(Bloomberg) -- AstraZeneca Plc submitted its antibody cocktail for U.S. emergency approval, as efforts to provide additional weapons in the pandemic alongside vaccines forge ahead. 

American officials are pushing for a travel lane with Singapore. Melbourne has become one of the world’s most locked-down cities, with stay-at-home orders lasting over 245 days. JPMorgan Chase & Co. is banning business travel and in-person meetings for unvaccinated staff. 

China’s Hubei province made significant purchases of equipment used to test for infectious diseases in 2019, months before Beijing notified international authorities of the emergence of a new coronavirus, according to research by a cybersecurity company. 

Key Developments:

  • Global Virus Tracker: Cases top 235.4 million; deaths exceed 4.8 million
  • Vaccine Tracker: More than 6.36 billion shots given
  • Half-million excess U.S. deaths in 2020 hit minorities worse
  • Young people are making ‘grave mistake’ working from home: Griffin
  • Why a new pill to treat Covid could be a game changer: QuickTake

Macau to Shut Some Venues (3:08 p.m. HK)

Macau will shut some entertainment venues, including cinemas, bars and gyms, from Oct. 6. The government’s statement didn’t say how long the restrictions will last, and it didn’t mention casinos. 

Astra Seeks U.S. Approval for Antibody Cocktail (2:29 p.m. HK)

AstraZeneca Plc submitted its antibody cocktail for U.S. emergency approval to prevent Covid-19 infection. The medicine was 77% effective in preventing symptomatic Covid in a clinical trial that included patients with high risk factors for severe infection.

“With this first global regulatory filing, we are one step closer to providing an additional option to help protect against Covid-19 alongside vaccines,” Mene Pangalos, Astra’s executive vice president for biopharmaceuticals research, said in a statement.

Romania Suspends Non-Essential Surgeries (2:28 p.m. HK)

Romanian hospitals will suspend any non-essential surgeries and other medical procedures for 30 days in order to free up as many beds as possible for Covid-19 patients, according to deputy interior minister Raed Arafat. The country, which has the second-lowest vaccination rate in the EU, has a record number of new cases almost on a daily basis and hospitals are running out of free beds, especially in the intensive-care units.

India Cases Lowest in Over 200 Days (1:55 p.m. HK)

India reported 18,346 new cases, the lowest in more than 200 days, according to data from the federal Health Ministry. While cases have been trickling down over the past few weeks, experts are warning caution as the country heads into the holiday season. India has administered a massive 915.5 million vaccine doses so far, but even so only 18% of its population is fully inoculated, according to the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker.

Micro Clots May Cause Long-Covid Symptoms (1:28 p.m. HK)

Some of the symptoms of so-called long-covid, the ailments that can persist for months after a Covid-19 infection, may be caused by inflammatory molecules trapped inside tiny blood clots, a scientist at South Africa’s Stellenbosch University said. 

High levels of inflammatory molecules were found in micro blood clots in blood samples from people with long-covid, Resia Pretorius, a researcher at the university, said in a statement. The molecules contained fibrinogen, a clotting protein, and alpha(2)-antiplasmin, which prevents the breakdown of blood clots, she said.

U.S. Presses Singapore to Let Americans Visit (11:43 a.m. HK)

American officials are pushing the Singapore government to open a travel lane so visitors from the U.S. can enter the city-state with the same sort of freedoms travelers from Singapore get in the U.S., according to people familiar with the matter. 

Singapore Trade Minister Gan Kim Yong said Monday that travel corridors could be formed with several countries and regions including the U.S. and Europe this year, but for now arrivals from most places face mandatory quarantine. 

Philippines Pushes Back Vaccination Target (11:40 a.m. HK)

The Philippines will take longer to reach its goal of fully vaccinating 70% of its population, which officials said will be achieved in February before the 2022 elections, instead of this year.

Half of the population will be fully inoculated by year-end, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez said at a televised meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday night. 

The Philippines is lagging peers in Southeast Asia in the vaccine rollout, with about 23% of the population fully vaccinated, compared with 63% in Malaysia.

NIH Director Nears Retirement Announcement (10:15 a.m. HK)

Francis Collins, the doctor and geneticist who has led the U.S. National Institutes of Health through three presidential administrations, is expected to soon announce plans to retire, people familiar with the matter said.

The move would leave a key position to fill in the government’s pandemic response team, at a time when leadership of the nation’s health agencies is in flux. The Biden administration has yet to nominate a permanent head of the Food and Drug Administration. 

Daily Cases in Victoria Soar (10 a.m. HK)

Melbourne has traded in its reputation as one of the world’s most liveable cities to be crowned one of its most locked down after spending over 245 days under stay-at-home orders since Covid erupted -- and counting.

Victoria state had a record national daily case total for any Australian jurisdiction on Tuesday, reporting 1,763 new cases, compared to just 608 cases in neighboring New South Wales, home of Sydney. 

N.Z. to Introduce Vaccine Certificates (8:39 a.m. HK)

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said New Zealand plans to introduce vaccine certificates, likely beginning in November.

Work is under way on how widely certificates will be applied, Ardern said in news conference. “We will use them as a tool to lessen the risks in what are currently considered high-risk settings,” she said.

Ardern on Monday extended a lockdown in Auckland as the nation’s largest city continues to record new cases, but she presented a road-map for restrictions to be gradually eased over coming weeks.

JPMorgan Restricts Staff Travel (5:40 a.m. HK)

JPMorgan Chase & Co., rolling out new measures to prevent infections, said it’s banning business travel and in-person meetings for employees who aren’t vaccinated or decline to disclose whether they’ve had their shots.

“Clients are increasingly asking us to ensure meetings are restricted to vaccinated employees,” the bank wrote in an internal memo announcing the new policies on Monday. “We agree with medical authorities that being vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself, loved ones, colleagues and communities from the virus.”

Southwest Sets Vaccine Mandate (5:22 a.m. HK)

Southwest Airlines Co. said it will require most workers to be vaccinated, the latest carrier to take such a step. 

Less than two weeks ago, Southwest’s incoming chief executive officer, Bob Jordan, told Bloomberg News the company was not considering a mandate. Competitor United Airlines Holdings Inc. had announced a vaccine requirement for workers in August and has said recently that 98.5% of employees have complied. 

Excess U.S. Deaths in 2020 Hit Minorities Worse (5 p.m. NY)

Racial and ethnic minorities accounted for a disproportionate number of the half million excess deaths last year, according to a new U.S. study that examines mortality both directly and indirectly related to Covid-19.

Researchers compared the number of people who died from March to December 2020 with the number of deaths that had been projected to occur before the pandemic. They found 477,200 excess deaths, with more than twice as many occurring among Blacks, Latinos, American Indians and Alaskan Natives compared with Whites and Asians of similar age. About 74% of the excess deaths were attributed to Covid-19.

FDA Sees Rapid At-Home Test Capacity Doubling (5 p.m. NY)

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized a rapid at-home test from closely held Acon Laboratories Inc., a move the regulator said should double the country’s capacity to run such tests in the coming weeks.

The emergency-use authorization comes at a time that many consumers are finding the products are scarce at pharmacies and online.

The Flowflex Covid-19 Home Test doesn’t require a prescription for use. Acon plans to make more than 100 million of the tests monthly by the end of the year, and twice that by February, according to the FDA. 

Chinese PCR Purchases Rose in 2019 (3:40 p.m. NY)

The Chinese province that was the initial epicenter of the Covid-19 outbreak made significant purchases of equipment used to test for infectious diseases months before Beijing notified international authorities of the emergence of a new coronavirus, according to research by a cybersecurity company.

The province’s purchase of polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, testing equipment, which allows scientists to amplify DNA samples to test for infectious disease or other genetic material, shot upward in 2019, with most of the increase coming in the second half of the year, the Australian-U.S. firm Internet 2.0 found. 

Based on the research, Internet 2.0 concluded with “high confidence that the pandemic began much earlier than China informed the WHO about Covid-19,” according to the report. 

EU Panel Backs Pfizer, Moderna Boosters (10:45 a.m. NY)

A European Union advisory committee endorsed the use of a third dose of the vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna for people with severely weakened immune systems. 



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