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Michael Novakhov – SharedNewsLinks℠: Germany Looks Past an Unpredictable U.S. in Setting EU’s Future



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Gilead Sciences Inc. said it will charge the U.S. government and other developed countries $390 per vial for its coronavirus-fighting drug remdesivir, or about $2,340 for a typical five-day course of treatment.

Deaths from the virus surpassed 500,000 worldwide and confirmed cases exceeded 10 million as the World Health Organization reported the most infections for a single day. New clusters around the world indicate that the pandemic is far from over.

Tokyo reported more incidences of the disease, daily deaths in Iran reached a record and cases in Austria rose to the highest level since mid-May. Texas is fast becoming the new center of the pandemic in the U.S. while Vice President Mike Pence encouraged people to wear masks, two days after declining to give that specific guidance.

Key Developments:

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Gilead’s Remdesivir to Cost $2,340 for 5-Day Treatment (7:01 a.m. NY)

Gilead Sciences Inc. said it will charge developed nations $390 per vial for its coronavirus-fighting drug remdesivir, or about $2,340 for a typical five-day course of treatment.

The company said that once supplies of the drug are less constrained, the government will no longer manage allocation.

Remdesivir is one of the first widely used drugs for Covid-19. It received an emergency use authorization from U.S. regulators in May, after a trial found the medicine hastened recovery by about four days in hospitalized patients.

Iran Fatalities Increase to Record (6:03 a.m. NY)

Iran recorded the highest daily number of fatalities since the start of the outbreak, with 162 deaths in the past 24 hours. The death toll reached 10,670 from a total of 225,205 cases.

The level of infections is high or alarming in 11 of 31 Iranian provinces, Health Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said on state television.

Thailand Business-Travel Bubbles to Start Soon (5:34 p.m. HK)

Thailand plans to allow foreign business travelers into the country for the first time since closing its borders to most international flights in March.

Passport holders from Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Japan, and people from some Chinese provinces, may be allowed to travel to Thailand as part of proposed “business-travel bubbles” from July.

Thailand’s Cabinet will consider approving the proposal Tuesday after Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha endorsed it. The Cabinet will also review extending a state of emergency by a month through July, which Prayuth sees as vital as lockdowns are eased for schools and “high-risk” businesses, including nightclubs and bars.

Czechs Tighten Measures to Tackle Local Outbreaks (4:35 p.m. HK)

The Czech government is tightening quarantine measures in two northeastern counties to contain local outbreaks of coronavirus after the number of cases jumped in the past few days, Health Minister Adam Vojtech said.

Starting Tuesday, events of more than 100 people will once again be banned in the two counties, with restrictions on the opening hours of restaurants and bars; foreign workers crossing borders to the counties will be tested. Employees are being tested at the OKD mines, one of the current virus hotspots. Elsewhere in the Czech Republic, measures are being eased.

The number of new cases jumped to 305 on Sunday, the biggest daily increase since April 3.

Luxembourg Infections Accelerate (4:30 p.m. HK)

Luxembourg’s new cases increased more than usual in the last four days, and the government is seeking clarity on the causes, Health Minister Paulette Lenert said.

A party held earlier this month is one reason why numbers rapidly rose to between 22 and 44 in the past three days, Lenert told RTL radio Monday. There have also been several new, more spread-out infections that are more worrying, she said. The increase coincides with the government’s decision to ease lockdown measures, allowing bigger private gatherings.

China Seals Off County Linked to Beijing Cluster (4:20 p.m. HK)

China put 400,000 residents of a northern county under lockdown at the weekend after at least a dozen coronavirus cases associated with the Beijing outbreak were reported there.

In a sign that the resurgence of cases in the capital is proving difficult to stamp out even as officials say they’ve been largely contained, Hebei province’s Anxin county has been sealed off and each household can assign only one person to go out for necessities daily, state media reported. Vehicles cannot enter the county and only those with special passes can leave.

The containment measures in Anxin, 140 kilometers (87 miles) from Beijing, are more severe than in the capital itself, where the cluster has grown to 311 people since it was first detected June 12.

Russia Reports 1.1% Increase in Cases (3:35 p.m. HK)

Russia recorded 6,719 new coronavirus infections in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 641,156, according to the government’s virus response center.

The tally was the lowest since April 29, and 31.6% of the new cases were asymptomatic, the center said. The death toll for the day was 93, bringing the total to 9,166. The center said 4,343 people recovered, taking the total to 403,430.

Tokyo Finds Around 60 New Cases: TBS (2:59 p.m. HK)

Tokyo found around 60 new cases of coronavirus on Monday, TBS reported, citing Governor Yuriko Koike.

The increase matched Sunday’s tally, which was the highest since the state of emergency was lifted in May.

Austrian Infections Rise Amid Clusters (2:17 p.m. HK)

Austrian daily new infections rose to 74 on Sunday, bringing the seven-day average to 45, the highest level since May 22, according to the interior ministry.

Infections were driven by a cluster in Linz, an industrial city two hours west of Vienna, where the virus spread in services of the Pentecostal church community, according to health agency AGES. A Rotary club meeting in Salzburg contributed to new cases in that region last week. Austria has 551 live virus cases, 48% more than two weeks ago.

Thailand to Allow Schools, Bars to Reopen (1:47 p.m. HK)

Thailand will allow all schools, nightclubs and bars to reopen in the country’s fifth stage of reopening, Taweesilp Witsanuyotin, a spokesman for the Covid-19 center, said at a briefin
g. The nightclubs and bars will be subject to restrictions on the numbers of patrons and closing hours.

Thailand plans to extend its state of emergency to manage risks as the country prepares for the latest reopening, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha said on Monday.

German Infection Rate Stays Below Key Threshold (1:35 p.m. HK)

Germany’s coronavirus infection rate stayed below the key threshold of 1.0 for a fifth day. The reproduction factor rose to 0.71 on Sunday, from 0.62 the previous day, according to the latest estimate by the country’s health body, the Robert Koch Institute.

There were 235 new cases in the 24 hours through Monday morning, down from 422 the previous day, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. There were no new fatalities recorded.

A jump in the infection rate from around June 20 was driven by local outbreaks, including in two municipalities in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

China Halts Meat Imports From More Plants (1:14 p.m. HK)

China suspended meat imports from more plants, including chickens from a JBS unit, beef from a Cargill factory in Canada and pork from a Danish Crown plant, taking the total to 15 by June 28, according to the country’s customs department.

Customs will not accept any import application for delivery from the date when the halt started, it said, without providing any reason for the suspension. Earlier, the department stopped meat imports from plants reporting coronavirus infections among their employees.

Ardern Says More Work to Be Done on Travel Bubble (1:01 p.m. HK)

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said more work needs to be done for an agreement on a trans-Tasman bubble for safe travel to Australia. She said in a news conference the cabinet will not move to open the border with Australia until it has reassurances that New Zealanders will be safe. More broadly, she said it is untenable to be opening up the border to Covid-19.

Cases Surge in Australia’s Hot Spot (10:01 a.m. HK)

The Australian state of Victoria has recorded 75 more cases in the past 24 hours, health authorities announced, leading to increased concern the nation may be on the cusp of a second wave of cases as it removes lockdown restrictions that have crippled the economy.

The surge in cases in Melbourne, the capital of Australia’s second-most-populous state, have been centered around suburbs in the city’s northern and western fringes. Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews, who has indicated that some of those areas may need to return to stricter lockdown measures, has blamed some clusters on large family gatherings that have broken social-distancing restrictions.

Beijing Reports Seven New Coronavirus Cases (9:04 a.m. HK)

Beijing reported seven new coronavirus infections June 28, bringing total cases linked to a recent outbreak to 318, Beijing Municipal Health Commission said in a statement. The number of infections was down from 14 reported a day earlier. Overall, China reported a total of 12 new cases for June 28.

Houston Official Leading Virus Fight Is in Self-Quarantine (9:01 a.m. HK)

The top county executive in the Houston area is in self-quarantine after a staffer tested positive for Covid-19. Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo plans to self-isolate at home for 14 days after an employee in her office tested positive, according to a statement.

Hidalgo has been one of the most-prominent critics of Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s aggressive reopening of the second-largest U.S. economy. Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations have spiked since the state reopened eight weeks ago, pushing intensive-care wards to full capacity and sparking concerns about a surge in fatalities as the contagion spreads.

Texas’s Positive-Test Rate Soars to Record (8:09 a.m. HK)

Texas’s Covid-19 positive-test rate surged to 14.31%, the highest for the second-most populous U.S. state since the pandemic emerged, underscoring the magnitude of the growing crisis facing America’s Sunbelt.

The positivity rate on Saturday surpassed the previous record of 13.86% set on April 13, state health department figures released on Sunday showed. The number has almost tripled since May 31, when Texas posted a 5.44% positive-test rate.

Pence Encourages Mask Wearing (7:46 a.m. HK)

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence encouraged people to wear masks to prevent the spread of the virus, two days after declining to give that specific guidance.

“Wear a mask, wherever it’s indicated or wherever you’re not able to practice the kind of social distancing that would prevent the spread of the coronavirus,” Pence said at a press briefing with Texas Governor Abbott and federal and state health officials, who are grappling with a surge in coronavirus cases. “Wearing a mask is just a good idea.”

During a White House coronavirus task force briefing on Friday, Pence avoided saying whether Americans should wear one. Asked on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” about President Donald Trump’s refusal to say everyone should wear a mask Pence said that “every state has a unique situation” and that “the principle of federalism” has guided their decision making.

California Shuts Bars in L.A., Other Counties (7:22 a.m. HK)

Some California residents hoping to celebrate Independence Day in a bar will now have to change their plans. Bars are required to shut in seven counties — including Los Angeles — and they’re recommended to close in eight others, including Sacramento and Santa Barbara, following a surge in coronavirus cases, according to an order by Governor Gavin Newsom on Sunday.

Most in Poll Say Trump Unprepared (6:30 a.m. HK)

Almost three-quarters of Americans said that, as they look back a few months, the Trump administration wasn’t ready to deal with the outbreak when it started this year, according to a CBS News poll.

Some 72% judged the administration “unprepared” against 28% who said it was “prepared,” according to the June 23-26 survey. Almost half, 49%, said the outbreak would get worse this summer. The remainder split between those who think it will get better and those who expect it to stay about the same.

The CBS poll said assessments of how President Donald Trump has handled the outbreak continue to slip, to 41% now from 47% in mid-April and 53% in late March.

Brazil Cases Rise 2.3% (6:20 a.m. HK)

Brazil had 30,476 new cases in the past 24 hours, a 2.3% rise from the previous day, bringing the national total to 1.34 million, the Health Ministry reported on Sunday. The government registered 522 deaths, raising the toll to 57,622.

San Quentin P
rison Cases Surge (5:30 p.m. NY)

California’s San Quentin State Prison is seeing an explosion of cases after a botched transfer from another facility, impacting hundreds of incarcerated residents and scores of officers in a potential public health threat to the San Francisco Bay Area.

About 816 people in the prison tested positive on Sunday, according to data from the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. That means more than 1 in 5 of the prison’s population of 3,507 is infected, and it’s not clear if everyone has been tested. State data show 89 staff members have Covid-19. A spokeswoman didn’t respond to an e-mail seeking comment on the rise in cases Sunday.

San Quentin had zero known cases through May, but infections jumped after officials transferred 121 people from the California Institution for Men in Chino on May 30. The practice of transferring inmates has been widely criticized for spreading the virus.

WHO Reports Another High for Cases (4:45 p.m. NY)

The World Health Organization reported almost 190,000 new cases for the 24-hour period through early Sunday, a week after the previous one-day high.

Cases from the Americas accounted for 62% of the 189,077 new infections, followed by 13% from Southeast Asia and 8.8% from Europe, according to the report from the United Nations agency based in Geneva.

The U.S. and Brazil, together, represented 49% of all new infections. The WHO report showed 9.84 million cases, a total that lags behind tallies from John Hopkins University, which showed more than 10 million cases on Sunday.

U.S. Cases Up 1.7%, Above 7-Day Average (4 p.m. NY)

Coronavirus cases in the U.S. increased by 42,735 from the same time Saturday to 2.53 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The 1.7% increase was above the average daily rise of 1.5% over the past week. The total was less than the 45,450 reported on Saturday but above 40,000 for a third straight day. Fatalities rose 0.3% to 125,709.

DeSantis Cites Socializing for Cases (3:15 p.m. NY)

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said people in the 18-to-44 age group account for most of the rise in positive Covid-19 tests, with the 24-to-34 year old “by far” the leading group for new infections.

“It’s basically socializing,” DeSantis said at a Pensacola news conference as he dismissed suggestions the rise reflected opening the economy too soon. “Most of this is not because of people going to work, it’s because they’re being social.”

DeSantis said young people, who are at lower risk from the disease, should avoid gathering in large groups and then visiting restaurants or other venues where the infection can spread.

Arizona Cases Rise 5.5% (12:42 p.m. NY)

Arizona’s new cases increased by 3,858 to 73,908, a 5.5% increase that exceeded the prior week’s average of 4.4%, the state reported Sunday. Daily infections have exceeded the weekly average for four straight days. The number of deaths rose by 9 to 1,588.

Cuomo Fears Imported Infections (12:05 p.m. NY)

New York had the fewest daily deaths since the pandemic began in March, five on Saturday, as Governor Andrew Cuomo said he is now “afraid of the spread” from other states.

“We are one country and people travel and I’m afraid the infection rate in the other states will come back to New York and raise that rate again,” Cuomo said on NBC”s “Meet the Press.”

The governor said New York has plans to reopen schools, and the state will assess the infection rate and “what the disease is doing” before making a decision on a date. “If this continues across the country,” Cuomo said, “kids are going to be home for a long time.”

— With assistance by Paul Sillitoe

Michael Novakhov – SharedNewsLinks℠