Canada Extends India Flight Curbs; U.S. Cases Rise: Virus Update

Canada extended restrictions on direct flights from India to Sept. 21. In the U.S., new coronavirus cases surged to the highest weekly level since early February, fueled by the highly transmissible delta variant. Deaths rose by 49%, the biggest weekly increase since December.

Hospitalizations in the state of Arkansas climbed to a record. The Pentagon will require members of the U.S. military to get vaccinated by Sept. 15. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention raised the travel advisory for France and Israel to the highest level.

Israel is considering lowering the minimum age for a third dose of the Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech SE shot to 40 or 50 from 60. Meanwhile, BioNTech raised its 2021 vaccine sales forecast by 28%. 

Canada Extends Curbs on Flights From India  (5:30 a.m. HK)

Canada is extending its restrictions on direct commercial and private passenger flights from India to Sept. 21 because of Covid-19. The government will also extend testing requirements for passengers arriving from India via an indirect flight.

Arkansas Sets Hospitalization Record (4:40 p.m. NY)

The number of people hospitalized because of Covid-19 in Arkansas rose to a record 1,376, topping January’s peak of 1,371, according to the Associated Press. The state added 103 virus patients in hospitals, the biggest one-day increase. 

Perella Weinberg to Delay Return to Office (4:30 p.m. NY)

Perella Weinberg Partners told staff primarily in New York and London that return-to-office plans will be delayed as the Covid-19 variants spread.

The investment bank may seek to bring more workers back in October, depending on the trajectory of the virus, a person familiar with the matter said, asking not to be identified discussing internal decisions. It had previously sought a September return.

U.S. Prepares to Send Vaccines to Mexico (3:25 p.m. NY)

The U.S. is preparing to send Mexico vaccines from Moderna Inc. and AstraZeneca Plc in coming days to bolster its southern neighbor’s fight against Covid-19, according to people familiar with the discussions.

Vaccines are set to be discussed on a Monday afternoon phone call between Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris.

Lopez Obrador said at his morning press briefing two weeks ago that Mexico had a new offer for more vaccines from the U.S. after he had requested 5 million vaccines in April. AstraZeneca shipments were delayed due to problems at manufacturer Emergent BioSolutions Inc. in Baltimore.

CDC Raises Advisory for Israel, France (3 p.m. NY)

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention raised the travel advisory for France and Israel to the highest level. The agency lowered the advisory for Canada to level 2, or moderate.

Pentagon to Require Shots for Troops, AP Says (1 p.m. NY)

The Pentagon will require members of the U.S. military to get vaccinated by Sept. 15, the Associated Press reported, citing a memo it said it obtained. That deadline could be pushed up if the vaccine receives final Food and Drug Administration approval or infection rates continue to rise, the wire service repoted.

Israel Considers Lowering Booster Age (11:12 a.m. NY)

Israel is considering lowering the minimum age for a third dose of Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine to 40 or 50 from the current 60, a health ministry official said. Officials are also considering expanding the booster drive to health-care workers, said Nachman Ash, director general of the health ministry.

U.S. Cases Surge to February Levels (10:30 a.m. NY)

Fueled by the highly transmissible delta variant, new coronavirus cases in the U.S. rose to 761,216 in the week ended Sunday, the highest total since early February, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg.

The death toll climbed 49% to 3,486 for same period. It was the biggest weekly increase since December. Overall, more than 616,800 Americans have been killed by the virus.

On Sunday, Anthony Fauci, the U.S.’s top infectious-disease doctor, said he’s “strongly in favor” of speeding booster shots to people with weakened immune systems, a further sign of how the delta variant is shifting the strategies for curbing the pandemic.

Indonesia Lays Out Plans to Live With Covid (8:30 a.m. NY)

Indonesia will gradually ease restrictions in several cities, including the capital Jakarta, as it sets out a roadmap for life with the coronavirus for the next few years.

Those who are vaccinated can go to shopping centers and places of worship in Jakarta and other major cities, with the capacity set at maximum 25%, said Luhut Panjaitan, the government minister overseeing the pandemic response. Bali’s situation remains concerning, he added.

The restrictions for Java and Bali are in place until Aug. 16, while curbs for other islands apply until Aug. 23.

India Finds Benefits in Dose-Mixing (7:18 a.m. NY)

Inadvertently mixing a first dose of AstraZeneca Plc’s Covishield vaccine with a second dose of Covaxin — a vaccine made by an Indian drugmaker — led to a higher antibody response in 18 people in a north Indian state against the alpha, beta and delta variants, according to a recent study by the Indian Council of Medical Research.

India, which has fully inoculated only 8.2% its population, recorded 35,499 Covid-19 cases Monday, taking the total tally to almost 32 million. Deaths rose by 447 in a day to 428,309, according to health ministry data.

BioNTech Raises Vaccine Sales Forecast (7 a.m. NY)

BioNTech SE raised its forecast for this year’s Covid-19 vaccine sales to 15.9 billion euros and said it is pushing forward plans to test its messenger RNA technology in cancer drugs.

BioNTech and partner Pfizer Inc. signed contracts to deliver some 2.2 billion doses of the two-shot vaccine this year and more than 1 billion doses in 2022 and beyond, the Mainz, Germany-based company said Monday. BioNTech had previously predicted 12.4 billion euros in 2021 revenue from its only marketed product.

The Covid vaccine is on track to be one of the best-selling drugs of all time, with Pfizer saying last month it may generate $33.5 billion in sales this year.

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