H.K. Eases Some Rules; India Case Growth Slows: Virus Update

(Bloomberg) — Hong Kong will ease some social distancing rules and announced plans for mandatory testing of people with symptoms and specific groups as India’s daily infections fell below 40,000 for the first time in more than three months.


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Eli Lilly & Co. said a U.S.-run clinical trial of its experimental antibody therapy will end while AstraZeneca Plc’s vaccine candidate produced a robust immune response in elderly people. New research from the U.K. suggests antibody responses may diminish over time.

The latest surge in U.S. coronavirus cases sent the S&P 500 Index to its biggest drop in a month. An infection spike that started with younger Americans is now moving to older communities.

Key Developments:

Global Tracker: Cases top 43.4 million; deaths exceed 1.15 millionU.S. ‘surge’ virus testing targets asymptomatic peopleCovid Fear Is Back and Driving Markets Again: John AuthersP&G’s new Lysol competitor wins EPA approval to fight virusAmericans see record flu shot demand in first season with CovidU.S. recovery’s surprise strength linked to aid, quick reopeningVaccine Tracker: Vaccine trials restart, providing hope

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

chart, histogram: Seven-day average of U.S. death toll is at 800 again

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Seven-day average of U.S. death toll is at 800 again

Hong Kong to Relax Some Social Distancing, Bars to Stay Open Later (2:52 p.m. HK)

Hong Kong will allow more people to sit at the same table in bars and restaurants as well as letting them stay open later.

From Friday, restaurants will be allowed to stay open until 2 a.m. with six people permitted at a table, up from four, Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan told a briefing on Tuesday. Bars also will be open later with the limit on patrons doubling to four per table.

Hong Kong also eased its rule mandating face masks for people exercising at indoor venues but a four-person limit on public gatherings will stay for another week.

Earlier, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said the city would re-open public beaches as the Asian financial starts legislative work on mandatory Covid-19 testing for specific groups including people with symptoms.

Bulgaria Posts Record High New Cases, Deaths (2:08 p.m. HK)

Bulgaria reported record numbers of new cases, deaths and patients in intensive care, putting fresh pressure on the country’s health-care system.

The Balkan country reported 2,243 daily coronavirus cases, the first time new infections topped 2,000, as well as 42 deaths. The numbers come as Prime Minister Boyko Borissov is recovering at home after testing positive for Covid-19.

Dubai in Talks on London Air-Travel Agreement to Boost Demand (12:15 p.m. HK)

A plan to open up air travel between Dubai and London is ready and could be implemented once approved by the respective governments, according to the head of the emirate’s airport operator.

Testing and quarantine requirements have been agreed by hubs and airlines, Paul Griffiths, chief executive officer of Dubai Airports, said in an interview. Whether they move forward lies “in the hands of politicians” and how they want to balance economic growth with measures to control the rate of infection, he said.

Video: Vaccine and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee Meets About COVID-19 Vaccine (CBS Pittsburgh)

Vaccine and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee Meets About COVID-19 Vaccine



Negotiations with the U.K. to enable easier journeys between the two destinations is one of several such conversations Dubai Airports is having around the world, according to Griffiths. Securing final agreements is “the next phase we desperately want to move to,” he said.

India Adds 36,470 Coronavirus Cases, Total Reaches Almost 8 Million (11:55 a.m. HK)

India reported 36,470 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, marking its lowest daily increase since July 17.

The country now has 7.95 million cases, trailing only the U.S. in total infections. India’s coronavirus-related death-toll is now 119,502, according to government data.

Philippines Keeps Loose Covid Curbs in Capital Through November (9:19 a.m. HK)

The Philippines will keep loose movement restrictions in its capital through November after the Southeast Asian nation recorded fewer infections last week.

Metro Manila will stay under general community quarantine, where most businesses are allowed to operate, President Rodrigo Duterte said in a briefing aired Tuesday. The government this month shortened curfew hours in Manila and eased the stay-at-home order to further reopen its economy.

The Philippines has the second-worst outbreak in Southeast Asia, with over 371,000 cases as of Monday. It reported fewer coronavirus cases last week amid a slowdown in testing as the Red Cross halted most of its Covid-19 operations after the state health insurer failed to pay.

Covid-Vaccine Developer in India Plans to Boost Capacity by 70% (9:09 a.m. HK)

Cadila Healthcare Ltd., one of two Indian drugmakers racing to develop an indigenous Covid-19 vaccine, is in talks with potential partners to ramp up production capacity if its candidate passes human clinical trials.

The Ahmedabad-based firm is looking to hire contract manufacturers for an additional 50 million to 70 million doses of its plasmid DNA vaccine, on top of the 100 million that will come from its own capacity, according to Managing Director Sharvil Patel. Obtaining and delivering a safe vaccine is a major priority for Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a nation with the world’s largest number of infections after the U.S.

Antibody Defense Against Covid Wanes Over Time, Study Suggests (8:01 a.m. HK)

Antibody responses to the coronavirus may diminish over time, according to a study that showed the natural defenses waning in Britons who’d previously been exposed.

Among 365,000 randomly selected U.K. adults who tested themselves at home, 4.4% had antibodies in September, compared with 6% in June, according to research published Tuesday by Imperial College London and polling service Ipsos MORI.

The study suggests that antibodies, a marker of exposure to the coronavirus, may not be lasting in all people who have been infected, adding to other research indicating that immunity may be finite.

A small but growing number of patients have fallen ill with Covid-19 twice, and it’s not clear how long antibody protection from any vaccine would last.

U.S. Trial of Lilly Antibody Therapy to End; No Safety Issue (6:30 a.m. HK)

A paused clinical trial of an Eli Lilly & Co. experimental antibody therapy won’t resume after federal researchers concluded the drug likely wouldn’t help hospitalized Covid-19 patients with advanced cases.

The National Institutes of Health researchers who initially halted the trial due to a safety concern, however, didn’t find that the treatment caused any harm, which may bode well for a regulatory review of the antibody’s use in a different setting.

While the decision to end the NIH-sponsored trial means Lilly’s antibody treatment may not work for the most extreme cases, other trials are ongoing to determine whether it helps patients earlier in the disease’s course. Notably, the finding that there wasn’t a safety issue in the hospital trial could remove a potential roadblock to emergency authorization that Lilly is seeking for using the antibody in patients outside of the hospital.

Birx Sees Dangers in Midwest: Minnesota Governor (5:15 p.m. NY)

Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, “painted a pretty stark picture” of the dangers associated with rising cases in the Midwest during a weekend visit to Minnesota, Governor Tim Walz told reporters Monday.

“She couldn’t have been clearer,” the Democratic governor said. “Her message was this: cases are rising across the upper Midwest and Minnesota is no exception. The infection rates in the upper Midwest, and she specifically stated on our eastern and western borders, are the highest infection rates on the planet right now.”

Walz said Birx told him Minnesota and Illinois have the capacity to reverse the disease’s spread if they successfully impose mitigation strategies such as face-mask mandates and capacity limits at restaurants. Birx said other states are “going to burn, and it’s going to burn hot,” Walz said, without naming those areas.

Czechs Impose Curfew (5 p.m. NY)

The Czech Republic imposed a nationwide curfew starting at 9 p.m. as of Wednesday to stem the record spread of the coronavirus.

Retailers, with the exemption of pharmacies and petrol stations, must be closed on Sundays and after 8 p.m. on other days. The government also said that all employees in public and private sectors should work from home when possible.

France Hospital Use Jumps Most Since April (3:10 p.m. NY)

France reported the number of people hospitalized because of Covid-19 jumped by 1,307 to 17,784 on Monday, the biggest increase since April 2. Patients in intensive care also rose by the most since early April.

Confirmed cases increased by 26,771, after France reported a record 52,010 infections on Sunday. Monday typically represents the week’s low point for cases due to a lull in test results over the weekend. The seven-day average of cases, which smooths out weekly variations, jumped 5.6% from a day earlier to more than 36,000.

a group of people in a room: On The Virus Second Wave Frontline With France's Civil Protection Ambulance Service

© Bloomberg
On The Virus Second Wave Frontline With France’s Civil Protection Ambulance Service

Ambulance crew transport a patient to Beaujon Hospital in Paris on Oct. 24.

Photographer: Nathan Laine/Bloomberg

President Emmanuel Macron will convene a defense cabinet meeting on Tuesday to discuss the Covid-19 situation. The head of the scientific council that advises the French government on the pandemic said the situation is moving toward that of early March, and the second wave will probably be worse than the first one.

California Tops 900,000 Cases (2:35 p.m. NY)

California, home of the most U.S. coronavirus cases, surpassed 900,000 infections. It added 2,981 cases yesterday for a total of 901,010, according to state health data.

The most populous state has seen its outbreak improve from the summer, when average daily cases exceeded 9,000. Still, it has started to show signs of an uptick, with the 14-day average of new infections reaching 3,642, up 7.5% from the beginning of the month.

Europe Can Still Avoid Lockdowns, WHO Says (2:30 p.m. NY)

European countries may still be able to avoid national lockdowns despite the region being an epicenter of the pandemic now, World Health Organization leaders said on Monday.

“We are still hopeful that countries will not need to go into these so-called national lockdowns, that they will be able to use the tools at hand,” said Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s technical lead officer for Covid-19. Public health leaders are worried about European hospitals and intensive-care units filling up as the virus spreads into older populations, she said.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he discussed forging a more coordinated European response with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. WHO leaders cited travel between European countries with varying levels of virus transmission as one driver in the resurgence of cases after successful lockdowns earlier this year.

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