6 coronavirus vaccines in human trials

The World Health Organization said 83 coronavirus vaccines are in development globally, with six of them in human trials stage.

President Donald Trump signed an order Wednesday temporarily curbing immigration to limit competition for jobs as the U.S. moves toward reopening the economy.

China reported no deaths from coronavirus for an eighth straight day.

South Korea said it will prepare for a second wave of virus infections. The country’s economy suffered its worst contraction since the global financial crisis.

Singapore said it’s bracing for a sharper economic contraction this year.

Key Developments

  • Virus Tracker: Cases top 2.6 million; deaths exceed 183,000
  • Trump signs executive order to curb immigration
  • WHO says six vaccines in human trials stage
  • China reported no deaths for eight straight days
  • $8 trillion in global fiscal stimulus still isn’t enough
  • Earth Day highlights link between climate change and coronavirus

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Six Vaccines in Human Trial, WHO Says

The World Health Organization said there are 83 coronavirus vaccines in development globally, with six candidates — half of them in China — already in human trials, as drugmakers race to find a cure for the deadly pathogen. That’s an improvement from April 13, when the WHO said there were 70 vaccines in development, with three candidates in human trials.

South Korea Prepares for Second Wave

The country will prepare for a second wave of novel coronavirus in the fall and winter as many experts have warned of the possibility, said Yoon Tae-ho, the director general of health ministry. There is a high chance of fast spread again as there is no vaccine or treatment yet and immunity in population hasn’t been created.

Singapore Sentences Man for Breaching Stay-Home Rule

A Singapore man became the first person in the city-state convicted of exposing others to risk by violating a government stay-home notice, the Straits Times reported. The 34-year-old was sentenced to six weeks in jail after he violated his two-week stay-home order and went out to a money changer and then dined at a local food court before heading home.

Singapore’s punishment guidelines for violating a stay-home notice range up to six months in prison and/or fines up to S$10,000 ($7,000). The city-state has extended its circuit breaker partial lockdown for another month as it seeks to stem rising virus cases that surged past 10,000 this week, most of which are tied to high-density dormitory housing for migrant workers.

Royal Caribbean in Talks

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. is in talks to raise new financing to weather the shutdown of the travel industry during the pandemic, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The cruise operator has been discussing a package that may include as much as $600 million of bonds and is working with Morgan Stanley on a possible offering, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private.

NZ to Look at options on Stimulating Economy

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern won’t rule any stimulus option in or out.

Asked about the possibility of the government making direct payments to households, she said: “We are working through the range of options for making sure we are continuing to help our economy to recover. We haven’t ruled anything in or out at this stage. We are focused on doing what will help our economy recover the fastest”

Panic Buying in North Korea

Consumers in North Korea’s capital this week have been panic buying food staples, causing some store shelves to empty, according to a news service that specializes in the country.

The purchases may be due to stricter coronavirus measures on the way for Pyongyang and don’t appear related to reports this week that leader Kim Jong Un may be seriously ill, NK News reported, citing people who live in Pyongyang and were able to communicate outside the country. Shortages were initially limited to imported fruit and vegetables and then moved on to other goods, it said.

Mexico Numbers Jump

The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Mexico rose by more than 1,000 in one day for the first time on Wednesday, signaling the country’s curve is moving sharply higher.

Confirmed cases rose by 11% to 10,544, Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell said. The number of deaths rose by 13% to 970. The Health Ministry estimates as many as eight times more people have had the virus than is shown by the official data.

NYSE May Reopen in Phases

The New York Stock Exchange may reopen in phases starting in May, CNN reporter Shimon Prokupecz said in tweet, citing two unidentified people familiar with the matter. There will be reduced headcount on the NYSE floor when it does open and social distancing guidelines will be in place. An NYSE spokesman declined to comment to Bloomberg on the CNN report.

China Reports No Deaths

China reported no deaths from the coronavirus for the eighth straight day. Confirmed cases rose by 10, with six of them from abroad, according to the country’s National Health Commission. The country also reported 27 asymptomatic cases, the least since it started reporting such cases at the beginning of the month. China has 984 asymptomatic coronavirus cases under medical observation as of April 22.

Total confirmed coronavirus cases are at 82,798, while the death toll is at 4,632.

Shanghai allowed companies and individuals of the city to book for nucleic acid tests in designated hospitals, according to a statement on the city government official microblog.

Singapore To See ‘Sharper’ GDP Contraction

Singapore is very likely to see a sharper contraction in its GDP as the pandemic spreads further than expected, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said. The city-state hopes to progressively open the economy in a month’s time. The country plans much more testing for the entire population.

Trump Order on Immigration

President Trump signed the order on immigration and said at a White House briefing this was to protect “our great American workers.” The move “will ensure unemployed Americans of all backgrounds will be first in line for jobs as our economy reopens. Crucially it will also preserve our health care resources for American patients.”

SK Hynix Reports Sales Increase

The company reported an increase in sales of about 6% after rising memory chip orders from data center clients helped cushion headwinds from Covid-19. Hynix’s turnaround coincides with a major shift to working and learning from home brought about by the virus that’s spurring demand for cloud services and boosting server chip prices.

South Korea’s Economy Shrinks Most Since 2008

South Korea’s economy suffered its worst contraction since the global financial crisis in the first quarter as the spread of the coronavirus hit consumer spending and business activity.

Gross domestic product shrank 1.4% in the three months through March from the prior quarter. Economists had forecast a 1.5% contraction. South Korea was one of the first countries hit by the outbreak, with the world’s second-highest caseload in February. It has since managed to flatten the infection curve without forcing shutdowns.

Trump Says He Disagrees With Georgia Reopening Plans

President Trump said he spoke with Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and told him he disagreed with the decision to relax some of the state’s restrictions. Tattoo studios, nail salons and massage parlors are among the businesses allowed to open in Georgia starting Friday.

“I disagree with what he’s doing,” Trump said at his daily briefing. “I think it’s too soon.”

CDC Director Denies Warning Second Wave May Be Worse

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield denied telling the Washington Post that a second wave of the coronavirus in the U.S. this winter may be worse than what the country already has experienced.

“I didn’t say that this was going to be worse,” Redfield said Wednesday at a White House press conference. “I said it was going to be more difficult and potentially complicated” because of the flu and coronavirus circulating at the same time.

Redfield was quoted by the newspaper on Tuesday as saying a resurgence in the virus could coincide with flu season and strain the health-care system. He said Wednesday he was accurately quoted in the article, but that the headline lacked context.

Official Ousted for Questioning Trump-Touted Drug

Rick Bright, who left his role as director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority this week, said he was removed from his post because he insisted on limiting the use of a drug President Trump has pushed as a Covid-19 treatment despite little clinical evidence it works.

The drugs Trump touted, hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, “clearly lack scientific merit,” Bright said in a statement through his lawyers on Wednesday.

California to Expand Testing, Bring Back Surgeries

California Governor Gavin Newsom said he had a “very good” phone call Wednesday with President Trump, who agreed to send the state a minimum of 100,000 swabs needed to expand testing for the virus. Another 250,000 are expected next week, the governor said.

Newsom is aiming to sharply increase testing for the virus as a step toward reopening the world’s fifth-largest economy. California currently has capacity to test 16,000 people a day and expects to reach 25,000 by the end of the month, with an ultimate goal of 60,000 to 80,000, he said at a press briefing.

Harvard Won’t Take Stimulus Money

Harvard University, the richest U.S. college, said it won’t accept federal stimulus funds after a barrage of criticism, including from President Trump.

The U.S. government’s $2 trillion stimulus to combat the effects of coronavirus lockdowns across the country provided about $12.5 billion in direct aid for all colleges. Distribution of the funds was determined by a formula that meant some of the wealthiest schools were eligible for millions of dollars in aid.

Harvard said Wednesday it didn’t apply for the support, nor has it requested, received or accessed the funds.

U.S. Confirmed Cases Rise 3.1%

U.S. cases rose 3.1% from the day before to 835,316, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. That was lower than Tuesday’s growth rate of 5.7% and below the average daily increase of 4.4% over the past week.

New York, the center of the U.S. outbreak, reported an additional 5,526 cases, for a total of 257,216, according to Governor Andrew Cuomo. Downstate New York is now on the descent of the curve.

Almost 90% of Patients on Ventilators Died

A study that examined outcomes for more than 2,600 patients found an extraordinarily high 88% death rate among Covid-19 patients in the New York City area who had to be placed on mechanical devices to help them breathe.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, is one of the largest reviews published to date of Covid-19 patients hospitalized in the U.S. Overall, the researchers reported that 553 patients died, or 21%. bout 12% of the patients were sick enough to need ventilators.

Spain Extends State of Emergency

Spain’s parliament backed Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s request to extend a state of emergency to May 9, as the country tries to rein in the world’s second-most extensive coronavirus outbreak.

Spain reported a small increase in the number of new cases and deaths Wednesday, and overall the latest numbers are steady. More than 20,000 people have died from the disease, while some 86,000 have recovered.

EU’s Borrell Says U.S. Wrong to Deny Iran IMF Aid

European Union foreign-policy chief Josep Borrell criticized the U.S. for blocking International Monetary Fund aid for Iran to fight the coronavirus, saying Tehran’s request for a $5 billion emergency IMF loan is justified on humanitarian grounds.

“I really regret that the Americans — that the United States — are opposing the International Monetary Fund to take this decision,” Borrell told reporters in Brussels after chairing a video conference of foreign ministers from the 27-nation EU.

Protests Could Fuel Outbreak, WHO Warns

The head of the World Health Organization said protests could exacerbate the coronavirus crisis.

“Protests and gatherings in the middle of the pandemic will not help,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in Geneva. “It will only fuel the outbreak.”

Tedros also said he hopes the U.S. will reconsider the freeze on its financing, which also supports polio eradication and immunization of children. He said he has no extra energy to focus on anything but saving lives.

Reported cases are trending upward in Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe, even though the numbers are low, Tedros said. Covid-19 appears to be stable or declining in most countries in Western Europe, Tedros said.

Pelosi Urges State Aid

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said a “major package” of aid for state and local governments will be in the next stimulus legislation considered by Congress, setting up a conflict with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is urging a slowdown in doling out federal help.

The $484 billion aid plan set for passage by the House on Thursday is an “interim” step to mitigate some of the economic damage wrought by the pandemic, Pelosi said Wednesday on Bloomberg Television.

Italy Cases On Rise Again

Italy registered its highest number of new coronavirus cases in four days on Wednesday as Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte prepares a stimulus package for an economy paralyzed by a nationwide lockdown.

The country also posted a record figure for recoveries from the disease, with 2,943 over the past 24 hours.

Figures from civil protection authorities show there were 3,370 new cases for the 24-hour period, compared with 2,729 a day earlier. Confirmed cases now total 187,327. Italy, the original European epicenter of the outbreak, registered 437 deaths linked to the virus on Wednesday, compared with 534 the day before. That brings total fatalities to 25,085.

NYC Mayor to Isolate Anyone With Virus

New York City officials intend to enlist thousands of health-care workers next month to conduct hundreds of thousands of diagnostic tests a day, and isolating anyone found to be carrying the disease.

The plan, which hinges on the city’s still-unmet capacity to test residents, will require training thousands of “disease detectives” to interview each individual found positive for the virus, Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a news briefing Wednesday. The city would then trace his or her social contacts to test and isolate them if necessary.

Now read: 7 more deaths due to COVID-19 in South Africa

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6 coronavirus vaccines in human trials