N.Y. Cuts Vaccine Age to 60; EU Travel Certificate: Virus Update
(Bloomberg) — The European Union will propose a certificate that could ease travel for those who have taken EU-approved shots as well as others. New York state lowered its vaccine eligibility age to 60 from 65.The vaccine from Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE showed a high ability in lab experiments to neutralize strains first detected in Brazil, the U.K. and South Africa. Norway became the latest European country to add AstraZeneca Plc’s vaccine to its immunization program for the elderly, and it was also cleared for emergency use in Indonesia.In the U.S., airlines are urging the Biden administration to develop virus passports as infections spread at the slowest pace since the pandemic began almost a year ago. Global cases, meanwhile, are picking up speed again after dropping to the lowest level since October a few weeks ago.Key Developments:Global Tracker: Cases pass 117.2 million; deaths top 2.6 millionVaccine Tracker: More than 312 million shots given worldwideVaccine success brings a despised president back from the brinkAfrica can save the world from a never-ending pandemicShoppers fight the temptation to go on a post-pandemic splurgeHow the pandemic darkens the picture on women’s pay: QuickTakeSubscribe to a daily update on the virus from Bloomberg’s Prognosis team here. Click CVID on the terminal for global data on cases and deaths.N.Y. Lowers Vaccine Eligibility to 60 (11:10 a.m. NY)New York state will lower its vaccine age eligibility to 60 from 65, Governor Andrew Cuomo said at a press briefing in Syracuse. The changes starts Wednesday.EU Certificate Could Ease Travel (9:05 a.m. NY)The European Union will propose a certificate that could ease travel for those who have taken EU-approved vaccines as well as others, like the Chinese and Russian shots, that have only received emergency national authorizations.The “EU Covid Card/digital green certificate” will comprise three documents that will specify if the holder has gotten a vaccine and which one; the results of a coronavirus test if taken; and details on whether they have recovered from a Covid-19 infection, according to a person familiar with the European Commission’s draft regulation.No Overseas Fans at Tokyo Olympics: Kyodo (8:37 a.m. NY)The Japanese government decided to exclude overseas spectators from attending the Tokyo Olympics, Kyodo reported, citing officials with knowledge of the matter. The government concluded that fans from abroad aren’t possible given concerns about the virus and different variants detected in other countries.Latvia Offers to Take Patients From Estonia (7:38 a.m. NY)Latvian Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins on Tuesday offered to take in some of neighboring Estonia’s Covid patients after its prime minister announced a lockdown and tighter restrictions to control the spread of the British strain and rising cases.German Industry Resolves Testing Spat (7:30 a.m. NY)Germany’s leading industry associations have resolved a spat with Chancellor Angela Merkel over Covid-19 tests and issued an appeal to companies to help expand rapid- and self-testing of employees.“Until a vaccination offer can be made to all citizens, we want to support the testing strategy of the federal and state governments with all our energy,” four of the biggest industry lobbies, which represent more than 90% of Germany’s workers, said in a joint statement coordinated with Merkel’s administration.Merkel last week canceled a video call with business leaders because she wanted more substantial proposals on testing workers than those initially on the table.Algorithms Match Vaccine Seekers With Doses (7 a.m. NY)ZocDoc Inc. founder Cyrus Massoumi has been frustrated by the imbalance in U.S. vaccine supply and demand — with providers tossing out doses they can’t use, even as many people desperately seek shots.The former CEO of the doctor appointment-booking company has launched an online platform to match providers with those willing to be on standby for Covid-19 vaccines. More than 200 sites in 30 states are being connected through the platform, called Dr. B, with half a million Americans requesting to be notified when doses become available nearby.Germany Says Western Balkans to Get Vaccines (6:48 p.m. HK)German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said the western Balkans, where six states seek to join the European Union, will receive more than 1 million vaccine doses from the Covax facility by the end of May. He spoke at a press conference in Berlin after meeting his Bosnia-Herzegovina counterpart, Bisera Turkovic, who said her country hadn’t received any shots from Covax, despite having made advance payments last year.Roche Expects Data on Covid Pill: CH Media (6:36 p.m. HK)Roche Holding AG expects results of the first clinical studies of the company’s pill against Covid-19 “in the next few weeks,” CH Media cited Chairman Christoph Franz as saying in an interview on a TeleZueri talk show. The company sees possible approval for the medicine toward the end of the year.Norway Is Latest to Offer Astra Shot to Elderly (6:08 p.m. HK)Norway is the latest country to add AstraZeneca’s vaccine to its immunization program for people over the age of 65. The decision comes not long after Germany, France and Sweden said they were clearing shots by Astra for the elderly, after judging that recent data now support such a step.S. Africa Economy Shrinks Most in Century (5:47 p.m. HK)South Africa’s economy contracted the most in a century in 2020 as virus restrictions ravaged output and disrupted trade. Gross domestic product shrank 7%, compared with a 0.2% expansion in 2019, according to a report released by Statistics South Africa. That’s the biggest decline since 1920, when output dropped by 11.9% during the two-year post-World War I recession, central bank data show.Russia’s European Vaccine Push (4:41 p.m. HK)Russia is pushing ahead with plans to make its vaccine in Europe, securing a deal to produce the Sputnik V shot in Italy amid additional talks in Germany and France. The deal between Adienne Pharma & Biotech SA and Russia’s sovereign wealth fund RDIF is the first European production agreement for the vaccine. While Russia was first to approve a Covid shot for the general public, it has been slower than some rivals to scale up output.Pfizer-BioNTech Shot Neutralizes Brazil Strain (4:26 p.m. HK)The vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech showed a high ability to neutralize strains first detected in Brazil, the U.K. and South Africa, according to a new study.In lab experiments, the shot demonstrated “roughly equivalent” levels of neutralizing activity against the Brazil and U.K. strains compared with a version of the virus from early last year. It also showed “robust but lower” activity against the South Africa variant, according to a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine.Bulgaria Has Most New Deaths in 2 Months (3:19 p.m. HK)Bulgaria reported 150 new deaths from coronavirus, the highest daily number in two months. The country reopened restaurants and pubs last week despite a rapid rise in infections that experts have attributed to the spread of the British strain. Emergency room doctors have called for tighter measures.Bulgaria is preparing to hold a general election on April 4.U.S. Firms in China See Improved Ties (1:30 p.m. HK)American businesses in China see their industries growing this year after the pandemic dented profits in 2020, with increasing hopes the two nations will seek to mend ties, a survey by the American Chamber of Commerce shows.Some 81% of the 345 respondents expect industry growth this year and 45% see relations with the U.S. improving, a jump of 15 percentage points from last year. The surge in optimism on bilateral ties came on the back of Joe Biden’s election, AmCham China chairman Greg Gilligan said.AstraZeneca Vaccine Cleared by Indonesia (12:15 p.m. HK)Indonesia cleared AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine for emergency use, a second shot made available by the government to bolster its inoculation drive amid concern over an influx of new virus variants.“We need to accelerate the vaccination program to achieve herd immunity as soon as possible,” Penny Lukito, head of the country’s food and drug regulator, said in a virtual briefing Tuesday. The office, known as BPOM, first granted approval for Sinovac Biotech Ltd.’s vaccine in January.Global Infections Rise Even as U.S. Cases Slow (noon HK)New global Covid-19 infections are picking up speed again after dropping to the lowest level since October a few weeks ago, as variants spread rapidly in places like Brazil and Europe. New infections for the seven days ended Sunday totaled 2.8 million, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg, increasing for a second week following more than a month of declines.The pickup comes despite a significant slowing of infections in the U.S. as the nation ramps up vaccination efforts. Brazil is seeing record cases and deaths, with hospitals overflowing as it plays host to a more contagious variant. That country is on course to overtake India in the next week for the second-highest number of infections in the world.While variants are causing a spike in cases, global deaths continue to decline. Fatalities for the latest week totaled 62,646, the lowest since November.Thai Hotels Seek Waiver for Vaccinated (11:40 a.m. HK)Thailand needs to waive quarantine for vaccinated foreign travelers and provide Covid-19 shots to tourism workers for a quick recovery of the industry, according to the Thai Hotels Association.“Not being able to welcome tourists for over a year now, we’re urgently requesting the government to reduce the lockdown days,” President Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi said in a Bloomberg TV interview Tuesday. Foreign tourists could be screened and tracked during their stay in Thailand to help alleviate concerns of virus spread, the group said.DBS Joins JPMorgan in Endorsing Office Work (10:40 a.m HK)DBS Group Holdings Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Piyush Gupta said employees need to sometimes work from the office to develop a firm’s identity.“You need to build the soul of the company, and it’s very hard to do that if everybody is always working from somewhere else,” Gupta, who runs Southeast Asia’s largest bank, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. “So you need to bring people in from time to time.”Gupta’s comments echo remarks from global counterparts including JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Jamie Dimon, who has said that working remotely for too long could decrease productivity, and Barclays Plc CEO Jes Staley, who expects his bankers to return to their offices this year.Japan Posts Double-Digit Growth (8:50 a.m. HK)Japan confirmed its economy grew by double-digits at the end of last year, according to revised data that continued to show strength even as this quarter’s virus emergency sets back the recovery for the time being.Gross domestic product grew an annualized 11.7% from the prior quarter in the three months through December, the Cabinet Office reported Tuesday in figures that were a touch weaker than an earlier estimate. Economists had forecast a revised growth rate of 12.6%.Airlines Urge U.S. to Develop Virus Passport (8 a.m. HK)U.S. airlines, joined by travel groups and labor, urged the Biden administration to take the lead in developing standards for temporary health credentials that would help reopen global travel by documenting vaccinations and test results.The U.S. “must be a leader” in efforts already underway in other regions to implement such travel passports, groups including Airlines for America said in a letter Monday to Jeffrey Zients, the head of President Joe Biden’s Covid-19 recovery team. It’s essential for the government to partner with carriers and the travel industry “to quickly develop” standards, they said.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.