(Bloomberg) — China reported no new coronavirus deaths for the first time since the pandemic emerged, adding to signs that the crisis may be easing in some areas. Italy, France, Germany and Spain reported lower numbers of new cases while in New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo said deaths were showing indications of hitting a plateau.
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was hospitalized Sunday after 10 days in isolation, was moved to an intensive-care unit. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he’ll propose a state of emergency in seven prefectures and announced a record economic stimulus package.
China Reports No New Coronavirus Deaths on April 6 (8:57 a.m. HK)
For the first time since January, China said there were no new coronavirus deaths in the country with the toll remaining at 3,331. The National Health Commission said there were 32 new cases, with all of them imported. China now has 81,740 confirmed cases and 77,167 patients have been discharged.
Japan Stimulus to Have $357 Billion of Fiscal Spending (7:47 a.m. HK)
Abe told a meeting of the ruling parties that the record economic package to help people and businesses through the coronavirus will have 39 trillion yen ($357 billion) of fiscal spending. The prime minister said the package won’t be limited by what has been done in the past.
U.S. Reaches Deal With 3M for Masks (7:08 a.m. HK)
3M Co. said it agreed to a plan with the Trump administration to import 166.5 million respirators over the next three months, primarily from its manufacturing facility in China, as it continues to send U.S.-made respirators to Canada and Latin America. The company will double its N95 production capacity again to 2 billion globally within the next 12 months.
President Donald Trump threatened last week to use a wartime production law to force the company to make more masks for U.S. health-care workers and others fighting coronavirus.
Wisconsin Court Blocks Delay of Primary Voting (6:47 a.m. HK)
The Wisconsin primary will proceed as scheduled on Tuesday after the state Supreme Court blocked a last-minute attempt by Governor Tony Evers to delay in-person voting by executive order because of the virus. The court, voting 4-2, agreed with Republicans who had argued that the governor lacked the authority to change the date.
Denmark Joins Austria in Easing Curbs (4:38 p.m. NY)
Denmark joined Austria in announcing a gradual relaxation of measures imposed to slow the coronavirus’s spread. The country will press ahead with a “cautious reopening” starting with kindergartens and primary schools on April 15 if the virus numbers remain stable, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said. The government will also start talks with business leaders on gradually moving employees back into offices.
Austria said earlier that it would take its first steps toward restarting its economy. The two countries were among the first in Europe to shut down public life in response to the outbreak.
French Cases Leveling Off (1:50 p.m. NY)
France reported a continued leveling-off of cases, signaling that confinement measures are starting to contain the crisis.
The country had 3,912 new confirmed cases on Monday, fewer than it reported in five out of the past seven days, according to figures presented by Health Minister Olivier Veran. Deaths from the virus rose by 833 to 8,911, Veran said.
“The pressure is still very great on hospitals, enormous — the confinement has to continue,” Veran said. Still, he said there was some reason for optimism. “We can see that the confinement has a palpable effect in France, we’re starting to feel it.”
WHO May Announce Move This Week to Accelerate Vaccine (1:30 p.m. NY)
A new program to accelerate vaccine development and production may be announced this week, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press briefing in Geneva.
“The difficulty for governments right now is that lockdowns are proving effective in dampening the flames of the epidemic in those countries, but those lockdowns are also causing great economic hardship,” said Mike Ryan, head of the WHO’s health emergencies program. Still, he said it would probably be “very inadvisable” to lift a lockdown completely all at once.
“Once you raise the lockdown, you have to have an alternative method to suppress the virus — active case finding, testing, isolation, tracking of contacts and strong community education,” Ryan said.
N.Y. Deaths May Signal Possible Plateau (1:10 p.m. NY)
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said deaths from the coronavirus pandemic were showing signs of hitting a plateau in the state that has become the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak.
The challenge, he cautioned Monday, is to maintain the social distancing that has finally pointed New York toward a possible peak in fatalities. For a second day in a row, the percentage increase in the death toll was less than 10%, a turnabout from numbers about twice as large barely a week ago.
The peak of the outbreak could fall on the earlier side of the state’s models showing that it could take anywhere from a week to 30 days for the situation to hit its worse.
“I get that people are cooped up,” Cuomo said in his daily press briefing. “But, we get reckless, we change and we’re not compliant on social distancing, you’ll see those numbers go up again.”
He doubled the fine for social-distancing violations to $1,000.
Italy’s New Virus Infections Lowest in Almost Three Weeks (12:20 p.m. NY)
Italy reported the lowest number of new coronavirus infections in nearly three weeks, prompting debate over how and when the country should start emerging from a nationwide lockdown.
Civil protection authorities reported 3,599 new cases of the disease on Monday, compared with 4,316 a day earlier. Italy registered 636 new deaths linked to the virus, compared with 525 the day before. That brings the total number of fatalities to 16,523.
Italy, once the epicenter for Europe, now has fewer cases than Spain and the U.S.
California to Send Ventilators to National Stockpile (12:16 p.m. NY)
California, which has yet to see its hospitals overrun by patients, plans to loan 500 state-owned ventilators to the national stockpile.
“We’re aggressively preparing for a surge — but we can’t turn our backs on Americans whose lives depend on having a ventilator now,” Governor Gavin Newsom said in a statement.
With the New York area experiencing a supply shortage, other states are stepping in to assist. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said this weekend that Oregon offered to send 140 ventilators to his state.
Merkel Says Too Soon to Ease Lockdown (11:43 a.m. NY)
It’s too early for Germany to set a date for easing its lockdown, Chancellor Angela Merkel said, holding her first press conference since returning from 12 days of self-confinement after being exposed to Covid-19.
She reiterated her support for the use of the European Stability Mechanism and the European Commission’s proposal for job protection, and said the continent will need a plan for reconstruction after the pandemic subsides.
At least three tests showed she was free of the virus.
Philippines Likely to Extend Lockdown (11:43 a.m. NY)
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said he’s inclined to extend a lockdown of more than half the country’s population on its main island until April 30 to further stem the coronavirus outbreak.
Duterte, in an address late Monday, also said he’s considering tweaking this year’s 4.1 trillion-peso ($80.8 billion) budget to allocate more funds to virus response, as some 200 billion pesos set aside for cash grants to poor families won’t be enough.
Hong Kong Extends Ban on Nonresident Entry (9:22 a.m. NY)
The city’s airport will also continue to halt all transit services until further notice, according to a government statement. The original rules were set to expire by April 7.
Glaxo to Develop Covid-19 Drugs in $250 Million Partnership (8:14 a.m.)
U.K. pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline Plc is joining dozens of companies in the hunt for therapies to treat the illness caused by the coronavirus, signing a partnership with Vir Biotechnology Inc. and agreeing to invest $250 million in the U.S. company.