Via Financial Times

Singapore detects 47 new coronavirus infections

Singapore reported 47 new coronavirus cases in the 24 hours to midnight on Saturday, according to the city-state’s health ministry.

Of the new Covid-19 infections, 39 were imported from outside Singapore and eight were local cases.

The imported cases, who had travelled from Australia, Europe, North America and elsewhere in Asia comprised 33 returning residents and six short-term visitors, the ministry said on its website.

UK regulator tells companies to delay financial statements

Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority said it would tell companies to delay preliminary financial statements due to stress caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

In a statement on Sunday, the FCA said it would ask companies to “observe a moratorium on the publication of preliminary financial statements for at least two weeks”.

The authority noted that listed companies and auditors are facing “unprecedented practical challenges during the coronavirus crisis”.

Issuing preliminary financial statements is common among UK-listed companies but is not required by either the Listing Rules or the Transparency Directive, the FCA said.

Asia-Pacific cities tighten curbs on movement to restrict virus spread

Millions of Asia-Pacific residents are spending the weekend amid closed services and restrictions on movement as governments around the region fear a second wave of coronavirus infections.

In Hong Kong, residents woke up on Sunday to a partial lockdown as the number of confirmed cases imported from abroad increased sharply in the previous days. From Monday, public recreational facilitates such as sport grounds and museums will be shut and civil servants will work from home.

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In Bangkok, residents rushed to buy last-minute supplies before shopping malls, non-food markets, barber shops, swimming pools and most other public venues are closed from Sunday. Supermarkets and food markets will remain open in the Thai capital, where 8m people live, and restaurants will be allowed to offer only take-away service.

Malaysia and Indonesia are expected to use their armed forces in the coming days to help police and civil authorities impose restrictions on public gatherings and movement. The Malaysian army is expected to hit the streets as early as today and in Jakarta, troops are scheduled to deploy from Monday.

All businesses in Italy to shut down as outbreak worsens

All businesses in Italy must shut down temporarily, in another effort to slow the spread of coronavirus in the country, Miles Johnson reports.

Prime minister Giuseppe Conte ordered all businesses, with the exception of those considered essential to supply chains, to close until April 3 as Italy faces its “most difficult crisis in our post-war period”, he said in a video message on social media.

Grocery stores, pharmacies, banks and postal service will remain open, Mr Conte said.

The decision came after the total number of deaths related to coronavirus in Italy rose to 4,825, the worst day for fatalities since the crisis began.

Cayman Islands seeks to deter public gatherings

The Cayman Islands’ chief medical officer has called for residents to stop gathering in groups.

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“The government has been increasing its measures to protect the people of Cayman by a staged reduction in travel and deterring people from gathering,” John Lee said on Saturday. “These are absolute key ways to suppress the transmission of the Covid-19-causing virus, so please, do not gather together except as a household.”

The Cayman Islands, a British territory in the Caribbean Sea near Cuba, has yet to record a case but had tested just 88 of its 62,000 people by Saturday.

“Of serious concern is the possibility of asymptomatic transmission of the virus, which would allow it to spread without us knowing from person to person,” Dr Lee said. “In particular, children are likely to be able to transmit the virus without any symptoms as they do not seem to be so much affected.”

Asia: what you might have missed

More than 300,000 cases of the coronavirus have now been confirmed globally, an increase so far on Saturday of 28,758, Steve Bernard writes from London. The death toll currently stands at 12,953, increasing by 1,566.

The total number of dead in Italy from the Covid-19 outbreak rose to 4,825 on Saturday in the worst day for fatalities since the crisis began as the country’s number of infections continued to rise at a rapid pace.

Another 53 people with coronavirus have died in England, bringing the total to 220. The patients who died were aged between 41 and 94 years old and all had underlying health conditions, according to NHS England. Two more deaths were recorded in Wales, bringing its total to five, and another death in Scotland, taking the number to seven. Northern Ireland has recorded one death.

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The number of coronavirus cases in Brazil jumped to 1,128 on Saturday, the highest in Latin America, with 18 fatalities as the country struggles to contain the spread of the disease.

US vice-president Mike Pence said the government had ordered “hundreds of millions” of N-95 masks for health care facilities and hospitals as the country of 320m people faces up to a shortage of the medical supplies needed to battle coronavirus. The move comes as officials across several states have warned of the limited amount of vital equipment.

Researchers find a lost sense of smell might be a symptom of coronavirus. While the best-known symptoms are a cough, fever and shortness of breath, researchers say there is evidence from several countries that a sizeable proportion of patients who tested positive had their olfactory sense inhibited.