U.S. Extends Cruise Ban; German Work-From-Home Law: Virus Update

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(Bloomberg) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention extended a ban on cruises in the U.S. to Oct. 31, saying further action is needed before cruises can safely resume.

Germany plans to unveil draft legislation that would give workers the legal right to work from home, Labor Minister Hubertus Heil told the Financial Times. U.S. carriers American Airlines Group Inc. and United Airlines Holdings Inc. will start laying off a combined 32,000 workers as the companies contend with the unprecedented collapse in travel demand caused by the pandemic.

Japan’s ruling party will consider additional economic stimulus to prop up the economy amid the pandemic, even as a Bank of Japan survey found sentiment at large manufacturers had improved, signaling the worst of the economic impact may be over. Officials indicated an early election was unlikely with the government prioritizing the pandemic response.

Key Developments:

Global Tracker: Cases top 33.8 million; deaths exceed 1 millionEuropean regulators are said to speed review of AstraZeneca shot, U.S. widens probeJapan must put pandemic response before election, coalition partner saysSingapore plans cruises to nowhere with 50% capacity, the Straits Times reports

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graphical user interface, chart: Worldwide confirmed deaths from the coronavirus climb above 1 million

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Worldwide confirmed deaths from the coronavirus climb above 1 million

India Adds 86,821 Coronavirus Cases (12:29 p.m. HK)

India reported another 86,821 coronavirus cases on Thursday, bringing the total confirmed number to 6.31 million, government data showed. Covid-19 related deaths rose to 98,678.

Germany Plans Work From Home Law (12 p.m. HK)

Germany will unveil a draft law that would give employees the legal right to work from home, within the next few weeks, Labor Minister Hubertus Heil told the Financial Times, the latest example of how the pandemic is altering working life.

The law would seek to ensure workers have the option of working from home and regulate home office work.

CDC Extends No Sail Order for Cruises to Oct. 31 (11:35 a.m. HK)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention extended a ban on cruises in the U.S. by a month, to Oct. 31, saying in a statement that further action is needed before cruises can safely resume. It said data from March through September show more than 3,600 Covid-19 or Covid-like cases on cruise ships in U.S. waters, and at least 41 reported deaths. n

An industry health panel jointly convened by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. last week submitted a report to the CDC outlining 74 steps the companies hope will clear the way to U.S. sailings. The measures include a recommendation of Covid-19 tests for all guests and crew members.

CDC Director Robert Redfield’s recommendation to extend the so-called no-sail order into next year was overruled at a White House meeting, Dow Jones reported earlier, citing an unidentified federal official.

American, United to Cut 32,000 Jobs, AirAsia to Exit Japan (10:10 a.m. HK)

American Airlines Group Inc. and United Airlines Holdings Inc. will start laying off thousands of employees as originally scheduled, spurning an appeal from U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin as he negotiates with Congress about extending payroll support for U.S. carriers.

The cuts are the latest among tens of thousands of job losses announced by blue-chip companies in a 24-hour period, after Walt Disney Co. said late Tuesday that it’s slashing 28,000 workers in its slumping U.S. resort business. On Wednesday, Allstate Corp., the fourth-largest car insurer in the U.S., said it will cut 3,800 jobs, roughly 8% of its workforce.

Meanwhile, AirAsia Group Bhd. is closing down its operations in Japan, the Nikkei reported, after the low-cost airline posted a record quarterly loss in August.

Japan May Expand Virus Stimulus as Sentiment Improve (10:05 a.m. HK)

Japan’s ruling party will consider additional economic stimulus to prop up the economy amid the pandemic, and will compile another extra budget if needed, Toshihiro Nikai, the secretary general of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party told the Nikkei in an interview.

The comments come as a the Bank of Japan’s Tankan survey found sentiment at large manufacturers picked up from its lowest point since the global financial crisis, helping cement the view that the worst economic impact from the pandemic is over.

Ruling coalition party leader Natsuo Yamaguchi said voters don’t want an early election and are keen for the new government to tackle the economic and social fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

Singapore Plans Cruises to Nowhere (8:30 a.m. HK)

Singapore is planning to allow so-called cruises to nowhere in what could be among the first of measures to reopen leisure travel in the city-state, the Straits Times reported. The cruises will have a maximum occupancy of 50%, and could give some relief to cruise operators.

AstraZeneca’s Europe Vaccine Review Resuming, U.S. Widens Probe (8:15 a.m. HK)

European regulators are set to start an accelerated review of a Covid-19 vaccine front-runner from the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca Plc, according to a person familiar, which could be key step forward for the shot after trials were halted earlier this month due to concerns about a trial participant who fell ill.

However Reuters also reported that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had widened its investigation of the incident that led to the trial halt. U.S. authorities have yet to approve the restart of the trial there.

Texas Hospitalizations Surge Most in 3 Weeks (7:16 p.m. HK)

Texas virus hospitalizations jumped almost 3% for the biggest one-day increase in more than three weeks, according to state health department data.

The number of Covid-19 patients hospitalized in he Lone Star state rose by 93 to 3,344, an 8.5% increase since the caseload bottomed out 10 days ago.

Although hospitalizations have risen in seven of the past 10 days, they still remain well below the peak of almost 11,000 recorded on July 22.

Mnuchin, Pelosi Extend Stimulus Talks (6:30 a.m. HK)

U.S. House leaders postponed a vote on a Democrat-only stimulus bill to give Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi one more day to negotiate a compromise pandemic relief package.

Mnuchin and Pelosi met for about 90 minutes Wednesday without striking a deal. But both said afterward they made progress and planned to continue discussions. Time is running short for a new stimulus measure to get through the House and Senate before the Nov. 3 presidential election.

“We still have more work to do,” Mnuchin told reporters, adding, “We’ve made progress in a lot of areas.”

Goldman Job Cuts End Pause for Virus (4:45 a.m. HK)

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is resuming job cuts as the coronavirus pandemic outlasts the financial industry’s resolve to offer jittery employees stability through the economic downturn.

The firm is embarking on a plan to eliminate about 1% of its workforce, or roughly 400 positions, according to people with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified as the information isn’t public. The move comes even as the firm’s core trading and dealmaking businesses are booming.

Persistent outbreaks in the U.S. are forcing the nation’s biggest banks to re-examine plans to wait out the turmoil as initially hoped. Wells Fargo & Co. and Citigroup Inc. were among the first to restart cuts.

Mississippi lifts mask mandate (4:20 a.m. HK)

Mississippi is ending its statewide mask mandate and easing some social-distancing rules after cutting new coronavirus infections in half and Covid-19-related hospitalizations by two-thirds, Governor Tate Reeve, a Republican, announced at a news conference.

Masks still will be required in schools and for certain workers, such as salon and barbershop employees. Attendance at school extracurricular events such as football games will increase to 50% of capacity. Gatherings are limited to 100 people outdoors and 20 people indoors.

U.S. Cases Rise 0.6% (4 a.m. HK)

Coronavirus cases in the U.S. increased 0.6% as compared with the same time Tuesday to 7.21 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The increase matched the average daily gain over the past week. Deaths rose to 206,494.

U.K. Hospitalizations, Deaths Rise (2:10 a.m. HK)

The U.K.’s coronavirus outbreak is not under control as hospitalization and death rates rise, Boris Johnson’s chief scientist said.

“Numbers of cases are going up, hospitalizations are going up, ICUs are going up, and unfortunately, very sadly so are deaths,” Government Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance said. “We don’t have this under control at the moment.”

The bleak assessment from Vallance came as the prime minister warned he’ll impose tighter national restrictions if needed. The U.K. on Wednesday recorded more than 7,000 cases of Covid-19 for the second day running: the two highest daily tallies since the start of the pandemic.

First NFL Game Postponed (11:55 p.m. HK)

The NFL has its first postponement due to Covid-19, a troubling milestone for a league with scant capacity for scheduling changes. The Tennessee Titans were scheduled to play the Pittsburgh Steelers on Oct. 4, but after eight Titans players and staff tested positive, the team was forced to shut down its facility Tuesday.

a group of baseball players on a field: Tennessee Titans v Minnesota Vikings

© Photographer: Hannah Foslien/Getty Images North America
Tennessee Titans v Minnesota Vikings

Members of the Tennessee Titans huddle during warmups before a game in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on Sept. 27.

Photographer: Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

India Surge Driven by Super-Spreaders (10:30 p.m. HK)

Coronavirus super-spreaders were behind the explosion of Covid-19 in India, the country with the most cases after the U.S., researchers said. One in 15 Indians have been exposed and more than 6.2 million cases have been recorded.

About 8% of India’s confirmed cases led to almost two-thirds of the infections, according to researchers who traced more than 3 million contacts in the southern states of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. The report, which appeared in the journal Science, is the first major study of transmission in a developing country.

Most research on the pandemic has come from China, Europe and North America, but cases are burgeoning in India and other developing countries. Barriers to health care are greater in these nations, and the risk of getting severely ill and dying from Covid is higher, they said.

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