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San Francisco Tells People Stay Home; Roche Tests: Virus Update

Bloomberg News

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President Donald Trump said Americans should avoid gathering in groups of more than 10 people and should stop eating out at restaurants and bars. The San Francisco Bay Area went further, requiring people to stay home except for essential needs.

Canada shut its border to most foreigners. A potential vaccine moved into human testing and Roche started shipping 400,000 tests.

Volatility tightened its grip on global financial markets, with U.S. stocks plunging the most since 1987 crash.

Key Developments:

Cases top 169,000 worldwide, as deaths exceed 6,600China has 80,860 confirmed cases, rest of the world tops 86,000Music’s most powerful executive hospitalized for coronavirusTrump, G7 leaders unified on stimulus and Olympics: KudlowU.S. will be ‘backstopping’ virus-hit airlines

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 and here for maps and charts. For analysis of the impact from Bloomberg Economics, click here. To see the impact on oil and commodities demand, click here.

San Francisco Bay Area Nears Total Shutdown (5:12 p.m. NY)

Six of the biggest counties in the San Francisco Bay Area ordered people to stay home except for essential needs, marking one of the nation’s strongest local efforts yet to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

The area affected includes San Francisco, Silicon Valley and eastern cities such as Berkeley and Oakland. It will start at 12:01 a.m local time Tuesday and extend for three weeks, county health officers said at a press conference. All businesses outside of those deemed essential will shut.

Roche Shipping Tests to Labs Across U.S. (5:05 p.m. NY)

Roche Holding AG has started sending tests and will have shipped 400,000 to U.S. labs this week. The company plans to send as many as 400,000 per week going forward.

Kits are being sent to a network of more than 30 hospital and reference laboratories in the U.S. and will be conducted following guidelines set up by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Emergency.

Amazon to Hire 100,000 to Handle Surge (4:16 p.m. NY)

Amazon will hire full- and part-time workers to meet surge in demand from people relying on Amazon’s service, particularly those most vulnerable to being out in public, Dow Jones reported.

New York City Likely to Request Military Medical Units (4:12 p.m. NY)

New York City is likely to request aid from military medical units and needs massive medical capacity on a scale that has never been seen before, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

New York plans to open five drive-through testing sites and is identifying space that it can convert for medical use, he said.

San Francisco Orders People to Stay Home (3:48 p.m. NY)

San Francisco will require people to stay home except for essential needs as it tries to stop the spread of the coronavirus in one of the hardest-hit regions of the country.

The order will take effect at midnight local time Tuesday, Mayor London Breed said in a tweet. Stores and essential government functions will remain open.

Germany Ready to Aid Banks if Necessary: Merkel (2:19 p.m. NY)

Asked whether Germany was in position to assist ailing banks, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said plans were still being hashed out. “Nevertheles, we’re prepared for that, because this is a unique situation,” she said.

Major League Baseball Pushes Opening Day to Mid-May (2:18 p.m. NY)

Major League Baseball pushed opening day for its season to at least the middle of may after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged that events with more than 50 people be canceled.

Canada Shuts Border to Most Foreigners (2:14 p.m. NY)

Canada plans to significantly restrict entry of non-residents into the country. The government will be denying entry to all foreigners, except for Americans, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.

Airlines will also receive instruction to prevent all travelers with symptoms of Covid-19 to board a plane.

Johnson Tells U.K. to End Non-Essential Social Contact (1:14 p.m.)

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged British citizens to end all non-essential contact with other people in an effort to fight the fast-spreading coronavirus outbreak.

Johnson on Monday warned that without “drastic action” now, the rate of infections could double every few days. He discouraged mass gatherings from Tuesday, saying they won’t receive the support of emergency services.

First Vaccine Candidate Starts Human Testing (1:14 p.m. NY)

A potential Covid-19 vaccine moved into human testing, a record pace for a virus scientists didn’t know existed a few months ago.

The first participant received the investigational vaccine Monday. The trial began in the Seattle area, which became the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak, with 42 of the 69 deaths in the nation. Scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases developed the experimental vaccine in collaboration with biotechnology company Moderna Inc.

“Finding a safe and effective vaccine to prevent infection with SARS-CoV-2 is an urgent public health priority,” institute Director Anthony Fauci, said in a statement. “This Phase 1 study, launched in record speed, is an important first step toward achieving that goal.”

Virus Can Kill Children, WHO Head Says (1:14 .m. NY)

While the population most at risk is over 60, children can be infected by Covid-19 and some cases have been fatal, the head of the World Health Organization said at a briefing. The WHO is giving new clinical guidance tailored for both age groups.

Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said it’s essential for countries to test every suspected case and isolate any infected patients immediately. Once symptoms disappear, patients should remain in isolation an additional 14 days.

NYC-Area States Ban Crowds, Shut Bars (12:05 p.m. NY)

States in the New York City area will act together to suppress gatherings and commerce to arrest the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Crowds of more than 50 are banned, and bars, restaurants and gyms will close at 8 p.m. Monday.

“Everyone needs to stay in and be safe,” said Governor Phil Murphy of New Jersey, who spoke to reporters on a conference call with governors Andrew Cuomo of New York and Ned Lamont of Connecticut.

The concerted action echoed a recommendation late Sunday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is among the most aggressive actions nationwide to protect citizens from Covid-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus.

With the federal response muddled and sluggish, mayors and governors have been on the cutting edge of virus response. The governors are taking steps “amid a lack of federal direction and nationwide standards,” according to a statement.

“If the federal government doesn’t step up quickly, states are going to be forced to do stuff on their own,” Cuomo said.

Germany to Shut Businesses (11:20 a.m. NY)

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government agreed on guidance for the country’s 16 states to grind public life to a halt. Closures will include bars, clubs, theaters, cinemas, museums, trade fairs, fitness studios and swimming pools – even brothels – across the country.

Excluded from that list are supermarkets, delivery services, drug stores, gas stations, banks, newspaper kiosks, hairdressers and post offices. For those activities, Sunday closure rules will be suspended. Gatherings in churches, mosques and synagogues will be stopped. Restaurants may stay open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.; overnight stays for tourism will be halted.

EU Executive Proposes Ban on Non-Essential Travel (11:15 a.m. NY)

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said in a video message over Twitter that she proposes a “temporary restriction on non-essential travel to the European Union” for 30 days.

Russia Offers Testing for All After Cases Almost Double (10:48 am NY)

Russia imposed a ban on gatherings of more than 50 people in the capital city and will allow tests for coronavirus nationwide for anyone who wants them after the biggest single day increase in the official count -- 30 new cases -- to 93.

Moscow authorities also announced a series of other measures to combat spread of virus, including the closure of schools from March 21 and mandatory 14-day quarantine for all people arriving from other European countries and U.S.

Paris Shuts Parks and Gardens (10:15 a.m. NY)

Paris closed public parks and gardens while the transportation system reduced buses and trains to adapt to a sharp drop in passengers on Monday.

France has already is shuttered restaurants, cafes and shops deemed non-essential, following in the footsteps of neighboring Italy.

Hungary Shuts Border (10:15 a.m. NY)

Hungary is shutting its border to all personal travel except for nationals returning home, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said. Shops and restaurants, with the exception of pharmacies and grocery stores, must close by 3 p.m. daily while all events are banned. Schools were already closed starting Monday.

U.S. Health Agency Suffers Cyber-Attack (8:59 a.m. NY)

The U.S. Health and Human Services Department suffered a cyber-attack on its computer system Sunday night during the nation’s response to the pandemic, according to three people familiar with the matter.

The attack appears to have been intended to slow the agency’s systems down, but didn’t do so in any meaningful way, said the people, who asked for anonymity to discuss an incident that was not public.

Spain Cases Soar; Belgium Tops 1,000 (8:32 a.m. NY)

Coronavirus infections in Spain increased to 9,191, as of 1pm local time, up from 8,744 reported earlier on Monday. Deaths rose to 309 from 297. The State of emergency declared by the Spanish government will be extended beyond the 15 days effective from March 14, Transport Minister Jose Luis Abalos said. “It’s apparent we’ll have to extend this situation,” Abalos said. “We won’t be able to win this battle in 15 days.” The emergency places severe restrictions on movement and Spaniards will only be allowed to leave their houses under specific circumstances.

Separately, Belgium reported an additional 172 cases, taking the total of people infected in the country since the start to 1,085. A total of five people have died from the illness. Austria also has more than 1,000 confirmed cases.

Lombardy New Cases Slow (8:32 a.m. NY)

Lombardy governor says growth in new cases in the region is no longer exponential. Cases in Lombardy, the hub of the virus in Italy, rose by 1,587 on Sunday to 13,272, less than the 1,865 increase the previous day.

Italy’s government will meet Monday to pass a new package of measures including increased spending for its stricken health-care sector and moves to cover extraordinary layoffs after deaths in the country from the coronavirus jumped by 368 on Sunday.

Premier Giuseppe Conte said the country will need a “recovery plan” as the new package won’t be enough to sustain the economy, according to an interview with Corriere della Sera. Damage to companies will be “serious and widespread,” he said.

Sanofi, Regeneron to Begin Initial Treatment Trials (8:15 a.m. NY)

Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. will soon begin evaluating an experimental treatment in patients hospitalized with severe Covid-19. The companies initiated a later-stage clinical trial for a drug called Kevzara, a full-human monoclonal antibody that inhibits the so-called interleukin-6 pathway. Regeneron, which will be leading U.S.-based trials, will begin enrolling as many as 400 patients across 16 sites immediately. Sanofi will lead trials outside the U.S. in the coming weeks.

SEC Rejects Speculation Markets Should Be Shuttered (8:12 a.m. NY)

“Markets should continue to function through times like this,” U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton told CNBC. “We’ve been in contact with the various institutions” across Wall Street, he said. Clayton was responding to speculation that stock exchanges might suspend trading as the coronavirus continues to fuel wild market swings.

IMF Ready to Mobilize $1 Trillion Loan Capacity (8 a.m. NY)

The International Monetary Fund is ready to mobilize its $1 trillion lending capacity to help nations counter the coronavirus outbreak, with Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva calling for global coordination on monetary, fiscal and regulatory support. Georgieva reiterated in a blog post Monday that the fund has $50 billion in flexible and rapid-disbursing emergency funds for developing nations, with as much as $10 billion available at zero interest rates.

U.S. May Need 6-8 Weeks to Get Over the Worst (7:30 a.m. NY)

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams says the nation may need six to eight weeks to get over the majority of coronavirus-related pain, if the situation develops as it did in China and South Korea.

Adams, speaking on Fox News, acknowledged there is a chance the U.S. does worse than South Korea, and that the situation could get as bad as in Italy.

EU Regulator Tightens Short-Selling Rules (7:25 a.m. NY)

Traders in EU shares must report net short positions of more than 0.1% of a company’s equity to their national authorities, compared with the current level of 0.2%, the European Securities and Markets Authority said on Monday. While markets have functioned orderly since the selloff began in February, they’re nevertheless in a “fragile state” and short selling can pose an additional threat, according to the Paris-based regulator.

Geneva Invokes Emergency (7:20 a.m. NY)

Geneva, home to international organizations such as the United Nations and the World Health Organization, will see bars, restaurants, and all shops closed from 6 p.m. CET today. Exempt are those selling groceries and household products as well as pharmacies, kiosks, petrol stations and take-aways. The measure will remain in place until March 29. As of Sunday, Switzerland had 1,563 confirmed cases and 14 fatalities.

--With assistance from Adveith Nair, Mark Niquette, Joost Akkermans, Joao Lima, Geraldine Amiel, Hanna Hoikkala, Henry Goldman, Justin Sink, Anurag Kotoky, Mary Schlangenstein, Angus Whitley, Anders Melin, Lucas Shaw, Jennifer Epstein, Tyler Pager, Iain Rogers, Steve Geimann, Tommaso Ebhardt, Katharina Rosskopf, Daniel Zuidijk, Arsalan Shahla, Nikos Chrysoloras, Jan Dahinten, Patrick Donahue, Stacie Sherman, Gregory L. White, Jeannie Baumann, Thomas Mulier, Tim Ross and Kitty Donaldson.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Adveith Nair in London at anair29@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Stuart Wallace at swallace6@bloomberg.net, ;Drew Armstrong at darmstrong17@bloomberg.net, Mark Schoifet, Andrés R. Martinez

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