Russia Gets Saudi Help; U.K. Furlough Plan Faulted: Virus Update

Russia reached an agreement in principle with Saudia Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to conduct clinical trials of its coronavirus vaccine, the head of its sovereign wealth fund said. China and Russia may also work together on a vaccine, a top Chinese virus expert said.

The U.K. is putting 2 million jobs in peril by ending its coronavirus support program prematurely, a leading think tank said. The U.K. plans to replace Public Health England with a new agency modeled on Germany’s Robert Koch Institute, the Telegraph reported.

Belgium found 756 new cases and reported 11 more deaths. New Zealand, which is trying to stamp out the nation’s first outbreak in more than three months, had 13 new infections, 12 of which are linked to an existing cluster in Auckland. Australia’s Victoria state, which reported 279 new cases and 16 deaths in the past 24 hours, extended a state of emergency through Sept. 13.

Key Developments:

  • Global Tracker: Global cases approach 21.5 million; deaths pass 770,000
  • First into the virus slump, China is proving the fastest out
  • Russia’s new Sputnik launch raises risks in dash for Covid shots
  • Life without football will trounce America’s college towns
  • Vaccine rush leaves little recourse for anyone it harms
  • Forced isolation may be the only way to stop resurgence of virus
  • A fake shot may be your ticket to the front of the vaccine line
  • As school looms, what we know about kids and Covid-19

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.

Russia Gets Saudi Help; U.K. Furlough Plan Faulted: Virus Update

France May Step Up Mask Rules, JDD Says (5:20 a.m. NY)

French Labor Minister Elisabeth Borne will propose Tuesday that masks be required in businesses by September, in cases where people are working together in an enclosed space, she said in an interview with Journal du Dimanche.

She cited meeting rooms and common areas as places where masks would be required, and said she will discuss with the health ministry whether they’ll be needed in open-plan offices.

France reported 3,310 new coronavirus cases in 24 hours, the country’s public health agency said Saturday, and it’s investigating 17 new clusters. “The situation is worrying: All indicators continue to increase and the transmission of the virus is on the rise,” the agency said in a statement.

Philippine Recoveries Top 40,000 (4:50 a.m. (NY)

The Philippines reported 40,397 recoveries on Sunday after another automatic reclassification of mild and asymptomatic cases that have lapsed after 14 days.

The “time-based” adjustment brings the total to 112,586 and means almost 70% of confirmed cases have recovered, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said. New Covid-19 cases stood at 3,420, taking the tally to 161,253, the highest in Southeast Asia.

China and Russia Reportedly Plan Joint Tests (4:35 a.m. NY)

Zhong Nanshan, a top virus expert in China, said at a meeting on Sunday that China and Russia have plans to jointly conduct vaccine clinical trials, without giving further details. The meeting, held in China’s Guangdong province, is about virus cooperation between the two countries and attended by virus experts from both sides, according to local reports.

U.K. Putting Jobs in Danger, Think Tank Says (4:23 a.m. NY)

U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak is endangering 2 million viable jobs by ending his coronavirus jobs support program too early, the Institute for Public Policy Research said. The think tank estimates that 3 million workers will still be relying on the plan when it ends in October, two-thirds of whom are in roles that would be sustainable if the help was extended into next year.

Removing the support too early would “cause long-lasting damage to the economy and to people’s lives,” the authors of the report said. Even with the plan, which currently pays 80% of an employee’s wage, there are signs the labor market is in crisis.

Russia Gets Saudi Arabia to Test Vaccine (3:15 a.m. NY)

Russia reached an agreement in principle to conduct clinical trials of its coronavirus vaccine in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, according to the head of its sovereign wealth fund.

The Russians are working with a pharmaceutical company in the kingdom and have shared data from Phase I and Phase II trials with Saudi partners, the chief executive officer of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, Kirill Dmitriev, told Arab News. The company wasn’t identified.

Tokyo’s Young Adults Most Hit (2:36 p.m. HK)

While confirmed new cases in Tokyo slipped to 260 on Sunday, from 385 the previous day, the data showed patients in their 20s accounted for 84% of those infections. The total number of infected people in Tokyo now stands at 17,714, of which 25 are in critical condition. On Thursday, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government said it will keep its Covid-19 alert at its highest level.

China’s Banking Regulator Warns of Risks From Fed Easing (1:22 p.m. HK)

The Federal Reserve’s unparalleled stimulus risks plunging the world into financial crisis, while bad debts at Chinese financial institutions could balloon significantly this year due to the impact of Covid-19, Guo Shuqing, chairman of China Banking Regulatory Commission, wrote in an article published in the Communist Party’s Qiushi magazine on Sunday.

Seafarers in Singapore Hospitalized (1:20 p.m. HK)

The number of sailors who have tested positive for the virus has increased to 15 since the first confirmed case was reported Aug. 12 on the ship that arrived earlier this month needing repairs and refueling. The infected crew has been sent for medical care, while the remaining members are quarantined on board the vessel, the Port Authority said in a statement.

Just last week, Singapore quarantined about 800 migrant workers after a case was discovered in a dormitory, dealing a setback to its efforts to clear the crowded living quarters of infection. Singapore reported 86 new cases.

Public Health England to Be Replaced, Telegraph Says (4:57 a.m. HK)

Public Health England will be replaced by a new organization designed to protect the country against a pandemic, the Telegraph reported Saturday, citing a senior minister. The new organization, called the National Institute for Health Protection, will be modeled on Germany’s Robert Koch Institute.

U.K. Health Secretary Matt Hancock wants the new agency, which will have tens of thousands of staff, to be set up ahead of a potential wave of virus cases this fall, the newspaper said.

Netherlands Prepares Spain Warnings, Efe Says (1:17 a.m. HK)

The Dutch government late on Saturday was set to recommend against non-essential travel to six regions in Spain, Efe reported. The regions, including Madrid and the Balearic Islands, would get an orange tag, which also means travelers returning from them to the Netherlands should quarantine upon their return.

South Korea’s Infections Rise to Five-Month High (11:45 a.m. HK)

The 279 additional cases in the past 24 hours have taken the nation’s total to 15,318, while the number of deaths remained at 305, according to data from Korea Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. Officials said 245 of the new infections were in the Seoul, Gyeonggi and Incheon region -- home to almost half of South Korea’s population.

The Asian country raised its social-distancing alert to level 2 in the Seoul Metropolitan area, prohibiting “high-risk” events and operations for two weeks. The resurgence is once again testing authorities in South Korea, which has maintained one of developed countries’ lowest rates of infection and deaths since the early days of the pandemic.

Separately, authorities said they will charge a pastor of a religious sect for violating self-quarantine rules and for failing to cooperate with requests for a list of parishioners who need testing. President Moon Jae-in has urged strict measures at churches and has asked people to avoid gatherings as much as possible.

New Zealand’s Battle to Contain New Outbreak (11:38 a.m. HK)

Health officials are working with their Australian counterparts in Victoria who looked at genome sequencing after an outbreak at an Americold cold-store facility in Melbourne to establish whether that could’ve been the source for the latest Auckland infections, New Zealand’s Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said Sunday. The country’s total confirmed infections rose to 1,271, with 69 active cases, he said.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday is due to give an update on whether a general election set for Sept. 19 will go ahead amid the latest infections. On Friday, Ardern extended a lockdown in Auckland.

Victoria Emergency Extended (10:45 a.m. HK)

Daniel Andrews, the premier of the country’s second-most populous state, said Sunday the emergency that’s already been in place for almost six months will be extended by four more weeks through Sept. 13. Victoria reported 279 new infections in the past 24 hours and 16 deaths.

Premier Andrews warned against complacency after local media reported residents of Melbourne were out in droves on Saturday to take advantage of good weather despite strict restrictions, including a curfew in the city. Victorians didn’t have “the luxury of backing off,” he said. The state has reported a total 309 Covid-19 fatalities.

Saliva Test Partly Funded by NBA Gets Approval (5:59 p.m. NY)

A Covid-19 test that processes saliva samples and doesn’t require special swabs or collection devices received emergency-use authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Saturday.

Research for the test was done by Yale University’s School of Public Health and was partly funded by the National Basketball Association and the union representing NBA players.

Yale plans to provide the test protocol to interested labs under an “open-source” arrangement that doesn’t rely on any proprietary equipment from Yale, according to the FDA. Yale expects labs to charge about $10 per sample.

South Africa Lifts Alcohol Ban, Cuts Alert Level (2:20 p.m. NY)

President Cyril Ramaphosa said South Africa is reducing the nationwide pandemic alert by one notch to Level 2 because the pace of new cases slowed. A ban on on alcohol sales is lifted, subject to restrictions on store hours, he said.

“The move to Level 2 means that we can remove nearly all of the restrictions on the resumption of economic activity,” Ramaphosa said in a televised speech. Restrictions on inter-provincial travel are lifted, while a ban on international travel remains in place, he said.

Ireland Reports Most New Cases Since May (1:45 p.m. NY)

Ireland’s new cases increased by 200, the most since early May. Ronan Glynn, the country’s chief medical officer, said Ireland is seeing “multiple clusters” and described the trajectory of the spread as “deeply concerning.”

Michael Cawley, chairman of the Irish tourist promotion board and a former deputy CEO of Ryanair, resigned after it emerged he’s vacationing in Italy despite government advice to the avoid non-essential travel.

U.K. Airline Cuts More Than 100 Pilots (12:16 p.m. NY)

Leisure airline Jet2 plans to cut 102 pilots as the coronavirus pandemic pummels the aviation sector and travel industry.

Jet2 is making the pilots redundant at most of its bases in the U.K. after the British Airline Pilots’ Association’s attempts to save the jobs were rejected, the union said in a statement. The airline is owned by Dart Group Plc, the country’s third-largest carrier by passenger numbers.

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