ECB, UBS restrict travel, Olympics won't be cancelled: Virus update

ECB, UBS restrict travel, Olympics won't be cancelled: Virus update

South Korean soldiers wearing protective gear spray disinfectant to help prevent the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus, at a shopping district in Seoul on Wednesday. (AFP photo)
South Korean soldiers wearing protective gear spray disinfectant to help prevent the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus, at a shopping district in Seoul on Wednesday. (AFP photo)

Total coronavirus cases globally topped 93,000. surged in Iran and rose in Europe, including an official in Brussels. China reported 38 more deaths and fatalities rose to nine in the US.

Traders are speculating that the Bank of England will cut rates this month, following the Federal Reserve’s surprise move on Tuesday. The yield on 10-year UK government bonds reached an all-time low.

Earlier, the European Central Bank said it would restrict all non-essential travel until April 20 and car sales in China plunged. A member of Japan's Olympic committee said there is no intention of postponing the Olympics.

Key Developments:

- Global cases reach 93,017; death toll rises to 3,201

- South Korea, Malaysia cases jump

- China car sales drop 80% as virus adds to woes

- Hong Kong follows Fed cut; South Korea seeks $9.8b extra budget

- Amazon limits travel; 21 cases, 8 dead in King County, Seattle

Tokyo Olympics won’t be cancelled  

Tokyo Olympics Committee member Yoshiro Mori said at an evening briefing in the city that the body has no intention of cancelling the Games, amid concerns they could be postponed due to the virus outbreak.

Cases surge in Iran 

The country reported 586 new cases, taking the total in the country to 2,922. The death toll there stands at 92, after 15 more died. President Hassan Rouhani said the coronavirus has stretched to almost all provinces.

Israel quarantines students, soccer fans 

About 1,150 high school students in central Israel will enter a two-week quarantine after one of their classmates tested positive for the coronavirus, Ynet said, citing the health ministry. The boy also attended a soccer match at Tel Aviv’s Bloomfield Stadium before being diagnosed, Ynet said. The ministry told thousands of fans who were at the match to enter a 14-day home quarantine.

The student contracted the illness at his job, where his manager returned from a trip to Italy and worked for three days before testing positive, the local website reported.

China to offer financial support to some airlines 

China will give financial support to domestic and foreign airlines still operating or having resumed regular passenger flights between Chinese and overseas destinations during coronavirus outbreak, according to a statement from the Civil Aviation Administration of China.

UBS adds travel curbs 

UBS has put in place global restrictions on all international travel that is not absolutely business critical, according to an email seen by Bloomberg on Wednesday.

Cases rise in Europe, German industry fair postponed 

In less than two weeks, the coronavirus has spread in Europe from a handful of cases in northern Italy to thousands across the continent. Confirmed cases in Germany rose to 240 on Wednesday from 196. The organisers of the country’s biggest industrial fair, the Hannover Messe, postponed it to July from April. The event is usually attended by Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel and attracts more than 200,000 visitors.

Italy is ready to expand its stimulus measures, pushing its deficit-to-GDP ratio above 2.4%, according to a government official. Sweden said cases doubled to 30 and warned the outbreak would shave 0.3 percentage points off growth this year. Infections in neighbouring Norway rose to 33 and those detected in Belgium jumped to 20 after 10 more people tested positive. An official of the European Defence Agency in Brussels tested positive. Cyprus Energy Minister Georgios Lakkotrypis has gone into self quarantine after a trip to Italy.

Pandemic could cost global economy $2.7 trillion 

Under the worst case scenario where all the world’s major economies face a disruptive outbreak of the coronavirus this could cause GDP to drop by as much as in China in 1Q. That would mean global growth grinds to a halt in 2020 at a cost of $2.7 trillion in lost output.

Separately, S&P Global Ratings said it expects the outbreak to affect China’s growth for two to three quarters.

Traders speculate BOE may follow Fed with emergency cut 

Traders are pricing in a 60% chance that the Bank of England will lower borrowing costs by 50 basis points this month, with some market watchers saying the move may include an emergency cut before its scheduled meeting.

That prospect sent the yield on 10-year UK government bonds on Wednesday to 0.335%, an all-time low. Before the Fed’s action on Tuesday, money markets were pricing in a 25-basis-point cut for the BOE in March.

Wall Street traders tethered to desks 

After spending years enhancing trading desks with cutting-edge analytics, fast access to outside venues and layers of surveillance, banks are finding it’s hard to relocate their human operators, even in the face of the deadly coronavirus. With the illness now reaching New York, firms are trying to figure out what to do with armies of employees who can’t simply log in from a laptop at home.

Diamond sales collapse 

Diamond sales in China slumped since the outbreak as shoppers stay home. De Beers, the biggest diamond miner, said sales fell by more than a third in its second sale of the year, compared with the first one in January.

Coronavirus disrupts UK recovery 

IHS Markit downgraded its assessment of the whole UK economy’s performance in February, a move partly driven by slower growth in services -- the nation’s dominant sector. The firm said the virus was the “main headwind to growth” in the month.

Thailand mulls stimulus measures 

The government is considering stimulus measures worth more than 100b baht amid the coronavirus outbreak, Finance Minister Uttama Savanayana said. The measure will be aimed at supporting the economy over 3-4 months during the outbreak. Philippines is also readying fiscal and other forms of stimulus measures.

Virus threatens $1.7 trillion tourism industry 

Many of the Chinese travellers who have driven the industry’s expansion were already staying home, but the global spread now means that Germans and Belgians are rethinking ski trips to Italy and Japanese are cancelling visits to Bali. At stake is the $1.7 trillion in revenue that international tourism generated in 2018.

China to share antiviral trials results soon 

Two clinical trials of Gilead Sciences Inc’s remdesivir are going “successfully”, Cao Bin, the doctor running the trials, told reporters in Beijing. Cao said the Lopinavir trial had finished and results will be shared soon.

Japan’s largest drugmaker Takeda earlier said it is developing an experimental therapy for the novel coronavirus with the goal of making it available in 9 to 18 months. Separately, CanSino Bio said its vaccine candidate is in the pre-clinical stage.

ECB restricts all non-essential travel until April 20 

All travel by ECB Executive Board members and employees judged to be non-essential is restricted until 20 April 2020 when the situation will be re-assessed, according to a statement.

Germany confirmed cases rise to 240 

The number of confirmed cases in Germany rose to 240 from 196, the Robert Koch Institute said. The state with the most reported infections is North Rhine-Westphalia. Saxony-Anhalt is now the only one of the 16 federal states without a confirmed case.

Trump balks at stimulus 

President Donald Trump has so far balked at pursuing a major fiscal plan to counter the market turmoil stemming from the virus’s spread. He said on Tuesday it’d be a good time for Congress to cut income taxes again but hasn’t made his own proposal, and he is not considering a payroll tax cut or a rollback of tariffs on Chinese imports, his Treasury secretary said.

Instead, Trump appears content to wait out the crisis, even as it emerges as a potential threat to his re-election. His clearest calls have been directed at the Federal Reserve. “More easing and cutting!” Trump tweeted Tuesday after the central bank announced an emergency 50 basis point rate cut.

Malaysia confirms new cases 

Malaysia reported its biggest jump in infections with 14 new cases on Wednesday, taking its tally to 50. The new cases were confirmed to be within a single cluster. A 52-year-old Malaysian man travelled to Shanghai in the middle of January and developed symptoms only on Feb 27, when he was tested and confirmed two days later. The illness spread to 16 people, mostly through meetings, including 5 that were second-generation infections. Malaysia is awaiting the results of 180 of their close contacts.

Takeda working to develop experimental treatment 

Japan’s largest drugmaker said it is developing an experimental therapy for the novel coronavirus with the goal of making it available in 9 to 18 months. Separately, CanSino Bio said its vaccine candidate is in the pre-clinical stage

South Korea cases top 5,600 

South Korea’s Health Ministry confirmed 293 more coronavirus cases as of 4pm local time on March 4, according to a text message from the ministry. President Moon Jae-in cancelled visits to the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Egypt and the government is seeking a 11.7 trillion won ($9.8 billion) extra budget in response to the epidemic.

Airlines cut capacity 

Wizz Air has made adjustments to its flight schedule between March 11 and April 2, primarily to Italian destinations, after the coronavirus is hurting demand. ANA and Japan Airlines said they will reduce domestic flights from March 6 to 12 , while VietJet said it will suspend all flights between Vietnam and South Korea from March 7. Air New Zealand also cut domestic and international capacity.

China car sales drop a record 80% 

China’s car sales had the biggest monthly plunge on record as the coronavirus kept shoppers away, intensifying the pressure on automakers already battling an unprecedented slump before the outbreak. Sales fell 80% in February, according to preliminary numbers. Average daily sales improved toward the end of the month compared with the first three weeks.

15 Italian tourists in India test positive 

India reported a jump in infections as 15 Italian tourists and their driver tested positive, while at least six other locals contracted the virus from a person returning from Italy, according to Health Minister Harsh Vardhan. The tourists are in quarantine in Delhi. There are now 28 confirmed cases in India, up from six reported Tuesday.

Tokyo blossom season threat 

Tokyo’s government will ask vendors in parks to stop selling food and beverages to groups of people gathering for the cherry blossom season, Asahi TV reported. The season typically stretches from late March through April and is a big draw for locals and visitors.

Poland’s first case, spike in Sweden 

Poland reported its first confirmed case, a person from the west of the country who recently returned from Germany, according to Health Minister Lukasz Szumowski.

The number of confirmed cases in Sweden doubled to 30. Most had been traveling in Italy during the winter school break, which ended on March 1. Health authorities are tracking down their close contacts for testing.

Vienna medical conference postponed to July 

The European Congress of Radiology scheduled for March 11-15 in Vienna has been postponed to July 15-19, according to organizers. The congress is one of the biggest European medical conferences, with more than 28,000 attendees.

McDonald’s Japan closes store in Kyoto 

McDonald’s closed an outlet in Kyoto after a part-time worker there tested positive for the virus. The employee had attended a music festival in Osaka on Feb 15-16, where several people were found to have been infected.

Saudi Arabia postpones film festival 

The Red Sea Film Festival, which was scheduled for March 12-21 and due to be attended by directors including Oliver Stone and Spike Lee, has been postponed. More than 100 feature and short films were to be screened at the country’s first international film festival.

Thailand considers quarantine rule 

Thailand’s prime minister and health officials are discussing whether to impose a mandatory 14-day quarantine on people arriving from countries deemed high risk for infection.

Germany confirmed cases rise to 196 

The number of confirmed cases in Germany has risen to 196 and there are reports of infections in 13 of the country’s 16 federal states, the Robert Koch Institute said on its website. The state with the most reported infections is North Rhine-Westphalia with 103.

Dubai and Abu Dhabi to shut schools 

Schools and higher education institutions in the United Arab Emirates will be shut for four weeks from March 8 and a pilot program for distance learning will be implemented. Education authorities will sterilise school and university facilities and buses.

Air New Zealand cuts capacity 

Air New Zealand is reducing domestic capacity by 2% and by 4% for Australian routes through to the end of June as it manages the impact of the virus. The airline said bookings for Asian destinations have been particularly affected and it has suspended flights to Seoul until June 30. Services to Tokyo, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Taipei are also being reduced.

India ready to use rate cuts 

Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das said he is ready to act to shield the economy from the virus and reiterated that there is room to cut interest rates if necessary. “There is a strong reason for coordinated policy action,” he said in an interview with Bloomberg News in Mumbai.

China pollution data show uneven recovery 

Rising pollution levels measured from space show a gradual but uneven industrial pickup in China, with nitrogen dioxide in the atmosphere there rising nearly 50% from Feb 17, according to the Helsinki-based Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air, which used satellite data from NASA. The level is still about 20% below the same period last year.

BOJ to cut forecast, Philippines preps stimulus 

Japan’s central bank is likely to consider downgrading its economic assessment at its March 18-19 meeting, people familiar with the matter said. Meanwhile, the finance secretary of the Philippines, Carlos Dominguez, said the country is readying fiscal and other forms of stimulus to support the economy.

Singapore Post to cut and freeze pay 

Upper level managers at Singapore Post will see pay cuts or freezes, while hiring has been put on hold across the company, the Straits Times reported, citing an internal memo. Senior vice presidents and above will have pay reduced by 5% from April 1.

South Korea’s Moon cancels trips 

President Moon Jae-in cancelled visits to the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Egypt because of the outbreak, according to a statement. The president will instead hold phone calls with leaders of the countries to discuss cooperation over the virus, his spokesman said.

South Korea’s toll from the virus has risen to 5,328 confirmed cases and 33 deaths.

Australia infections rise to 41 

Health authorities confirmed Australia’s third locally transmitted case. The woman, in her 50s, works at a care home in Sydney and had been in contact with a number of elderly residents who are now under isolation. Test results are pending for two residents with respiratory symptoms. One of them, a 95-year-old woman, died overnight, though authorities don’t yet know if her death was due to the coronavirus.

Japanese airlines reduce flights 

ANA and Japan Airlines said they will reduce domestic flights from March 6 to 12 because of the virus and its impact on demand. ANA is cutting frequencies on routes including Haneda to Sapporo and Hiroshima, while JAL said 352 flights would be affected.

Separately, VietJet said it will suspend all flights between Vietnam and South Korea from March 7.

China cases

China’s National Health Commission reported 38 more coronavirus fatalities as of the end of Tuesday, bringing the country’s total death toll to 2,981. All bar one of the latest deaths were in Hubei province. Total cases rose by 119 to 80,270, while 49,856 patients have been discharged.

Amazon says Seattle employee has virus 

Amazon confirmed the first coronavirus case among its US workforce, an employee at its South Lake Union office complex in Seattle. The person left work on Feb 25 due to illness and the company said it was informed Tuesday about the infection. Two Amazon employees in Italy were previously confirmed to have contracted the virus.

NBA’s new Africa league postponed 

The Basketball Africa League postponed its inaugural season, which had been scheduled to start on March 13 in Dakar, Senegal. The BAL is a partnership between the International Basketball Federation and the NBA featuring 12 club teams.

South Korea unveils extra budget 

The government of South Korea said it is seeking a 11.7 trillion won ($9.8 billion) extra budget in response to the epidemic. The plan adds 8.5 trillion won in new spending to an annual budget that was already the biggest on record. The Bank of Korea also called an emergency meeting, as data show domestic demand and supply chains are being hurt by the virus.

In a rundown of scenarios for the virus, Bloomberg Economics said the cost to global GDP would be $2.7 trillion if there was a global pandemic and every country took the sort of containment efforts made by China to bring the outbreak under control.

Wuhan evacuation flights to Hong Kong 

A total of 258 Hong Kong residents will return from Wuhan on two chartered flights Wednesday, according to Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Patrick Nip. There will be two more chartered flights Thursday. Everyone arriving from Wuhan will be sent into quarantine for 14 days.

Medicare, Medicaid and Obamacare to cover tests 

Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said the coronavirus test is a diagnostic test that would be covered by insurance, including Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act.

Verma spoke alongside Vice President Mike Pence and others at the White House. Pence announced that coronavirus tests would now be available to any American, subject to doctors’ orders. Verma and Pence didn’t specifically answer a question of whether uninsured people would receive any funding for coronavirus testing.

Hong Kong cuts interest rate 

Hong Kong’s de facto central bank cut its benchmark interest rate to 1.5% from 2.0%, in line with the US Federal Reserve’s move. Hong Kong essentially imports US monetary policy as its currency is pegged to the greenback. Local banks aren’t obliged to follow with lower borrowing costs, though the city’s economy is in need of support following months of protests and now the impact of the virus. Hong Kong’s business outlook fell to a record low in February, with the purchasing managers’ index at just 33.1, according to IHS Markit.

California taps emergency mask reserve 

The California Public Health Department said it has approval from the CDC to tap an emergency reserve of 21 million N-95 face masks for certain situations. The masks may be past their manufacturers’ expiration date but have been stored in conditions that should prevent decay of the elastic that holds them in place, the department said.

Silicon Valley’s Santa Clara County said it had two new cases of coronavirus, bringing the total there to 11. The city of Berkeley announced its first confirmed case, from a resident who recently travelled to an affected country. Marin County, north of San Francisco, joined the several areas in the state to declare a local emergency in preparation for potential cases.

Goldman and Boeing delay conferences 

Goldman Sachs postponed a conference set for Wednesday in New York. “In light of current events and the resulting volatility in the markets, we know that many of you cannot take time to be away from the office as you prioritize the continuity of your business,” the company wrote in a note to attendees. It also citied “travel restrictions that could affect our speakers and guests.”

Meanwhile, Boeing postponed a supplier summit scheduled to take place in Washington D.C. later this month. The company’s new chief executive, Dave Calhoun, was due to speak at the conference.

Temple congregants ordered to self-quarantine 

The health department of Westchester County, New York, ordered Temple Young Israel in New Rochelle to halt all services immediately due to potential coronavirus exposure connected to a member of the congregation. The congregant, an attorney who tested positive for the virus Tuesday, was reported in serious condition at New York Presbyterian Hospital.

Congregants who attended services on Feb 22 and a funeral and a bat mitzvah on Feb 23 must self-quarantine until at least March 8, Westchester health officials said. Those who don’t comply will be required to do so, officials said.

The synagogue has 380 member families, according to its website.

Google cancels most important conference 

Google called off its flagship conference, the latest event cancellation as concern about the coronavirus grows among businesses.

The May event, called I/O, brings together thousands of people from around the world who partner with or build apps and websites for Google’s digital services. The company will refund participants and look for ways to hold sessions digitally instead, according to an email sent to participants that Bloomberg viewed. On Monday, Google made the same decision for its Cloud Next conference.

More travel restrictions coming, TSA chief Says 

More travel restrictions will be announced soon to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, said US Transportation Security Administration chief David Pekoske.

“There will be additional countries, I’m sure, as we continue to work with the task force, and I think those announcements will be relatively soon,” Pekoske told the US Senate Appropriations Committee’s homeland security panel on Tuesday.

The comments underscore the potential for tougher limits on international trips as cases increase. The Trump administration has already placed restrictions on travellers who have been to China or Iran in the last 14 days. It has also issued advisories for travel to Italy and South Korea.

North Carolina case tied to Washington outbreak 

North Carolina officials reported the first presumptive case of the disease, and it appears to be linked to an elder-care facility on the other side of the country in Washington state, where several people have fallen ill and died.

The infected person from North Carolina travelled to Washington and was exposed at the long-term care facility, according to a statement from the office of Governor Roy Cooper.

Officials said it was an isolated case and that they’re identifying close contacts of the infected person to contain the spread, according to the statement, which said the patient is “doing well and is in isolation at home.”

New Washington deaths bring US total to 9 

Two deaths last week in the Seattle area are now confirmed to have been due to coronavirus, making them the earliest known cases in the US as an outbreak spread unnoticed in a nursing home. That brings the total number of deaths in the US and Washington state to nine -- eight in King County, which includes Seattle.

On Feb 24, a 54-year-old male patient was transferred to Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center from the Life Care Center home in Kirkland, Washington. Two days later, the patient died of what is now known to be Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, the hospital and the county public health department said Tuesday.

In the interim, the patient may have exposed some staff who were treating him in the intensive-care unit, Harborview said in a statement. Those workers have been contacted and are being monitored and screened daily. The hospital doesn’t believe other patients were exposed. A second resident of Life Care, a woman in her 80s, died at her family home the same day from the virus.

Ford bans all business trips 

Ford Motor Co has banned all business travel after two of its employees in China contracted the coronavirus.

The employees were quarantined after being diagnosed with the virus, and they’re recovering, Anderson Chan, a Ford spokesman, said in an email. He declined to reveal the employees’ location, gender, ages or whether they were factory or office workers.

Effective Tuesday, Ford curbed all business travel -- both international and domestic -- until March 27. The US automaker joins multinational companies including Nestle SA and L’Oreal SA in suspending business trips in hopes of curbing the spread of the virus that is slowing economies and sending markets into a tailspin.

JPMorgan tests US work-from-home plan 

JPMorgan Chase & Co is asking thousands of US employees to work from home as it tests a contingency plan for closing domestic offices should the coronavirus spread, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Managers requested that about 10% of staff across its consumer bank work remotely as part of the plan’s resiliency testing, which has been code-named “Project Kennedy,” said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing internal matters. JPMorgan’s consumer bank, which primarily operates in the US, has 127,137 employees, the most of any of the firm’s divisions.

Tesla blames China autopilot issue on supply chain 

Some Tesla Inc customers in China have complained they were sold locally assembled Model 3s with older Autopilot-related hardware. The electric-car maker responded by blaming supply-chain issues after a temporary virus-related shutdown of its factory near Shanghai.

Tesla said in a post on the social media platform Weibo that it plans to gradually replace the hardware free of charge.

WHO: Not time to wave a white flag 

The head of the World Health Organization said countries shouldn’t be “waving a white flag” and should pursue aggressive containment strategies, even if they have no or few cases of the novel coronavirus. Producers of medical gear need to boost supply 40% because each month the world will need 89 million medical masks, 76 million exam gloves and 1.6 million goggles, he said.

China has managed to steadily reduce the number of new cases, which dropped to the lowest number since Jan. 20, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at the group’s daily briefing in Geneva Tuesday.

In some people the coronavirus can cause much more serious illness than influenza, even if it doesn’t spread as easily, Tedros said. The coronavirus fatality rate is about 3.4% based on globally reported cases, while seasonal flu generally kills far fewer than 1% of those infected, he said.

A related coronavirus killed 9.5% of patients in the 2002-2003 epidemic of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, and another known as MERS-CoV led to death in 34% of the 2,499 cases recorded since 2012. In those outbreaks, however, the viruses didn’t transmit from one person to another as efficiently as this new one appears to do.

Iran, the centre of the outbreak in the Middle East, is in need of medical equipment including ventilators, and the large increases in new cases are a reflection of how medical authorities are being more aggressive in trying to detect the virus, Tedros said. “Things tend to look worse before they get better.”

FDA on watch for drug shortages From India 

US health regulators are watching for potential drug shortages after India restricted the export of some raw pharmaceutical ingredients, a move that has potential to disrupt the global supply chain of drugs manufactured around the world.

Earlier Tuesday, India said it would limit export of some common medicines as concerns grow over shortages of chemical ingredients. Many manufacturers in China are shut due to the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Though India is the source of about 20% of the world’s generic-drug supply, the country is dependent on China for about 66% of the chemical components needed to make them. India wants to ensure that there are enough supplies at home for its citizens.

Homeland Security closes field office in Seattle 

The US Department of Homeland Security closed a field office in Seattle after an employee was potentially exposed to coronavirus.

An employee in the US Citizenship and Immigration Services office in Seattle developed flu-like symptoms after visiting a nursing home in Kirkland, Washington, where a cluster of coronavirus cases have been diagnosed, said Deputy DHS Secretary Ken Cuccinelli.

“The employee had been coming to work in the intervening days between the possible exposure (Feb 22) and becoming ill (Feb 26). In an effort to contain the threat of potential spread & out of an abundance of caution, the @USCIS Seattle Field Office was ordered closed,” Cuccinelli tweeted.

Fed cuts rates half point in emergency move 

The US Federal Reserve delivered an emergency half-percentage point interest rate cut Tuesday in a bid to protect the longest-ever economic expansion.

“The coronavirus poses evolving risks to economic activity,” the Fed said in a statement. “In light of these risks and in support of achieving its maximum employment and price stability goals, the Federal Open Market Committee decided today to lower the target range for the federal funds rate by 1/2 percentage point.”

NY man in Westchester tests positive, Cuomo says 

A 50-year-old man who works in Manhattan and lives in the New York suburb of Westchester County has been hospitalised and tested positive for the coronavirus.

The man doesn’t have a history of foreign travel and it wasn’t immediately clear if he’d had contact with known cases in the US Health authorities around the country are closely watching for coronavirus cases with unknown origins, a sign that the virus could be spreading from person-to-person.

The man lives in Westchester with his family. A school in the Bronx attended by one of his children has been closed as a precaution, Cuomo said.

There are also two families in Buffalo that are suspected of having the virus, the governor’s office said in an email.

New York City has at least one confirmed case so far, a Manhattan woman in her 30s who contracted the virus while traveling in Iran. She was isolated in her Manhattan apartment as of last weekend.

Pence visited school where student is in quarantine

A Florida student whose classmates shook hands last Friday with Vice President Mike Pence has been quarantined after his mother came into contact with a coronavirus patient.

Some White House aides were aware of the case in Sarasota, Florida, but there was no blanket notification about it in the executive mansion, according to people familiar with the matter. Some advisers to the vice president were unaware of the quarantine as of Tuesday morning.

Italy’s business lobby sees GDP contraction worsening 

Italy’s GDP was already expected to shrink in the first quarter and there’s a high probability of a more significant contraction in the second quarter, Italy’s business lobby Confindustria says in monthly economic survey. “In the absence of effective and timely economic policy measures -- not only in Italy -- the worst risk is that there is a spiral of supply and demand shocks capable of causing a strong and prolonged recession.”

G-7 ready to take action, including fiscal tools 

G-7 finance ministers “are ready to take actions, including fiscal measures where appropriate” in response to coronavirus threat, according to a joint statement released by the US Treasury.

Iran supreme leader says ‘let’s not exaggerate’ virus 

“The coronavirus won’t affect the country for long & will leave,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Twitter on Tuesday. Iran, which has the second-highest number of fatalities from coronavirus, reported 835 new confirmed cases on Tuesday, taking the total to 2,336. The death toll climbed to 77 from 66, while 435 patients have recovered.

Hedge fund winners warn of bull trap 

Two of the best performing macro hedge funds of recent weeks have a tip for investors: buying the dip in stocks may not work this time. “This could become a textbook bull trap: the market rallies, you think it’s over, mommy and daddy are going to intervene,” said Quadriga Asset Managers’s Diego Parrilla, referring to central banks and governments. “If this doesn’t really play out, it’s game over.”

BlackRock changed its recommendation on global equities to neutral.

Satellite data suggest China Is getting back to work 

Satellite data show economic activity in China could be picking up. Nitrogen dioxide levels rose across China’s industrial heartland, according to the most recent Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service data compiled by Windy.Com.

The reddish-brown gas mainly enters the air from burning fossil fuels such as oil, coal and natural gas. Levels plummeted in February after Chinese authorities locked down communities to contain the virus.


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