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Vice President Pence To Self-Quarantine After Coronavirus Exposure: Live Updates

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Summary:

  • Pence to self-quarantine after exposure to aide with coronavirus
  • Latest UK numbers released as BoJo lays out new 'Stay Alert' plan
  • Italy also reports lowest cases since March
  • China reports first new case in Wuhan since April 3
  • NY reports lowest number of daily deaths since March
  • Afghanistan ends lockdown as economy collapses
  • Global new cases drop for 2nda day
  • Germany reports rise in spread rate above 1
  • Philippines reports spike in new cases
  • Local officials in Spain push government to reopen more quickly
  • UK urges reopening will be handled with caution as BoJo prepares to lay out framework
  • Turkey eases lockdown restrictions for most vulnerable people
  • UK testing of 'contact tracing app' going 'well'
  • Pope Francis urges EU to work together to battle virus

*       *        *

Update (1750ET): Though he hasn't tested positive for COVID-19, VP Pence will follow FDA Director Dr. Stephen Hahn into self-imposed quarantine, his office announced Sunday evening.

Hahn said yesterday he would self-quarantine for 14 days after exposure to White House spokesperson Katie Miller, who tested positive for Covid-19 on Friday, three administration officials said. Several aides to Trump, Pence and Ivanka Trump have tested positive for the coronavirus in recent days, something that reportedly sent Trump into a "hot lava" rage as he chewed out his staff for neglecting to put his safety first.

The White House has said it will conduct contact tracing and decide who else should self-isolate based on exposure to Miller on a case-by-case basis. Hahn is asymptomatic and tested negative for the virus on Friday, two senior administration officials said. Pence and Trump are reportedly being tested for the virus every day.

Pence, of course, is the head of the White House coronavirus task force. It's unclear whether he will continue with those duties, or cede them to another member for the time being.

*       *        *

Update (1530ET): The UK has reported a slight rise in cases, though the number of deaths reported continued to fall, on Sunday, as PM Boris Johnson unveiled his plan to gradually reopen the British economy.

During his address, Johnson praised the British people for "showing the good sense" to abide by the lockdown restrictions, and declaring that "it is a fact that by implementing those measures we avoided a tragedy" that could have resulted in millions of infections and hundreds of thousands of deaths. It would be "madness" to throw away that achievement now, Johnson said, before presenting his "roadmap for reopening society" and abandoned his old "stay home" slogan with a new one: "stay alert".

Johnson boasted that the UK's "R" rate – the measure of the virus's spread – had dropped below one to between .5 and .9. He warned that if the rate should pop back above 1, that the UK might consider reimposing lockdown measures. As part of the reopening plan, those who can work from home are encouraged to keep doing so, while those who can't "should go to work", and follow the workplace guidelines, which include avoiding public transport if possible.

Britons will also be allowed to enjoy "unlimited outdoor exercise" though fines will be increased for the "small minority" who violate the public social distancing guidance that has been in place for the last 2 months. Step 2 – the phased reopening of shops and schools – likely won't come – at the earliest – until June 1.

Here are the broad strokes; Johnson said he'd be unveiling more details during PMQs on Monday. As part of the plan, Johnson introduced 5 "alert levels" to measure progress. As the new guidelines are imposed, Johnson said, he hopes the UK will move from "level 4" to "level 3" (with 'level 1' representing the complete eradication of the virus in Britain).

In other news, California has reported its daily figures, which are down from record numbers reported Friday

  • CALIFORNIA REPORTS 67 NEW DEATHS, 2,119 NEW VIRUS CASES

*       *        *

Update (1300ET): Italy reported its lowest number of new cases since March on Sunday. Italy counted just 802 new cases and 165 new deaths during the prior day, the lowest numbers since early March. That brought its totals to 219,070 cases and 30,560 deaths.

More from BBG:

Civil protection authorities reported 802 cases for the 24-hour period — the fewest since March 6 — compared with 1,083 a day earlier

Confirmed cases now total 219,070.

Daily fatalities fell to 165 — the fewest since March 9 — from 194 on Saturday, with a total of 30,560 reported since the start of the pandemic in late February.

The latest good news comes as Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte prepares to take the next steps toward easing the national lockdown.

Conte, under pressure from coalition allies to speed up the reopening as the country's curve dramatically flattens, told an Italian newspaper that bars, restaurants and barbers would be allowed to reopen before June 1, the date previously set by the government. Shops are due to reopen on May 18.

Meanwhile, China just reported the first case of the virus in Wuhan since April 3.

*       *        *

Update (1240ET): For the second day in a row, New York has reported the fewest virus-linkeddeaths in a day since March. The number of deaths reported yesterday was 207.

As the number of deaths in New York nursing homes explodes, Cuomo announced a new policy Sunday: All nursing home staff must be tested for COVID-19 twice a week, no exceptions. Any nursing homes who fail to comply will lose their license, Cuomo said. He also revealed that the state is now investigating 85 cases of a mysterious respiratory syndrome affecting children that has appeared both in the UK and in the New York City area.

Hospitalizations also continued to fall.

Meanwhile, the NYT reports several cities in Afghanistan ended weeks of lockdown on Sunday, despite the continued spread of the virus, due to the dire economic reality.

The major cities of Mazar e Sharif and Kunduz in the north and Jalalabad and Mehtar Lam in the east were among those that officially ended the lockdown. Other cities such as the capital, Kabul, and Herat technically remained under lockdown, but the police appeared to be no longer enforcing it.

*       *        *

Sunday comes as the number of new cases reported over the weekend has slowed as countries around the world manage to bend their respective curves.

Around the world, the number of new cases reported dropped for the second day in a row, according to data from Johns Hopkins.

However, the number of new cases in Germany accelerated again just days after the federal government loosened restrictions once again, acting in concert with state leaders.

The Robert Koch Institute for disease control said in a daily bulletin released Sunday morning that the number of people each sick person now infects (known as the reproduction rate, or R) has risen to 1.1.

Meanwhile, in the US, the reopening has been going more or less as well as can be expected in Georgia, Texas and the dozens of other states that have already started the process.

Any reading above 1 means the number of new cases is growing, not slowing. And the German government had previously promised to slow down, or even reverse, its reopening policies should 'R' linger above 1 for too long.

The institute claimed the number of new coronavirus cases had increased by 667 yesterday, bringing Germany's total to 169,218, while the daily death toll had risen by 26 to 7,395.

Germany wasn't the only country to report a slight acceleration in cases Sunday. Iran warned of a resurgence of its own as it reported 51 new deaths. Iran started relaxing virus-related a month ago (around the same time that Turkey surpassed it as the worst outbreak in the Muslim world) and has been reporting steady declines in new cases and deaths ever since.

While Germany considers how to respond to these troubling new data, Spain’s federal government continues to clash with several of the country’s regions over PM Pedro Sanchez's decision to restrict the scope of the relaxation of its Spain's extremely harsh 2-month-old lockdown.

On Sunday, as Sánchez held his weekly teleconference with the heads of the country’s regions, several local officials complained about the government's decision to reject requests by certain, mostly urban, territories (including Madrid but also parts of Valencia and Andalusia).

"It is obvious that Madrid needs to take a step forward," said Isabel Díaz Ayuso, the head of the region worst hit by the pandemic, citing the capital's role as the heart of Spain's economy. As stage one of the reopening begins tomorrow, 51% of Spain will be allowed to gather in groups of up to ten, non-essential shops will be allowed to reopen without appointment, and restaurants and bars may serve people in outside seating.

"It is important to keep everything we’ve gained up to now," responded María Jesús Montero, government spokeswoman, who said the government’s decision was based on technical criteria.

Meanwhile, Pope Francis on Sunday called on the leaders of the EU to work together to deal with the social and economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. The pope noted in his Sunday blessing that 75 years have passed since Europe began the challenging process of reconciliation after World War II. He said the process spurred both European integration and "the long period of stability and peace which we benefit from today."

In Asia, the Philippines' health ministry reported 184 new coronavirus cases, taking the Southeast Asian nation's total reported infections to 10,794, while 15 more deaths related to COVID-19 were recorded, bringing the toll to 719, while 82 patients have recovered to bring total recoveries to 1,924, it said in a bulletin.

In the US, local media reported that at least 75 protestors tested positive for COVID-19 after attending a large rally against the stay-at-home order in Wisconsin.

In the UK, as BoJo prepares to lay out his plan for reopening the British economy, Housing Minister Robert Jenrick said said the economy would restart slowly and cautiously.

"The message … of staying at home now does need to be updated, we need to have a broader message because we want to slowly and cautiously restart the economy and the country," Jenrick told Sky News.

Jenrick added that easing the lockdown would be conditional on keeping the spread of the virus under control, and if the rate of infection begins to increase in some areas, more stringent measures could be re-introduced. Elsewhere in the UK, a trial of a controversial government test-and-trace app carried out on the Isle of Wight has yielded positive results, much to the chagrin of privacy advocates.

"The trial in the Isle of Wight of that tracking app, the NHSX app designed to help assist people, is going well. People have been downloading it enthusiastically and I know that the plan is later in the month to make it more widely available as well," a local official told the FT.

In Turkey, which is – as we mentioned above – the worst-hit country in the Muslim world by number of infections, senior citizens have been allowed to leave their homes for the first time in seven weeks Sunday under relaxed coronavirus restrictions. Those aged 65 and over, deemed most at risk from the virus, had been subjected to a curfew since March 21, but they were permitted outside Sunday for four hours as part of a rolling program of reduced controls being pushed by Ankara.


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