Trump Stays Mum on Vaccine Sharing; U.K. Measures: Virus Update

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President Donald Trump stayed quiet on sharing U.S.-made vaccines with other nations as leaders of the world’s richest countries pushed for equality in the race to vaccinate people against Covid-19.

British ministers will weigh the next round of pandemic restrictions on Sunday, while the French government plans a three-phase easing of lockdown measures from December.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved an antibody cocktail from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. for Covid-19 treatment. California reported record infections for the second consecutive day as total U.S. cases surpassed 12 million.

Global Tracker: Cases pass 58.2 million; deaths 1.38 millionTrump stays mum on sharing vaccines as leaders pledge to do soRegeneron gets emergency U.S. clearance for Covid-19 therapyPfizer’s Covid vaccine still faces hurdles after FDA filing FridayAstra-Oxford shot key to escaping pandemic for many nationsVaccine Tracker: Encouraging breakthroughs offer hope

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chart: Covid-19 patients more than doubled since Labor Day

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Covid-19 patients more than doubled since Labor Day

U.K. Weighs Next Round of Restrictions (6:30 a.m. NY)

The “extremely damaging” economic impact of the closure of retail and hospitality businesses to stop the spread of the virus will be at the forefront of considerations when ministers meet on Sunday afternoon to decide on the next round of pandemic restrictions, according to Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak.

Sunak said he will increase spending on public services this week in a bid to shore up the U.K. economy amid the “enormous stress and strain” of the pandemic.

Iran Reports 10% Increase in Deaths (6:55 p.m. HK)

Iran reported a 10% increase in daily deaths from Covid-19, with 475 fatalities in the last 24 hours. That brought the total death toll to 44,802. The number of new cases rose slightly to 13,053 overnight, the Health Ministry said.

France Plans Phased Lockdown Easing (6:10 p.m. HK)

The French government plans to ease lockdown measures in three steps as infections recede, while keeping some restrictions to contain the epidemic. A first easing will take place “around” Dec. 1, followed by a second one before the end-of-the-year holidays and a third from January, government spokesman Gabriel Attal told Le Journal du Dimanche.

Confinement measures and travel limitations will remain in place for some time, while restaurants and bars will still face restrictions, Attal told the newspaper. President Emmanuel Macron, who’s due to speak Tuesday, will detail the government strategy for the weeks to come, he said.

South Korea Imposes Tougher Social Distancing (6 p.m. HK)

South Korea is imposing stricter social-distancing measures, including limiting restaurant hours and social gatherings, as a surge in coronavirus cases threatens to undermine earlier efforts to contain the pandemic.

The country’s social-distancing alert level was raised to 2 from 1.5 for the greater Seoul area, effective Nov. 24. That will lead to a ban in gatherings in high-risk facilities such as night clubs and karaoke bars, while restaurants are prohibited from serving customers after 9 p.m. and can only operate takeouts and deliveries.

Russian Vaccine Price to Be Announced (5:50 p.m. HK)

The price of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine will be announced this week, one of the developers, the Russian Direct Investment Fund, said in a statement Sunday. The cost will be “much lower” than the vaccines from Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc, according to the Russian vaccine’s official Twitter account.

Polish Cases Drop to Lowest in Almost 3 Weeks (5:30 p.m. HK)

Poland saw 18,467 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, the lowest since Nov. 2, while deaths rose by 330 to 13,618. The Polish government said yesterday it would consider easing some restrictions if a seven-day average of daily cases falls below 19,000.

Poland introduced a near-full lockdown earlier this month after infections surged in October, but it will allow shopping malls to reopen.

German Restrictions May Continue Past November (3:40 p.m. HK)

The number of confirmed cases in Germany increased by 13,872 as the country headed into the final stretch of a partial lockdown of the economy. Vice-Chancellor Olaf Scholz told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper that the restrictions may have to continue “for some time” beyond the end of November.

In that case, financial support for the sectors directly affected should also be extended, said Scholz, who’s also finance minister, noting that this would be “financially challenging.”

Russian Covid Cases Steady (3:35 p.m. HK)

The number of new Covid-19 infections in Russia remained steady at just over 24,000 in the past 24 hours. Total cases surpassed 2 million last week, pushing the country’s hospital system to the brink. Just over 400 deaths were recorded in the past day, a slight drop from the record 467 recorded on Saturday, the government’s virus response center said. Russia has the fifth-most cases globally, after the U.S., Brazil, India and France.

Hong Kong to Pay for Positive Tests (3:10 p.m. HK)

Hong Kong will give a one-time HK$5,000 ($645) payment to anyone in the city who tests positive for Covid-19 to encourage people to take tests for the virus, Health Secretary Sophia Chan said. The Labour and Welfare Bureau will announce details of the handout plan later, Radio Television Hong Kong cited Chan as saying in a radio interview.

Hong Kong will impose new social restrictions as local coronavirus cases spike. That increase prompted an announcement Saturday that a planned travel bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore would be postponed for two weeks.

Tokyo Finds 391 New Coronavirus Cases (2:10 p.m. HK)

Tokyo on Sunday confirmed 391 new coronavirus cases, up roughly 50% from a week earlier, according to municipal government data. On Saturday, the Japanese capital found a record 539 infections.

U.S. Added 177,552 Cases on Saturday (1:30 p.m. HK)

The U.S. saw 177,552 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg from sources including Johns Hopkins University. That compares to a figure of 195,690 new infections on Friday as California and Ohio were among states to post new highs.

More than 12 million people in the U.S. have now been infected.

More Curbs Expected in Los Angeles (11:55 a.m. HK)

More curbs are expected in the Greater Los Angeles Area after the number of infections there increased by 4,522, bringing the total number of new cases over the last four days to 17,769. Outdoor dining may be restricted if the five-day average for cases exceeds 4,000, or hospitalizations of more than 1,750 a day, the county’s health department said. When the case average is more than 4,500 or hospitalizations surpass 2,000, a stay-home order will be imposed for three weeks, it added.

Japan to Soon Announce Details on Travel Campaign Suspension (10:20 a.m. HK)

Japan will finalize details over the coming few days on how it will partially suspend a campaign designed to spur domestic traveling, the economy minister said.

“We will set a direction in a matter of a few days, and then act in coordination” with municipal governments, Yasutoshi Nishimura said on a NHK talk show. “We can’t afford to wait for a week or two.”

FDA Approves Regeneron Antibody Cocktail (9:30 a.m. HK)

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc.’s antibody cocktail received an emergency use authorization from U.S. drug regulators for treatment of early Covid-19 symptoms, adding to the expanding arsenal of therapies available to physicians.

The treatment, administered to President Donald Trump after he contracted the coronavirus in October, consists of two monoclonal antibodies that target the spike protein used by the virus to enter cells. Trump was treated with the drug based on a compassionate-use request by his doctors.

Australian States Ease Restrictions (9 a.m. HK )

The Australian state that’s been hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic announced a further easing of restrictions after recording no new infections for 23 consecutive days.

It will no longer be compulsory for people in Victoria to wear masks when outdoors, though it remains mandatory in public indoor venues. The state’s Premier Daniel Andrews announced the new rules that will apply from Monday, just over two weeks after removing a strict three-month lockdown on Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city.

China Reports Three New Local Cases (8:20 a.m. HK)

China reported three new local coronavirus cases on Saturday, one in Shanghai and two in Inner Mongolia. Shanghai city reported one local case on Saturday, after testing 15,416 people following two new ones on Friday. Local authorities said at a press conference Saturday that the two local cases are a married couple – the husband is an airport cargo security inspector and the wife is a nurse.

Brazil Cases, Deaths Rebound for Second Week (7:31 a.m. HK)

Brazil reported 32,622 new cases, at the end of the second straight week of rising infections and fatalities, according to the Health Ministry website. The virus’s spread in Brazil, which has the most cases after the U.S. and India, had been weakening for roughly two months. The nation has more than 6 million cases and almost 170,000 deaths with 376 more reported on Saturday.

President Jair Bolsonaro said at the virtual G-20 summit on Saturday that it was up to each individual to decide whether to be vaccinated, and that the pandemic should not justify any attacks on personal freedom.

Oregon Breaks Record for Second Straight Day (7:12 a.m. HK)

Oregon reported 1,509 new infections, breaking a record for the second consecutive day. A two-week “freeze” ordered by Governor Kate Brown went into effect Wednesday, limiting social gatherings, restricting restaurants to takeout and closing gyms, museums and other indoor facilities.

England Set for Tougher Virus Tiers When Lockdown Ends (5:36 p.m. NY)

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will confirm the end of the national lockdown in England on Dec. 2 and reintroduction of the tier system when he announces the U.K.’s Covid winter plan in Parliament on Monday.

The plan is set to be discussed and signed off by his Cabinet on Sunday, according to an emailed statement from the prime minister’s press office. It will include guidelines for family visits over Christmas, “despite ministers being clear this will not be a normal festive period.”

CDC Advises Against Cruise Ship Travel (5:08 p.m. NY)

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has escalated its warning for cruise travel to the highest level and continued to recommend avoiding any trips on cruise ships worldwide.

The agency raised its warning to Level 4 from Level 3, citing “very high” risk of Covid-19 on cruise ships. Passengers are at increased risk of person-to-person spread of Covid-19 and should get tested and stay home for at least seven days after travel, according to its website.

New York Daily Cases Approach 6,000 (4:47 p.m. NY)

New York reported 5,972 cases, the fifth straight day over 5,000 and the most since April, when the state was the nation’s early epicenter of the virus. While cases have risen rapidly in the last several weeks, the state’s overall positive test rate is 2.9%. That is among the lowest in the nation.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has set restrictions on a growing list of “micro-clusters” around New York City and upstate, with positive rates as high as 10%. Overall positivity of those clusters is 4.3%, he said in a press release.

California Reports Record Cases Again (4:05 p.m. NY)

California added 15,442 new coronavirus cases, hitting a new high as the state’s nighttime curfew kicks in Saturday night.

The new cases topped Friday’s record of 13,005 infections, bringing the total to almost 1.1 million. The number of deaths increased by 86 to 18,643, state data showed. The increased patient load left California’s hospitals with just 1,921 intensive-case unit beds available, near the low in July.

A 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew will be imposed in most counties for a month to ease the rate of infection.

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