Russia COVID-19 outbreak accelerating with low vaccine rate

Vaccination rates across Eastern Europe are low, which is stymieing reopening plans.

Last week:
  • Russia orders a one-week lockdown with covid cases at record high
  • Moscow is the country’s most populous city, to shut down all but essential business October 30 – November 7
Vaccine hesitancy is a big problem in Russia, only around 36% of its population has one vaccine shot so far.
Vaccination rates across Eastern Europe are low, which is stymieing reopening plans. 

China’s latest COVID-19 outbreak is likely to spread further

A spokesman at China’s National Health Commission spoke with media on Sunday, saying that the most recent coronavirus outbreak is increasingly likely to spread further.

Over 100 cases have been confirmed over the last week across 11 provincial areas
cross-provincial tours to and from regions deemed of higher virus risk have been suspended
Beijing is to impose travel restrictions to the city by people who have been to counties with at least one infection
The mid-year outbreak in China saw strict measures reimposed including impacts on ports and other business. China is making vaccine progress, around 75 are said to have received complete vaccination with Sinovac and Sinopharm.
A spokesman at China's National Health Commission spoke with media on Sunday, saying that the most recent coronavirus outbreak is increasingly likely to spread further.

Moscow to close all shops except groceries, pharmacies amid surge of COVID-19 cases

Russia recorded a record number of 34,073 cases and 1,028 deaths related to COVID-19 on Wednesday

While there are many parts of the world starting to flip the page on the pandemic, not everywhere is seeing a similar recovery story unfortunately.
Despite having its own vaccine, Russia’s measly 35% vaccination rate is biting hard as we are seeing a resurgence in COVID-19 cases since September.
The big worry here is that local authorities are reporting that the spread of infections may be caused by the rise of a new variant i.e. AY.4.2 variant or “delta plus” variant. Adding that it could eventually replace the delta variant as the dominant breed.
Russian president Putin has already approved a week-long work shutdown for the start of November so this just adds to that as Moscow will close all restaurants and bars, as well as other non-essential shops starting from 28 October.

NHS Confed chief executive says number of UK COVID-19 cases in hospital seems to be rising

Remarks by NHS Confed chief executive, Matthew Taylor

  • Intense pressure on health service is only going to get worse into winter
  • Health service is right on the edge
  • If pushed further, we will not be able to provide the level of service people need
The worrying part for the UK is that the number of COVID-19 cases are seen to be on the rise again, with experts fearing new mutations to the delta variant being the main cause.
There is still insufficient evidence to suggest if the latest strains are more transmissible or deadly but they are persisting in more cases – particularly the delta plus variant. This will be something to keep an eye out for over the next few weeks in case.

Coronavirus – Australia to remain closed for four to five years

This via an opinion piece in the Nikkei.

  • I think Australia will remain closed for four to five years. 
The basis of the opinion is that
  • Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s new four-stage plan to greater freedom from coronavirus restrictions, the ban on outbound travel for vaccinated Australians will not be lifted until 80% of the population is vaccinated.
  • Morrison believes 70% of Australians will be vaccinated by the end of the year. But reaching 80% ” is going to be a herculean task,” according to Dr. Rob Grenfell of Australia’s science agency, the CSIRO. “Yes, we could do it but it is a matter of how long it will take,” he said, meaning Australia will remain closed well into next year at a minimum.
Australia has been ‘closed’ since about the end of March last year … so three and a half years or so to go!
Link to the Nikkei piece is here if you’d like to check it out.
This from the local media here in Australia (Australian Financial Review) on the rollout progress so far:
This via an opinion piece in the Nikkei. 

US FDA set to approve a third vaccine shot for people with compromised immune systems

This news was out earlier, just doing a bit of a round-up now.


  • United States Food and Drug Administration is on the verge of amending the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer and the Moderna Covid-19 vaccines.
  • Will allow people with compromised immune systems to get a third dose


Approval likely on Thursday, cited are two unnamed sources “familiar with the plan”

UK records most covid deaths since February

Weekly reporting quirks make it sound worse than it is

The UK reported 146 covid deaths today, which is the highest since February but it’s not as bad as it seems. There’s a weekly bump in Tuesday reporting, likely due to weekend effects. The prior two days were 37 and 39 deaths. Comparing to last Tuesday’s number of 138 gives a more accurate picture of the trend. On a seven-day average, it’s at 88. Morever, there doesn’t appear to be any sharp turn higher ongoing.
Weekly reporting quirks make it sound worse than it is
In terms of cases, the V-shaped recovery has stalled around 25K daily cases. They were at 23,510 today compared to 21,466 a week ago.
The best news is that the UK crossed 75% vaccinated today.
The market is watching cases in the US for signs of a v-shaped peak. What’s more-worrisome about the US though is that hospitalizations have tracked much higher than in the UK and in a few states are at pandemic highs.
I worry that high cases may stifle the school year in the US and elsewhere this year. That would be a headwind to economic growth.
In terms of FX, cable has been bouncing around in the last hour in a 30 pip round trip. That looks to be fixing flows rather than covid or anything else fundamental.

China says it is to test all Wuhan residents for COVID-19 amid delta variant outbreak

China confronts its biggest spread of COVID-19 since January

The country reported 99 infections yesterday, before another seven cases were announced in Wuhan and one more in Beijing later in the day.
The latest spread is a bit concerning considering the supposedly extremely tight restrictions in place, especially in Wuhan.
The headline here is one that might border on being uncomfortable for risk assets as it could suggest that the risk of the delta variant spread is starting to have a broader impact across recovering economies all over the world.

Isreal will offer a 3rd dose of vaccine (to older citizens)

Israel’s Prime Minister with the announcement – a coronavirus booster to people over 60 who have already been vaccinated.

  • a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine
Remarks from the PM:
  • “Reality proves the vaccines are safe. Reality also proves the vaccines protect from severe morbidity and death. And like the flu vaccine that needs to be renewed from time to time, it is the same in this case.”
I’m not sure what all the fuss is about re getting booster shots. Like I said yesterday, I take around 12 shots of coffee each morning. No biggie.
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