June 20, 2021

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Thailand Boosts Patrols; Israel Faces New Lockdown: Virus Update

6 min read

(Bloomberg) —

Thailand is tightening monitoring measures at border checkpoints to prevent the spread of Covid-19 from neighboring countries, the Ministry of Health said.

Israel’s full cabinet will decide whether to put the country under a second coronavirus lockdown after an earlier reopening sent the number of infections soaring.

Hundreds of fines and warnings were issued to outlets at four shopping malls in Dubai on a single day for flouting Covid-19 rules, Khaleej Times reported. The primary issue was non-compliance with social-distancing rules.

The U.S. reported its deadliest day since Aug. 26 while the global death toll from the novel coronavirus moved closer to 1 million. The University of Oxford is resuming trials of an experimental vaccine with AstraZeneca Plc after a halt due to a participant who fell ill.

Key Developments:

Global Tracker: Cases surpass 28.7 million; deaths exceed 920,200Covid-19’s made flying business class feel more like economyAbsent patients sound alarm bells for South African doctorIn smoky San Francisco, Covid-hit businesses suffer double blowWhy telemedicine may stay even after Covid fades away: QuickTake

Subscribe to a daily update on the virus from Bloomberg’s Prognosis team here. Click CVID on the terminal for global data on coronavirus cases and deaths.

Thailand Steps Up Border Checks After New Imported Cases (1:05 p.m. HK)

Thailand is tightening monitoring measures at border checkpoints to prevent the spread of Covid-19 from neighboring countries, the Ministry of Health said.

Local health volunteers will patrol natural borders with Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Malaysia, and watch out for the smuggling of foreign workers. Thailand reported seven imported cases Sunday, raising its total to 3,473. Fifty-eight people have died from the virus.

Israel Headed for Second Nationwide Coronavirus Lockdown (11:30 a.m. HK)

Israel’s full cabinet will decide Sunday whether to put the country under a second coronavirus lockdown after an earlier reopening sent the number of infections soaring.

The proposed two-week, full-fledged lockdown was approved last week by an inner cabinet of ministers. They took the extraordinary step after watching daily cases rise from five in late May to more than 4,000 this week.

The lockdown is expected to take effect on Wednesday or Friday, according to the Ynet website — politically fraught timing on the eve of the Jewish holiday season.

Googling for Gut Symptoms Predicts Covid Hot Spots: Study (9:55 a.m. HK)

Internet searches on gastrointestinal symptoms predicted a rise in Covid-19 cases weeks later, researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital found, demonstrating a novel early warning system for hot spots of the pandemic disease.

Researchers at the top-ranked hospital in Boston compared search interest in loss of taste and appetite, and diarrhea with the reported incidence of Covid-19 in 15 U.S. states from Jan. 20 to April 20. Using Alphabet Inc.’s Google Trends online tool, they found the volume of searches correlated most strongly with cases in New York, New Jersey, California, Massachusetts and Illinois — states with high disease burden — three to four weeks later.

The research was published in the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Plant Thieves Scour Forests to Satisfy Foliage-Starved Filipinos (8:30 a.m. HK)

The pandemic has set off a wave of theft in the Philippines. The target? Plants.

The government has stepped up monitoring of social media and patrolling of protected natural areas amid reports of traders scouring mountains and forests for plants, including endangered species, to meet a sudden spike in demand from locked-down Filipinos who are craving some greenery in their homes.

Australia’s Victoria Reports Rise Ahead of Easing (7:05 a.m. HK)

The Australian state with the nation’s highest transmission of coronavirus has recorded a small rise in new cases, the state’s health department has announced, just as it begins its first stage of easing in one of the world’s strictest community containments.

The state of Victoria’s Department of Health and Human Services recorded 41 new cases in the last 24 hours and seven new deaths, it said in a twitter post on Sunday morning.

It marks a minor up-tick from 37 new cases and six deaths the day before across the country’s second-most populous state, and comes as the state is slated to embark on the first step on a reopening road-map starting at midnight.

Brazil’s Cases Rise More Than Weekly Average (5:46 p.m. NY)

New cases in Brazil increased by 33,523 to more than 4.3 million, a 0.8% rise that compares with a 0.7% increase over the preceding seven days, according to data on the Health Ministry’s website.

The virus claimed 814 more lives, bringing the death toll to 131,210, the world’s second-biggest after the U.S.

Trump Aides Sought Review of CDC Data: Politico (4 p.m. NY)

U.S. health department spokesman Michael Caputo and other aides asked for the right to read and suggest changes to weekly Covid-19 reports from the Centers for Disease Control, Politico reported.

Communications aides from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services complained to CDC Director Robert Redfield that the agency’s reports would undermine President Donald Trump’s upbeat messaging about the pandemic, according to the report, which cited emails and people familiar.

While CDC employees pushed back against changes to the Mortality and Morbidity Weekly Report, a document for medical professionals and the general public, they have increasingly allowed political appointees to review the reports and agreed to amend language in some cases, Politico said.

HHS Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement that Trump “has always been receptive to the data and science presented by me and other members” of the Covid-19 task force. CDC officials didn’t respond to a request for comment.

France Reports Most Cases Since Lockdown Ended (2:33 p.m. NY)

France reported more than 10,000 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, the largest daily increase since the end of the country’s lockdown in May, a day after Prime Minister Jean Castex warned of a “clear worsening” in the spread of the virus.

Cases rose by 10,561 over 24 hours, according to data from the public health agency published online. The seven-day rolling average stands at 8,029 and has been steadily climbing for almost four weeks.

Deaths rose by 17 to 30,893 on Saturday, the government reported. That’s after health authorities on Friday reported the biggest increase in daily deaths since mid-July, partly due to the inclusion of several days of data from retirement homes.

Second Meatpacker Fined After Deadly Outbreak (1:03 p.m. NY)

JBS Foods Inc., the world’s largest meat producer, was issued a $15,615 fine for failing to protect staff from the coronavirus in a Colorado facility where six workers reportedly died.

The fine from the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, announced late Friday, came one day after U.S. regulators issued a penalty of $13,494 for a similar infraction by Smithfield Foods Inc., the first sanction against a meatpacker connected with a deadly Covid-19 outbreak.

The fine levied against Smithfield drew outrage as inadequate from two senators, a former safety official and a major national union. OSHA said it was the maximum allowed by law.

U.K. Cases Decline Slightly (11:45 a.m. NY)

The U.K. reported 3,497 new coronavirus cases on Sept. 12, a second day with more than 3,000 new cases, as new infections hover at levels not seen since late May. Nine new fatalities were also reported.

NHS Workers Demand Pay Hike (11:13 a.m. NY)

National Heath Service staff have protested in London and some other English cities, calling for a 15% pay rise, according to the Press Association. Organizers of the protests said that health care workers would consider a strike if the government didn’t respond to their demands.

Nurses and junior doctors were excluded from a wage increase for public sector workers announced in July because of prior agreements.

Oxford University Resumes Vaccine Trial (9:23 a.m. NY)

Oxford University said it was resuming U.K. trials of the coronavirus vaccine it’s developing with AstraZeneca Plc. The trials had been placed on hold after one of its participants fell ill.

The university gave the information in a statement on Saturday. It had paused the trials due to an illness in one participant.

U.S. Has Deadliest Day in More Than Two Weeks (8 a.m. NY)

U.S. deaths related to Covid-19 increased by 1,215 on Friday, making it the deadliest day since Aug. 26, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg.

Reported virus cases increased by 46,975, a 0.7% rise on the day compared with a 0.6% increase over the previous week.

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