Coronavirus latest: US reports more than 50,000 cases for the first time ever

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US stocks rose on the first day of the third quarter as bullish investors cheered economic data and news of a potential coronavirus vaccine. The S&P 500 index rose 0.5 per cent in New York on Wednesday after the ADP employment report showed US private payrolls rose by 2.37m in June after a sharp upward revision to the previous month’s data and a gauge of manufacturing rebounded to its highest level in 14 months.

California governor Gavin Newsom has ordered businesses with indoor operations and bars in some of the state’s most populous and hardest-hit counties to close, continuing the state’s partial reversal of its reopening plans. The new measures apply to restaurants, wineries, tasting rooms, cinemas, zoos, museums and casinos in 19 of California’s 58 counties.

Apple is closing for a second time 30 more of its US retail stores as new cases of coronavirus surge across America, signalling that large parts of the country are not prepared for the economy to safely reopen. The announced closures bring the total number to second shutdowns to 77, representing nearly 30 per cent of the 271 Apple locations in the country.

Intensive care unit beds in the largest hospital system in the US have exceeded capacity, as record daily increases of coronavirus cases in Texas weigh on the state’s healthcare infrastructure. Houston-based Texas Medical Center said on Wednesday there were 1,350 patients in its ICU wards, surpassing normal capacity of 1,330. Patients with Covid-19 accounted for 36 per cent of those beds.

California became the latest coronavirus hot spot to report a record increase in cases, with nearly 10,000 people testing positive over the past day. The state’s health department reported a further 9,740 cases since Tuesday, taking the total number of positive cases in to nearly 233,000. Just over 87,000 tests were conducted over the period, a drop from back-to-back days of more than 105,000.

The world’s tourism industry is on course to lose at least $1.2tn, or 1.5 per cent of global economic output, from the four-month standstill in travel because of the pandemic. The UN’s trade and development body warned that the loss could rise by a further $1tn if the break in international tourism extends for another four months and total $3.3tn if overseas travel is restricted until March next year.

A coronavirus vaccine from Germany’s BioNTech has yielded positive trial results, generating immune defences in participants that were stronger than those of the average recovered Covid-19 patient, according to preliminary data. In a clinical study with pharmaceutical group Pfizer in the US, 24 people between the ages of 18 and 55 who received two doses of vaccine had “significantly elevated” antibodies within four weeks of their first injection.

English football club Wigan Athletic has collapsed into administration in a move that will heighten fears about the survival of some of its rivals while stadiums are shut to fans. Administrators from Begbies Traynor said Wigan, which plays in the second-tier Championship and won the FA Cup in 2013, would fulfil its fixtures while a buyer was sought.

Volkswagen will cancel plans to build a car plant in Turkey owing to the severe slowdown in the global car market, the German manufacturer confirmed on Wednesday. The proposed factory, near Izmir, had been put on hold after VW supervisory board members expressed concern about building a base in Turkey following its incursion into Syria last year.

Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group has committed £200m of immediate funding for Virgin Atlantic as the grounded airline races to secure a £1bn rescue package early this month. The commitment will help bolster the struggling airline’s cash reserves in the coming months in the face of a slow recovery in international air travel that has been decimated by the coronavirus pandemic.

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