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Coronavirus emerged in Italy earlier than thought.

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Accessed on 16 November 2020, 1422 UTC, Post 731.

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NOVEMBER 16, 2020

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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE CORONAVIRUS TODAY

Virus emerged in Italy earlier than thought
The new coronavirus was circulating in Italy from September 2019, a study by the National Cancer Institute of the Italian city of Milan shows, signaling that COVID-19 might have spread beyond China earlier than previously thought.

Italy's first COVID-19 patient was detected on Feb. 21 in a little town near Milan, in the northern region of Lombardy. But the Italian researchers' findings show that 11.6% of 959 healthy volunteers enrolled in a lung cancer screening trial between September 2019 and March 2020, had developed coronavirus antibodies well before February.

Asia at a crossroads as cases surge
Countries across the Asia-Pacific region reported record new coronavirus numbers and fresh outbreaks, with Japan facing mounting pressure to reimpose a state of emergency and South Korea warning it was at a "critical crossroads". The resurgence of the virus in Asia comes as travel restrictions are gradually being eased in the region. New daily cases in Japan reached a record 1,722 on Saturday, with hot spots in the northern island of Hokkaido and the western prefectures of Hyogo and Osaka. In South Korea, officials reported more than 200 new cases for the third consecutive day.

Michigan, Washington state impose severe restrictions
Michigan and Washington state on Sunday imposed sweeping new restrictions on gatherings as total U.S. infections crossed the 11 million mark, just over a week after hitting 10 million. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer ordered a ban on in-person high school and college classes as well as indoor dining service for three weeks as increasingly cold weather drives people indoors where the virus can spread more easily. Washington state Governor Jay Inslee announced a one-month ban on indoor services at restaurants and gyms, and a reduction of in-store retail capacity to 25%.

J&J starts two-dose trial of its vaccine candidate
Johnson & Johnson launched a new large-scale late-stage trial to test a two-dose regimen of its experimental COVID-19 vaccine and evaluate potential incremental benefits for the duration of protection with a second dose. The U.S. drugmaker plans to enroll up to 30,000 participants for the study and run it in parallel with a one-dose trial with as many as 60,000 volunteers that began in September. The UK arm of the study is aiming to recruit 6,000 participants and the rest will join from other countries with a high incidence of cases such as the United States, Belgium, Colombia, France, Germany, the Philippines, South Africa and Spain.

UK prime minister to govern by Zoom
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was perfectly well after coming into contact with someone with COVID-19 and will drive the government forward via Zoom while he self-isolates for two weeks. "I'm fit as a butcher's dog - feel great," Johnson said in a video tweet. "I'm bursting with antibodies.” When Johnson caught COVID-19 in March, he tried to work through the illness "in denial" - but ended up wearing an oxygen mask in an intensive care unit and was ultimately out of action for almost a month.

From Breakingviews - Corona Capital: Alstom, Korean Air, UK activism
Alstom has been quick out of the capital-raising blocks after last week’s positive news on a potential vaccine, and buying a pandemic-hit rival may give Korean Air Lines and its owner a flight path over corporate governance activists. Catch up on the latest pandemic-related insights.

Reuters reporters and editors around the world are investigating the response to the coronavirus pandemic.

We need your help to tell these stories. Our news organization wants to capture the full scope of what’s happening and how we got here by drawing on a wide variety of sources.

Are you a government employee or contractor involved in coronavirus testing or the wider public health response? Are you a doctor, nurse or health worker caring for patients? Have you worked on similar outbreaks in the past? Has the disease known as COVID-19 personally affected you or your family? Are you aware of new problems that are about to emerge, such as critical supply shortages?

We need your tips, firsthand accounts, relevant documents or expert knowledge. Please contact us at coronavirus@reuters.com.

We prefer tips from named sources, but if you’d rather remain anonymous, you can submit a confidential news tip. Here’s how.

U.S.

President-elect Joe Biden will focus on reviving a pandemic-battered U.S. economy as he prepares to take office, as outgoing President Donald Trump promised more lawsuits of the type that so far have failed to alter his election defeat. Biden will receive a briefing and give a speech in his home state of Delaware on rebuilding an economy that has suffered millions of job losses as the pandemic has killed more than 245,000 Americans.

Trump’s campaign dropped a major part of a lawsuit it brought seeking to halt Pennsylvania from certifying its results in the presidential election, narrowing the case to a small number of ballots.

"One heck of a ride," astronaut Mike Hopkins said from Crew Dragon to SpaceX mission control about an hour after liftoff. “There was a lot of smiles.” SpaceX launched four astronauts on a flight to the International Space Station on Sunday, NASA’s first full-fledged mission sending a crew into orbit aboard a privately owned spacecraft.

WORLD

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government said it had captured another town in the northern Tigray region after nearly two weeks of fighting in a conflict already spilling into Eritrea and destabilizing the wider Horn of Africa. Hundreds have died, at least 20,000 refugees have fled to Sudan and there have been reports of atrocities since Abiy ordered air strikes and a ground offensive against Tigray’s rulers for defying his authority.

International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach expressed confidence that the Tokyo Games will be held successfully next year, even allowing spectators to attend, as the world grapples with a sharp rise in coronavirus infections. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said he looked forward to working closely with the IOC to host the Tokyo Olympics next year, following a meeting with Thomas Bach.

Peru’s interim president Manuel Merino resigned after less than a week in office, leaving the country in limbo following lawmakers’ demands he step down over two deaths during protests at the sudden ouster of his predecessor.

WIDER IMAGE

Schools close and student pregnancies rise in lockdown Kenya. Jackline Bosibori wept when she found out she was pregnant. The 17-year-old's mother, who is raising six kids alone, collapsed in their one-room home. They had been repeatedly threatened with eviction and couldn't afford another mouth to feed. "If I was in school, this could have not happened," said Bosibori, who wants to become a lawyer.

BUSINESS

Walmart sells majority stake in Seiyu, nearly exiting Japan

Walmart is selling a majority stake in Japanese supermarket chain Seiyu to investment firm KKR and e-commerce company Rakuten for over $1 billion, after years of struggling to make money amid stiff competition.

4 MIN READ

Spain's BBVA to sell U.S. banking arm to PNC for $11.6 billion

Spain's BBVA is to sell its U.S. business to PNC Financial Services Group for $11.6 billion in cash, in one of the biggest global banking deals this year.

4 MIN READ

Saudi Aramco plans debt market comeback with multi-tranche bond deal

Saudi Aramco said it had hired banks for a multi-tranche U.S. dollar-denominated bond issuance, as the world’s largest oil company seeks cash amid lower oil prices.

4 MIN READ

European activist files complaints against Apple's tracking tool

A group led by privacy activist Max Schrems filed complaints with German and Spanish data protection authorities over Apple’s online tracking tool, saying it breached European law by allowing iPhones to store users’ data without their consent.

3 MIN READ

TOP STORIES ON REUTERS TV

New Zealand prime minister: No COVID-19 on meat exports

COVID-19   1:16

Australia back on high alert with new virus cluster

COVID-19   1:32

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