(Bloomberg) — U.S. President Donald Trump said he and First Lady Melania Trump tested positive for Covid-19. Trump said in a tweet they will begin a “quarantine and recovery process immediately.” The president was tested after Hope Hicks, one of his closest aides, was found to have been infected. The news hit financial markets, with U.S. and European equity futures falling along with Asian stocks. The dollar rose.
India’s death toll rose to almost 100,000, while Germany reported its largest number of new cases since mid-April. Ukraine posted a record number of new infections for the third straight day.
Amazon.com Inc. said close to 20,000 of its employees had Covid-19 over almost six months. A $1 billion funding package to help the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention fight Covid-19 has remained mostly unspent, people familiar with the matter said.
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Germany Records Most New Cases Since April 18 (1 p.m. HK)
Germany recorded 2,626 new infections, the most since April 18, taking the nation’s total to 295,539, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The new cases are “predominantly due to transmission at family and other private events,” the RKI public health institute said. The proportion of returning travelers among new infections is declining, the institute said.
Chancellor Angela Merkel has repeatedly urged citizens to adhere to distancing and hygiene rules to prevent another surge in infections, and has vowed to do everything possible to avoid a general lockdown. At the height of the outbreak in late March and early April, Germany’s daily cases rose to almost 7,000.
Trump Test Positive For Covid-19 (12:56 a.m. HK)
U.S. President Donald Trump announced early Friday that he and First Lady Melania Trump had tested positive for Covid-19, shortly after close aide Hope Hicks had fallen ill with the coronavirus. “We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!” Trump said on Twitter.
The 74-year-old president’s test result will sharpen intense public attention on his handling of the pandemic as he campaigns for re-election against Democrat Joe Biden, who leads in national polls. Trump is the highest-profile case of the virus, which infected other world leaders, including U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, both of whom recovered.
It wasn’t immediately clear how Trump contracted the virus, which has killed more than 200,000 Americans, but Hicks became ill after flying with the president aboard Air Force One to the presidential debate in Cleveland on Tuesday and to a campaign rally in Minnesota on Wednesday.
U.K. Lawmaker Faces Calls to Quit After Breaking Covid Rules (12 noon HK)
U.K. lawmaker Margaret Ferrier faces calls to quit after admitting she broke self-isolation rules to attend Parliament in London this week while waiting for the result of a coronavirus test, which later came back positive.
“It’s utterly inexcusable,” said David Linden, an MP for the Scottish National Party, said on BBC “Question Time.” “I don’t think her position is tenable and she should resign.” Ferrier also breached regulations by taking the train home to Scotland after testing positive. Her conduct was criticized by Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who said “the rules apply to everyone.”
Ferrier, SNP MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West near Glasgow, apologized “unreservedly” for her actions in a statement.
Australia Allows Quarantine-Free Travel From New Zealand (11:47 a.m. HK)
New Zealanders will be allowed to visit Australia’s New South Wales state and Northern Territory from Oct. 16 without having to undergo quarantine, Australian Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said.
The move is part of efforts by both nations to create a “trans-Tasman bubble” to stimulate tourism and help their economies recover from the pandemic. That work has been hampered by a resurgence of the virus in Australia’s Victoria state. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said that if her countryfolk do travel to Australia, they will still have to quarantine on their return home.
India Adds More Than 80,000 cases as Death Toll Nears 100,000 (11:42 a.m. HK)
India’s coronavirus epidemic continued to surge, with the South Asian nation adding more than 80,000 cases, pushing its tally close to 6.4 million confirmed infections, according to data from the Ministry of Health. Its death toll — at more than 99,700 on Friday — is expected to cross the 100,000 mark on Saturday, a milestone so far reached only by the U.S. and Brazil.
Japan Jobless Rate Hits 3-Year High (7:42 a.m. HK)
Japan’s unemployment rate rose to a three-year high in August as the coronavirus continued to weigh on the economy’s recovery. The rate rose to 3% from 2.9% in July, the internal affairs ministry reported. Japan has suffered fewer job losses than other major economies during the crisis thanks to legal precedents for full-time workers and big cash buffers on corporate balance sheets, along with cheap loans and wage support from the government to keep workers on the payroll.
Philippine Airlines May Cut More Than a Third of Workforce: Inquirer (7:28 a.m. HK)
Philippine Airlines plans to reduce its workforce by as much as 35%, affecting more than 2,700 employees, in a process that could take until early December, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported.
Hawaii CEO Charged With $12.8 Million Covid-Relief Fraud (7:18 a.m. HK)
An engineering and design firm CEO has been charged in Hawaii with a scheme to fraudulently obtain more than $12.8 million in loans from the Paycheck Protection Program purportedly for relief due to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to federal court documents. Martin Kao, CEO of Navatek LLC, now known as Martin Defense Group, was charged with two counts of bank fraud and five counts of money laundering. Prosecutors say Kao falsified information on the loans and transferred more than $2 million to his personal accounts.
New York Downgraded as Moody’s Warns of Long Recovery (7:01 a.m. HK)
New York City and state had their credit ratings lowered for the first time in about three decades by Moody’s Investors Service, which said the impact from the coronavirus on the most populous U.S. city is among the most severe in the nation. Moody’s dropped both by one notch to Aa2, and warned of a long return to normal from the pandemic. New York reported the most coronavirus cases since May, even as the U.S. pace of infections remained steady. Cases are rising in New York City as schools reopen.
Earlier, New York state reported more than 1,300 new cases of coronavirus, the most since May, before New York City began allowing businesses to gradually reopen. The main hot-spot increases have been in Brooklyn and Rockland County, Governor Andrew Cuomo told reporters.
Almost 20,000 Amazon Workers Had Covid (6 a.m. HK)
Amazon.com Inc. said almost 20,000 U.S. employees have tested positive for Covid-19 during a time period of a little over six months, a disclosure that follows criticism from some lawmakers and employees that the world’s largest online retailer was too secretive about outbreaks within its ranks.
The retailer said in a blog post Thursday that 19,816 workers tested positive for the respiratory disease, or were presumed positive, out of 1,372,000 U.S. front-line employees who worked for the company from March 1 to Sept. 19, an infection rate of 1.44%. The company said that if its employees contracted the virus at a rate equal to that of the general population, it would have had 33,952 cases.
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