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America Holds Its Breath As Florida Reopens Economy; Italians Allowed To Visit Relatives Again: Live Updates

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Summary:

  • Deaths decline for 5th day

  • Japan extends state of emergency

  • Spanish opposition threatens to torpedo vote to extend lockdown

  • European clinical trial "Project Discovery" results to be released May 14

  • Macron warns European borders may remain closed until September

  • Florida becomes latest state to reopen much of economy on Monday

  • Italy, Spain and other European and Asian economies are also reopening

  • Iran to allow Friday prayers

  • UK defense secretary says China owes the world 'an explanation'

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Update (1055ET): French President Emmanuel Macron just announced that the results of "Project Discovery", a massive pan-European trial to try to find a coronavirus cure, will be released in a couple of weeks. He also said he believes the borders of the Schengen area will be shut until September.

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Update (1030ET): As WSJ reports, Florida joined the ranks of US states easing restrictions related to the coronavirus outbreak, while Italy allowed factories to reopen along with more stores while allowing Italians to visit relatives.

The first phase of Florida’s reopening plan calls for restaurants and shops in most parts of the state – with the notable exception of a few counties in South Florida – to operate at 25% of their indoor capacity starting Monday. Schools, bars, gyms and salons will remain closed.

Even in parts of the US where restrictions likely won't start to be lifted for a couple more weeks or longer, local officials are starting to draw up plans to move even faster than their governors might ideally like. As WSJ points out, two California counties, Sutter and Yuba, have said some businesses including salons, spas and tattoo parlors can open Monday under "modified" guidelines.

As we mentioned earlier, most Italians were allowed to see family members for the first time in almost two months on Monday. They were also allowed to restart exercising in parks, while also being permitted to enter restaurants to pick up takeout (like they say, it's the little things that count).

After allowing children to play outside for the first time last week, Spain permitted hairdressers, beauty salons and small shops to open by appointment only on Monday.

Greece, Belgium, India, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Thailand also lifted some restrictions, allowing certain businesses and government offices to reopen after weeks of closure. German students in their final year of school were allowed to return to their classrooms.

France, which is being extremely cautious and slow with lifting its lockdown, is stretching that out even further. The country's Labor Minister said people who can should work from home until at least mid-summer.

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As most of the US and most of Europe start yet another week under lockdown, the FT reports that the rate of global coronavirus deaths slowed for the fifth straight day: The worldwide single-day total of deaths reported yesterday (typically, those deaths occurred during the prior 24 hour period) hit 3,481, falling for the fifth day in a row.

Sunday's total represents the smallest daily increase in deaths since the end of March, reflecting trends seen in New York, the UK, Italy and elsewhere on Sunday.

Globally, the number of newly confirmed COVID-19 cases climbed by 82,260 yesterday, the biggest spike on a Sunday since the pandemic began. It brought the total number of 'confirmed' infections to 3.4 million, with hundreds of thousands more potentially left uncounted.

The US suffered an additional 1,158 deaths to push the total there to 61,760. This is the lowest daily figure since April 6, though the US still accounts for a third of all daily fatalities.

Meanwhile, in Japan, PM Shinzo Abe has made it official.

As was widely expected, Japanese PM Shinzo Abe officially extended Japan's nationwide state of emergency – which had been due to expire on Wednesday – through May 31.

While Japan has escaped the massive death tolls seen in Europe and the US, the number of confirmed cases has exploded over the last month, a sign that the world's third-largest economy is still struggling with the first wave of the virus, which has now burrowed deep into Japanese society, according to Nikkei.

While Tokyo hasn't been devastated by the virus on the level of NYC or Wuhan, the spike in infections has left hospital systems strained around the country.

"Nearly one more month is needed to improve the medical system, which has been stretched thin," Abe told reporters at a news conference on Monday evening. "The reduction of new infections has still not attained the necessary level."

Abe promised that a panel would examine the effectiveness of the state of emergency, and if allowable, would order it to be lifted before the May 31 deadline if enough progress has been made.

While Japan ramps up its restrictions, Spain is heading for a political confrontation over its lockdown – possibly the most restrictive in Europe – as the death toll lingers near its lowest point since the outbreak began.

It had been taken as a given that PM Pedro Sanchez would manage to win the votes for a planned two-week extension of the lockdown. However, the main leader of the opposition in the Spanish Parliament – a lawmaker named Pablo Casado – claims his People's Party (a center-right party) plans to vote against the extension, which gives Sanchez extraordinary power to rule by decree.

Sanchez argues that the lockdown must be lifted gradually to guarantee that the progress the country has made will be protected: According to health ministry figures released on Monday, the daily death toll remained at 164 for the second consecutive day, the lowest level since March 18, when the lockdown was just 3 days old.

Iran is set to hold Friday prayers this week and has re-opened mosques in a handful of towns believed to pose a low risk to public health after about two months of closure. Though the reopenings come with rules: Worshippers can spend a maximum of half an hour in mosques and have to wear face masks and gloves.

Iran's death toll reached 6,277 on Monday, up from 6,203 a day before. A total of 98,647 individuals have now tested positive.

Last night, a US intel leak appeared to confirm what many China hawks had already suspected: That China withheld information – like the confirmation of human-to-human transmission – and used the time to hoard PPE and other medical supplies, which would explain the inexplicable global shortage that seemed to already be in place by the time American buyers started finding that warehouses had already been mysteriously emptied.

Now, as the UK reconsiders its decision to allow telelcoms components manufactured by Huawei to be used as part of its 5G network, the British Defense Minister said Monday that China has some explaining to do about the US report cited above – though he added that there would be time for an inquiry after all of this is over.


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