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NY, NJ, Conn Ban Large Gatherings; Lombardy Reports Promising Drop In New Cases: Virus Updates

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Update (1057ET): Traders feasted on a morsel of good news Monday morning when health officials in Lombardy reported the smallest jump in newly confirmed cases in a week.

The drop suggests that the spread of the virus in the region is no longer exponential, said Lombardy Regional President Attilio Fontana. Cases in Lombardy climbed by 1,587 on Monday to 13,272, which is lower than the 1,865 reported the prior day.

Meanwhile, the number of deaths reported in the region climbed to 1420 from 1,218 the prior day.

Meanwhile, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has finally proposed a ban on all “non-essential” travel to the EU (though she continues to oppose plans by members to shut out foreigners and other Europeans). The news isn’t a surprise: the ban was previewed earlier, which we mentioned below.

And Charles Michel said that G-7 leaders have “agreed to work more together” during Monday’s video call. A ‘formal’ teleconference between members of the group is now scheduled for tomorrow.

In Germany, Chancellor Merkel said theaters, museums, restaurants and other public venues must all close until further notice.

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Update (1048ET): The White House has denied a CNN report claiming that a ‘national 8 pm curfew’ is being discussed.

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Update (1000ET): The UK has report nearly 200 new confirmed cases of the virus on Monday, raising the national total between England, Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland to 1,543, from 1,372, while the death toll held steady at 35.

Earlier, Dominic Cummings, Boris Johnson’s top advisor, said the administration didn’t intend for its policy of targeted quarantines while leaving restaurants, shops and the broader economy open.

According to Reuters, PM Boris Johnson is asking manufacturers like Unipart Group, which supplies parts for jet engines and heavy machinery, to start producing ventilators and other emergency medical gear for Britain’s NHS. Though it wasn’t immediately clear how manufacturers like Rolls Royce, Unipart would accomplish this shift, Johnson is reportedly planning to hold a press conference on Monday to explain everything.

“The prime minister will speak to British manufacturers including Unipart Group to ask them to support production of essential medical equipment for the NHS,” a Downing Street spokesman said.

“He will stress the vital role of Britain’s manufacturers in preparing the country for a significant spread of coronavirus and call on them to step up and support the nationwide effort to fight the virus.”

Britain has taken a “distinctly different” approach to tackling the virus, Reuters said, including shunning widespread lockdowns.

Over in the US, NY, NJ and Connecticut have all decided to ban gatherings of 50 or more people, after the CDC asked that all large gatherings and events be ‘postponed’ until the crisis is over. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has also announced a curfew for all “nonessential” businesses to close by 8 pm.

While the outbreak in Mexico isn’t nearly as large as the outbreaks in Canada and the US, that didn’t stop Mexican President AMLO from greeting supporters on Sunday with handshakes and hugs.

As we mentioned earlier, Hungary PM Viktor Orban announced on Monday that he would close his country’s borders until further notice. Per Reuters, Orban has also temporarily prohibited cultural and sporting events.

Orban added that all shops must be shut except groceries and pharmacies, and asked people over the age of 70 to stay at home. He said all events should be canceled except for family gatherings, and restaurants must close at 3 pm local time.

In South America, Chile has announced plans to close its borders to foreigners beginning on Wednesday, Chilean President Sebastian Pinera said. There are 155 confirmed cases of the virus in Chile, he said.

The number of coronavirus cases in Pakistan have increased to 122, with 76 of those among people who were released following a 14-day quarantine in Taftan on the Pakistan-Iran border. A sudden jump in cases raised concerns about a possible quarantine over the weekend.

Somalia, Tanzania and Liberia all reported their first cases of the virus on Monday.

The number of confirmed cases in the Netherlands climbed by 278 to 1,413, the National Institute for Public Health said on Monday, after the country unveiled plans to close schools and bars yesterday, before

Finally, CNN reports that the White House is considering a national curfew that would force all “non-essential” businesses to close by 8 pm. The European-style measure is expected to come up during the president’s phone call with the nation’s governors on Monday, where CNN’s sources said it has been ‘strongly encouraged’ at the state level.

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Update (0800ET): The IMF just tried firing a “bazooka” of its own on Monday morning, when Director Kristalina Georgieva revealed that the NGO sees global economic conditions deteriorating “by the hour”

“The case for a coordinated and synchronized global fiscal stimulus is becoming stronger by the hour,” IMF Director Kristalina Georgieva wrote in a recent blog post.

Meanwhile, Sanofi and Regeneron meanwhile are beginning a US-based trial for patients with severe coronavirus symptoms in New York, one of the epicenters of America’s outbreak.

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Update (0735ET): European newswires are reporting that European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel have agreed on measures to potentially close or tighten the EU border. Those measures will be released in the coming hours.

So Brussels is finally throwing in the towel…

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Update (0730ET): US Surgeon General Jerry Adams said Monday that the country will likely need 6-8 weeks for the virus to run its course.

If Europeans have anybody to blame for the continent-wide spread of the novel coronavirus, the European Commission should be pretty high on that list. Since the beginning, Brussels has advised member states to leave their borders open, arguing that closures within the Schengen Area are not the answer.

Unfortunately, the absurdity of this open-borders-at-all-costs philosophy has finally been exposed as Spain and France joined Italy in imposing a national lockdown, and Germany, Austria and Denmark joined the Czech Republic, Hungary (which announced its border closure just minutes ago) and Poland – where populists hold outsize sway – in closing their borders. The Czech Republic has also joined in the mass quarantine movement, sealing off some towns entirely.

In a leaked statement on Monday, Brussels doubled-down on its stance, saying that border closures are not the answer as France mulls shutting its borders after Germany announced its border closures on Sunday.

Italy’s neighbors have mostly shut their borders with the literal ‘sick man of Europe’.

Meanwhile, in China, health officials suspiciously warned on Monday that ‘imported’ cases of the virus are creating ‘uncertainties’ as the outbreak comes to an end.

So get ready for Beijing to blame foreigners for re-starting the epidemic (giving it fodder to reject international calls for Beijing to acknowledge some accountability for the outbreak) as doctors suddenly “discover” another 100,000 ill.

In the UK, Boris Johnson’s senior advisor Dominic Cummings insisted that the government’s plan doesn’t rely on building so-called “herd immunity” to an outbreak. The UK is taking a different approach, leaving businesses open while advising any ill persons to immediately stay home in quarantine.

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Those who spent their weekend on one last bar crawl may not have noticed that millions of people are waking up to a fundamentally different situation on Monday than they saw on Friday. In the US, more than one million students in NYC schools – including ~100,000 homeless students with no regular access to shelter or hot meals – are waking up to the first of many school-free days. Some of their parents are scrambling to find childcare, others, left at home because of the mass closures of restaurants, gyms (just in LA), concert venues, nightclubs, cafes, plus myriad other closures, are desperately hoping that government check lands soon.

In Italy, Italians are heading into a second week of nationwide lockdown, while citizens in Spain and France are facing these measures for the first time.

In Washington’s King County, Executive Director Dow Constantine said late Sunday night that “it’s time, right now, for people to assume that they and everyone they meet is infected.”

In the Philippines, which acted early to bar visitors from China, infections have repeatedly doubled over the past week, leading the government on Sunday to prepare to lock down the entire island of Luzon, according to the Rappler.

President Duterte said earlier that his ultimate goal with the country’s virus-containment measures is to “save ourselves from ourselves”.

In some places, neighborhoods are banding together to coordinate child care…though in other communities, dangerous levels of hoarding continue.

In China, the government is expanding its crack down on foreign arrivals by threatening to “probe and punish” anyone who violates rules on mandatory 14-day quarantines for foreign travelers arriving in the country, especially “those who plan to lie about whether or not thy are infected,” according to a Bloomberg report.

The global outbreak reached a grim milestone on Sunday: the number of coronavirus cases confirmed outside China has now surpassed the mainland total. Last night, China’s NHC reported 16 new confirmed cases, extending their streak of near-zero infection figures into its second week. Though few ever trusted the Chinese data, there’s now little doubt that the outbreak that originated in the city of Wuhan is now mostly under control.

Then, in the early hours of Monday morning, Johns Hopkins University reported that the number of deaths outside mainland China had also surpassed the number of deaths (at least the number of officially disclosed deaths) in mainland China.

Nearby in Australia, the conservative government led by PM Scott Morrison is considering a second round of economic stimulus, Reuters reports, as Canberra accelerats efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus that has now killed five people in the country.

The situation in Australia is especially concerning, because, as Harvard epidemiologist Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding reports:

Back in the US, after several governors on the east coast joined in the national emergency, closing schools etc., VP Pence and the rest of the White House coronavirus response team again promised to have testing on-line and paid for by the end of the week, with millions of tests and up to 2,000 labs across the country expected to come online this week, now that the CDC has revised its strict standards that allegedly surrounded the testing process with red tape. After Trump tested negative on Sunday, the media was quick to lash out at him again after he said that the virus is “something we have tremendous control of” during last night’s press conference.

During the press conference, Pence and the team promised to release federal guidelines on ‘social distancing’ some time on Monday.

Five governors have now closed bars and restaurants, including California, and mayors in Nashville and New Orleans announced restrictions in those cities, too, with more cities expected to join in the coming days. In Las Vegas, Wynn Resorts and MGM closed their casinos. Casinos in Massachusetts also closed over the weekend. At this point, more than 30 US states have closed schools, with many not set to reopen for at least two weeks, with schools in NYC closed until April 20.

Before we go, here are a few quick updates on the state of the epidemic around the world.


The US:

The Americas:


In Africa, more cases are beginning to crop up as South Africa, which reported its first case last week, begins the process of closing its borders with several neighboring states.

Brazil reports 79 new cases of coronavirus, 200 cases in total, with 136 cases in Sao Paulo alone. Offering another jarring stat, one twitter user pointed out that 50% of coronavirus patients in intensive care in the Netherlands, which has like many other European countries seen cases spike last week, are younger than 50. In Bavaria, the hardest-hit German state, the governor has also closed schools and bars. The government of Ireland has shut pubs across the country (just in time for St. Paddy’s Day).

On Monday, Iran reported 1,053 new cases of coronavirus and 129 new deaths, bringing its total case load to 14,991, and the ‘official’ death toll to 853.

And finally, we’d like to leave off with a bit of levity.

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