- Pope tests negative for coronavirus
- Global case total passes 91,000
- UK case total hits 51
- US case total tops 100 across 15 states (including evacuees)
- South Korea case total passes 5,000; death toll hits 34
- Iran confirmed cases pass 2,000, 70+ dead
- Head of European football says Euro 2020 will go on
- 9 new cases confirmed in Japan
* * *
Update (0800ET): UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock has confirmed 11 new cases in the UK, raising the total to 51.
* * *
Following the longest publicly-disclosed illness of Pope Francis’s papacy, the Vatican has confirmed that the leader of 1 billion Catholics has tested negative for the coronavirus. After days of insisting that the pope didn’t have the virus…somebody at the Vatican was clearly worried that the Pope might have been exposed.
Pretty soon, millions of Americans and Europeans will know that feeling, if they don’t already.
Yesterday, the death toll in the US climbed to 6, while the death toll across Europe has moved closer to 100. Late last night, officials in Washington State confirmed what many probably already suspected: 4 of the six deceased were either patients or staff at a nursing home in Kirkland, suburban Seattle.
Yesterday, the Dow posted its biggest one-day rebound in points as an endless parade of strategists and talking heads on CNBC jawboned hopes of ‘coordinated central-bank intervention’ into reality, though in the hours since Monday’s close, though hopes have dimmed somewhat, thanks in part to this Reuters report. As G7 finance minister and central bankers prepare for Tuesday morning’s conference call, it seems traders around the world have suddenly remembered that there’s not much central banks can do, even after the OECD called for a mix of monetary and fiscal stimulus to rescue global growth.
In the span of days, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the US has climbed to more than 100 across 15 states if we include the evacuees, along with six deaths so far. the White House, and other governments, are shifting their focus, according to the New York Times, to distributing tests and focusing on early identification and containment instead of trying to keep the virus out.
This comes as the number of cases worldwide surpassed 90,000 on Tuesday.
In China, Communist Party officials are luxuriating in their success, or at least a convincing image of success, in suppressing the outbreak: Now that the novel coronavirus appears to be on the decline, vindicating Beijing’s heavy handed tactics (for weeks, 760 million were subjected to some form of restriction on their movements, while 100 million faced punishment for leaving their homes without permission).
On Tuesday, Shanghai and Beijing instituted ‘travel bans’ directed at travelers from hot zones including Italy, South Korea and – of course – the US, turning President Trump’s ‘racist’ travel restrictions on their head. Here’s more from the NYT:
Major cities across China have announced new travel restrictions on people who have recently visited countries where coronavirus infections are on the rise.
On Tuesday, the authorities in Shanghai said that all travelers entering the city who had visited countries with significant outbreaks within the last two weeks must undergo a 14-day quarantine at home or at an approved isolation center. Officials in Guangdong Province announced similar measures, the state news media reported on Tuesday.
And a city official in Beijing announced on Tuesday that all arrivals into the capital from countries struggling with outbreaks — including Iran, Italy, Japan and South Korea — would be subject to a 14-day quarantine.
At least 13 people in China were found to be infected with the coronavirus after returning from countries such as Iran and Italy, two places that have seen some of the most severe outbreaks outside of Asia in recent days, according to the authorities.
A 31-year-old Chinese woman had worked in a restaurant in the Italian city of Bergamo before returning home to Qingtian County, in the southeastern province of Zhejiang, where she tested positive for the virus. Seven more people who worked at the same restaurant in Bergamo were later found to be infected after they returned to Zhejiang, the local authorities said.
In recent days, county officials in Qingtian have urged overseas residents to reconsider any plans to return home, citing the challenges they could pose to China’s efforts to control the epidemic.
Minutes ago, South Korean health officials released their second coronavirus update for Tuesday: Another 974 confirmed cases raised the country’s total to 5,186. Meanwhile, South Korea’s death toll climbed to 34.
Public fury in SK so far has been directed at a strange, cult-like church called Shincheonji. Its leader issued an apology yesterday following reports that public prosecutors were being pressed to charge him and 11 other church leaders with murder. Now, investigators are looking into two church members who traveled to South Korea in January from Wuhan. One of them have tested positive, while the other tested negative, according to CNN.
In Japan, another case was reported in Tokyo Tuesday, along with two additional cases in Osaka, and six cases between Nagoya and Kyoto.
Over in Europe, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said “we are ready for potential economic downside” as the UK faces a “national challenge” in defeating the virus.
Johnson added: “I am very confident that Britain will get through it in good shape.”
Asked about school closures, Johnson said “we don’t think schools should be closing in principle – they should stay open,” he said. But the public must follow the advice of Public Health England. However, given that children are actually considered “low risk” for COVID-19, Johnson said school closures might not fit into the government’s strategy. On Tuesday, cases in the UK climbed to 40.
In France, the increasingly unpopular “President for the Rich” Emmanuel Macron has become the latest victim of coronavirus rumors, after the president reportedly caught a cold and tried to pull out of an event. He has now reportedly been cajoled into visiting a hospital ward in Paris to try and dispel rumors that he’s dying of pneumonia.
In Iran, where the virus has killed at least 77 people (and more than 200 according to some reports), public health officials (at least those who haven’t already succumbed to the virus) confirmed that 2,336 cases have been counted. As case totals in Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, Oman, the UAE and Egypt climb, Iran’s regional neighbors have shut their borders and severed travel and trade links with the Islamic Republic. The head of Iran’s emergency medical services has become at least the fifth senior government official to be diagnosed with the virus after a senior advisor to the Ayatollah died yesterday. Additionally, 23 Iranian MPs were among the new cases on Tuesday.
As more companies restrict employee travel, Google on Tuesday told the bulk of staff at its European headquarters in Dublin have been asked to work from home after a staffer reportedly caught the flu.
As more countries cancelled cultural and sporting events across Europe, the head of European football’s government body said Tuesday that the Euro 2020 soccer tournament would move ahead as planned.
“You don’t know how many concerns we have when we organize a big competition […] We have security concerns, we have political instability concerns and one of those concerns is the virus. We are dealing with it and we are confident that we can deal with it,” said UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin at a presser in Amsterdam.
As the total number of cases in Spain climbs to 129, a person in Gibraltar has tested positive, the first case identified in the British territory on the southern coast of Spain.
Thailand has imposed compulsory self-quarantine on travelers arriving from hot zones in Asia, the Middle East and Europe following a spate of deaths in the country.
But now that the G7 communique has dashed the market’s hopes, get ready for another wild day.