China reports no new deaths, cases slow in Europe: Virus update

China reports no new deaths, cases slow in Europe: Virus update

A girl wearing a face mask crosses a barricade in Wuhan, China's central Hubei province on Tuesday. (AFP photo)
A girl wearing a face mask crosses a barricade in Wuhan, China's central Hubei province on Tuesday. (AFP photo)

China reported no new coronavirus deaths for the first time since the pandemic emerged. The most affected countries in Europe reported lower numbers of new cases, while New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the virus-related fatality rate was effectively flat for two days.

Earlier, Denmark joined Austria in announcing a gradual relaxation of curbs, even as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe moved to declare a state of emergency in seven prefectures. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was moved to an intensive-care unit and there has been no change in his condition overnight.

Stocks in Europe and Asia gained on Tuesday alongside US equity futures amid optimism the outbreak may be slowing.

Indonesia gets $60 billion credit line 

Indonesia’s central bank said the New York Federal Reserve will provide it with a $60 billion repurchase facility to help with liquidity needs amid a dollar shortage triggered by the coronavirus outbreak. Bank Indonesia has no plan yet to use the facility, Governor Perry Warjiyo said Tuesday.

Erdogan files complaint against Fox TV anchor 

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sued a Fox TV anchor for suggesting the government might require citizens to dig into their bank accounts to help battle the coronavirus fallout.

On Monday, Erdogan had alluded to century-old emergency measures when calling for a national solidarity campaign. The so-called National Tax Laws imposed during Turkey’s War of Independence in 1921 allowed the government to seize 40% of all food, clothing and machinery.

Company roundup: Boss scraps dividend, Ferragamo sales slump 

German luxury firm Hugo Boss suspended its dividend and management board members waived 40% of their base pay after a “significant decline” in sales and earnings. Italian shoemaker Ferragamo said first-quarter revenue slumped 31% with business deteriorating in February and March. Danish medical-equipment firm Ambu raised its forecast for sales growth this year amid rising demand for its products amid the outbreak. Here’s a roundup of what European companies ate saying on Tuesday.

Africa’s GDP may shrink as much as 1.1% 

Gross domestic product growth for the continent was forecast to average 3.4% in 2020 prior to outbreak of Covid-19, the African Union said. Goods exported and imported by African countries are projected to fall by 35%, equivalent to about $270 billion.

Thailand plans $30.5 billion in new borrowing 

Thailand plans new borrowing of 1 trillion baht for its latest stimulus package to counter the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak. The package is worth about 1.9 trillion baht overall as it also includes 900 billion baht of steps by the Bank of Thailand, Finance Minister Uttama Savanayana said Tuesday in Bangkok.

Russia reports 18% increase in cases 

Russia reported 1,154 new cases overnight, its biggest increase so far, bringing the total number of infected to 7,497, consumer health watchdog Rospotrebnadzor said. Fatalities rose by 11 to 58.

Germany’s DAX rebounds 20% from its coronavirus crisis low 

The index of 30 German large-cap stocks is set to exit a bear market that only began last month, after rising 20% from its March 18 closing price, the most recent trough of a sell-off spurred by the coronavirus pandemic’s arrival in Europe. 

Europe at risk of medicine shortages, EU health chief says 

There is an imminent risk of shortages for critical hospital medicines used to treat Covid-19, the European Union’s health chief warned in a letter to senior executives of the continent’s pharmaceutical industry. Several member states have said “they only have one week’s stock of such critical medicines,” EU Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said in the letter, sent earlier this week and seen by Bloomberg. Among the medicines at risk is paracetamol, the main treatment for high fever.

Germany’s number of virus recoveries tops new cases 

The number of daily recoveries from the coronavirus in Germany has exceeded new cases for the first time, adding to evidence that shutdowns across the country are starting to take effect. Some 7,381 people recovered from the disease in 24 hours, compared with 3,252 new cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. While this is the lowest growth in infections in two weeks, deaths rose by 226 to 1,810, the highest number of new fatalities in a day for the country.

Italy may loosen virus lockdown from May 4, Corriere reports 

Italy is likely to start relaxing its lockdown starting May 4 if the spread of the coronavirus continues to slow, il Corriere della Sera reported, citing unidentified scientific advisers to the government. Certain businesses may be allowed to re-open by mid-April, but it may be some weeks more before rules are relaxed on people leaving their homes and socialising in public places, the newspaper said. Regulations over social distancing and wearing protective gear may remain in place even longer.

Japan’s Abe moves to declare emergency, pass record stimulus 

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe moved to declare a state of emergency in prefectures including Tokyo and Osaka as he announced a record stimulus package of 108 trillion yen ($988 billion) to support struggling households and businesses.

The plan is much bigger than the 60 trillion yen recommended by Abe’s ruling party last week. The emergency declaration, which will also cover Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba, Hyogo and Fukuoka prefectures, hands powers to local governments to try to contain the spread of the virus that causes Covid-19, including by urging residents to stay at home.

India partially lifts malaria drug export ban after Trump call 

India partially lifted its ban on exports of malaria drug after Donald Trump sought supplies for the US, according to government officials with knowledge of the matter. Exports of hydroxychloroquine and paracetamol will be allowed depending on availability of stock after meeting domestic requirements and existing orders, said the government officials, who asked not to be identified citing rules.

Hong Kong may see new cases imported from abroad, Lam says 

Hong Kong could continue to see a rising number of imported coronavirus cases so long as residents are allowed to return from abroad, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said. Unless Hong Kong stops residents from coming back, the trend is likely to “persist for a while,” Lam told a briefing on Tuesday.

Lam said she hoped to announce a second round of virus relief measures “soon”, without specifying a date. Authorities on Monday extended a ban on non-resident entry until further notice, with the city’s airport also continuing to halt all transit services for an unspecified duration.

Singapore says ‘correct’ decision not to close schools earlier 

Singapore defended a decision not to close schools earlier as the country gets ready to implement “circuit breaker” measures to stem the spread of the virus. It was the “correct” move as younger people don’t seem as affected compared with adults, the country’s education minister Ong Ye Kung said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. From Wednesday, the city-state will shutter its schools as it moves to full home-based learning.

China reports no new coronavirus deaths on April 6 

For the first time since January, China said there were no new coronavirus deaths in the country with the toll remaining at 3,331. The National Health Commission said there were 32 new cases, with all of them imported. China now has 81,740 confirmed cases and 77,167 patients have been discharged.

US reaches deal with 3M for masks 

3M Co said it agreed to a plan with the Trump administration to import 166.5 million respirators over the next three months, primarily from its manufacturing facility in China, as it continues to send US-made respirators to Canada and Latin America. The company will double its N95 production capacity again to 2 billion globally within the next 12 months.

President Donald Trump threatened last week to use a wartime production law to force the company to make more masks for US health-care workers and others fighting coronavirus.

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