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Thursday, Apr 09, 2020

UK plans $39b stimulus; more NY cases: Virus update

UK plans $39b stimulus; more NY cases: Virus update

US cases climbed past 1,000 according to a Johns Hopkins tally that includes cruise ships, as a top health official said some parts of the country are now beyond containment efforts.

Regions from Italy to New York amped up containment efforts as the global death toll rose above 4,000. Infections in Italy topped 10,000 as the country attempted a nationwide lockdown. A UK health minister became the first British member of parliament to test positive for the virus.

US equity futures retreated as investors awaited details on stimulus measures to counter the coronavirus impact. US President Donald Trump didn’t appear at a briefing after promising a day earlier he would announce a “major” economic package.

UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak says announced a total fiscal stimulus package valued at 30 billion pounds ($39 billion) to support jobs and businesses. That came hours after the Bank of England cut interest rates.

A man in his 50s who attended a mining conference in Toronto, one of the industry’s biggest, has tested positive for Covid-19. The man went to the hospital in Sudbury, Ontario, on March 7. He was discharged home and remains in self-isolation.

More than 23,100 people attended the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada conference in Toronto March 1 to 4, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Doug Ford. The man attended the conference March 2 and 3.

Speaking to a panel of lawmakers in London on Wednesday, Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove said whether the talks will go ahead as planned is now a “live question.” “We have had indications today from Belgium that there may be public health concerns,” he said.

The Bank of Japan is likely to ease monetary policy next week, Reuters reported, citing what it says are people familiar with the central bank’s thinking. There is no consensus on how the BOJ will ease, but increasing the size of the bank’s ETF purchases is seen as among the most likely options, the sources told Reuters.

The UK Treasury Department is considering extending the 2019 tax-filing deadline beyond April 15 to provide relief from economic disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Treasury officials have been discussing the idea of extending the Internal Revenue Service’s payment deadline as the Trump administration considers measures to relieve economic pressure on citizens, businesses and government agencies dealing with the impact of the virus, according to the people.

China’s Hubei Province allows some work resumption

Hubei, the Chinese province at the centre of the coronavirus outbreak, will allow some work resumption after the region was locked down in January. Companies in sectors including utilities, daily necessities and agriculture necessities in Wuhan city and Hubei province can restart production, the provincial government said in a statement.

Minister says Olympics postponement ‘inconceivable’

A postponement or delay to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo is “inconceivable”, the Japanese minister responsible for the games said, responding to comments made by a member of the organizing committee which suggested a possible delay of up to two years as the coronavirus continues to spread.

Cathay projects ‘substantial’ loss on virus

Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd forecast its first loss in two years as the coronavirus hurts travel demand and aggravates the challenges facing a carrier that battled through the Hong Kong protests last year.

Hong Kong’s flag carrier is expecting a “substantial loss” in the first half of 2020, it said in a statement. That would be the first time the company lost money since the first half of 2018.

The airline has slashed capacity to mainland China by 90% and reduced its entire international network by about 40% because of the coronavirus. Cathay, which is particularly exposed to the virus because close to half of its revenue comes from Hong Kong and mainland China, also asked employees to take unpaid leave as it tries to weather the latest crisis.

US cases top 1,000 in Johns Hopkins tally

The US has 1,001 confirmed cases of coronavirus, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally, which also shows 28 deaths in the country. The list includes cruise ship cases, with 46 from the Diamond Princess and 21 from the Grand Princess.

The US has shifted into a new phase of its coronavirus response after efforts to stamp out sparks of an outbreak have failed. Authorities now are focusing on limiting damage.

For weeks, the biggest effect of the smattering of identified cases had been a mild sense of worry. That changed this week, with universities cancelling classes, patients popping up in offices and nursing homes, and local authorities limited some public gatherings.

Robert Redfield, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Tuesday that America had lost valuable time tracking the virus; some regions now can merely try to cope with its spread rather than stop it.

Cathay crew member tests preliminary positive

A Cathay Pacific crew member who had travelled to Madrid tested preliminary positive for the coronavirus in Hong Kong, local broadcaster Cable TV reported, citing unidentified people. The 22-year-old female served a confirmed patient on a flight from Madrid to Hong Kong on March 8, according to Cable TV.

Hong Kong’s Centre for Health Protection is tracing the contacts of a case involving a female patient in Dongguan, Guangdong, who took a Cathay flight from Madrid to Hong Kong on March 8, according to a government statement late Tuesday.

White House to meet Google, Facebook

US Chief Technology Officer Michael Kratsios will host a meeting Wednesday with Google, Amazon.com Inc, Facebook Inc and other technology companies to coordinate responses to the outbreak.

Social media companies have been attempting to prevent the spread of misinformation, while companies such as Amazon have tried to manage panic selling of goods.

South Korea reports 242 new cases

South Korea reported 242 additional infections in the previous 24 hours. The increase took total cases in the country to 7,755, according to a statement from the health ministry.

China reports just 24 new infections

China reported only 24 additional cases on March 10, of which 13 came from Hubei province, the country’s National Health Commission said. All the latest 22 deaths were also in Hubei. China added 19 cases a day earlier.

The nation has 80,778 total confirmed coronavirus infections and the death toll stands at 3,158.

Canada to announce financial measures

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is set to announce financial measures to help mitigate the effects of the widening outbreak.

Trudeau is scheduled to provide details at a 9am Wednesday press conference in Ottawa. The plan would include providing faster unemployment insurance benefits to people who self-isolate, more funding for coronavirus research and financial assistance to provinces for procurement of medical supplies, according to CTV News.

US eases rules as campuses closes: NYT

The US Department of Education is letting colleges and universities change course schedules to accommodate students who can’t meet enrollment requirements or complete internships, the New York Times reported.

The department has given broad approval to schools seeking relief from federal standards as they activate distance-learning programs, the newspaper said, citing a guidance document from the department.

Coachella organisers confirm festival is delayed

The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival organisers confirmed that the California mega-concert will be delayed for six months after local officials declared a state of emergency over coronavirus. The festival -- originally slated for April 10-12 and April 17-19 -- will now take place Oct 9-11 and Oct 16-18, according to Goldenvoice, which organises Coachella. Bloomberg reported on Monday that the event was being pushed back.

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