U.S. Cases Over 50,000 Again; Italy Reports Record: Virus Update

The U.S. added 57,164 new virus cases, the fifth consecutive day of infections over 50,000. Italy’s cases swelled to a daily record though the prime minister held off pressure to impose radical restrictions.

Millions across Europe faced tighter restrictions on movement as London and Paris enforced new curbs and Switzerland made masks mandatory in many public venues. Slovakia plans to test the entire nation.

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she remains hopeful a deal on a new stimulus bill can be reached before the election, but set Monday as a deadline for more progress. Global cases neared 40 million.

Key Developments:

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U.S. Cases Over 50,000 Again; Italy Reports Record: Virus Update

New York Synagogue Agrees to Limits on Large Wedding (5:11 p.m. NY)

A Brooklyn Hasidic synagogue agreed to limit attendance at the wedding of a chief rabbi’s grandson that was expected to draw thousands from areas designated as Covid-19 hot spots in New York.

In doing so, the leaders of Congregation Yetev Lev D’Satmar in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood capitulated to city and state authorities who threatened law enforcement actions.

Although the synagogue itself is not within one of the state designated hot spots, the wedding would have drawn large crowds from Satmar communities in Brooklyn and the suburb of Rockland County where infection rates have been spiking, and where Governor Andrew Cuomo has said compliance with mask-wearing and social distancing has been low.

On Sunday Cuomo said the wedding was just another compromise to fight the virus. After listing the loss of a job, or a business, or the inability to attend school or visit a family member in a hospital, Cuomo said, “I think ‘I really wanted to have a big wedding’ isn’t on the top of the concerns.”

Conte Bets Italy Can Slow Virus With Targeted Restrictions (4:22 p.m. NY)

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte held off pressure to impose radical restrictions on Italy, betting his government can slow the spread of the coronavirus and protect the economy with more targeted measures.

The premier signed a new decree Sunday night -- only five days after a previous package -- urging mayors to close piazzas and streets at 9 p.m. to stop crowds gathering, and imposing a maximum of six people per table at restaurants which must close at midnight. Amateur and school competitions for contact sports are banned.

“We must act, deploying all the measures necessary to avert a new generalized lockdown,” Conte said in a televised news conference. “The country cannot afford a new setback which would severely jeopardize the whole economy.”

Conte has been under pressure from coalition partners, regional leaders and medical advisers to take action after seeing the number of daily infections mount over recent weeks, albeit at a slower pace than in France and the U.K. Italy posted a record 11,705 new infections on Sunday, compared to 10,925 Saturday.

Australia’s Hot Spot State Urged to Reopen Quicker (4:15 p.m. NY)

The government and business groups are calling on Australia’s Victoria state to reopen the economy more quickly as Covid-19 cases decline, pointing to mounting job losses across retail and hospitality.

State Premier Daniel Andrews on Sunday announced an easing of stay-at-home orders, but left many businesses shuttered until next month to ensure community transmission is further curbed.

“Every day Victoria remains under restrictions to get the second wave in Victoria under control comes at a heavy cost,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a statement, adding that 1,000 jobs a day had been lost on average during the lockdown.

South African Health Minister Test Positive (3:57 p.m NY)

South African Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said he and his wife, May, had tested positive for Covid-19.

The two went for a test on Saturday after the minister, who has drawn widespread praise for his proactive approach to combating the pandemic, began showing mild symptoms.

“I was feeling abnormally exhausted and as the day progressed, I started losing appetite. My wife had a cough, was dizzy and extremely exhausted,” Mkhize said in a statement on Sunday. “I am now in quarantine at home and both my wife and I remain optimistic that we will fully recover from this virus.”

Slovenia Boosts Emergency Powers (3:44 p.m. NY)

The Slovenian government extended its emergency authority after days of record new daily coronavirus cases and an all-time high positivity rate of 19% on Saturday.

Declaring a renewed “state of epidemic,” the Alpine state is poised to introduce new restricting measures as a government expert group meets late Sunday in search of ways to tamp new infections, which reached almost 4,500 in the last seven days.

Gottlieb Says U.S. Strategy is Just to Wait for Vaccine (2:32 p.m. NY)

Scott Gottlieb said the Trump administration’s current coronavirus strategy “is just to endure the spread until we get a vaccine.”

The former FDA commissioner spoke on CBS on Sunday as total U.S. Covid cases have surpassed 8 million and many states are seeing a rising rate of infection, including more severe cases.

“There’s 42 states where hospitalizations are rising. There’s 45 states where the rate of transfer, the Rt is above one, meaning they have expanding epidemics,” Gottlieb said.

Gottlieb said it could be February or March before the first tranche of people receive a vaccine and are actually protected from the virus. He’s on the board of Pfizer, one of the companies racing to develop a vaccine and submit it to the FDA for emergency approval.

France Reports Almost 30,000 Cases (1:56 p.m. NY)

France reported 29,837 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, according to statistics on the website of France’s national health agency.

The government is counting on a curfew that went into effect this weekend in nine cities to brake the spread of the virus without the need for a generalized national lockdown.

“The challenge is to face up to it without resorting to a broad lockdown, across the whole country and for a long time,” Prime Minister Jean Castex said in an interview in Le Journal du Dimanche newspaper. “I want to avoid it.” France reported more than 30,000 new cases in two of the past three days, setting records for the number of daily infections.

U.K. Needs National Lockdown, Scientist Says (1:41 p.m. NY)

Britain needs an immediate three-week national lockdown as opposed to more limited regional restrictions, said Jeremy Farrar, a scientific adviser to the government.

“The current tiered restrictions will not bring the transmission rates down sufficiently or prevent the continued spread of the virus,” he told Sky News on Sunday.

“A three-week period of nationally increased restrictions, with the right levels of financial support, will allow us to reset before winter, stop transmission spiraling, protect and prepare health services, give time to get the test-trace-isolate systems fully functional, and save lives,” he said.

Prague Protest Turns Violent (1:32 p.m. NY)

Hundreds of protesters clashed with riot police in Prague in a protest against social distancing rules and measures such as wearing face masks imposed by the government to stem the most acute spread of the coronavirus in Europe.

The police used tear gas, water cannon and an armored personnel carrier to disperse the crowd of some 2,000 protesters, which assembled at the city’s Old Town Square.

Some people, mostly hockey and football fans, refused to leave after the authorities ended the demonstration and used small explosive devices against the officers. Some 100 people were arrested after the protests and 20 people were injured, according to CTK newswire.

Slovakia Plans to Test Entire Nation (1:28 p.m. NY)

The Slovak army will carry out mass testing in November, aiming to test all of the nation’s 5.4 million people, Defense Minister Jaroslav Nad told reporters. He said Slovakia would be the first country ever to do so.

“We aren’t able to handle the pandemic, let’s be honest. This is way out of hell which we are heading for,” said Premier Igor Matovic, adding that the only other possibility would be a complete lockdown.

The nation reported 1,567 new Covid-19 cases and six deaths on Saturday.

Ireland Mulls Lockdown (12:47 p.m. NY)

Ireland’s government is considering health authorities’ recommendation to move the nation to the tightest lockdown level as it reported 1,283 cases, the most since April.

The government will take “decisive” and nationwide action on Monday, Higher Education Minister Simon Harris told broadcaster RTE on Sunday, without giving details.

“Level 3 has not worked,” Harris said. Level 5 would see all non-essential stores close, and confine people within 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) of their home. Most of the country is currently in Level 3.

Illinois Governor Cites Limits to Reopening (12:42 p.m. NY)

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker says the lack federal leadership on the pandemic has made it “nearly impossible” for states to open up any more than they are now.

The Democrat, a regular target of President Donald Trump, spoke on CNN’s “State of the Union” as virus cases rise sharply across the Midwest. Illinois reported more than 4,500 new Covid cases on Friday, a single-day record.

“We have already opened up much of our economy,” he said. “But we have to maintain certain capacity limits and make sure that our people are safe and healthy.”

Pritzker said Illinois is the “third highest testing state” in the U.S. at present, which accounts for some of its increasing number of cases.

Cuomo Asks White House for Guidance on Vaccine (12:25 p.m. NY)

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the National Governors Association is sending the White House a letter asking for specific guidance about how to distribute a coronavirus vaccine when it is available. Cuomo, the group’s current chair, noted that the federal response so far has been to devolve to the states responsibility for battling Covid-19.

“States cannot do this on their own. Period. This is a massive undertaking,” he said, adding that skepticism and conspiracy theories will complicate further the distribution of any vaccine. “We need the federal government to be a competent partner.”

Cuomo also said at a press briefing that New York’s ski resorts can open at 50% capacity on Nov. 6, the day after he announced the limited opening of cinemas.

New York reported 1,390 new cases, a 0.3% rise in line with the average daily increase over the previous seven days. Another seven people died.

U.K. Cases Rise by Almost 17,000 (11:05 a.m. NY)

The U.K. said Sunday 16,982 people tested positive, an increase of 5% from Saturday and a sixth straight day over 15,000. Another 67 people died within 28 days of a positive test. The U.K. broadened restrictions on socializing this weekend amid a surge in cases. More than 900 patients were admitted to U.K. hospitals, bringing the total to 5,608, and 592 are on ventilators.

Italy Cases Reach Record Again (11:17 a.m. NY)

Italy reported 11,705 new coronavirus cases, the most in one day since the outbreak began. The number of patients in intensive care more than doubled in the last ten days.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte may order bars and restaurants to close early, ban some sporting activities and change high school hours to prevent crowding, according to officials in his government who asked not to be identified.

Pelosi Sets Monday Deadline for Pre-Election Stimulus (10:18 a.m. NY)

Pelosi said that Monday is a deadline for more progress in talks with the White House to make a stimulus deal happen before the Nov. 3 election.

“Are we going with it, or not? And what is the language?” the House Speaker said on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.”

Pelosi said a 48-hour deadline mentioned Saturday night in a tweet by her spokesman related to the need to agree “on the design on some of these things,” a reference to unresolved aspects of a bill.

Switzerland Makes Masks Mandatory Indoors (8:30 a.m. NY)

Masks will now be required in public indoor spaces including airports and train stations, Swiss President Simonetta Sommaruga said at a press conference. Spontaneous public gatherings of more than 15 people will be forbidden and private gatherings exceeding that number will require masks.

The government also advised people to work from home whenever possible. “The second wave is here,” said Interior Minister Berset.

U.S. Adds Almost 60,000 Cases (8 a.m. NY)

The U.S. added 57,164 new virus cases, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg.

The number was a drop from the previous day’s 69,276, the most since late July. An additional 712 people died, slightly less than the previous week’s daily average.

French PM Says Curfew Needed to Avert Lockdown (5:37 p.m. HK)

The curfew that began this weekend in Paris and eight other French cities should help curb the coronavirus outbreak without the damage that comes from a national lockdown, Prime Minister Jean Castex said in an interview in Le Journal du Dimanche newspaper.

“The challenge is to face up to it without resorting to a broad lockdown, across the whole country and for a long time,” Castex told the paper. “I want to avoid it.”

France reported a record 32,427 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours.

German President in Quarantine After Contact (5:06 p.m. HK)

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier entered quarantine after a bodyguard tested positive for the virus Saturday, a spokeswoman said. Steinmeier’s first test result was negative but he will be tested again.

The country reported 4,862 new cases, fewer than in recent days, in a pattern common on the weekend when not all the data gets tallied.

Russia Reports New Cases Amid School Debate (5 p.m. HK)

Russia reported 15,099 new cases, the third day in a row that infections have hovered around 15,000, according to data from the government’s National Virus Response Center.

Russia has so far resisted returning to a lockdown to battle the second wave of infections, but Moscow has introduced new measures. The city also reopened several temporary hospitals and sent schoolchildren on an unplanned two-week vacation.

Any decision to close schools should be made by Russia’s regions based on the local situation, Education Minister Sergey Kravtsov said in an interview with the Tass news agency published on Sunday.

Poland Sees Rising Case Numbers (4:35 p.m. HK)

Poland registered 8,536 new coronavirus cases and the death toll continued to climb. The country had 649 respirators in use, compared with 383 a week earlier.

Austrian Chancellor Urges Discipline (4:02 p.m. HK)

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz urged Austrians to curb social contact and observe health measures to avoid a second lockdown in a videotaped message on social media.

“If all of us do without private festivities, large gatherings, parties, we can slow down the spread and keep open schools, the economy, and large parts of social life,” Kurz said.

Austria posted a record increase in new cases Saturday, bringing the countrywide seven-day incidence above 100 for the first time. Kurz is due to meet governors of the country’s nine provinces on Monday to discuss further measures.

Czech Republic Reports Weekend Surge (3:33 p.m. HK)

The Czech Republic recorded 8,713 new coronavirus cases, the highest number ever reported during the weekend since the pandemic began. It’s almost double of what was reported last Saturday. There is less testing on weekends. The total death toll rose to 1,352 on Saturday, making the country the worst-hit in Europe when adjusted for population.

Wales May Announce Lockdown Measures (2:45 p.m. HK)

Wales could go into a lockdown starting next Friday 6 p.m. London time, the Confederation of Passenger Transport said in a letter to its members. All but essential retail would have to close. The Welsh government may announce the measures on Monday, it said. A Welsh government spokesperson told Sky that “no decisions have been made.”

Belgium’s Incident Rate Jumps (2:15 p.m. HK)

The country reported a rising 14-day Covid-19 incident rate, 691 per 100,000, even as new cases grew less than in recent days. The government has boosted measures to battle the virus, introducing a night curfew and ordering all restaurants to close from Monday.

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