Trump Ire Over Vaccine Rules; Czech Cases Soar: Virus Update

President Donald Trumpaccused the Food and Drug Administration of carrying out a “political hit job” against him by setting new vaccine review guidelines. The strict standards may put a Covid-19 shot out of reach before the November election.

Europe’s struggle to curb the virus prompted cities such as Berlin, Paris and Madrid to impose new restrictions on nightlife. The Czech Republic became the continent’s worst hotspot as nations in eastern European confront a rising wave of infections.

The European Commission is due to announce a contract to procure as many as 500,000 treatment courses of remdesivir from Gilead Sciences Inc., an EU official said. Trump has taken the medication, among other treatments, during his bout with Covid-19.

Key Developments:

  • Global Tracker: Cases pass 35.8 million; deaths top 1.05 million
  • Top U.S. officials in charge ofvaccine wave caution flags
  • Covid haswiped out the economic dreams of an Asian generation
  • Europeturns screws on nightlife as cities face virus spike
  • Evenmild Covid-19 cases can lead to symptoms for months
  • Virus test results for U.S. politicians and officials: alist

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EU Set to Announce Remdesivir Order (4:42 p.m. HK)

The European Commission is due to announce the joint procurement framework contract with Gilead for the supply of remdesivir as soon as Wednesday, said the EU official, who asked not to be identified, in line with policy. It’s the latest in a series of deals struck by the EU’s executive arm on behalf of the bloc’s 27 member-states.

Eastern European Cases Climb (4:33 p.m. HK)

New infections mounted across eastern Europe, as governments opt for looser restrictions than earlier in the year.Poland, Bulgaria and Slovenia registered record increases in cases, while both Poland and Hungary reported their highest daily death tolls since the pandemic began.

Czech Republic Becomes Top Europe Hotspot (2:59 p.m. HK)

The Czech Republic had a record 4,457 newly confirmed coronavirus infections on Tuesday as tighter social-distancing rules are failing to stem the outbreak.

The country’s 14-day cumulative number of Covid-19 cases per capita is now thehighest in the European Union, surpassing Spain, according to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control. While the government has pledged to avoid another full-scale lockdown, the Health Ministry plans to announce more restrictions on Friday.

Hong Kong Mulls Bar Closure (12:37 p.m. HK)

Hong Kong health authorities are considering whether bars should be closed again, according to a South China Morning Post report citing an unidentified person in the government.

The city expects to add 11 new virus cases on Wednesday, “several” of which have unknown sources of infection, the newspaper said. Officials have already said that, for now, there will be no further relaxation of steps put in place to curb the pathogen.

Pandemic Relief Saga (11:35 a.m. HK)

Donald Trump spent his first full day home from the hospital out of sight, but looked to make up for his absence Tuesday night with a spree of Twitter posts, including on pandemic relief.

Hours after calling off aid negotiations, Trumpsaid he’d support steps such as stimulus checks and assistance for airlines and small businesses if the measures were decoupled from larger talks and passed separately.

Trump Rails Against FDA (10:10 a.m. HK)

Trumpaccused the Food and Drug Administration of carrying out a “political hit job” against him by releasing newstandards that could delay authorization of a coronavirus vaccine until after the November election.

The guidelines are intended to reassure the American public any vaccine is safe and effective, amid accusations that the Trump administration’s response to the virus has been tainted by politics.

“New FDA Rules make it more difficult for them to speed up vaccines for approval before Election Day. Just another political hit job!” the president wrote in a tweet that tagged his hand-picked FDA commissioner, Stephen Hahn.

Record Cases in Argentina (8:53 a.m. HK)

Argentina reported a daily record of 14,740 new Covid-19 cases, taking the total to 824,468. Infections and deaths climbed inMexico andMyanmar, where officials are adding critical-care beds and procuring more medical equipment to cope with the outbreak.South Korea identified 114 more cases, the largest increase in almost two weeks.

Biden Cautions on Debate (7:44 a.m. HK)

Joe Biden said Tuesday that he and Donald Trump should scrap their next debate if the president is still infected with the coronavirus.

“I think if he still has Covid we shouldn’t have a debate,” Biden told reporters on his way back from a campaign stop in Pennsylvania.

White House Outbreak Widens (7:37 a.m. HK)

Stephen Miller, a senior adviser to the U.S. president, became the latest White House staffer to test positive for the coronavirus. He said in a brief statement that he’s in quarantine.

Vice President Mike Pence tested negative, his physician said in a letter. The vice presidential debate with Kamala Harris is due to be held in Salt Lake City on Wednesday.

Indonesia Seeks AstraZeneca Vaccine (6 a.m. HK)

Indonesia is seeking to securevaccines from AstraZeneca Plc, part of its plan to procure doses from overseas while ramping up local output to inoculate its more than 270 million people.

The country’s foreign and state-owned enterprises ministries are in talks with the U.K.-based company, Bambang Brodjonegoro, who leads the nation’s vaccine task force, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television.

The Indonesian government seeks to get effective vaccines as soon as possible by securing deals with China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd. and the United Arab Emirates’ G42 Healthcare, but it’s also looking to supplement that by producing enough doses locally.

Texas Hospitalizations at Three-Week High (5:34 p.m. NY)

Texas virus hospitalizations rose 2.3% in a 24-hour period to 3,394, the highest in more than three weeks, according to state health department data released Tuesday.

The increase comes as Governor Greg Abbott prepares to lift some of the remaining restrictions on business activity enacted three months ago when new infections proliferated.

Vaccine Makers Told to Make Sure Production Ready (4:30 p.m. NY)

The Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed program has asked vaccine makers to hold off filing for an emergency authorization of a Covid-19 shot until they canmanufacture several million doses.

The program has told the companies it supports to refrain from filing “if they achieve efficacy demonstration while there are no vaccine doses available at industrial scale at several million doses,” Moncef Slaoui, Warp Speed’s chief adviser, said in an online presentation sponsored by Johns Hopkins University and the University of Washington Tuesday.

With several vaccines already in the final stage of testing, the possibility that one may have the data needed to apply for clearance is drawing closer. Slaoui suggested that authorizing a vaccine without being able to make it might be a “major disappointment” to the public.

NYC Businesses in Hot Spots Must Close (4:20 p.m. NY)

Businesses and schools in coronavirushot spots in New York state must close by the end of the week, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday.

Cuomo announced plans for a “Cluster Action Initiative,” where groups of cases would be geographically identified by red, orange and yellow, rather than ZIP codes.

The state will focus on red, or “intense action,” areas in Brooklyn, Queens, and Rockland and Orange counties. Local governments will get color-coded maps of the clusters to see where their community falls, Cuomo said at a briefing at the Capitol in Albany.

France New Cases Top 10,000 (2:31 p.m. NY)

France reported 10,489 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, with the weekly pace picking up for a fourth day and following a record number of infections on Saturday. The seven-day rolling average of new cases, which smooths out daily variations, rose above 12,000 for the first time in eight days.

“Today we have this virus that is on the rise again and which continues to put pressure on our hospital services,” President Emmanuel Macron said on a visit to Rothschild AP-HP hospital in Paris on Tuesday.

Mask Policies Helped Arizona Stem Disease (1:55 p.m. NY)

The number of Covid-19 cases in Arizona leveled off and then fell after the state gave local governments permission to implement mask policies, according to areport by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The average number of daily cases increased to 2,026 cases on June 15 from 808 on June 1, a 151% rise. About two weeks after local officials began mandating masks in several counties along with other mitigation measures, the number of cases began to decrease, the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report found. The case count fell 75% from July 13 through August 7.

Mitigation efforts also included limiting public events, closing bars and movie theaters, and reducing restaurant capacity.

U.S. Military Chief to Quarantine (1:45 p.m. NY)

General Mark Milley, the top U.S. military officer, is among officers in quarantine after the Coast Guard’s vice commandant tested positive for the coronavirus, a Pentagon official said Tuesday. Coast Guard Admiral Charles Ray was tested “after feeling mild symptoms over the weekend,” the service said in a statement.

Although the Coast Guard is part of the Department of Homeland Security, Ray was at the Pentagon last week “for meetings with other senior military leaders” including service chiefs, Defense Department spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement.

Trump Reported No Symptoms, Doctor Says (1:20 p.m. NY)

President Donald Trump reported “no symptoms” on Tuesday, his doctor said. Two more White House staff members tested positive for the coronavirus. Trump tweeted that he was “feeling great” and looking forward to next week’s debate.

Trump returned to the White House Monday evening after a four-day stay at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for treatment for Covid-19. Aides hope to keep him at the presidential residence and away from the Oval Office but are uncertain how long that will last, according to people familiar with the matter.

— With assistance by Sunil Jagtiani, Piotr Bujnicki, Krystof Chamonikolas, Slav Okov, Marton Eder, Jan Bratanic, and Nikos Chrysoloras

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