Australia Warns of Vaccine Wait; U.S. Bases Hit: Virus Update

(Bloomberg) —

A coronavirus vaccine may be two years away, if one is ever found, and low levels of infection may become a part of life, Australia’s deputy chief medical officer warned.

U.S. military facilities in Okinawa have found a total of at least 50 coronavirus cases, NHK said. New infections in Tokyo exceeded 200 for a third day, though fell short of Friday’s record, Kyodo reported. Masked fans returned to baseball in Japan, making the country among the first to restart major sport with spectators.

In the U.S., Texas hospitalizations topped 10,000 for the first time and California suffered its second-highest day of deaths. Florida’s biggest county had a record number of patients in intensive care.

Key Developments:

Global Tracker: Cases top 12.5 million; deaths surpass 560,000Wuhan shows the world how economies may recoverWall Street forges a new relationship to data in coronavirus ageShake Shack’s Danny Meyer took PPP loans after allJapan urges urbanites to tour country, sparks virus fearBillionaire’s empire unexpectedly thrives in BrazilMasked fans return to baseball in Japan

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.

Qatar Air Makes Virus Test Mandatory (8:19 a.m. NY)

Qatar Airways said all passengers from Pakistan must show they were tested for Covid-19 within 72 hours of their flight departure and present a negative result.

The mandatory pre-flight requirement will take effect Monday, a Qatar Airways spokesperson said in an email on Saturday. Qatar Airways currently operates services to the Pakistani cities of Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar. Pakistan has more than 246,000 reported cases, the highest in Asia after India. Cases in Qatar rose by 498 to more than 103,000.

Iran Cases Rise 1%, in Line With 7-Day Average (7:30 a.m. NY)

Iran’s fatalities rose to 12,635 with 188 more deaths from the virus in the past 24 hours, up from 142 the day before. The number of infections surpassed 255,000 as the country recorded 2,397 new cases overnight, up from 2,262 on Friday. Some 217,000 people have recovered and 3,338 patients are in intensive care units.

Oman reported more than 1,000 new infections for a 12th day, bringing the total to 54,697.

U.S. Bases in Okinawa Find More Than 50 Cases: NHK (5:15 p.m. HK)

U.S. military facilities in Okinawa, including Marine Corps Air Station Futenma and Camp Hansen, have found a total of at least 50 coronavirus cases, NHK reported Saturday, citing unidentified people. NHK cited Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki as saying many new virus cases have been confirmed at the bases.

Okinawa Gov. Denny Tamaki questioned disease prevention measures taken by the U.S. military and renewed his demand for transparency at a news conference, the Associated Press reported.

Virus Spreads Fastest in Cooler Temperatures: Telegraph (5 p.m. HK)

Coronavirus spreads fastest at 4 degrees Celsius (39 Fahrenheit), U.K. government scientists said, adding to concern about a winter resurgence, the Telegraph reported. The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies is thought to be focusing on the precise temperature as Melbourne, which is currently in its coldest month, went into a six-week lockdown due to a spike in cases.

Russian Case Increase in Line With Past Week (3:37 p.m. HK)

Russia reported 6,611 new confirmed coronavirus infections in the past day, in line with increases in the past week, raising the total to 720,547, according to data from the Russian government’s virus response center. Almost 27% of new cases were asymptomatic. In the past day 188 people died of the disease, bringing total death toll to 11,205.

Slovenia confirmed 34 new coronavirus infections on Friday, the most since mid-April, bringing the total number of infected to 1,793. The number of fatalities remains at 111.

German Infection Rate Rises Slightly (2:28 p.m. HK)

Germany’s coronavirus cases rose by 331 while the death rate held steady, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Deaths increased by 6 to 9,063, a smaller increase than most days since the beginning of March.

The reproduction factor — or R value — rose slightly to 0.80, according to the latest estimate by the Robert Koch Institute, Germany’s health body. That’s under the key threshold of 1.0, seen as crucial to preventing a second wave of infections.

Tokyo Finds 206 New Cases: Kyodo (2:02 p.m. HK)

Tokyo confirmed 206 new cases of coronavirus, Kyodo reported Saturday, citing unidentified people. The number of new cases exceeded 200 for the third straight day, but fell short of Friday’s daily record of 243.

Hong Kong Adds at Least 20 Cases: SCMP (1:53 p.m. HK)

Hong Kong confirmed at least 20 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, the South China Morning Post reported, citing a medical source. It’s not yet known how many of Saturday’s cases were locally transmitted, the SCMP said. On Thursday, the city recorded 34 locally transmitted infections, the most in a single day since the pandemic began.

In response, the government reintroduced social restrictions that cap restaurant capacity at 60% and limit eight people to a table.

Australia Warns of Two-Year Vaccine Wait (1:21 p.m. HK)

Australia’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer Nick Coatsworth said a vaccine may not be available for between 18 and 24 months and the country must be able to keep the virus under control at low levels. “We need to prepare for a world without a vaccine,” he said at a media conference Saturday.

Mask-wearing will be critical to reopening Australia’s second-most populous state as it seeks to curb a second wave of infections, Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said earlier.

Two million masks will be ordered and distributed to “priority groups,” he said Saturday. The state recorded 216 new cases and one death in the past 24 hours, and he urged Victorians to stay home this weekend as much as possible.

Emirates to Cut 9,000 Jobs, BBC Reports (11:08 a.m. HK)

Emirates Airlines plans to cut 9,000 jobs because of the coronavirus outbreak, BBC reported, citing airline President Tim Clark.

The company had 60,000 employees before the pandemic, the BBC said. The airline plans to increase job cuts to as much as 15% of its workforce, having already reduced employee numbers by 10%, Clark told the news service.

South Korea New Cases Fall (9:29 a.m. HK)

South Korea reported 35 more cases in 24 hours, raising the total tally to 13,373. There no additional deaths, leaving the total at 288, the Korea Centers for Disease Control & Prevention said.

The country reported 45 new cases of infection on July 10 and one additional death.

Japan’s Contact-Tracing App Fails (8:49 a.m. HK)

Japan’s health ministry suspended the registration of positive cases on its contact-tracing smartphone app Cocoa as it worked to fix an error that left some people unable to enter their information.

The ministry aims to get the feature running again next week, according to a statement. The ministry encouraged users to keep using the app, which had 6.5 million downloads across iOS and Android phones as of Friday evening.

Texas Hits Milestone (5:35 p.m. NY)

More than 10,000 people were hospitalized with Covid-19 in Texas Friday, the first time the state has reached that benchmark. Cases there jumped by 9,765, an increase of 4.2% compared with the seven-day average of 3.9%. The state has added close to 10,000 cases for each of the last four days, and deaths have begun to spike in tandem, with another 98 fatalities exceeding the seven-day average.

Governor Greg Abbott stepped up efforts to encourage people to wear masks, making the rounds of local television stations to warn that deaths are likely to rise in coming days.

California to Release Prisoners (4:30 p.m. NY)

California plans to release about 7% of its prison population, roughly 8,000 non-violent offenders, to relieve pressure on a chronically overcrowded correctional system that’s now struggling with a spike in coronavirus cases.

The move will enable prisons to maximize available space to implement physical distancing, isolation and quarantine efforts, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said in a statement. It estimated that about 8,000 currently incarcerated people could be eligible for release by the end of August.

U.S. Cases Rise 1.9% (3:55 p.m. NY)

U.S. cases rose by 59,782 from a day earlier to 3.14 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The 1.9% jump matched the average daily increase over the past week. Deaths rose 0.7% to 133,677.

California Has Second-Deadliest Day (2:21 p.m. NY)

California reported 140 new virus deaths, second only to the 149 reported Thursday as the most yet for the pandemic. The 14-day average is 75, according to state health data.

Total confirmed cases rose by 7,798, or 2.6%, pushing California’s total infections to 304,297. While the gain was less than the 3% average over the past seven days, the state’s outbreak has been accelerating: Infections have exceeded 300,000 just two weeks after crossing the 200,000 milestone.

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