U.S. Cases Up; N.Y. MTA Gets 1 Million Face Masks: Virus Update

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TheMetropolitan Transportation Authority is getting 1 million masks as New York City prepares to open for business on Monday. U.S. cases climbed 1.3%, close to the week’s average, and deaths were up 0.7%.

U.K. citizens can return to church for private individual prayers from June 15. Mining company Valeclosed three Brazil iron ore pits on a court’s order after 188 workers got infected.

Wall Street is far from convinced the Federal Reserve’s $600 billion lending program can save businesses and jobs. Apple stores in France reopen next week, with new health measures.

Key Developments:

  • Virus Tracker: Cases pass 6.8 million; deaths exceed 362,000
  • U.S. jobsreturning from lockdowns, but an ugly summer looms
  • Wall Streetdoubts Fed’s $600 billion lending plan can succeed
  • Guardians of world economystagger from rescue to recovery
  • Spainreopens from Covid with bullfights, but no dance floors
  • Post-lockdown Mideastshows signs of virus trouble returning
  • Beloved restaurantsclosing as pandemic relief falls short

Subscribe to a daily update on the virus from Bloomberg’s Prognosis team here. Click VRUS on the terminal for news and data on the coronavirus. For a look back at this week’s top stories from QuickTake, clickhere.

Art Basel Canceled for 2020 (5:30 p.m. NY)

The Art Basel show, slated for September, has beencalled off after talks with galleries, collectors, partners and experts amid worries about health risks and global travel restrictions.

Art Basel joins dozens of other fairs and auctions delayed or canceled due to the coronavirus, including the Venice Biennale. The show in Basel, Switzerland, drew 93,000 people last year.

MTA Gets 1 Million Masks From N.Y. (4:40 p.m. NY)

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which runs subways, buses, commuter rail, bridges and tunnels in the New York City area, is getting masks and other supplies ahead of reopening on Monday.

Governor Andrew Cuomo said 1 million masks and 25,000 gallons of hand sanitizer in two-ounce bottle are en route to the agency.

As the city prepared to start opening, Cuomo said the positive test rate is 2%, down from a high of 57%, and hospitalizations for Covid-19 fell to 1,500 from 12,000. “No state in the United States has gone from where we were to where we are,” he said.

U.K. to Permit Individual Prayer in Church (4:55 p.m. NY)

The U.K. government is set to allow citizens to go to places of worship for private individual prayer from June 15, a Downing Street official said. There’s still no plan to allow weddings of any size or full services.

JBS Ordered to Shut Pork Plant (4:30 p.m. NY)

Brazil meat processor JBS SA was ordered by a labor court to halt operations for two weeks at its Ana Reich pork plant in Rio Grande do Sul state because of coronavirus, according to a Friday filing. The judge also ordered JBS to remove workers at high-risk for Covid-19.

JBS declined to comment in an email, citing the legal dispute.

U.S. Cases Rise 1.3%, Above Week’s Average (4 p.m. NY)

U.S. coronavirus cases increased 1.3% from the same time Friday to 1.91 million, according todata collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The national increase was higher than the average daily increase of 1.2% over the past week. Deaths rose 0.7% to 109,497.

  • New York cases rose 0.3%, in line with the past week’s average, for a total to 377,316. New deaths fell to 35, lowest since a peak in April. Total deaths were 24,212, the health department said.
  • New Jersey reported 606 new cases, a 0.5% rise, for a total of 163,893, with 60 new deaths, bringing the total to 12,106, Governor Phil Murphy said.
  • California added 3,115 new cases, a jump of 2.5%, for a total of 126,016, while deaths rose by 74, or 1.6%, to 4,559.
  • Florida reported 1,270 cases, a 2.1% increase bringing the total to 62,758, with 28 added deaths for a total of 2,688.
  • Michigan reported 224 new cases, for a total of 58,749, with 36 daily deaths, raising the total to 45,652.
  • South Carolina cases jumped 8.4% from Friday, the most in the U.S., for a total of 13,453, according to Johns Hopkins data.

British Air, Pilots Tackle Virus Cuts (3:20 p.m. NY)

British Airwayswarned its pilots union that all 4,300 aviators will be fired and rehired as contractors unless they reach an agreement on reductions.

Parent companyIAG SA is slashing costs, including 1,130 union-covered pilot jobs, to contend with a historic drop in demand amid global travel bans. The airline sought to cut another 125 pilots on Wednesday, the union said.

The airline is working to trim 12,000 jobs, and a spokesperson said it’s “acting now to protect as many jobs possible.” The carrier is worried the U.K.’s 14-day self-isolation order for arriving passengers, beginning Monday, will delay plans to restart services in July.

Massachusetts to Expand Reopening (2:15 p.m. NY)

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker said businesses can reopen with some restrictions on Monday, following a steady drop in cases and hospitalizations. Since mid-April, the seven-day average for positive tests is down 82% and the three-day average of hospitalized patients is down 55%.

Retail stores and restaurants with outdoor tables can reopen, as can hotels, but without hosting conferences or meetings, Baker said. Outdoor recreational facilities can open, and professional sports teams can practice but not play games or invite spectators.

Personal services such has hair salons and personal training are excluded from the first phase, Baker said.

Liberia Reopens June 21 (2:10 p.m. NY)

Liberia will open its borders in two weeks as the West African country eases lockdown measures. Commercial flights can resume and hotels can reopen from June 21, President George Weah said in a Friday statement on his website.

The goverment is also working out guidelines to allow final-year secondary school students to return to class sometime in June, so they can sit for exams in August, he said.

Liberia has recorded 334 confirmed cases and 30 deaths, according to the National Public Health Institute of Liberia.

Portugal Has New Cases in Lisbon (2:20 p.m. NY)

Portugal reported 382 new cases on Saturday, above 300 for a fourth day and taking the total to 34,351, the government said. There are 12,070 active cases, Health Minister Marta Temido said at a press conference. The total number of hospitalized patients and of cases in intensive care units both fell from Friday.

The additional cases are mostly in the greater Lisbon region, where authorities have increased testing after new clusters were identified.

Vale’s Brazil Mines Closed (1:10 p.m. NY)

A Brazilian labor court judge ordered iron-ore producer Vale SA to close the Conceicao, Caue and Periquito pits in its Itabira complex in Minas Gerais state after a Covid-19 outbreak among workers. Vale had earlier fended off an attempt to close the complex, according to a statement on the prosecutors’ website dated Friday.

The order was granted after 188 workers tested positive for. Rio de Janeiro-based Vale said in an emailed response that “it has been notified and is already working on the necessary actions to better comply with the decision.”

The virus is sweeping across Latin America, a region with a highly urbanized population of 600 million. In April, Vale cut its shipment guidance due the virus’s impact on operations.

N.Y. New Deaths Lowest Since Peak (12:10 p.m. NY)

New York had 35 new deaths, the fewest since the April peak, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Saturday as he accelerated the opening of houses of worship, with 25% capacity limits on indoor services.

The governor also signed a measure to ban price gouging on masks and said building owners can take the temperatures of anyone walking inside.

Cuomo said statistics used to monitor progress on the Covid-19 outbreak are moving in the right direction, and the state will “open the valve more” on getting back to business “because the metrics are so good.”

Italy Cases Advance 0.1% (12:05 p.m. NY)

Italyregistered 270 new cases, down from 518 a day earlier. Daily deaths fell to 72 from 85 Friday; a total of 33,846 fatalities have been reported since late February. Total cases rose to 234,801.

Spain Cases Rise (11:50 a.m. NY)

Spain’s casesrose to 241,310 on Saturday, with 164 new infections in the past 24 hours, according to the Health Ministry. Fatalities increased to 27,135, with 67 deaths in the past week.

The data were adjusted to reflect changes in the methodology used by regions and reported to the ministry. Cases are validated individually and may lead to discrepancies in daily comparison.

Belgium Agrees on More Measures (11:55 a.m. NY)

Belgium’s council of ministers agreed on a series of fresh measures as part of its plan to help cushion the social and economic impact of the pandemic.

The government is extending to Aug. 31 measures such as temporary unemployment support as well as introducing steps to support the hospitality industry, which expects a reduction in VAT to 6% on all services except alcoholic beverage sales until the end of the year.

Under the plan, to help hard-hit sectors such as the arts, employers can also grant tax-deductible 300 euro ($340) consumption checks.

Apple Reopens in France (11:30 a.m. NY)

Apple Inc. will reopen its French stores Tuesday with measures to ensure that employees and customers have little chance to get infected. The company will limit the number of people in stores, require social distancing, provide masks that must be worn, and will clean the facilities throughout the day.

Saudi Cases at Daily Record (11:24 a.m. NY)

Saudi Arabia reported record new daily cases as the kingdom completed its first week of reopening its economy. New cases were 3,121 on Saturday, bringing the total to about 99,000, with 676 deaths.

The number of patients in critical condition tripled in a week, which officials blamed on lax adherence to social distancing and other precautions — likely during major Islamic holidays last month.

On Friday, authorities put the second-biggest city of Jeddah back under a 3 p.m. curfew, and said they’re closely monitoring the situation in the capital of Riyadh.

Kenya Extends Ban on Gatherings (11:15 a.m. NY)

Kenya extended a ban onpublic gatherings for 30 days to curb the spread of coronavirus and barred entry and exit from the capital Nairobi and the counties of Mombasa on the coast and Mandera in the northeast.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, in a Saturday televised address, said the nationwide night-time curfew will remain in force for another 30 days and schools, closed since March, will resume on Sept. 1.

The government lifted restrictions previously in force in the Kilifi and Kwale counties. Curbs on movement in the Kenyan capital and three other regions began April 6.

London Protesters Ignore ‘Real Threat’ (10:12 a.m. NY)

Thousands gathered in cool and drizzly central London to protest the killing of George Floyd despite government warnings not to attend demonstrations amid social distancing rules. The outbreak remains a “real threat,” Health Secretary Matt Hancock said Friday.

The U.K. reported another 204 deaths on Saturday, bringing the total to 40,465, and cases rose by 0.5% to 284,868.

No Link Between Opening, Cases: FDA Chief (10:05 a.m. NY)

The White House Coronavirus Task Force has yet to see a relationship between states reopening and increased cases of Covid-19, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn said. “I do worry about the protests and the lack of masks,” Hahn said on an HHS podcast, noting daily demonstrations in major cities.

Hahn said the federal government’s “Operation Warp Speed” to develop a vaccine can become a pathway to “expediting medical product development” for other diseases. “Let’s make this
a permanent change at the FDA, if we can, in fact, show that it works, and I’m confident that we can,” he said.

Once a vaccine is approved, The Trump administration is considering if people who are most vulnerable, like the elderly and those with compromised immune systems, should be “among the first to get the vaccine,” depending on its safety and effectiveness, Hahn said.

— With assistance by Steve Geimann, Joao Lima, Francois De Beaupuy, Vivian Nereim, Sonia Sirletti, and Shira Stein

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