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Cases Increase in Beijing, Tokyo; Iran Deaths Rise: Virus Update

(Bloomberg) —

Coronavirus cases jumped in Beijing and Tokyo, sparking concern about a resurgence. China canceled an economic briefing scheduled for Monday after locking down part of the capital due to an outbreak. Iran reported its highest daily death toll in two months.

The International Monetary Fund expects to cut its forecast for the global economy this year. U.S. virus cases rose at the fastest pace in two weeks, while Brazil’s infections increased 2.6% and deaths climbed 2.1%.

The U.K. will review its rule that people stay 2 meters (6 feet 7 inches) apart as stores are set to reopen Monday.

Key Developments:

Virus Tracker: Cases pass 7.8 million; deaths exceed 430,000Beijing locks down part of city after outbreak at marketSun, octopus and face masks: Greece gambles on rescuing summerBusinesses transformed by Covid-19 plan to keep the changesAsia’s densest slum has become a model for beating the virusHow a “second wave” sparks renewed pandemic fears

Subscribe to a daily update on the virus from Bloomberg’s Prognosis team here. Click VRUS on the terminal for news and data on the coronavirus. For a look back at this week’s top stories from QuickTake, click here.

China Moves Data Briefing Online (6:24 a.m. NY)

China has canceled an economic briefing scheduled for Monday in Beijing as Covid-19 cases spiked in the capital city. The National Bureau of Statistics said the press conference scheduled for 10 a.m. won’t be held, but data and explanatory statements will still be released. May readings on industrial output, retail sales and fixed asset investment are due.

Iran Has Most Deaths Since April 13 (6:15 a.m. NY)

Iran’s daily number of fatalities from coronavirus surged to the highest in nine weeks with 107 deaths recorded overnight, raising the total to 8,837. The number of infections reached 187,427 as 2,472 people tested positive for the virus in the past 24 hours, up from 2,410 on Saturday.

Tokyo Finds Most New Virus Cases Since May 5 (6 a.m. NY)

Tokyo disclosed its highest daily total of new cases since May 5 at 47, local media including TV Asahi reported. Twenty seven of the cases were traced back to nightclubs and bars, said Yasutoshi Nishimura, economy and fiscal policy minister, at a press conference Sunday. Eighteen people were apparently infected at the same place on a bustling street in Shinjuku, reported Asahi Shimbun. It is yet to be determined where 16 other people contracted the virus, said Nishimura.

U.K. to Review Distancing Rule (5:13 p.m. HK)

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak backed calls to ease the U.K.’s 2-meter social distancing rule. The government is conducting a “comprehensive review” of the regulation to reduce the risk of transmitting coronavirus.

The chancellor said the fact the U.K. economy shrank 20% in April showed “the scale of the impact” the pandemic has had. He said shopping will be a “safe environment” when non-essential stores open again from Monday.

German Infections Slow (5 p.m. HK)

Germany had 41 new coronavirus cases in the 24 hours through Sunday morning, bringing the total to 187,267 according to data from Johns Hopkins University. That compares with 572 the previous day and almost 7,000 at the peak of the pandemic in late March. The number of deaths associated with the virus was 10 after 16 the previous day.

Russian Cases Climb 1.7% (4:45 p.m. HK)

Russia reports 8,835 new confirmed coronavirus infections, a 1.7% increase over the past day, according to data from the government’s virus response center. An additional 119 people died in same period, bringing the overall death toll to 6,948. Russia has the third-highest number of cases globally, after the U.S. and Brazil.

South African Scientists Seek More Focused Testing System (3:14 p.m. HK)

Scientists in South Africa, which reported its highest daily infections on Saturday, are asking the government to stop mass testing in favor of a more focused strategy.

The current process needs to be dropped in favor of testing health workers and people in hospitals, due to serious resource constraints and testing backlogs, Francois Venter, a senior member of the Ministerial Advisory Committee, told local newspaper News 24.

The country has done about 180,000 tests and reported 1,423 deaths. On Saturday it registered 3,809 new cases, bringing total infections to 65,736. Cape Town, the main tourist hub, and the surrounding Western Cape province, remains the nation’s epicenter for the pandemic, with 62% of infections.

Beijing Airport Shuttle Bus Driver Infected With Virus (2:18 p.m. HK)

A bus driver for Beijing’s civil airport shuttle bus company has been infected with the coronavirus.

The 56-year-old man visited the Xinfadi market on June 3 and felt discomfort two days later before going to a hospital that confirmed his infection, the Global Times reported citing government officials. The market, Beijing’s biggest for fruits and vegetables, was closed on Saturday after a spike of infections in the city.

IMF to Further Lower 2020 Global Economic Forecast: Georgieva (12 p.m. HK)

The IMF will probably lower its 2020 economic growth estimate from its April forecast of a 3% contraction, said Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva.

A new outlook will be released on June 24 and is expected to reflect extremely challenging conditions, Georgieva said in a speech on June 13 and posted on IMF’s website.

“We are likely to revise downward further on the basis of incoming data, which tells us that most countries are doing worse than we had projected,” she said, noting that only a small number of states are doing better, but not enough to prop up growth. “The real economy is hit hard.”

New Zealand to Spend $60 Million Boosting Labs, Pharmacies (10:30 a.m. HK)

New Zealand, which last week reported zero active cases of Covid-19, will spend NZ$92.6 million ($60 million) to improve health services and deal with any resurgence of the virus.

The spending includes NZ$37 million for testing, NZ$18 million for community pharmacies and also money for ventilators and respiratory equipment, Health Minister David Clark said in a statement Sunday.

The country has said it would remove remaining restrictions on people and businesses, other than border controls, after the last of its coronavirus patients recovered, making it one of the few countries to successfully eradicate the pathogen.

Sinovac’s Vaccine Trial Data Suggest Potential in Virus Defense (9:49 a.m. HK)

Sinovac said its shot is safe and capable of eliciting an immune response from human trials, suggesting it has potential in defending against infection of the novel coronavirus.

The Beijing-based company’s vaccine, called CoronaVac, hasn’t caused severe side effects and more than 90% of people administered with the shot on a 14-day interval have induced neutralizing antibodies two weeks after inoculation, Sinovac said in a press release on Sunday. The preliminary findings come from phase I and II trials in China.

Using a killed version of the coronavirus, Sinovac’s vaccine is among five Chinese experimental shots that have reached the crucial final stage of human testing before they can be approved for public use.

China Reports 57 New Virus Cases, Most in Beijing (8:53 a.m. HK)

China reported 57 new virus cases for June 13, the biggest spike since mid-April, with most of the infections coming in Beijing.

Imported cases accounted for 19 of the infections with 36 of the 38 local transmissions in the capital. Beijing closed the Xinfadi fruit and vegetable supply center from early Saturday and locked down 11 nearby residential sub-districts amid increased fears of a resurgence in the pandemic.

Of the more than 500 samples collected from the center, 45 people were found with Covid-19 and they had no clinical symptoms, local authorities said. The Xinfadi market has some 1,500 management personnel and more than 4,000 tenants. Beijing authorities said at least 10,000 people at Xinfadi will take a nucleic acid test, CGTN reported. The virus was detected on a chopping board used by a seller of imported salmon, according to the Global Times.

Australia’s Victoria Further Eases Social Distancing Rules (7:28 a.m. HK)

Victoria, Australia’s second most populous state, will allow as many as 50 people to attend religious ceremonies and be seated in pubs and restaurants from June 22 as part of the latest easing of social distancing requirements.

Sports training and competition for people 18 years or younger will resume while non-contact sports can return for all age groups, Premier Daniel Andrews said in a statement Sunday. Indoor sports centers and gyms will be able to have as many as 20 people per space.

Australia has 7,302 cases and has recorded 102 deaths from Covid-19, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Cuomo Hails N.Y. Turnaround (7:15 a.m. HK)

Governor Andrew Cuomo said New York had a “dramatic turnaround” from a rapid spread and almost 800 coronavirus deaths in one day in April to reaching one of the lowest infection rates in the nation.

“New York is the anomaly,” Cuomo said at his daily briefing. “From the worst infection rate to the best, that’s what New Yorkers have accomplished. The most dramatic turnaround in the country.”

The transmission rate is 0.77, he said, lowest in the nation, meaning a person with the disease infects fewer than one person. Above one, he said, “You’ve lost control of the virus.”

Brazil Cases Climb 2.6% (6:05 a.m. HK)

Brazil reported 21,704 new cases, a 2.6% increase, bringing the total to 850,514, according to data released Saturday by the States Health Secretaries. The nation added 892 deaths, a 2.1% increase, to 42,720. On Friday, Brazil reported 909 fatalities.

The biggest economy in South America has almost four times as many infections as Peru and more than double the deaths in Mexico.

WHO Reports Record for New Cases (5:40 p.m. NY)

The World Health Organization reported 142,672 new coronavirus cases in the 24 hours ended early Saturday, a 4.5% increase. New infections have exceeded 120,000 for three straight days, the WHO said. The total on Friday was 136,572.

Latin America countries from Mexico to the Caribbean account for almost 40% of new infections, led by Brazil. WHO said cases in the region’s biggest economy jumped more than 30,000, quadruple the total for Chile, which ranks second in the region.

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