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Global Cases Pass 3 Million; New Zealand Reopens: Virus Update
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Global confirmed cases passed the 3 million mark. Italy reported the fewest new infections in seven weeks, while U.K. deaths dropped to the lowest since March.
U.S. states includingTexas, Florida and Ohio took steps toward easing restrictions, and New Zealand emerged from almost five weeks of strict nationwide lockdown. The World Health Organization’s director general warned the pandemic is far from over.
The Trump administration issued a strategy to expand U.S. testing, including partnering with retail chains. A vaccine for the virus could beavailable as early as this year, according to a key group at the heart of the global development effort.
Virus Tracker: Total cases 3 million; deaths pass 210,000
White House strategy envisionstests reaching 2% of public
Johnson urges U.K. to stick tolockdown
New Zealand getsback to work as restrictions ease
N.Y. mayreopen some parts in May; N.J. says not so fast
Study finds viruslingers in air of crowded spaces
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27,631 in U.S.Most new cases today
-16% Change in MSCI World Index of global stocks since Wuhan lockdown, Jan. 23
-1.069 Change in U.S. treasury bond yield since Wuhan lockdown, Jan. 23
-0.5% Global GDP Tracker (annualized), March
Illinois Judge Rules Against Stay-at-Home Order (7:46 a.m. HK)
An Illinois judgeruled that Governor J.B. Pritzker’s stay-at-home order violated the liberty of a state lawmaker who sued to block the measure, signaling potential legal hurdles for extended periods of social distancing.
Clay County Circuit Court Judge Michael McHaney on Monday issued a temporary restraining order barring Pritzker from imposing additional stay-at-home restrictions on state Representative Darren Bailey, who filed suit on April 23. While the decision affects only Bailey, it could spur opposition by other Illinois residents.
New Zealand Economy Gets Back to Work (7:19 a.m. HK)
New Zealand emerged from almost five weeks of strictnationwide lockdown on Tuesday, offering a return to work for as many as half a million people and fanning hopes of a pick-up in economic activity.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern lowered the alert level to 3, allowing workers to return to factories and construction sites and takeaway food outlets to reopen -- welcome relief for a country that has been in strict self-isolation since March 26. But many businesses will continue to operate with employees working from home, while hospitality outlets and retailers must meet tough criteria to ensure physical distancing with customers is maintained.
White House Brings in Retailers to Expand Testing (6:40 a.m. HK)
The White House issued astrategy to expand U.S. testing for the coronavirus, saying it plans to provide enough tests for all 50 states to screen at least 2% of their residents. The intention is to target the most vulnerable communities, including the elderly and minority populations that have seen higher mortality rates for the virus.
The government is partnering with Walmart Inc., CVS Health Corp., Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. and other chain stores and diagnostics companies to put testing facilities in place nationwide, President Donald Trump said at a news conference in the White House Rose Garden Monday.
“Having pharmacies get involved in testing is a very big deal,” he said.
Australia’s Most Populous State Eases Restrictions (6:17 a.m. HK)
Australia’s New South Wales state, home of Sydney, is easing coronavirus lockdown restrictions and starting Friday will allow people to visit other households.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters that two adults at a time would be allowed to enter other homes, lifting a restriction that’s seen people largely confined to the bubble of their own household. Online learning resumes this week and the state is hopeful that face-to-face teaching will be taking place full-time by the end of this term, she said.
Florida Counties to Reopen Some Outdoor Areas (5 p.m. NY)
Florida’s three most populous counties are reopening parks, marinas and golf courses on Wednesday in a limited capacity, according to coordinated announcements by their local governments.
Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach rolled out a series of rules to ensure limited contact as park-goers, golfers and boaters return. In Miami-Dade, Florida’s biggest county by population, Mayor Carlos Gimenez told reporters that he would sign an order later in the day making the move official.
California May Ease Rules in Weeks, Newsom Says (4:23 p.m. NY)
California Governor Gavin Newsom said there will likely be “meaningful” changes to the state’s stay-in-place orders in weeks, while the six major counties in the San Francisco Bay area said they will extend their restrictions through May.
Newsom, in his daily briefing, said a relaxing of orders depends on new cases continuing to flatten and ongoing social distancing. He warned residents against becoming lax in their measures, noting that several beaches were crowded this weekend and data show more people on the move. He plans to lay out some details about how California will “phase in” businesses on Tuesday.
U.S. Confirmed Cases Rise 2.3% (4 p.m. NY)
U.S. cases rose 2.3% from the day before to 979,077, the slowest pace since at least April 1, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. That was lower than Sunday’s growth rate of 3.3% and below the average daily increase of 3.5% over the past week. Deaths rose 1.8% to 55,563.
Nebraska reported the sharpest surge in new cases, up 11% to 3,031, according to the Johns Hopkins and Bloomberg News data. New York’s cases rose 1.4%, according to the Johns Hopkins and Bloomberg News data.
Ohio to Begin Gradual Reopening (3:12 p.m. NY)
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced a gradual reopening of businesses starting Friday, while maintaining restrictions such as social distancing and wearing masks under the slogan, “no mask, no work, no service, no exception.”
Starting Friday, health-care procedures that don’t require an overnight stay in a hospital can move forward, and dentists and veterinarians can resume all activity, DeWine said at a press conference in Columbus.
On May 4, manufacturing, distribution, construction, and general offices can reopen with people still encouraged to work from home if possible, DeWine said. Consumer, retail and services firms can reopen May 12 with proper precautions, he said.
Ohio’s restriction on gatherings of no more than 10 people will remain, and restaurants, hair salons and day-care centers will stay closed for now, he said.
Florida May Reopen by Region (1:45 p.m. NY)
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said his strategy for reopening the economy may differ by region as three of the state’s 67 counties -- Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach, all in the southeast -- account for 60% of the state’s 32,138 confirmed Covid-19 cases.
“Pretty much the rest of the state has really handled this very well,” DeSantis told reporters Monday in Tampa. “I think that is something that you take into consideration.”
DeSantis’s stay-at-home order is set to expire Thursday, and he hasn’t provided details of how he intends to proceed. Phase one of the reopening would be “a baby step,” he said, and his approach would be “very slow, methodical and data-driven.”
Ireland Warned Not to Reopen (1:25 p.m. NY)
Ireland shouldn’t lift its coronavirus restrictions right now, according to the nation’s chief medical officer, Tony Holohan, even as the country reported its lowest number of deaths since April 12. There were 18 more confirmed coronavirus deaths, with 386 new cases.
“I’m more firmly of that view” not to lift restrictions now “given what we’re seeing,” Holohan said. Intensive-care admissions remained “persistent,” he added. Ireland, which is under a virtual lockdown until May 5, has 19,648 coronavirus cases, with 1,102 deaths.
WHO Warns on Southern Hemisphere (1:15 p.m. NY)
The World Health Organization is concerned about the rising number of cases in Latin America, Africa, some Asian countries, as well as eastern Europe, Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, adding that the pandemic is far from over. Everyone in the Southern Hemisphere should get the seasonal flu shot now as that season is starting there, he added.
Countries can avoid a second wave if they put the right policies into place, but they need to be vigilant if they try to ease lockdowns. “It’s pretty logical that if you lift that too quickly, the virus can jump back,” said Mike Ryan, the head of the WHO’s health emergencies program.
Countries that followed WHO advice have fared better, and the world should have paid attention when it declared a global public health emergency on Jan. 30, Tedros said. “We don’t have any power to force countries to implement what we advise,” he said. “It’s up to the countries to take our advice or reject it.”
N.Y. Cancels Presidential Primary (12:45 p.m. NY)
New York canceled its presidential primary scheduled for June 23, becoming the first state to do so during the pandemic. At least a dozen states, including New York, have postponed their primaries or moved to mail-in only voting. Democratic candidate Joe Biden has virtually sewn up the presidential nomination as the last of his rivals, Bernie Sanders, dropped out earlier this month.
The state reported 337 deaths from Covid-19, down sharply from daily peaks earlier this month, but still “tragically high,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said. Overall, the state has reported 17,303 deaths due to the virus. New cases rose to 291,996, up from 288,045 the day before.
U.K. Deaths Fall to March Levels (12:25 p.m. NY)
A further 360 people are reported to have died from the coronavirus in U.K. hospitals, the latest figures show, thelowest daily increase since March 28.
Some 4,310 more people were reported to have been tested positive for the disease, figures released by Health Secretary Matt Hancock in the government’s daily briefing show, lower than the five day average daily increase of 5,237 positive cases a day, according to data calculated by Bloomberg. The total number of people who tested positive is currently at 157,149 from 152,840.
Colorado, Nevada Join Western Pact (12:20 p.m. NY)
Colorado and Nevada are joining California, Oregon and Washington in what is coming to be known the Western States Pact, a bloc coordinating policies and strategies to combat the pandemic.
As states try to develop testing-and-tracing capacities and set policy with little help from Washington, regional groups have formed in the Northeast, Midwest and South.
Italy New Cases at Seven-Week Low (12:05 p.m. NY)
Italy posted its lowest number of new coronavirus cases inseven weeks on Monday, as Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte tentatively started to map a way out of a national lockdown and restart the economy.
Civil protection authorities reported 1,739 cases for the 24-hour period -- the fewest since March 10 -- compared with 2,324 a day earlier. Confirmed cases now total 199,414. The number of recovered patients rose by 1,696 to 66,624.