Chicago Auto Show Returning; Singapore Cracks Down: Virus Update
(Bloomberg) — U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the country is on course to scrap lockdown rules, and Denmark will ease curbs this week. Singapore is cracking down in response to a flareup linked to the variant first identified in India, a setback for one of the most successful virus-containment regimes.India was criticized for a “lack of leadership” as its prime minister resists pressure to lock down. The country’s cricket regulators suspended the Premier League after players tested positive.Goldman Sachs Group Inc. plans for U.S. employees to return to offices by mid-June, while Vanguard Group prefers a hybrid model. The European Union’s drug regulator started a review of a vaccine from China, and Pfizer Inc. increased the forecast for sales of its shot this year. The world’s 20 major economies threw their weight behind efforts to introduce so-called vaccine passports.Key DevelopmentsGlobal Tracker: Cases top 153.6 million; deaths exceed 3.21 millionVaccine Tracker: More than 1.17 billion doses have been givenVaccinations decline across U.S., spurring search for holdoutsIt’s not just India. New virus waves deluge developing countriesBank bosses want a return to office. Underlings aren’t so sureWhat are vaccine passports and how would they work?: QuickTakeSubscribe to a daily update on the virus from Bloomberg’s Prognosis team here. Click CVID on the terminal for global data on cases and deaths.Chicago Auto Show to Return in July (11:10 a.m. NY)The Chicago Auto Show will be held at McCormick Place in July, marking the first large convention to be held in the city and the state of Illinois since the Covid-19 pandemic began more than a year ago, officials said Tuesday.The reopening of the convention center “is a critical step toward our state’s economic recovery,” Governor J.B. Pritzker said during a press conference at the site on Tuesday. The auto show, on the biggest in the U.S., will be held from July 15 to 19 with safety measures in place, such as limiting crowd size.CVS Boosts Forecast on Covid Shots (10:20 a.m. NY)CVS Health Corp. raised its full-year forecast as Covid-19 vaccines and testing helped boost first-quarter results and offset a weak cold and flu season.The health-care company gave 17 million Covid shots at long-term care facilities and at its pharmacies through April. CVS is now immunizing in about 8,300 locations in 49 states, Chief Executive Officer Karen Lynch said Tuesday on a call with analysts.Leading Nations Set to Back Vaccine Passports (8:28 a.m. NY)The world’s 20 major economies threw their weight behind efforts to introduce so-called vaccine passports to boost travel and tourism, stressing that a resumption is crucial for a global economic recovery, according to a draft statement seen by Bloomberg.Tourism ministers from the Group of 20 nations, who met on Tuesday, said the outlook for a sector devastated by lockdowns remains “highly uncertain,” according to the draft, which is subject to change.U.K. Has No Plan to Speed Lockdown Easing (7:56 a.m. NY)“We’ve got no plans to deviate form the earliest dates set out in the roadmap” for unlocking the economy, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman told reporters.UAE Extends Suspension of India Flights (7:46 a.m. NY)The United Arab Emirates extended the suspension of flights from India. The UAE, home to Dubai-based Emirates and Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways, had halted the flights until May 14. A new end date hasn’t yet been announced.Singapore Tightens Rules (6:57 a.m. NY)Singapore is limiting social gatherings and tightening border curbs as it reacts aggressively to a flareup linked to the new variant first identified in India.From May 8 to May 30, group gatherings must be cut from a maximum of eight to five, while daily visitors per household will be similarly capped, the Ministry of Health said in a statement. At workplaces, no more than 50% of staff who are able to work from home can return to offices.Pfizer Boosts Vaccine Revenue Forecast (6:46 a.m. NY)Pfizer Inc. boosted its full-year forecast for sales of its vaccine produced with BioNTech SE to approximately $26 billion, from about $15 billion previously. The guidance includes 1.6 billion doses expected to be delivered this year under contracts that have been signed through mid-April, and it may be adjusted as additional contracts are executed, Pfizer said in its release.“We also are in ongoing discussions with multiple countries around the world about their needs, and we expect these discussions to lead to additional supply agreements,” CEO Albert Bourla said in prepared remarks.Moderna Tests Lower-Dose Vaccines (6:02 a.m. NY)Moderna Inc. is testing vaccines with lower doses to try to boost supply, and it may also need to expand work on boosters to cover for more variants, Chairman Noubar Afeyan said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. He said he expects the coronavirus may become endemic like seasonal flu, and that vaccinating children seems like a good approach given Covid’s after-effects.Vietnam Extends Quarantine Period (5:41 p.m. HK)Vietnam is keeping people in quarantine centers longer than the 14-day period amid the emergence of cases being traced to overseas travelers.Provinces were instructed by the health ministry to “temporarily keep” in quarantine until further notice people who have completed the 14-day isolation, according to a post on the government website. Three patients in Vinh Phuc were found to be carrying a virus variant first detected in India, the health ministry said.Malaysia Imposes Curbs in Richest State (5:32 p.m. HK)Malaysia tightened restrictions in six districts in Selangor, the country’s richest state, in a bid to contain a rise in infections. The so-called movement control order will be in place from May 6 through May 17, Defense Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said in a briefing. While social gatherings will be banned in the six areas, economic activities will be allowed.EU Regulator Starts Rolling Review of Sinovac (5:08 p.m. HK)The European Medicines Agency said it started a rolling review of the vaccine from China’s Sinovac Life Sciences Co. to test compliance with safety and quality standards, the first major step in gaining approval for use in the European Union.The EMA started a rolling review of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine in March. Its human medicines committee, CHMP, said the decision to review the Sinovac shot was based on studies and data that suggest the vaccine triggers the production of antibodies that target SARS-CoV-2, according to a statement.Japan PM Struggles Over Decision (4:54 p.m. HK)Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is reportedly struggling with the decision on whether to end or extend the coronavirus state of emergency for Tokyo and greater Osaka.Suga told infectious disease expert and cabinet adviser Nobuhiko Okabe that the decision over whether to lift the emergency on May 11 will be “tough,” local broadcaster FNN reported, citing Okabe’s remarks to reporters after a meeting with Suga on Tuesday.Osaka Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura indicated the prefecture may seek an extension to its current state of emergency due to the number of new cases and pressure on the medical system.India Cricket League Suspended (4:11 p.m. HK)India’s cricketing regulator suspended the Premier League after multiple players contracted Covid-19, bringing a temporary halt to a tournament that has divided the nation on whether it was appropriate to play sport as thousands of citizens die each day.U.K. to Gradually Wind Back Curbs (2:45 p.m. Hong Kong)British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the U.K. is on course to gradually scrap lockdown rules over the next seven weeks, hailing the U.K.’s successful vaccine rollout ahead of key elections this week.Johnson said the pandemic data was likely to allow people in England to stay overnight with friends or relations, with indoor hospitality able to reopen from May 17. Remaining social distancing rules are also likely to be canceled from June 21, though he warned that international travel will need to be carefully monitored after May 17.Rajan Slams India’s Leadership (12:55 p.m. Hong Kong)India today reported more than 357,000 new infections, bringing the total official tally to more than 20 million cases, and an additional 3,449 deaths. The tally comes as Premier Modi continues to see lockdowns as the “last option” despite a growing domestic and international chorus calling for action.The wave of infections in India has revealed complacency after last year’s first wave, as well as a “lack of foresight, a lack of leadership,” said Raghuram Rajan, former governor of the country’s central bank.“If you were careful, if you were cautious, you had to recognize that it wasn’t done yet,” Rajan said in a Bloomberg Television interview. “Anybody paying attention to what was happening in the rest of the world, in Brazil for example, should have recognized the virus does come back and potentially in more virulent forms.Denmark Eases Curbs, Drops J&J (12:30 p.m. Hong Kong)Denmark will ease more restrictions this week as the infection rate has remained stable in the Nordic country, the government said. All children through 8th grade will return to schools full-time, while cinemas, theaters and gyms will also reopen.Denmark also won’t use J&J’s vaccine due to concern about the risk of blood clots, the Danish Health Authority said. The move comes less than a month after Denmark became the first European Union member to drop AstraZeneca Plc for similar reasons. Both shots are used in many other countries.Denmark had pre-ordered about 7 million vaccine shots from J&J, more than from any other producer, so the decision will delay the national vaccine rollout by four weeks.Hong Kong Reviews Worker Decision (11:35 a.m. Hong Kong)Hong Kong is reviewing a decision to make vaccinations mandatory for foreign domestic workers after a wave of criticism, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said.“After listening to voices in the society, I have requested the Labour and Welfare Bureau to review the justification, feasibility, and discuss with experts including consulates of relevant countries where the foreign domestic helpers mainly come from.”The decision had led to an outcry from officials in the Philippines, home to many such workers, and was branded “very discriminatory” by Cynthia Tellez, head of the Mission for Migrant Workers.Mexico Sees Slower Rise in Toll (11:00 a.m. Hong Kong)The death toll of the Covid-19 pandemic is easing in Mexico, where daily fatalities dropped below 100 for the first time in a year this week, according to official data from the Health Ministry.The country reported 112 new Covid-19 deaths from the virus Monday, bringing the total to 217,345. On Sunday, Mexico posted 94 deaths, the least since May 3, 2020. While Mexico normally registers fewer fatalities at the start of the week, the seven-day average has been steadily dropping; during the winter, Mexico regularly reported more than 1,000 victims a day from the virus, with a high of 1,803 on Jan. 21.India to Get 220 Million Serum Shots (9:55 a.m. Hong Kong)Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine maker, will deliver 220 million doses to federal and state governments over the next few months. The central government will get 110 million of those doses of Covishield, the manufacturer said.“Vaccine manufacturing is a specialized process, it’s therefore not possible to ramp up production overnight,” CEO Adar Poonawalla said. Covering all of India’s 1.4 billion people is “not an easy task.”Earlier, Bloomberg News reported that the central government hasn’t placed an order larger than 110 million doses since sales started in December, citing a person familiar with the matter. The lack of a larger central stockpile, coupled with a devastating second wave which saw over 400,000 new daily cases on Saturday, is now making local state governments scramble and compete with one another in placing orders after Delhi turned over the responsibility of procuring vaccines to them last month.Australian Backlash Grows Over Ban (8:30 a.m. Hong Kong)Critics of Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s decision to ban returning Australians from virus-ravaged India now include lawmakers from his own Liberal-National coalition government.Fiona Martin told the Guardian that her government’s weekend announcement that Australian citizens in India who try to return home would be liable for five years in prison and fines of about $50,000 was “heavy-handed”. Fellow government lawmaker Dave Sharma said of the ban, which is in place until at least May 15: “There is little doubt this is an extreme measure and that it is causing significant hardship to the Australian Indian community.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.