U.S. Steps Up China Blame; Japan in a Recession: Virus Update


(Bloomberg) --

A top U.S. official suggested Beijing sent airline passengers to spread the coronavirus worldwide, as the Trump administration stepped up its campaign of blaming China for the pandemic.

Japan's economy sank into a recession, while Thailand's economy contracted for the first time since 2014 due to the virus. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said a U.S. recovery could stretch through the end of next year and depend on the delivery of a vaccine.

India extended its nationwide lockdown to the end of the month while easing some curbs. The U.K. and Italy reported the fewest deaths since March, while France saw the most fatalities in three weeks.

Key Developments:

Virus Tracker: Cases top 4.7 million; deaths exceed 315,000Pandemic shatters world order, sowing anger and mistrustChina faces angry world seeking virus answers at key WHO meetingMore Chinese dine out, schools reopen as normalcy resumesNew Zealand plans safe haven as Arden charts rapid rebuild

Subscribe to a daily update on the virus from Bloomberg's Prognosis team here. Click VRUS on the terminal for news and data on the coronavirus. See this week's top stories from QuickTake here.

Thailand's Economy Contracts for First Time Since 2014 (10:44 a.m. HK)

Thailand's economy contracted in the first quarter for the first time since 2014 as the coronavirus outbreak cut off tourist arrivals and shuttered commerce. Gross domestic product shrank 1.8% from a year ago, the National Economic and Social Development Council said.

South Korea Nightclub Cases Rise to 168 (10:21 a.m. HK)

South Korea's health ministry said coronavirus cases related to nightclubs in Seoul increased to 168 as of midnight. The ministry said there has been no drastic increase in the outbreak, with findings of about 10 cases a day on average.

About 65,000 people possibly exposed through the nightclubs have been tested so far, as South Korea tries to prevent a possible second wave of infections in the country.

China Reports Seven New Cases (8:32 a.m. HK)

China reported seven new coronavirus infections, with three of them locally transmitted cases in Jilin province and Shanghai, while four are imported cases in Inner Mongolia.

Total deaths in China rose to 4,634, after the National Health Commission said on Sunday that Jilin province revised its fatality count by one.

Jilin, in northeastern China, has locked down several cities in the province. President Xi Jinping has called for strengthened controls in the region as a growing cluster of infections near the Russia and North Korea borders threatens to become a second wave.

Trump to Tour Ford Ventilator Assembly Plant (8:24 a.m. HK)

U.S. President Donald Trump will visit a Ford plant Thursday that has been repurposed to manufacture ventilators and personal protective equipment, according to a White House official, who added the president is expected to tour the plant and discuss the collaboration between Ford and General Electric to respond to the coronavirus outbreak.

Japan's Economy Sinks Into a Recession (7:54 a.m. HK)

Japan's economy sank last quarter into a recession that's likely to deepen further as households limit spending to essentials and companies cut back on investment, production and hiring to stay afloat amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Gross domestic product shrank an annualized 3.4% in the three months through March from the previous quarter, the Cabinet Office reported. Economists had forecast a 4.5% fall, as the start of social distancing last quarter crimped consumer spending, while supply-chain disruptions and sliding exports hurt manufacturers.

Apple to Reopen 25 U.S. Stores, 12 in Canada (7:30 a.m. HK)

Apple Inc. said it's reopening more than 25 stores across the U.S. and 12 stores in Canada this week, adding to nearly 100 global locations that have reopened to customers after the novel coronavirus outbreak forced them to close. Some stores will offer only curbside or storefront service, the company added in an emailed statement.

Brazil Delays Naming Health Minister (7:15 a.m HK)

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro held back from replacing his health minister Sunday, instead joining supporters who marched in front of the presidential palace as the coronavirus crisis deepened.

The country awaiting an announcement following Nelson Teich's resignation Friday after 29 days on the job as health minister. He had taken over the post in April after Bolsonaro fired his predecessor amid public discord over social distancing.

Brazil has 241,080 cases -- the fourth-highest in the world -- and 16,118 deaths so far, according to data released on Sunday.

Trump Wants Stadiums 'Loaded' With Fans (5:10 p.m. NY)

Donald Trump said the return of professional sports is essential for the "psyche of our country" in rebounding from the pandemic but signaled impatience with plans to play games without spectators.

"We want big stadiums loaded with people," Trump said as he called into the broadcast of a charity golf event. "We don't want 15,000 people watching Alabama-LSU."

South Africa's New Cases Accelerate (4:30 p.m. NY)

South Africa reported a third straight day of higher infections, with 1,160 new cases -- the most in one day. That brings the total to 15,515. Western Cape, home to the city of Cape Town, has almost 60% of cases nationwide and contributed 76% of new infections, according to the Health Ministry.

U.S. Cases Rise 1.5%, Below Week's Average (4 p.m. NY)

U.S. cases increased 1.5% from the same time Saturday to 1.48 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The rise was below the average daily increase of 1.6% for the past seven days.

Deaths rose 1.1% to 89,207.

New York reported 1,889 new cases, bringing the total to 350,121, new deaths were 139 -- a seven-week low -- as the state total rose to 22,619.

Cuomo Takes Nasal Test on Camera (3 p.m. NY)

Governor Andrew Cuomo engaged in a bit of political theater during his daily briefing as he had a swab inserted in his nostril to demonstrate the ease of getting checked for the virus.

"I'm not in pain, I'm not in discomfort," he said in Albany after Dr. Elizabeth Dufort used a long stick to collect the sample. "There is no reason why you should not get the test."

Cuomo said the state is performing 40,000 tests a day and has the capacity to do more to make sure it avoids a new spike in cases. He also expanded who is qualified for testing: those in sectors returning to work first, in construction, manufacturing and curbside retail.

French Deaths Rise Most in 3 Weeks (2 p.m. NY)

France reported the largest daily increase in deaths since April 23, while hospitalizations and the number of patients in intensive care continued to decline. Cases increased less than the recent average.

Deaths rose by 483 to 28,108, France's health ministry said, without giving a reason for the surge. Authorities reported a 490 new cases, bringing the total to 216,030. Hospitalizations declined by 71 to 19,361 and patients in intensive care fell by 45 to 2,087.

U.K. First to Get AstraZeneca Vaccine (1 p.m. NY)

AstraZeneca Plc will make as many as 30 million doses of vaccine available to the U.K. by September and deliver 100 million this year. The U.K. will get first access to the vaccine should it be successful.

The vaccine, being developed at the University of Oxford, will get 65.5 million pounds ($79 million) of funding, U.K. Business Secretary Alok Sharma said. The inoculation is being studied in humans and could reach late-stage trials by mid-year. Another 18.5 million pounds will go to Imperial College London as trials accelerate.

Italy's Deaths Lowest Since Early March (12:15 p.m. NY)

Italy reported 145 new deaths, the lowest total since March 9, as the government prepares to further ease restrictions on movements and activities starting Monday. Total deaths rose to 31,908 while cases rose by 675 to 225,435 as of Sunday, according to the Italian Ministry of Health.

Azar: Vaccine Plan is 'Goal,' Not 'Pledge' (11:50 a.m. NY)

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said the Trump administration has a goal to make of 300 million vaccine doses by year end, and the target could be missed. "It's not a pledge," Azar said on CBS's "Face the Nation." "It's a goal of what we're going to mobilize the entire U.S. government, private sector to achieve."

Azar said drug manufacturers are "wringing the inefficiency" out of the traditional multi-phase process to speed development and get safe and effective vaccines.

U.K. Reports Fewest Deaths Since March 24 (11:40 a.m. NY)

The U.K. reported an additional 170 deaths from the coronavirus, the smallest increase since March 24. Total deaths rose to 34,636 with 243,303 confirmed cases.

Newsom: Most of California Is Open (11:30 a.m. NY)

Governor Gavin Newsom said about 75% of California's economy is reopened as dozens of counties get restaurants, offices, manufacturing, logistics and warehouses back operating. People are observing physical distancing and wearing face coverings, Newsom said on CNN's "State of the Union." One missing element: stadiums with sports fans. "As much as we want to see that happen," he said, "the health consequences could be profound and devastating and set back all the progress we have made."

Trump Aide Blames China for Spread (10:23 a.m. NY)

The Trump administration stepped up its campaign of blaming China for the coronavirus, with a top aide suggesting Beijing sent airline passengers to spread the infection worldwide.

"The virus was spawned in Wuhan province, patient zero was in November," White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said on ABC's "This Week." "The Chinese, behind the shield of the World Health Organization, for two months hid the virus from the world and then sent hundreds of thousands of Chinese on aircraft to Milan, New York and around the world to seed that."

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