Italy Backs Budget; Pelosi, Mnuchin Talk Stimulus: Virus Update

(Bloomberg) —

Italy, facing a surge in coronavirus infections with record new cases Saturday, approved a draft budget for next near that seeks extended measures to support the economy.

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had a lengthy talk Saturday night about efforts to craft a stimulus package to help the the world’s biggest economy weather the impact of the pandemic.

Victoria, the worst hit Australian state, announced an easing of restrictions on Sunday. U.S. cases jumped by the most since late July. China reported 13 new infections on Oct. 17, all imported, while New Zealand had the first one transmitted in the community case in three weeks and India added more than 60,000 cases for a fifth consecutive day.

Key Developments:

Global Tracker: Cases top 39.6 million; deaths exceed 1.1 millionEurope cracks down with curbs in London and ParisDr. Reddy’s and Russia to start Sputnik vaccine testVaccine trial ailments raise questions about methodWho’s succeeding against the coronavirus and why: QuickTakeArdern Landslide Is a Vote for Covid Competence: David Fickling

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.

Wales May Announce Lockdown Measures (2:45 p.m. HK)

Wales will go into a circuit breaker lockdown starting next Friday 6 p.m. London time, Sky reported, citing a letter from the Confederation of Passenger Transport to the union’s members. All but essential retail will have to close. Some schools will reopen on Nov. 2, with details to be determined over the weekend. The Welsh government is expected to announce the lockdown measures on Monday, the report said, adding they will be in force until one minute after midnight on Nov. 9. A Welsh government spokesperson told Sky that “no decisions have been made.”

Belgium’s Incident Rate Jumps (2:15 p.m. HK)

The western European country with a population of 11.5 million reported a 14-day Covid-19 incident rate of 691 per 100,000, up from 621 the day before. New cases were lower at 9,579, versus 11,373 Tuesday. About 381 patients are in intensive care currently, 23 more than Saturday.

The government has boosted measures to battle the virus, introducing a night curfew and ordering all restaurants to close from Monday.

Italian Budget Supports Health Sector (2 p.m. HK)

The “strongly expansionary” budget will focus on the health sector, measures to support families and the extension of a moratorium on loan and mortgage payments, the government said in a statement Sunday.

The draft budget sets aside 4 billion euros ($4.7 billion) to support the sectors hardest hit by the coronavirus crisis.

The country reported a record 10,925 new infections Saturday, with 47 deaths. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s government may soon approve new restrictions on public life, according to government officials, who asked not to be named in line with their policy. The resurgence in Italy, Europe’s original epicenter for the virus, is following the paths of France and Spain, where outbreaks has been accelerating in recent days.

India’s Virus Fatalities Approach 115,000 (12:45 p.m. HK)

India reported 61,871 new cases in a day, while deaths reached 114,031, the third highest in the world.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday asked officials to prepare for speedy distribution of a Covid-19 vaccine, when it becomes available, to every citizen of the country by using the nation’s experience in successfully conducting the world’s biggest elections and disaster management programs.

Pelosi, Mnuchin Stimulus Talks (12:15 p.m. HK)

The pair spoke for an hour and 15 minutes, and have agreed to speak again Monday, Treasury spokeswoman Monica Crowley said in a tweet. Their respective staff will keep discussions going in the meantime.

Before those talks, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that the Senate will vote on Republican proposals for a roughly $500 billion economic recovery bill and additional funding to aid small businesses, starting Tuesday.

The votes, essentially one-chamber messaging, will underscore the continued deep differences after months of talks on another stimulus bill that have failed to bridge gaps between the Trump administration, House Democrats and Senate Republicans.

Trump Pushes to Lift Restrictions in Michigan (10:30 a.m. HK)

“You got to get your governor to open up your state,” Trump said at the rally in Muskegon, referring to Gretchen Whitmer, who was recently a target of a kidnap plot by right-wing militia. The crowd responded with a “lock her up” chant, to which Trump replied “lock ‘em all up.”

Whitmer responded in a tweet saying, “this is exactly the rhetoric that has put me, my family, and other government officials’ lives in danger while we try to save the lives of our fellow Americans. It needs to stop.”

Trump held rallies in Michigan and Wisconsin Saturday. Many aides, recently diagnosed with Covid-19 and now recovered, joined him on Air Force One. The officials included Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and White House advisers Hope Hicks and Stephen Miller.

Philippine Survey Shows Government Actions ‘Adequate’ (10:15 a.m. HK)

Majority of Filipinos think that government’s steps to fight the coronavirus are “adequate,” pollster Social Weather Stations said on its website, citing the results of its survey in September. The measures pertain to ensuring the public has enough information on how to deal with Covid-19, extensive contact tracing and affordable testing nationwide.

Indonesia and the Philppines are the worst affected in Southeast Asia.

New Zealand’s First Community Case in Three Weeks (8:48 a.m. HK)

An Auckland man tested positive for the virus Saturday after developing symptoms the previous day, Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said Sunday. People the man had contact with in the days prior when he may have been infectious have been put in isolation.

News of the fresh community case comes hours after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern swept to a landslide victory in a general election, largely on the back of her government’s successful response to Covid-19.

Australia’s Victoria Eases Lockdown as Cases Decline (8:42 a.m. HK)

From midnight, the 5 million residents of Victoria state capital Melbourne, who have been under lockdown for more than 100 days, will be allowed to travel as far as 25 kilometers (16 miles) from their homes and time limits on daily exercise will be scrapped, state Premier Daniel Andrews said.

From Nov. 1, the stay-at-home order will be completely lifted and retail and hospitality sectors will largely reopen. That timeframe may be brought forward if case numbers continue to fall.

Victoria is responsible for about a quarter of gross domestic product and the restrictions have deepened Australia’s first recession in almost 30 years.

Brazil’s Weekly Cases Lowest in Five Months (5:44 p.m. NY)

Brazil reported 24,062 cases, ending a week with the fewest new infections in five months, according to the nation’s Health Ministry. Total cases are 5,224,362. Another 461 people died for a total of 153,675. The week’s toll was the least deadly since the beginning of May, according to the ministry website.

U.S. States Report Jump in Cases, Deaths (4:59 p.m. NY)

The number of U.S. cases increased by 69,276, the highest since July 29, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg.

The Friday data, 9% higher than the previous day’s, underscores rising Covid-19 cases in most parts of the country less than three weeks before the election in which President Donald Trump’s handling of the outbreak is a central issue.

Florida, hit hard this summer, reported the most cases since August. California and Texas both neared 17,000 fatalities. Ohio, a swing state, broke a record for new cases Saturday, the fourth straight day reporting more than 2,000 daily infections.

Indiana broke a record for new infections for the second day in a row, amid an unrelenting surge of cases in the Midwest. Total cases, rising since mid-September, are now 145,977 and deaths 3,685.

Slovaks Protest Virus Restrictions (3:02 p.m. NY)

Coronavirus restrictions triggered the first mass protest in Slovakia, with hundreds of demonstrators opposing mandatory face masks and other restrictions in the east European Union nation violently clashing with the police.

Police used water cannon and pepper spray to disperse the crowd, which — in violation of a nationwide ban on association of more than six people — gathered in front of the Government Office in the capital, Bratislava. The police whose Facebook video showed protesters throwing stones said “several” people have been detained.

After being one of the best countries in handling the first wave of the pandemic, new Covid-19 infections have been on the rise in Slovakia.

France Covid Cases Hit Record (2:25 p.m. NY)

France reported a record 32,427 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours as tighter restrictions went into effect in the country’s major cities to try to check the outbreak.

The government has put in place a curfew effective Saturday in the Paris region and eight other metropolitan areas, confining people to their homes between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. for four weeks.

The number of new cases surpassed the previous record of 30,621, set Thursday, according to statistics on France’s national health agency website.

Ireland Faces Stricter Lockdown (1:33 p.m. NY)

Ireland recorded 1,276 new infections on Saturday, among the highest levels since April. The new figures came as senior government members met to consider a recommendation from health authorities that Ireland move to a Level 5 lockdown, the strictest, for six weeks. The nation is mostly at Level 3, with some border areas at Level 4.

Cyprus Sets New Restrictions (1:23 p.m. NY)

Cyprus imposed new measures to contain the virus across the country, while it decided to close all restaurants, bars and cafes from 10:30 p.m. in Limassol, the second-largest city of the small Mediterranean island.

The government decided to take further action after a week in which Cyprus broke case records on three days. Cyprus reported another high on Saturday, with 202 new confirmed cases.

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