose Garden event President Trump held to announce his Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett that has been connected to more than a dozen cases of the disease.
Trump Calls Infection a ‘Blessing’ (6:30 a.m. HK)
President Trump said contracting the coronavirus was “a blessing in disguise” because it allowed him to experience firsthand the benefits of Regeneron’s experimental monoclonal antibody treatment. He said he intends to authorize emergency use of the therapeutic.
“I want everybody to be given the same treatment as your president, because I feel great,” Trump said in a video posted on Twitter Wednesday evening. He added that he wanted the treatment to be free. “To me it wasn’t therapeutic, it just made me better, O.K.?” he said. “I call that a cure.”
Trump on Wednesday returned to the Oval Office, where he received briefings despite being under treatment for Covid-19 and remaining potentially contagious to others. His doctor said earlier that he hadn’t experienced any symptoms of the disease in 24 hours.
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