Cuomo Rejects NYC Shelter-In-Place; Europe Curbs: Virus Update

Governments in Europe tightened curbs on free movement and sought to ease the financial impact. Governor Andrew Cuomo said he has no plans to order shelter-in-place for New York City, a rebuke to the mayor.

The U.S. is expected to seek astimulus package of at least $850 billion and is pushing to send directpayments to Americans within two weeks. Britain became the latest country to advise citizens against non-essential travel.

Goldman Sachs Group now expects China’s economy tocontract by 9% in the first quarter while Morgan Stanley economists declared that a global recession is now their “base case.”

Key Developments:

  • Cases hit 183,579 worldwide, deaths exceed 7,400
  • Spain reports about 2,000 new infections, Iran adds 1,178 cases
  • Intesting ramp-up, U.S. called in private sector too late
  • Takeda sees speedyapproval of coronavirus plasma treatment
  • Boeing seeking short-termaid for itself, suppliers and airlines
  • IOC says Olympics Games are still on

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Trump Wants to Send Individual Stimulus Checks Now (12:48 p.m. NY)

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the administration is pushing to send directpayments to Americans within two weeks.

“Americans need cash now, and the president wants to give cash now. And I mean now, in the next two weeks,” Mnuchin said Tuesday at a White House briefing alongside President Donald Trump.

Mnuchin said the administration will aim not to send checks to millionaires but stressed the need for urgency. He was due to meet Republican lawmakers after the briefing.

Latest U.S. Estimate on Mortality Rate Is About 0.7% (12:45 p.m. NY)

The latest data on the mortality rate for people wit Covid-19 is about 0.7%, with most people under 30 at very low risk, said Deborah Birx, a member of the White House task force responding to the new coronavirus.

There are exceptions, especially for people with underlying illnesses, Birx said.

“It’s much higher, in people with pre-existing medical conditions, even if young, and people that are older, with pre-existing medical conditions,” she said at a press conference in Washington.

Prolonged Social Distancing Would Come at High Cost (12:42 p.m. NY)

A truly effective shutdown would likely have to be significantly longer and more severe than the two weeks recommended by many governments.

The best way to prevent the pandemic from overwhelming hospitals is social distancing that could drag on for a year or more, until doctors find a way to control it, researchers at Imperial College London said in a report published Monday.

They estimated 81% of people in Great Britain and the U.S. would get the virus if no steps were taken to slow its spread. In the U.S., 2.2 million would die, with 510,000 deaths in Great Britain.

New York to See Peak in 45 Days, Taxing Hospitals (12:40 p.m. NY)

New York state will be in desperate need ofhospital beds and ventilators soon, and may need more than 12 times the existing intensive-care capacity, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday.

The state is estimating the numbers of cases caused by the novel coronavirus outbreak will peak in 45 days, at which point it will need between 55,000 and 110,000 hospital beds, as well as 18,600 to 37,200 intensive-care unit beds, Cuomo told reporters in Albany.

Faceook to Pay Workers $1,000 Bonus (11:41 a.m. NY)

Facebook Inc. will pay $1,000 as a bonus to each employee as support during the coronavirus outbreak, The Information reported, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter.

EU Commission Sees Vaccine Ready as Early as Fall (11:41 a.m. NY)

A vaccine against coronavirus may be on the market perhaps before autumn, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a video posted on Twitter. The commission provided as much as 80 million euros ($88 million) of support for German medical developer CureVac GmbH.

Cuomo Rejects Mayor’s NYC Shelter-In-Place Idea (10:51 a.m. NY)

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said he alone has the authority to order shelters-in-place, and has no plans to do so for New York City.

His comments contrast with those of Mayor Bill de Blasio, who earlier said the most populous U.S. city may be forced to order residents to confine themselves in their homes in an effort to contain the spread of the new coronavirus.

“We hear New York City is going to quarantine itself; that can’t happen without state approval,” Cuomo said Tuesday in a press briefing. “I have no interest whatsoever or plan whatsoever to contain New York City.”

Germany Building Emergency Hospital (10:51 a.m. NY)

Berlin will establish a hospital dedicated to treating coronavirus patients. The state government said the building will have the capacity to handle up to 1,000 patients.

Luxembourg Sends Army to Protect Supplies After Theft (10:34 a.m. NY)

Luxembourg’s army has been called to step in to protect the nation’s stock of crucial medical equipment as lots of material continues to be stolen “as fast as one can look,” the country’s health minister told lawmakers on Tuesday. The stocks of material will now be stored in a series of secret locations and will be watched over by the army.

U.K. Sees 20,000 Deaths as ‘Good Outcome’ (10:32 a.m. NY)

Patrick Vallance, the U.K. government’s chief scientific adviser, said it would be horrible but a “good outcome” if Britain can keep its number of deaths below 20,000.

“Every year, in seasonal flu, the number of excess deaths is thought to be 8,000, so if we can get this down to 20,000 and below that’s a good outcome in terms of where we’d hope to get to,” Vallance told a panel of lawmakers in Parliament. “It’s still horrible, it’s still an enormous number of deaths and an enormous pressure on the health service.”

WHO Applauds U.K.’s Escalation, Urges Solidarity (10:32 a.m. NY)

The World Health Organization’s regional director for Europe praised the U.K. for adding measures to control the spread Covid-19 overnight.

“We are very pleased to see that indeed the United Kingdom is getting into the mainstream and stepping up its efforts,” Hans Kluge said. “It goes back to the basic measures that we know are working: Contain the outbreak, strengthen your health system capacity, and number three, mobilize your community.”

While European countries are starting to align their strategies, the region still needs more solidarity, Kluge also said at a briefing in Geneva Tuesday. “Italy has become the platform for know-how for Europe,” and the continent should learn from its approach, he said.

Social distancing alone isn’t enough, said Dorit Nitzan, a WHO coordinator for health emergencies. Some countries in Europe are struggling to obtain enough tests, said Richard Pebody, a WHO team leader for infection-hazard management.

Amazon Prioritizes Medical Supplies, Household Staples (10:32 a.m. NY)

Amazonsaid independent merchants would be unable to ship products other than medical supplies, household staples and other high-demand products to its warehouses until April 5 as the e-commerce giant prioritizes the delivery of these goods during the coronavirus pandemic.

German CDU Contender Merz Tests Positive: DPA (9:35 a.m. NY)

Friedrich Merz, a contender to lead Germany’s Christian Democratic Union and potentially succeed Angela Merkel as chancellor, has tested positive for the virus, news agency Deutsche Presse-Agentur reported.

Merz, 64, told DPA he’ll be under quarantine at his home until the end of next week. A spokesman for Merz wasn’t immediately available to comment.

De Blasio Says ‘Absolutely’ Considering Shelter-in-Place Order (9:31 a.m. NY)

“We’re absolutely considering that,” New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio said in response to a question about whether the city was considering a shelter-in-place order.

“It could get to that for sure, it could get to that for the whole country,” De Blasio said in a CNN interview Tuesday.

He also said the city would have to build “a huge amount of new hospitals,” and that it doesn’t have enough ventilators.

Read full storyhere

Britain Advises Against Non-Essential Travel Globally (8:33 a.m. NY)

The U.K. advised its nationals against non-essential travel worldwide for the next 30 days as it ramped up its efforts against coronavirus. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said he will work with shipping companies to keep trade routes open.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged the public to avoid contact with other people and to reduce unnecessary journeys. The U.K. has faced criticism for not copying the more robust restrictions in other European countries.

Later on Tuesday, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak will seek to deliver on his promise in last week’s budget to help companies and individuals pushed to the brink.

Mnuchin to Ask Congress for $850 Billion Package (8:10 a.m. NY)

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is expected to seek a phase-three stimuluspackage of $850 billion or more from Congress on Tuesday, according to two people familiar with the plan. Mnuchin told House Republicans on a conference call Monday that it was needed to add more liquidity in the markets.

Senate Republicans are now considering the second stage of stimulus in response to the coronavirus outbreak and are expected to pass the House package of virus-related economic measures. The Senate could take up the House-passed bill as soon as Tuesday, when Mnuchin is planning to be back on Capitol Hill to meet with Senate Republicans during their weekly lunch.

Brazil’s Biggest City Declares Emergency (7:50 a.m. NY)

Sao Paulo mayor Bruno Covas declared a state ofemergency and imposed measures to reduce the circulation of people in the city. Separately, the Kazakh government put two of its biggest cities — capital Nur-Sultan and financial center Almaty — in quarantine from March 19.

Singapore Can’t Rule Out Lockdown If Crisis Worsens (7:45 a.m. NY)

There are multiple lines ofdefense on travel and border controls, social distancing and contact tracing, and if “we do all three levels well,” the city state won’t need to be locked down, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said.

Malaysia’s move Monday night to ban all visitors and prevent residents from traveling overseas for about two weeks will choke off a key labor channel for Singapore and is the latest threat to its economy.

ECB Provides Banks With 109 Billion Euros (7:30 a.m. NY)

Bankstook 109.1 billion euros ($120 billion) from the European Central Bank in the first installment of interim financing designed to prevent money markets from seizing up during the coronavirus pandemic. The cash is part of a package of measures the ECB unveiled last week that also included an increase in bond-buying and more favorable terms for its targeted long-term lending program from June.

HK Urges Against Travel (7:17 a.m. NY)

Hong Kong has issued a red outbound travelalert on all overseas countries and territories due to rapid increase in global Covid-19 cases around the world, according to a government release. Members of the public “strongly urged to adjust their travel plans and avoid any non-essential travel outside Hong Kong”

LME to Suspend Ring Trading, Switch to Electronic Pricing (7:15 a.m. NY)

The London Metal Exchange plans to temporarily suspend trading on its open-outcry trading floor from next week and switch to a fully electronic system for settling closing prices. The switch will take place on March 23 if current trends continue, the bourse said and traders will move to a back-up site in Chelmsford from March 18.

Turkey Cuts Rates (7:10 a.m. NY)

Turkey’s central bank cut its key interest rate by one percentage point after an emergency meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee to discuss the economic and financial impact of the coronavirus. The committee lowered the one-week repo rate to 9.75% from 10.75% after bringing forward a meeting originally scheduled for Thursday. Banking stocks reversed losses.

Turkey, which has about 47 cases, has shut down cafes, theaters, public baths and even halted prayers at mosques to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, whose toll on the nation’s businesses is rapidly deepening.

Regeneron Reports Advances in Novel Covid-19 Antibody Program (7:05 a.m. NY)

Regeneron said itidentified hundreds of virus-neutralizing antibodies and plans to initiate large-scale manufacturing by mid-April. There is the potential for human clinical studies by early summer.

EU Rules on Handouts Could Be Loosened (7 a.m. NY)

European Union rules on state handouts should be loosened to aid virus-stricken industries, according to a draft law obtained by Bloomberg News. European government budgets must offer “swift and effective action” to help the economy.

Cases Surge in Spain, Iran (6:53 a.m. NY)

Spain reported almost 2,000 new positive cases, according to the Health Ministry, taking the total number of infections to 11,178. Iran added 1,178 new cases, taking its tally to 16,169 and said almost 1,000 people have died.

Europe Races to Prevent Bad Loan Crisis (6:37 a.m. NY)

Relief is on the way for banks in France, Italy and Germany, as the region’s biggest economies resort to crisis-era tools to limit the damage from coronavirus. French President Emmanuel Macron, invoking a state of war, said the country will guarantee as much as 300 billion euros ($335 billion) of bank loans to companies — almost a third of the total — and provide repayment support.

The moves follow similar actions in Italy, which approved a package of guarantees and funds on Monday that will leverage about 340 billion euros in financing. Germany is promising 550 billion euros of emergency loans through a state-backed lender that rivals Deutsche Bank AG in size.

— With assistance by Adveith Nair, Dominic Lau, Greg Chang, Melissa Cheok, Lianting Tu, Ian C Sayson, Natalie Lung, Stephen Tan, Michael B Marois, Jihye Lee, Natnicha Chuwiruch, Gregory White, Leonard Kehnscherper, Wout Vergauwen, Daniel Schaefer, Aoife White, Namitha Jagadeesh, Thomas Mulier, Naomi Kresge, Matt Day, Thomas Penny, Stephanie Bodoni, and Alexander Michael Pearson

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