N.Y. Cases Double; WHO Chides Nations on Effort: Virus Update
(Bloomberg) -- Eleven more New York state residents were confirmed to have the coronavirus, Governor Andrew Cuomo said, bringing to 22 the number infected. Eight are directly linked to a 50-year-old attorney who lives in Westchester County and works in Manhattan.
The Trump administration won’t be able to meet its goal to have a million coronavirus tests available by the end of the week, senators said. The U.K. and Switzerland reported their first fatalities.
The head of the World Health Organization threatened to name countries that aren’t doing enough to fight the outbreak. Fatalities moderated in China, and cases appeared to slow in South Korea. Infections surged in Iran.
Global cases 97,426; death toll 3,345Italy pledges 7.5 billion euros; cases surge to 3,858Southwest Air warning shows even U.S. travel at riskU.S. mortgage rates sink to record low on virus fearsClick VRUS on the terminal for news and data on the coronavirus and here for maps and charts. For analysis of the impact from Bloomberg Economics, click here.
Toyota Dealer Near Seattle Closes After Worker Tests Positive (1:51 p.m. NY)
An employee at a Toyota dealership in Washington state tested positive for the coronavirus, prompting the showroom’s shutdown until March 9, the automaker said Thursday in a statement. The dealer in the Seattle suburb of Kirkland was informed about the diagnosis late Tuesday, and Toyota said it has been in contact with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We have notified our employees and are in the process of contacting our customers to advise them of the situation,” Toyota cited the dealer as saying in a statement. Representatives for the dealer and Toyota’s U.S. sales subsidiary had no immediate comment about how many customers visited the showroom.
Ten patients in Washington have died from the coronavirus, including nine in King County, where Seattle is located.
First U.K. Death; Cases Rise to 115 (1:20 p.m.)
An elderly patient has become the first person in the U.K. to die from the coronavirus as health officials across the country brace for a potential period of mounting infections.
The patient, who had underlying medical conditions and was in treatment at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading, is believed to have contracted the virus in the U.K., the government said in an email Thursday.
The fatality was reported on a day that the number of confirmed cases in the U.K. hit 115. As many as half of the U.K.’s total cases may emerge in a potential three-week episode that would put the National Health Service under “huge pressure,” Chief Medical Adviser Chris Whitty told a parliamentary committee earlier Thursday. Overall, 95% of cases would likely occur over a nine-week period, he said.
Confirmed Cases in New York Double (1 p.m. NY)
Governor Andrew Cuomo said the number of cases identified in New York doubled since Wednesday after more people were tested.
After a significant number of tests overnight, 11 new patients emerged, Cuomo said, for a total of 22 in the state.
Eight new cases in Westchester County were tied to a hospitalized lawyer in New Rochelle who also spread the pathogen to his family. There were two cases in New York City and one in suburban Long Island, the governor said. Residents should remains calm in the face of rising numbers, he said.
“The number has to go up if you continue to test,” Cuomo said. “I’m worried about undue fear and anxiety.”
He said the real centers of concern should be nursing homes and senior-care facilities.
WHO May Name Countries Failing to Fight Virus (11:30 a.m. NY)
The head of the World Health Organization said the spread of the coronavirus could become a pandemic if countries don’t fight it aggressively, and he threatened to name names.
“It’s a long list,” Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a daily press briefing in Geneva Thursday. “It’s a significant number of countries who are not mobilizing the whole government, and I can give you the list next time.”
Health ministries alone can’t fight the disease, and the top head of state or the second-in-command needs to lead the battle in order to fully mobilize governments. Tedros commended U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to name Vice President Mike Pence to head the nation’s efforts as an example of what countries should do.
Amazon Recommends Employees Work From Home (11:55 a.m. NY)
Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN). said that all employees based in the Seattle/Bellevue area who work in a role that can be done from home should do so through the end of March, according to a company memo sent to employees late Wednesday.
Microsoft Corp (NASDAQ:MSFT). has also suggested the same for its area employees, through March 25.
N.J. Has First Case, in Fort Lee (10:15 a.m. NY)
A 32-year-old man from Fort Lee, New Jersey, has been confirmed with the coronavirus, the first in the state.
The patient is being treated at Hackensack University Medical Center, according to Fort Lee officials. It wasn’t clear how the man contracted the virus. He is resting comfortably and doing well, the hospital said.
Fort Lee, across the George Washington Bridge from Manhattan, has almost 40,000 residents, many living in high rises along the Hudson River.
U.S. Won’t Meet Test Rollout Goal, Senators Say (9:57 a.m. NY)
The Trump administration won’t be able to meet its promised timeline of having a million coronavirus tests available by the end of the week, senators said after a briefing Thursday from health officials.
“There won’t be a million people to get a test by the end of the week,” Republican Senator Rick Scott of Florida said. “It’s way smaller than that. And still, at this point, it’s still through public health departments.”
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Cases Increase in France and Netherlands (9:49 a.m. NY)
France reported 92 new cases, bringing the total to 377. There have been two more fatalities, for a total of six, the health ministry said.
The Netherlands now has a tally of 82 confirmed cases, up from 38 yesterday, Dutch news agency ANP reported, citing Bruno Bruins, Minister for Medical Care.
U.K. Regulator Warns Companies Not to Raise Prices (9:45 a.m. NY)
The CMA, the U.K.’s competition regulator, said companies shouldn’t raise prices or make misleading claims about products in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
“We will do whatever we can to act against rip-offs and misleading claims, using any or all of our tools; and where we can’t act, we’ll advise government on further steps they could take, if necessary,” CMA Chairman Andrew Tyrie said in a statement.
Iran Rejects Offer for U.S. Humanitarian Aid (9:21 a.m. NY)
Brian Hook, U.S. special representative for Iran, told reporters in Paris that Iran rejected an offer of humanitarian aid from the U.S. to help deal with the coronavirus outbreak. Hook said the U.S. was concerned about the health of American detainees in Iran. He added that Iran had misled its people about the coronavirus.
NYC Community Transmission to Be More Common: Mayor (9:15 a.m. NY)
Two more people in New York City have tested positive for the coronavirus, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday morning, bringing the city’s total to four.
Neither of the new patients -- a man in his 40s and a woman in her 80s -- has a connection to travel or any other local cases, the mayor said in a tweet. Both are hospitalized. City disease detectives are tracing close contacts of the individuals and will ensure they are isolated and tested, he said.
“We are going to see more cases like this as community transmission becomes more common,” de Blasio said. “We want New Yorkers to be prepared and vigilant, not alarmed.”
OPEC Gambles With Move to Cut Before Getting Russian Support (8:12 a.m. NY)
OPEC ministers took a gamble, recommending a large production cut without first overcoming Russian opposition. The cartel is seeking to offset the demand hit from the coronavirus epidemic, which has caused prices to slump.
Coordinated Cut Would Have Risked Panic, Trichet Says (7:53 a.m. NY)
A coordinated interest-rate cut this week could have induced panic and wasn’t warranted, former European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet said.
Trichet, who led theeuro-zone institution during the 2008 financial crisis and participated in joint easing with the U.S. Federal Reserve after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, suggested in a Bloomberg Television interview that you can’t really compare that episode with the coronavirus outbreak.
Primary Schools in New Delhi Shut (8:31 a.m. NY)
Primary schools in India’s capital New Delhi have been closed until March 31 as the government stepped up measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus with the number of confirmed patients across the country jumping to 29 this week.
Virus-Tied Small Caps Rally on U.S. Emergency Funding (7:21 a.m. NY)
Small-cap companies that have touted their potential to treat the coronavirus or prevent its spread are jumping before the bell on the promise of an $8 billion emergency funding package from the U.S. government.
Collapse of U.K. Airline, IATA Warning Stoke Concern (7:20 a.m. NY)
The failure of Europe’s biggest regional airline and a dire revenue outlook from the industry’s leading trade group stoked concern that the impact of the coronavirus could trigger the collapse of weaker carriers around the world.
Flybe, Britain’s biggest domestic airline, was placed in administration, a form of bankruptcy. Soon after that, the International Air Transport Association warned that carriers may lose $113 billion in sales this year, almost four times greater than an estimate it made just two weeks earlier.
While the threat from the virus to Asian airlines has long been clear, its spread has unleashed concern that carriers once seen as safe may now be at risk. With the demise of Flybe, attention in Europe is on debt-burdened Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA. In Italy, Alitalia SpA, already in creditor protection, has been hit hard.
Le Maire Warns Against EU-U.S. Trade Escalation (7:16 a.m. NY)
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said it’s even more important for Europe and the U.S. to solve its trade dispute given the threat to the global economy from the coronavirus. He told a French senate hearing that an escalation of tariffs and sanctions would be hugely damaging.
U.K. Confident Brexit Talks to Stay on Schedule (7:10 a.m. NY)
The U.K. government is confident that talks with the European Union on a post-Brexit trade deal will continue on schedule despite the outbreak of the coronavirus, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman told reporters. Johnson discussed a response to the outbreak with Bank of England Governor Mark Carney and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak on Thursday.
South Africa Reports First Confirmed Case (7:03 a.m. NY)
The patient is a 38-year-old man who traveled to Italy with his wife and returned to South Africa on March 1, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said. The rand weakened versus the dollar.
China to Expand Stem Cell Trials (6:40 a.m. NY)
China will expand clinical trials of stem cell treatment to confirm if such therapies can be used against the novel coronavirus, state-run Science and Technology Daily said in a March 3 report citing a press conference by the State Council.
HSBC Evacuates Research Department (6:30 a.m. NY)
An employee at HSBC’s research department in Canary Wharf tested positive for coronavirus, prompting a partial evacuation and marking the first reported case at a major London bank office.
“The colleague is under medical supervision and has self-isolated,” HSBC said. “Based on medical and official advice, the building remains open and operates as normal.” Staff on the affected floor are being told to work from home, and the area is being deep-cleaned, the London-based bank said.
Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) Cuts Outlook (6:36 a.m. NY)
Southwest said it experienced a significant decline in customer demand, as well as increase in trip cancellations and expects first-quarter operating revenue to be negatively impacted. U.S. airline stocks dropped after the warning and as Bernstein lowered its price targets on a number of carriers.