Flareups Strike More Nations; Citigroup Cuts Jobs: Virus Update

Countries from Iran to the Czech Republic are reporting a jump in cases as the coronavirus flares up again in parts of the world. In France, Bordeaux became the latest city to impose morerestrictions to slow a new outbreak.

Citigroup Inc.,Qantas Airways Ltd. and Singapore’sUnited Overseas Bank Ltd. joined companies globally making deeper cost cuts, from property and equipment to jobs and pay, as the pandemic drags on.

Researchers are beginning the first study of whether two of the U.K.’s experimental vaccines can beinhaled. Brazil’s chief Supreme Court justice testedpositive for the virus, the latest of several high-profile officials in the country to be infected.

Key Developments:

  • Global Tracker: Cases pass 29.1 million; deaths exceed 925,000
  • A cure for Covid? Your body is still the best virus killer
  • Lockdowns halt Europe’sair-travel recovery, threaten jobs
  • World governments blasted for lack of pandemicpreparation
  • At JPMorgan,productivity falls for staff working at home
  • The keys to speed in race for vaccine, and its perils:QuickTake

Subscribe to a daily update on the virus from Bloomberg’s Prognosis teamhere. Click CVID on the terminal for global data on coronavirus cases and deaths.

Qantas Considers HQ Move (8:06 a.m. HK)

The Australian airline said it’sconsidering moving its headquarters from Sydney as part of an office and property review to cut costs.

“Like most airlines, the ongoing impact of Covid means we’ll be a much smaller company for a while,” Chief Financial Officer Vanessa Hudson said.

Singapore Bank UOB Freeze’s Pay and Hiring (7:52 a.m. HK)

United Overseas Bank Ltd. imposed a freeze on hiring, pay and promotions as the Singapore lender prepares for a further decline in earnings after the pandemic.

The city state’s third-largest bank told staff that it expects the situation to worsen before improving when the government cuts some of its support, according to an internal memo sent to senior staff. The hiring freeze will last until December 2021, and any exceptions will need senior approval.

Citigroup Resumes Job Cuts (7:20 a.m. HK)

Citigroup Inc. willresume job cuts this week, joining rivals such as Wells Fargo & Co. in ending an earlier pledge to pause staff reductions during the coronavirus pandemic.

The cuts will affect less than 1% of the bank’s global workforce, the bank said in a statement. With recent hiring, overall headcount probably won’t show any drops, the bank said.

Texas Altering Positivity Calculations (6:12 a.m. HK)

Texas is modifying how it calculates the positive-test rate after more than a month of confusion over whether the state’s figures could be relied upon. The rate will be based on the “specimen collection” dates of positive tests, “which provides the most accurate view of the pandemic’s effect over time,” the state health department said in a statement on Monday.

The new method is intended to clear up confusion that has swirled as the department struggled to digest and process a backlog of more than a million test results. The state-calculated positivity rate surged above 24% in mid-August even as hospital admissions and other key metrics plunged, prompting Governor Greg Abbott to order an investigation.

Across Texas, hospitalizations fell to 3,319 as of late Sunday, the lowest since June 20, state figures showed.

Astra Trial on Hold Pending U.S. Scrutiny: Reuters (4:30 p.m. NY)

AstraZeneca Plc’s Covid-19 vaccine trial remains on hold in the U.S. as regulators examine a serious side effect suffered by a U.K. patient, Reuters reported.

The drugmaker and its partner, the University of Oxford, restarted the U.K. trial of the vaccine on Saturday after it was halted on Sept. 6. The U.K. Medicines Health Regulatory Authority recommended the study resume after an independent review of the safety data had triggered the pause.

However, enrollment of new study participants and other trial procedures remain stopped in the U.S. pending an investigation by the Food and Drug Administration and an independent safety panel, Reuters reported, citing unnamed sources.

AstraZeneca and the FDA didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Brazil’s Chief Justice Tests Positive (4:20 p.m. NY)

Brazil’s chief justice has tested positive for Covid-19, less than a week after taking the top position on the country’s Supreme Court.

Luiz Fux will be isolated at home for 10 days, during which he “intends to conduct the session of the virtual plenary on Wednesday,” his press office said in a statement Monday. He may have contracted the virus at a family lunch, according to the statement.

U.S. Cases Rise 0.5% (4 p.m. NY)

Coronavirus cases in the U.S. increased 0.5% as compared with the same time Sunday to 6.54 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The increase matched the average daily gain over the past week. Deaths rose by 0.2% to 194,339.

  • Florida reported 665,730 cases, up 0.3% from a day earlier, compared with an average 0.4% increase in the previous seven days. Deaths reached 12,642, an increase of 0.3%, or 34.
  • Missouri experienced a 2.7% increase in the number of cases from the same time yesterday, bringing the total to 105,262, according to the data from Johns Hopkins and Bloomberg News.
  • Arizona reported 213 new virus cases, a 0.1% increase to 208,725 that fell below the 0.2% increase of the prior seven-day period. The state Department of Health Services recorded zero new Covid-19 deaths, keeping the toll at 5,322.
  • California reported 2,855 new virus cases, less than the 14-day average of 3,835, extending a trend of improvement. The average rate of positive tests over the past 14 days reached a new low of 3.7%. Hospitalizations from Covid-19 dropped 1% and are now at the lowest since April.

Bordeaux Adds More Restrictions (2:05 p.m. NY)

France reported more than 6,000 new coronavirus cases on Monday, down from the previous day’s figure, as Bordeaux became the latest city to announce additional measures to control the pandemic.

Laboratory-confirmed cases rose by 6,158 to 387,252 in the past 24 hours, health authorities said on their website. That compares with 7,183 a day earlier and Saturday’s post-lockdown high of over 10,000 infections.

On Monday, Bordeaux said it will take further steps to prevent the disease from spreading. The limit for outdoor public gatherings will be lowered to 1,000, while bars and restaurants will be shut down unless social-distancing rules are observed strictly.

U.A.E. Allows Vaccine for Front-Line Workers (11:45 a.m. NY)

The United Arab Emirates has allowed the use of vaccine for the coronavirus for front-line workers, saying that phase three testing of the vaccine has generated effective results. The Gulf country has witnessed a recent surge in virus cases, registering a little over 1,000 new daily cases on Saturday, the highest on record.

Portugal New Cases Top 600 (10 a.m. NY)

Portugal on Monday reported 613 new cases in a day, taking the total to 64,596, the government said. The country has had more than 600 daily new confirmed coronavirus cases in four of the last six days.

Of the new cases reported today, only 10% are people who are more than 70 years old, the age group in which there’s greater risk of complications from Covid-19, Secretary of State for Health Antonio Lacerda Sales said at a press conference in Lisbon on Monday.

Inhaled Versions of U.K. Vaccines to Be Studied (10 a.m. NY)

Researchers are beginning the first study of whether two of the U.K.’s experimental Covid-19 vaccines can be inhaled, a possible way of raising their ability to prevent the airborne infection.

The study will compare vaccine candidates from Imperial College London and the University of Oxford delivered by inhalation through the mouth, according to a statement Monday. The hope is that targeting cells in the lining of the lungs will induce a more effective immune response.

U.K. Covid Trial Starts Testing Regeneron Drug (8:10 a.m. NY)

U.K. researchers will start testing an antibody cocktail developed by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. in a key trial of possible Covid-19 treatments.

The drug will be given to hospitalized patients in the Recovery trial and assessed for all-cause mortality against those receiving the usual standard of care, Regeneron and the University of Oxford, which is running the trial, said in a statement Monday. The researchers will also look at length of hospital stay and need for ventilation.

Iran Sees New Deaths, Cases Jump (6:30 a.m. NY)

Iranrecorded its biggest jump in daily coronavirus figures since mid-August, with 156 fatalities and 2,619 new cases in the past 24 hours, the Health Ministry said.

The pandemic is picking up pace in Iran. Over the past week, the country recorded an average of 129 fatalities and 2,262 cases per day, rising from 120 deaths and 1,942 new cases per day in the first week of September.

Czech Republic Faces Second Wave of Pandemic (6:05 a.m. NY)

If the growth rate of new cases remains at the current level, and no measures are taken to counter it, the Czech Republic’s hospitals may reach limits for caring for Covid-19 patients by the end of October, according to Roman Prymula, the government’s heath commissioner.

The nation had a record 1,541 new cases of Covid-19 on Saturday, compared to 504 on Aug. 21. The government ordered the wearing face-masks in indoor spaces last week and limited opening hours of bars in Prague.

— With assistance by Angus Whitley

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