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SABC News – Breaking news, special reports, world, business, sport coverage of all South African current events. Africa’s news leader.Argentina surpasses 900 000 COVID-19 cases, virus spreads to the interiorJ&J pauses COVID-19 vaccine trials due to unexplained illness in participantUK consumers, sensing new COVID restrictions, speed up spending – SurveysUK’s Johnson shuts pubs in parts of England with new COVID-19 curbsEU travellers could avoid quarantine under plans for COVID-19 testing regime: The TelegraphCoronavirus expert Fauci says Trump campaign ad should be removedUN chief urges development banks to stop financing fossil fuel projectsNumber of COVID patients in French intensive care units highest in nearly five monthsTrump tests negative for COVID-19: White House physicianWorld stocks zoom to five-week highs on economic, stimulus hopes

https://www.sabcnews.com/sabcnews Africa’s News Leader Tue, 13 Oct 2020 02:40:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.3.2 https://www.sabcnews.com/sabcnews/argentina-surpasses-900-000-covid-19-cases-virus-spreads-to-the-interior/ Tue, 13 Oct 2020 02:40:46 +0000

Argentina surpasses 900 000 COVID-19 cases, virus spreads to the interior

Argentina surpassed 900 000 cases of coronavirus on Monday, with strong growth of infections in large populated centers in the interior of the country after months of the virus’ being concentrated in Buenos Aires and its suburbs.

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Argentina surpassed 900 000 cases of coronavirus on Monday, with strong growth of infections in large populated centers in the interior of the country after months of the virus’ being concentrated in Buenos Aires and its suburbs.

The government late last week tightened restrictions on the movement of people in 18 provinces for two weeks due to the growth of COVID-19 cases.

On Monday, the Health Ministry said the death toll reached 24 186 and the number of infections totaled 903 730. During the previous 24 hours, 318 deaths and 9 524 new cases were reported.

As an example of the virus’ spreading outside of Buenos Aires, in areas untouched by the virus in the early days of the pandemic, more than 90% of the intensive-care beds at the Centenario hospital in the city of Rosario, 300 kilometers north of Buenos Aires, are occupied by COVID-19 patients, hospital staff told Reuters.

Rosario is the main ports hub carrying agricultural commodities from the Pampas farm belt to export markets. Argentina is a major global soybean, corn and wheat supplier.

“Hopefully we continue as we are, with 95% to 97% occupancy (of ICU beds) and that narrow margin will allow us to have a reasonable turn-over of beds,” Rosario intensive care doctor Juan Pendino, 62, told Reuters.

Over the last week Argentina registered almost 100 000 new cases, with a positive rate of 72.5% as of Sunday, one of the highest levels in the world.

“We are not going to have normalcy again – neither in the short- nor medium-term – until we have a high rate of immunization of the population, either naturally or through a vaccine,” Gerardo Laube, an infectious disease doctor at the Muniz Hospital in Buenos Aires, told local radio on Monday.

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SABC News Over the last week Argentina registered almost 100 000 new cases, with a positive rate of 72.5% as of Sunday, one of the highest levels in the world. https://www.sabcnews.com/sabcnews/jj-pauses-covid-19-vaccine-trials-due-to-unexplained-illness-in-participant/ Tue, 13 Oct 2020 02:30:12 +0000

J&J pauses COVID-19 vaccine trials due to unexplained illness in participant


Johnson & Johnson said on Monday it had temporarily paused its COVID-19 vaccine candidate clinical trials due to an unexplained illness in a study participant, delaying one of the highest profile efforts to contain the global pandemic.

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Johnson & Johnson said on Monday it had temporarily paused its COVID-19 vaccine candidate clinical trials due to an unexplained illness in a study participant, delaying one of the highest profile efforts to contain the global pandemic.

The participant’s illness is being reviewed and evaluated by an independent data and safety monitoring board as well as the company’s clinical and safety physicians, the company said here in a statement.

J&J, which reports quarterly financial results on Tuesday morning, said that such pauses are normal in big trials, which can include tens of thousands of people. It said the “study pause” in giving doses of the vaccine candidate was different from a “regulatory hold” required by health authorities. The current case is a pause.

However, J&J’s move follows a similar one by AstraZeneca Plc. In September, AstraZeneca paused late-stage trials of its experimental coronavirus vaccine, developed with the University of Oxford, due to an unexplained illness in a UK study participant.

While trials in the UK, Brazil, South Africa and India have resumed, the US trial is still on hold pending a regulatory review.

Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of infectious diseases at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, said by email that “Everybody is on the alert because of what happened with AstraZeneca,” adding that it could take a week to gather information.

“It would have to be a serious adverse event. If it was something like prostate cancer, uncontrolled diabetes or a heart attack – they wouldn’t stop it for any of those reasons. This is likely to be a neurological event,” he said.

Last month, J&J said its experimental COVID-19 vaccine produced a strong immune response against the novel coronavirus in an early-to-mid stage clinical trial, following which the company kicked off a final 60 000-person trial, whose results had been expected by the end of this year or early 2021.

Johnson & Johnson declined to elaborate about the illness due to privacy concerns. It did say that some participants in studies get placebos, and it was not always clear whether a person suffering a serious adverse event in a clinical trial received a placebo or the treatment.

Stat News reported here the pause earlier in the day citing a document sent to outside researchers, which stated that a “pausing rule” had been met, the online system used to enroll patients in the study had been closed and the data and safety monitoring board would be convened.

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SABC News Last month, J&J said its experimental COVID-19 vaccine produced a strong immune response against the novel coronavirus in an early-to-mid stage clinical trial. https://www.sabcnews.com/sabcnews/uk-consumers-sensing-new-covid-restrictions-speed-up-spending-surveys/ Tue, 13 Oct 2020 01:40:00 +0000

UK consumers, sensing new COVID restrictions, speed up spending – Surveys


Credit card provider Barclaycard said spending rose at the fastest rate since the country was hit by the coronavirus lockdown.

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Credit card provider Barclaycard said spending rose at the fastest rate since the country was hit by the coronavirus lockdown.

Separate data from retailers showed sales values at major store chains jumped by the most in nearly 11 years, excluding distortions caused by the timing of Easter.

Consumer spending has been a rare bright spot for Britain’s economy which posted a record drop during the second quarter, although mounting job losses are expected in the coming months.

Barclaycard said its measure of spending rose 2% year-on-year in September, driven by purchases of essentials and representing an acceleration from August’s 0.2% increase. Pubs and bars also saw strong spending.

A quarter of consumers polled by Barclaycard said they had stockpiled last month in case of shortages of goods, as they did in the run-up to the coronavirus lockdown in March.

“While the nation’s confidence in the UK economy has improved slightly, many are still cautious about the upcoming winter months, and the subsequent uncertainty it may bring has caused some to start stockpiling once more,” said Raheel Ahmed, head of consumer products at Barclaycard.

A separate survey from the British Retail Consortium also pointed to strong spending.

Retail sales values at major store chains rose 5.6% in annual terms last month, the biggest increase since December 2009 when excluding distortions caused by the changing timing of Easter holidays.

The BRC said there were signs that consumers had brought forward some of their Christmas shopping.

“The industry is beginning to recover, however, forced store or warehouse closures during any future lockdowns could put paid to this progress,” said BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson.

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SABC News Consumer spending has been a rare bright spot for Britain’s economy which posted a record drop during the second quarter, although mounting job losses are expected in the coming months. https://www.sabcnews.com/sabcnews/574572-2/ Tue, 13 Oct 2020 01:19:48 +0000

UK’s Johnson shuts pubs in parts of England with new COVID-19 curbs


British Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed a tiered system of further restrictions on parts of England on Monday, including shutting pubs, to curb an acceleration in COVID-19 cases, though anger was rising at the cost of the curtailment of freedoms.

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed a tiered system of further restrictions on parts of England on Monday, including shutting pubs, to curb an acceleration in COVID-19 cases, though anger was rising at the cost of the curtailment of freedoms.

Johnson announced a new three-tiered system in an attempt to standardise a patchwork of often complicated and confusing restrictions imposed across England. Law-makers will vote on the move on Tuesday.

The lockdowns will include shutting pubs and bars and banning wedding receptions in areas placed in the “very high” alert level from Wednesday. The other alert levels in the new system are “medium” and “high”.

So far, Merseyside in northwest England – which includes the city of Liverpool – is the only area classified at the “very high” level. Gyms, leisure centres, casinos, betting shops and adult gaming centres there will also close, Johnson said.

“We must act to save lives,” Johnson told parliament, adding that he did not want another national lockdown and that he understood the frustrations of those chafing at the “repressions of liberty”.

“If we let the virus rip, then the bleak mathematics dictate that we would suffer not only an intolerable death toll from COVID, but we would put such a huge strain on our NHS (National Health Service) with an uncontrolled second spike that our doctors and nurses would simply be unable to devote themselves to other treatments.”

Health officials say the freshest data showed infections were rising across the north of England and in some more southerly areas too, while the virus was creeping up age bands towards the elderly from those aged 16-29 years.

Chris Whitty, the government’s chief medical adviser, said the standard restrictions that would apply to very high risk areas would not be enough to control the outbreak there, and urged local authorities to go further.

“The base will not be sufficient … but there are additional things that can be done within that guidance,” he said.

Schools, restaurants and most workplaces will remain open even in the “very high” risk areas.

Manchester intensive care consultant Jane Eddleston said 30% of critical care beds were taken up with COVID-19 patients and this was starting to affect healthcare for others.

“This is not how we want to live our lives but this is the narrow path we have to tread between the social and economic trauma of a full lockdown and massive human and indeed economic cost of an uncontained epidemic,” Johnson said.

The three-tiered system applies only to England as devolved authorities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have responsibility for their own health arrangements.

Britain’s large hospitality sector says it is being brought to its knees by the restrictions.

Karen Strickland, landlady of The Grapes pub in Liverpool, said their income was already down by 70% with the current enforced countrywide closing time of 10 p.m., and the government’s support scheme help was not enough.

“It’s absolutely horrendous,” she said.

Under the new restrictions, pubs that serve meals will be allowed to stay open, though they will only be able to serve alcohol as part of such a meal.

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SABC News Johnson announced a new three-tiered system in an attempt to standardise a patchwork of often complicated and confusing restrictions imposed across England. https://www.sabcnews.com/sabcnews/eu-travellers-could-avoid-quarantine-under-plans-for-covid-19-testing-regime-the-telegraph/ Tue, 13 Oct 2020 00:26:50 +0000

EU travellers could avoid quarantine under plans for COVID-19 testing regime: The Telegraph


Travellers across Europe could avoid quarantine under plans to introduce a comprehensive COVID-19 testing regime, The Telegraph reported on Monday.

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Travellers across Europe could avoid quarantine under plans to introduce a comprehensive COVID-19 testing regime, The Telegraph reported on Monday.

The European Commission wants testing to be the “preferred” alternative to quarantine for travellers and has commissioned health experts to develop protocols, the report bit.ly/3doSz0O said.

Plans will also require “mutual recognition” of COVID-19 tests by countries which would enable business travellers or holiday makers arriving in a country to reduce or sidestep quarantine by presenting a medical certificate showing a negative coronavirus result, according to the newspaper.

Britain is expected to be part of the scheme until it leaves the European Union at the end of the year but could remain part of it after Brexit, the report added, citing EU sources.

Last week, EU countries had agreed to a common “traffic light” system to guide them on COVID-19 testing or quarantines on EU tourists and other non-essential travellers during the pandemic.

It aims to end a confusing patchwork of restrictions across Europe and to bring back free movement of people.

According to the report, EU foreign ministers will sign the proposed traffic light system on Tuesday.

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SABC News Last week, EU countries had agreed to a common “traffic light” system to guide them on COVID-19 testing or quarantines on EU tourists and other non-essential travellers during the pandemic. https://www.sabcnews.com/sabcnews/coronavirus-expert-fauci-says-trump-campaign-ad-should-be-removed/ Tue, 13 Oct 2020 00:17:16 +0000

Coronavirus expert Fauci says Trump campaign ad should be removed


Top US infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said on Monday that President Donald Trump’s campaign team should withdraw an advertisement that draws on a statement Fauci made that he says is being used out of context.

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Top US infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said on Monday that President Donald Trump’s campaign team should withdraw an advertisement that draws on a statement Fauci made that he says is being used out of context.

Asked in an interview on CNN if the ad should be removed, Fauci said, “I think so.” He said the ad was “unfortunate and really disappointing.”

The ad, released last week, discusses Trump’s effort to recover from COVID-19, as well as his administration’s work to address the coronavirus pandemic. The 30-second spot uses public remarks from Fauci in a way that suggests he was praising the President.

The remarks came from a March interview where Fauci, who has been director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) since 1984, discussed the broader effort to fight the new coronavirus, including by the White House task force.

Fauci has said that he has never publicly endorsed a political candidate for public office.

Fauci has sometimes been diplomatically critical of the President, including for holding rallies that attract thousands of people.

The disease has infected nearly 7.7 million people in the United States and killed more than 214 000.

Opinion polls show most voters disapprove of the president’s handling of the crisis.

Trump campaign spokesperson Tim Murtaugh defended the ad on Sunday, saying the words from Fauci “are accurate, and directly from Dr. Fauci’s mouth.”

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SABC News Dr Fauci has sometimes been diplomatically critical of the President, including for holding rallies that attract thousands of people. https://www.sabcnews.com/sabcnews/un-chief-urges-development-banks-to-stop-financing-fossil-fuel-projects/ Tue, 13 Oct 2020 00:00:16 +0000

UN chief urges development banks to stop financing fossil fuel projects


United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday urged development banks to stop backing fossil fuel projects, raising the pressure on the state-backed lenders ahead of a climate change summit France is hosting next month.

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United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday urged development banks to stop backing fossil fuel projects, raising the pressure on the state-backed lenders ahead of a climate change summit France is hosting next month.

Environmental campaigners have for years been demanding publicly-listed commercial banks in Europe, the United States and Asia stop financing new coal-fired power stations, oil exploration or natural gas infrastructure.

But the world’s development banks, whose backing is often crucial in determining whether such projects are viable, are also facing calls to starve the fossil fuel industry of finance.

Guterres urged a virtual meeting of a coalition of finance ministers and economic policy-makers from dozens of countries to ensure development banks phase out fossil fuel investments, rapidly scale up support for renewable energy, and back projects to help those most exposed to the impacts of climate change.

“We need speed, scale, and decisive leadership,” Guterres said in a video message. “I count on this coalition to rise to the challenge.”

France is hosting what it says is the first global meeting of all public development banks to discuss climate change, called the Finance in Common Summit, on November 12.

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SABC News United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. https://www.sabcnews.com/sabcnews/number-of-covid-patients-in-french-intensive-care-units-highest-in-nearly-five-months/ Mon, 12 Oct 2020 22:34:58 +0000

Number of COVID patients in French intensive care units highest in nearly five months


 The number of people being treated in French intensive care units for COVID-19 exceeded 1 500 on Monday for the first time since May 27, authorities said, raising fears of local lockdowns being imposed across the country.

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The number of people being treated in French intensive care units for COVID-19 exceeded 1 500 on Monday for the first time since May 27, authorities said, raising fears of local lockdowns being imposed across the country.

The new figure of 1 539 is still almost five times lower than an April 8 high of 7 148 but also four times higher than a July 31 low of 371.

And as there are normally more people hospitalised with various illnesses in the autumn than in the spring, health experts fear the hospital system will be quickly overwhelmed if nothing is done to contain the spread of the new coronavirus.

Earlier, Prime Minister Jean Castex said France was facing a “strong” second wave of COVID-19 infections and that he could not rule out local lockdowns.

President Emmanuel Macron is due to speak about the public health situation in television interviews on Wednesday evening.

There were 8 505 new COVID-19 infections over the past 24 hours in France, data showed, sharply down from Saturday’s record of 26 896 and Sunday’s 16 101.

But the Monday figure tends to dip as fewer tests are conducted on Sundays.

The seven-day moving average of new infections, which averages out weekly data reporting irregularities, stood at 17 029, above the 17 000 level for the first time since the start of the pandemic in March.

The cumulative number of cases now totals 743 479.

The number of people in France who have died from COVID-19 infections rose by 95 to 32 825, versus 46 on Sunday and a seven-day moving average of 75.

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SABC News Prime Minister Jean Castex said France was facing a “strong” second wave of COVID-19 infections and that he could not rule out local lockdowns. https://www.sabcnews.com/sabcnews/trump-tests-negative-for-covid-19-white-house-physician/ Mon, 12 Oct 2020 22:10:06 +0000

Trump tests negative for COVID-19: White House physician


US President Donald Trump has tested negative for COVID-19 and he is not infectious to others, the White House physician said on Monday, 10 days after Trump announced he had contracted the coronavirus.

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US President Donald Trump has tested negative for COVID-19 and he is not infectious to others, the White House physician said on Monday, 10 days after Trump announced he had contracted the coronavirus.

In a memo released by the White House just hours before Trump was due to resume holding campaign rallies, Dr. Sean Conley said the President had tested negative on consecutive days using an Abbott Laboratories BinaxNOW antigen card.

Conley said the negative tests and other clinical and laboratory data “indicate a lack of detectable viral replication.”

Trump’s medical team had determined that based on the data and guidelines from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “the President is not infectious to others,” Conley said.

Trump returns to the campaign trail on Monday night with a rally in Sanford, Florida, his first since he disclosed on October 2 that he tested positive for COVID-19.

Critics fault Trump for failing to encourage supporters at campaign events, and even White House staff, to wear protective masks and abide by social-distancing guidelines. At least 11 close Trump aides have tested positive for the coronavirus.

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SABC News In a memo released by the White House, Dr. Sean Conley said Trump had tested negative on consecutive days using an Abbott Laboratories BinaxNOW antigen card. https://www.sabcnews.com/sabcnews/world-stocks-zoom-to-five-week-highs-on-economic-stimulus-hopes/ Mon, 12 Oct 2020 21:20:04 +0000

World stocks zoom to five-week highs on economic, stimulus hopes


Global stocks scaled five-week highs Monday on hopes that more government stimulus would come and that the world economy was on the mend, while the Chinese yuan retreated from a 17-month high after a policy move over the weekend.

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Global stocks scaled five-week highs Monday on hopes that more government stimulus would come and that the world economy was on the mend, while the Chinese yuan retreated from a 17-month high after a policy move over the weekend.

Investor optimism that Washington will work through talks that have repeatedly stalled to deliver another round of fiscal stimulus drove major US stock indices to highs last seen in early September.

Hopes that the top Wall Street banks will announce a decent set of third-quarter earnings this week that show business was not as weak as feared also helped, while excitement over an expected debut of Apple Inc’s latest iPhone on Tuesday buoyed technology stocks.

Slugged by stronger investor demand for risk, the US dollar was pinned near a three-week low and gold, another safe-haven asset, stayed below a three-week high.

The US bond market is closed on Monday for Columbus Day.

The cheer over the economic outlook and government stimulus did not boost oil prices, which dropped as investors focused on a boost in supply.

The S&P 500 jumped 57 points, or 1.64%, to 3 534.22, within spitting distance of its record high of 3 580.84 struck on September 2. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 250 points, or 0.88%, to 28 837.52.

Shares in Apple surged 6.4% while those in Amazon rallied 4.8% ahead of its Prime Day shopping event on October 13 and 14. That helped the Nasdaq Composite to stage its biggest one-day rally in a month, jumping 296 points, or 2.56%, to 11 876.26.

“The market leaders are once again the tech names, supported by the fact that the economy continues to expand,” said Phil Blancato, chief executive of Ladenburg Thalmann Asset Management in New York. MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe climbed 1.43% to 592 96, a level not seen since September 2, while European stocks rose 0.72% to 373 00.

Bets that more US stimulus was in the offing came in spite of indications that talks in Washington had stalled again, leading the Trump administration to call on Congress to pass a less ambitious coronavirus relief bill.

US President Donald Trump on Friday had offered a $1.8 trillion coronavirus relief package after urging his team on Twitter to “go big” in negotiations with the Democrats to reach a deal.

A sluggish US dollar kept the US dollar index down 0.07% at 93 045.

The Chinese yuan was off 0.8% after sliding as much as 272 pips overnight in Asia, after the central bank cut foreign exchange forward reserve requirements that effectively lowers the cost of shorting the yuan.

The euro edged 0.1% lower to $1.1812 and the yen firmed 0.26% to 105 33 per dollar.

Gold edged 0.36% lower to $1,922.70 per ounce.

Oil prices also slipped after a force majeure at Libya’s largest oilfield lifted, a Norwegian strike affecting production ended and US producers began restoring output after Hurricane Delta.

Brent crude fell $1.04, or 2.43%, to $41.81 a barrel and US West Texas Intermediate lost $1.04, or 2.56%, to $39.56.

JPMorgan and Citigroup will kick off the third-quarter earnings season on Tuesday, followed by Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and Wells Fargo on Wednesday and Morgan Stanley on Thursday.

Analyst data from Refinitiv showed Citigroup and Wells Fargo could report that net income has slid 60%, while JPMorgan and Bank of America are expected to post drops of 30%.

Investment banks Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Morgan Stanley are expected to do better by announcing more modest declines of between 5% and 10%.

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SABC News Hopes that the top Wall Street banks will announce a decent set of third-quarter earnings this week that show business was not as weak as feared also helped, while excitement over an expected debut of Apple Inc’s latest iPhone on Tuesday buoyed technology stocks.

Source: sabcnews