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Virus outbreak: news and analysis from 27 September

Walkway in front of a branch of JPMorgan Chase & Co. bank in the Midwood neighborhood of Brooklyn in New York on September 24.

Photographer: Amir Hamja / Bloomberg

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Australia is aim to create a “travel bubble” with New Zealand by the end of the year as the pace of coronavirus infections in the two countries eases, with Melbourne easing some restrictions ahead of schedule.

These include antibodies that prevent the coronavirus from spreading in the body Promising strategies to ward off serious Covid-19 disease before vaccines arrive, according to Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases.

New York, which previously contained the nation’s worst Covid-19 epidemic, has reported more than 1,000 new cases for the first time since the beginning of June. New infections in the US have increased above the pace of the past few days.

Thousands of masked protesters gathered in London, clashing with police as they demonstrated against the government’s extended anti-coronavirus restrictions. Like Europe the second wave continued, with Germany having its highest daily number of new cases since April.

Key developments:

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Hotspot virus

Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people in the last 14 days

Source: European Center for Disease Prevention and Control

Australia and New Zealand Target Travel Corrider by the end of the year (10:57 HK)

New South Wales, the most populous state, has reported no new infections in the past 24 hours, the first time since June 10 that there have been no new cases. New Zealand reported two new cases of the virus on Sunday.

“Ultimately, if New Zealand opens up until Australia will be a matter for New Zealand, “Simon Birmingham, Australia’s tourism minister, said in an interview with Nine Network broadcaster.

The situation in the state capital of Victoria, Melbourne, is slowly improving, with 16 new cases of the virus and two deaths reported in the past 24 hours. The city’s 14-day moving average for infections is 22, below the 30-50 range required for easing some social restraints on Monday. Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said some curbs would be eased ahead of the current schedule given the progress.

Early Covid Treatments Could Be “Bridge” to Vaccines, Says Fauci (7:28 HK)

Antibody-based drugs, other blood products from cured patients, and antivirals are being studied as early treatments, Fauci said. The goal is to prevent patients from developing the severe lung damage for which Gilead Sciences Inc.’s remdesivir and the anti-inflammatory drug dexamethasone are given.

“We are focusing a lot now on treating early infection and / or preventing infection,” Fauci told the Journal of the American Medical Association in an interview Friday. “And this is the bridge to the vaccine.”

Johnson finds himself in opinion poll as virus policies anger Brits (5:50 pm NY)

Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party follows the main opposition Labor Party in an opinion poll for the first time in months, with half of those interviewed saying they disapprove of the way the government has handled the coronavirus crisis.


Police intervene to disperse demonstrators in Trafalgar Square in London on 26 September.

Photographer: Justin Tallis / AFP via Getty Images

According to an Opinium poll for The Observer, a left-wing newspaper, Keir Starmer’s Labor jumped 3 points to 42% with Johnson’s party dropping the same amount to 39%. In late March, right after the government shut down the economy and four months after winning the election overwhelmingly, the Conservatives had 54% support.

Though the poll comes years before the country is forced to hold a general election, it remembers that Johnson’s administration got stuck in a series of missteps. Thousands of protesters, some with signs such as “This is Tyranny”, took to the streets of central London on Saturday, angered by the government’s expansion of coronavirus restrictions.

Hawaii Nursing Home Operator Ousted After Veterans Death (5:35 PM NY)

A state health organization in Hawaii will take over a veteran nursing home where they have 26 residents reportedly died of Covid-19.

Hawaii Health Systems Corp will become the operator of Yukio Okutsu Veterans State Home in Hilo on the Big Island, taking over from Avalon Health Care, based in Salt Lake City, Utah, the Associated Press and local media reported.

Home deaths of veterans account for a large percentage of the state’s total coronavirus deaths. Hawaii has had over 12,000 cases. A federal team from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, along with the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, revealed they had not taken adequate precautions to prevent the spread of the virus, Hawaii News Now reported this week.

Most of the 89 residents who lived in the home before the outbreak contracted the virus, along with dozens of employees.

California Cases Above Average (14:05 NY)

California added 4,197 new cases, bringing the total to 798,237. Another 134 deaths were reported, with a death toll of 15,532. The one-day increase in cases and deaths exceeds the 14-day average.

The state said Friday it was seeing the first signs of an increase in the number of virus cases and emergency room visits after several weeks of improvement, with forecasts showing hospitalizations could increase 89% in a month. California has 2,717 ICU beds available, about 900 more than the low two months ago.

Italy swears there will be no national blockade (12:45 NY)

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said there will be no new national bloc as the country is “in a completely different situation” compared to the beginning of the year. Stating that the government has strengthened the health system, he added that there may be stricter measures in specific clusters or areas “but in a limited and circumscribed way”.

Airline Travelers Rapid Test Facility at Rome Fiumicino Airport

A healthcare worker collects a swab sample from a passenger at the Covid-19 rapid testing facility at Rome’s Fiumicino airport on September 25.

Photographer: Alessia Pierdomenico / Bloomberg

Cases from France fall off record again (13:10 NY)

France reported a drop in the number of new cases for the second day to 14,412, retreating from the record of 16,096 set Thursday. The seven-day average rose to 12,179. A further 39 deaths were reported, for a total of 31,700.

Dutch deaths increase the most since June (11:35 NY)

Deaths caused by Covid 19 increased by 38 on Friday in the Netherlands, the highest jump since May 15, the national news agency ANP reported Saturday.

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