Fitch upgrades Argentina's foreign-currency rating back to 'CC'

April 7 (Reuters) – Ratings agency Fitch on Tuesday changed Argentina’s long-term foreign currency rating to ‘CC’, a day after downgrading to ‘Restricted Default’.

The agency attributed the rating upgrade to unilateral re-profiling via executive decree of locally issued foreign currency debt instruments, which Fitch deemed as execution and completion of a distressed debt exchange.

Fitch on Monday downgraded Argentina’s long-term foreign currency rating to ‘Restricted Default’ following postponement of upcoming payments on foreign currency debt by the country’s government. (Reporting by Taru Jain; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)

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Acting US Navy chief resigns over ship virus row

The acting US Navy secretary has submitted his resignation amid criticisms of his response to a ship with a Covid-19 outbreak, US media say.

Thomas Modly had ousted the captain of the USS Roosevelt aircraft carrier after he pleaded for help in a letter leaked to the public.

Mr Modly had apologised on Monday after he called Captain Brett Crozier’s actions “naïve” and “stupid”.

Army Undersecretary James McPherson is expected to replace Mr Modly.

Mr Modly told the crew of the USS Theodore Roosevelt on Monday that what their former captain did “was very, very wrong” and amounted to “a betrayal of trust with me, with his chain of command”, according to recordings leaked to US media.

“If he didn’t think that information was going to get out into the public…then he was A) too naïve or too stupid to be the commanding officer of a ship like this,” Mr Modly said. “The alternative is he did it on purpose.”

Amid criticisms from lawmakers, Mr Modly issued an apology the same day, saying: “I do not think Captain Brett Crozier is naïve nor stupid. I think, and always believed him to be the opposite.”

Captain Crozier sent a letter to defence officials on 30 March begging for assistance with a coronavirus outbreak on his vessel, which has more than 4,000 crewmembers.

“We are not at war. Sailors do not need to die,” he wrote, requesting that nearly the entire crew be quarantined.

Captain Crozier was fired last week, and footage of his crew sending him off with cheers and applause went viral.

President Donald Trump weighed in on Monday, telling reporters he may get involved in the row.

“You have two good gentlemen and they’re arguing. I’m good at resolving arguments,” he said.

The president said he “heard very good things” about Captain Crozier and did not want his career to be ruined “for having a bad day”, but added that “the letter should not have been sent to many people unclassified”.

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Investors await data on coronavirus drugs as market rally builds

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Clinical data on potential treatments for the new coronavirus could help sustain a market bounce that has buoyed stocks after last month’s plunge, as investors look for signs that authorities may be able to stabilize the pandemic.

Highly anticipated data for a Gilead Sciences Inc (GILD.O) experimental antiviral drug are expected later this month. Analysts are also awaiting results in the near-term for products already approved for other conditions from companies such as Roche Holding (ROG.S) and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN.O).

While experts estimate an approved vaccine could be at least a year away, progress toward treatments that benefit some COVID-19 patients could help investors gauge when the epidemic could come under control and some economic activity might resume.

“The more we see positive clinical data, the more investors will be comforted in the fact that this is a transitory issue like all epidemics are,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities.

Early signs of a slowdown in hospitalizations and intensive care needs in coronavirus hotspots in the United States and abroad have fed a stock market turnaround sparked by massive support from the Federal Reserve and a more than $2 trillion government bailout. As of Monday, the S&P 500 .SPX was off about 21% from its Feb. 19 all-time high but had rebounded 19% since March 23.

“With each incremental piece of good news, that gets us closer to the end of the epidemic and the economic damage that falls in its wake,” Hogan said.

New York is nearing a plateau in the number of coronavirus patients hospitalized, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Tuesday, even though the number of the deaths in the state hit a single-day high.

Governments around the world have locked down their communities – urging citizens to stay inside and ordering restaurants, stores and other businesses shuttered – to contain the spread of COVID-19 cases, which have exceeded 1.4 million globally with over 80,000 deaths, according to a Johns Hopkins tally.

Drugmakers are studying ways to combat the respiratory illness, for which there are no approved treatments, as hospitals face strains from the flood of patients.

HUNDREDS OR TRIALS UNDERWAY

More than 330 clinical studies related to COVID-19 are listed in clinicaltrials.gov, a database maintained by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, including many seeking to test drugs already approved for other conditions.

Gilead’s remdesivir, which is administered intravenously, is one experimental treatment that has captured investors’ attention. The biotechnology company’s chief executive on March 28 said initial data would arrive in the “coming weeks” here and analysts said data could come in mid April.

Remdesivir previously failed as a treatment for the Ebola virus. But it helped prevent disease and reduce severity of symptoms in monkeys infected with a virus more closely related to the new coronavirus in a study, raising hopes.

Some analysts are cautioning against expecting that remdesivir will show an overwhelming benefit.

Initial data are expected to come from studies of patients with relatively severe COVID-19. Because antivirals work best when patients are healthier, those results may show limited effectiveness, said Evan Seigerman, a biotech analyst at Credit Suisse.

Even if remdesivir proves effective, the amount of the drug that would be available remains a concern. Gilead said last weekend here its existing supply could equate to more than 140,000 courses of treatment.

Data is also anticipated for Regeneron (REGN.O) and Sanofi’s (SASY.PA) Kevzara, perhaps by the end of the month, and for Roche’s (ROG.S) Actemra – two similar rheumatoid arthritis drugs being tested for COVID-19 illness.

Studies are also ongoing for hydroxychloroquine, a decades-old malaria drug that has been used by doctors for COVID-19 despite controversy over its effectiveness.

“Just knowing that something works means investors can start thinking about the other side of this,” said Keith Lerner, chief market strategist at Truist/SunTrust Advisory Services, in emailed comments to Reuters, “both from a human side and an economic and market perspective.”

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EMERGING MARKETS-Most Latam stocks, FX extend gains as slowing coronavirus cases brew optimism

    * Mexican peso up 2.4%, annual inflation eases in March
    * Fitch downgrades Argentina after payments freeze
    * Chile March exports fall; 7.6% drop in value of copper
shipments

 (Updates prices)
    By Susan Mathew and Ambar Warrick
    April 7 (Reuters) - Latin American assets extended their
recovery into a second session on Tuesday, as risk assets were
propped up by hopes that the coronavirus outbreak had peaked in
several hotspots. 
    Data showing that new infections were slowing across several
U.S. states, coupled with a lower rate of deaths in several
European countries, led many to believe that the virus would
plateau.
    "If the incipient recovery in risk appetite and commodity
prices continues and ... the global economy starts to recover in
the second half of the year, most EM currencies will probably
recover more of the ground they have lost this year," said Jonas
Goltermann, senior economist at Capital Economics. 
    Brazil's real added 1.3%, while the Colombian peso
 rose 1.9% against a weaker dollar. 
    Mexico's peso rose almost 2%, bouncing from last
session's record. On Tuesday, data showed Mexican consumer
prices eased in March closer to the central bank's 3% target
rate and below analyst expectations. 
    "(The inflation number) should ease near-term concerns at
the central bank about the impact of the weakness of the peso on
prices," wrote analysts at Capital Economics in a note. 
    "With the economy likely to enter a deep recession due to
the coronavirus and the government seemingly doing little to
help, interest rates are likely to be lowered sharply. We’ve
penciled in 200 basis points of cuts this year."
    Most regional stocks rallied, taking MSCI's index of Latam
stocks xx% higher. But, in line with the United
States, stocks pared some gains as caution prevailed over the
likelihood of a deep global recession.
    Argentine stocks slipped, however, looking to break
a five-session wining streak.
    Rating agency Fitch downgraded Argentina following
postponement of upcoming payments on foreign currency debt by
the government. A poll by Argentina's central bank showed
economists see the outlook darkening.
    Brazil's Bovespa surged around 3.5%. State-run oil
and gas behemoth Petroleo Brasileiro rallied after it
approved lower oil production in April than from the same month
a year ago.
    Colombian stocks added 0.5% in its fourth straight
session of gains, while Mexican shares rose 1.2%. 
    Still, the gains were a fraction of what was lost over a
month-long rout. 
    Chile's peso and stocks weakened. Data
showed imports plunged in March, while exports fell as the value
of copper shipments dropped 7.6%. Chile is the world's largest
copper producer.
    
    Latin American stock indexes and currencies 1930 GMT:
  Stock indexes           Latest   Daily %
                                   change
 MSCI Emerging Markets     879.08     2.96
                                   
 MSCI LatAm               1626.54     3.36
                                   
 Brazil Bovespa          76664.90      3.5
                                   
 Mexico IPC              34779.92     1.16
                                   
 Chile IPSA               3738.67    -0.26
                                   
 Argentina MerVal        26695.42   -0.844
                                   
 Colombia COLCAP          1165.36     0.45
                                   
                                          
      Currencies          Latest   Daily %
                                   change
 Brazil real               5.2190     1.36
                                   
 Mexico peso              24.1641     1.91
                                   
 Chile peso                 854.1    -0.46
                                   
 Colombia peso            3907.17     1.85
                                   
 Peru sol                  3.3628     0.80
                                   
 Argentina peso           65.0675    -0.12
 (interbank)                       
                                   
 
 (Reporting by Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru; Editing by Sandra
Maler and Grant McCool)
  

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NYC virus deaths exceed 3,200, topping toll for 9/11 attacks – The Denver Post

NEW YORK — New York City’s death toll from the coronavirus eclipsed the number of those killed at the World Trade Center on 9/11, health officials said Tuesday. In Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson lay in intensive care with the virus.

At least 3,202 people have died in New York from COVID-19, according to the count released by the city. The deadliest terror attack on U.S. soil killed 2,753 people in the city and 2,977 overall, when hijacked planes slammed into the twin towers, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field on Sept. 11, 2001.

New York state recorded 731 new coronavirus deaths, its biggest one-day jump yet, for a statewide toll of nearly 5,500, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

“Behind every one of those numbers is an individual. There’s a family, there’s a mother, there’s a father, there’s a sister, there’s a brother. So a lot of pain again today for many New Yorkers,” he said.

But in an encouraging sign, Cuomo reported that hospital admissions and the number of those receiving breathing tubes are dropping, indicating that measures taken to force people to keep their distance from one another are succeeding.

And alarming as the one-day increase in deaths might sound, the governor said that’s a “lagging indicator,” reflecting severely ill people who had been hospitalized before this week. Over the past several days, in fact, the number of deaths in New York appeared to be leveling off.

“You see that plateauing — that’s because of what we are doing. If we don’t do what we are doing, that is a much different curve,” he said. “So social distancing is working.”

Across the U.S., the death toll neared 12,000, with around 380,000 confirmed infections. Some of the deadliest hot spots included Detroit, New Orleans and the New York metropolitan area, which includes parts of Long Island, New Jersey and Connecticut.

In London, the 55-year-old Johnson, the world’s first head of government known to have fallen ill with the virus, was in stable condition and conscious at a hospital, where he was receiving oxygen but was not on a ventilator, said his spokesman James Slack. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab was designated to run the country in the meantime.

Deaths in Britain rose to nearly 6,200, after a one-day increase of almost 800.

“We’re desperately hoping that Boris can make the speediest possible recovery,” said Cabinet minister Michael Gove, who is among scores of British officials in self-isolation.

Stocks rose during the day on Wall Street after a big rally the day before on news that the crisis may be easing in some of the world’s hardest-hit places. The S&P 500 was up nearly 2.5% at midday.

Elsewhere around the world, there were contrasting developments.

Chinese authorities lifted the lockdown on Wuhan after 76 days, allowing residents to travel in and out of the industrial city of 11 million where the worldwide outbreak began. China, which officially recorded more than 82,000 infections and over 3,300 deaths, listed no new cases on Tuesday, though the country’s figures are regarded with suspicion by some public health experts.

In Japan, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared a month-long state of emergency in Tokyo and six other prefectures because of a spike of infections in the country with the world’s oldest population. The order will close hostess bars and other night entertainment.

“My lifestyle will change. These are difficult times” said Yoshiyuki Kataoka, 44, a nightlife industry worker. “Maybe I’ll become a recluse.”

In some European hot spots, as in New York, authorities saw signs that the outbreak was turning a corner, based on slowdowns in new deaths and hospitalizations.

In Spain, new deaths Tuesday rose to 743 and infections climbed by 5,400 after five days of declines, but the increases were believed to reflect a weekend backlog. Authorities said they were confident in the downward trend.

In Italy, the hardest-hit country of all, with over 16,500 deaths, authorities appealed to people ahead of Easter weekend not to lower their guard and to abide by a lockdown now in its fifth week, even as new cases dropped to a level not seen since the early weeks of the outbreak.

“Finally it seems we are beginning to see a lessening of new cases” after a plateau, said Giovanni Rezza, director of the infectious-disease division of Italy’s national health institute.

New cases were also slowing in France and Portugal. To keep up social distancing, Paris banned daytime jogging just as warm spring weather settled in.

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said that if Americans continue to practice social distancing for the rest of April, “we will be able to get back to some sense of normalcy.”

“I want the American people to know there is a light at the end of this tunnel, and we feel confident that if we keep doing the right thing for the rest of this month, that we can start to slowly reopen in some places,” he said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

One lockdown exception in the U.S. was Wisconsin, which asked hundreds of thousands of voters to ignore a stay-at-home order to participate in its presidential primary Tuesday.

Lines were particularly long in Milwaukee, the state’s largest city and a Democratic stronghold, where just five of 180 traditional polling places were open. Many voters across the state did not have facial coverings in line with public health recommendations.

In Madison, city workers erected hard plastic barriers to protect poll workers, and voters were encouraged to bring their own pens to mark their ballots.

Worldwide, more than 1.3 million people have been confirmed infected and over 75,000 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University. The true numbers are almost certainly much higher, because of limited testing, different rules for counting the dead and deliberate underreporting by some governments.

For most people, the virus causes mild to moderate symptoms such as fever and cough. But for some, especially older adults and the infirm, it can cause pneumonia. Close to 300,000 people have recovered worldwide.

One of the main models on the outbreak, from the University of Washington, is projecting about 82,000 U.S. deaths through early August, with the highest number on April 16.

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Wall Street gains on hopes of coronavirus slowdown

(Reuters) – Wall Street rose on Tuesday on early signs of the coronavirus outbreak plateauing in some of the biggest U.S. hot spots, with the New York governor saying social distancing measures to curtail the spread of the virus were working.

The S&P 500 was set for its biggest two-day gain in nearly two weeks, building on a 7% jump on Monday, as health officials also said the pandemic may kill fewer Americans than recent projections.

Gains were led by the energy, materials and financials sectors, with an aggressive round of U.S. fiscal and monetary stimulus in the past month also boosting risk appetite.

“The rally is sentimental and a little premature because if we lift these lockdown measures too soon and try to resume economic activity, we’re going to get a very severe pandemic rebound,” said Indranil Ghosh, chief executive officer of Tiger Hill Capital in London.

The S&P 500 is up about 22% from March intraday lows, but remains 19% below its mid-February record high as strict stay-at-home orders crushed demand across industries including airlines, automakers and hotels.

At 1:26 p.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 626.56 points, or 2.76%, at 23,306.55, the S&P 500 was up 63.85 points, or 2.40%, at 2,727.53 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 143.16 points, or 1.81%, at 8,056.40.

Wall Street’s fear gauge has steadily retreated from 12-year peaks, but volatility is expected to remain high as companies prepare to report an expected slide in first-quarter earnings and outline more drastic plans to bolster cash reserves.

“I’d like to think that the bottom is behind us, but I wouldn’t say that’s necessarily the case,” said Bert Brenner, director of asset allocation strategy at People’s United Advisors in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Analysts now expect first-quarter earnings for S&P 500 firms to fall 6.4% compared to a Jan. 1 forecast for a rise of 6.3%.

Exxon Mobil throttled back a multi-year investment spree in shale, LNG and deep water oil production, saying it would cut planned capital spending this year by 30% as the pandemic saps energy demand.

Oilfield services firm Halliburton Co said it would cut about 350 jobs in Oklahoma and that its executives would reduce their salaries.

Exxon and Halliburton shares jumped 6% and 7%, respectively.

Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean and Carnival Corp, among the most heavily battered stocks this year due to a near halt in global tourism, rose between 16% to 21%.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners for a 6.01-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 2.44-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded four new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded nine new highs and 14 new lows.

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Spain's coronavirus deaths tick up again to near 14,000

MADRID (Reuters) – Spain’s pace of coronavirus deaths ticked up for the first time in five days on Tuesday, with 743 people succumbing overnight, but there was still hope the national lockdown might be eased soon.

Tuesday’s toll from the health ministry compared to 637 deaths registered during the previous 24 hours, taking the total to 13,798, the second highest in the world after Italy.

Still, the proportional daily increase of 5.7% was about half that reported a week ago.

“It is normal to have some oscillations … What matters is to see the trend and the cumulative data,” said Maria Jose Sierra, deputy chief of health emergencies, adding that latest data included some delayed notifications from the weekend.

Total cases rose to 140,510 – the highest in Europe and second in the world after the United States.

As officials worked on a plan to lift some of the tough restrictions in place that have shut down non-core firms, the Spanish unit of Germany’s Volkswagen said it may partially reopen a plant in Navarra region on April 20.

Employment rules for farms were eased to bring in temporarily up to 80,000 migrants and jobless people to cover a shortfall of foreign seasonal labourers. That, officials hope, will prevent food shortages and preserve Spain’s status as the European Union’s biggest exporter of fruit and vegetables.

QUESTIONS OVER DEATH NUMBERS

For lockdown restrictions to be lifted, officials say testing has to be widened, to find carriers who may have mild or no symptoms.

The government is planning mass, quick antibody tests in coming days. Cadena Ser radio said about 62,000 people would be tested twice with an interval of 21 days to see the effect of any easing of measures on contagion.

Some Spanish media have reported in recent days that insufficient testing means the real death toll could be much higher.

Asked about that, government spokeswoman Maria Jesus Montero told a news conference it was possible there could be time lags between the report of a death and its attribution to the virus, but that she had no further information.

Thirteen of Spain’s 17 regions have registered more deaths than usual, and in 11 of those, the number of extra fatalities is higher than the number confirmed to have died from the coronavirus, according to Reuters calculations based on data collected by the health and justice ministries.

In the central region of Castilla La Mancha, around 2,000 more people died than usual between March 15 and April 3, but fewer than 1,000 coronavirus deaths were registered during those three weeks.

Care homes for the elderly have been among the worst-hit by the pandemic, accounting for a third of all deaths, according to some estimates. But not all were the source of bad news.

In the northern Basque city of Guernica, relatives, neighbours and the local fire brigade applauded care staff at the Juan Calzado nursing home, dancing to the sound of loud pop music played via loudspeakers. The staff decided to move in with its virus-free residents for 15 days so as not to expose them to contagion from the outside, Reuters footage showed.

“I am staying home, with my other family!” said home director Visi Garcia.

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Pell says he holds ‘no ill will’ over abuse claim

Cardinal George Pell has said he “holds no ill will” towards his accuser after Australia’s highest court overturned his conviction for child sexual abuse.

The former Vatican treasurer, 78, was the most senior Catholic figure ever jailed for such crimes.

In 2018, a jury found he abused two boys in Melbourne in the 1990s.

But the High Court of Australia quashed that verdict on Tuesday, bringing an immediate end to Cardinal Pell’s six-year jail sentence.

The Vatican said it welcomed the decision, adding that it was committed to preventing and pursuing all cases of abuse against minors.

Cardinal Bell has maintained his innocence since he was charged by police in June 2017.

His case rocked the Catholic Church, where he had been one of the Pope’s most senior advisers.

“I do not want my acquittal to add to the hurt and bitterness so many feel,” he said in a statement.

“However, my trial was not a referendum on the Catholic Church; nor a referendum on how Church authorities in Australia dealt with the crime of paedophilia in the Church.”

Why was Cardinal Pell jailed?

In December 2018, a jury found him guilty of sexually abusing two 13-year-old choir boys in St Patrick’s Cathedral in the mid-90s – when the cleric was Archbishop of Melbourne.

Cardinal Pell appealed against the verdict last year, but judges in another court upheld the decision by a 2-1 majority.

His conviction was based on the testimony of a man alleged to be the sole surviving victim. Dozens of other witnesses provided alibis and other evidence.

In his appeal to the High Court, the cleric argued that the jury’s verdict had relied too heavily on evidence from the surviving victim. His lawyers didn’t try to discredit that testimony, but argued that other evidence had not been properly considered.

The court’s seven judges ruled unanimously in Cardinal Pell’s favour, and said in their verdict that other testimonies had introduced “a reasonable possibility that the offending had not taken place”.

Cardinal Pell has since been released from jail – 400 days into his initial six-year sentence – and cannot be retried on the charges.

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Social distancing is now ‘new normal’ with no end in sight – latest coronavirus warning

New South Wales premier Gladys Berejiklian insisted we “have to be honest with ourselves”, adding there is “no simple way” to deal with the outbreak. She said: “That is the new normal. Not having physical contact, socially distancing is, at the very minimum, a way of life for us.

“Because we have to be honest with ourselves – until a vaccine is found, there is no simple way to deal with this issue.”

Ms Berejiklian’s comments come as questions were raised about whether a decision on lifting the UK’s lockdown restrictions would be delayed while the Prime Minister is in hospital with coronavirus.

Boris Johnson was moved to intensive care on Monday evening after being admitted to to St Thomas’ hospital in London on Sunday.

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove said the decision would not be delayed.

He told Good Morning Britain: “It will be the case that we will take that decision collectively as a Cabinet.

“The person who will chair that Cabinet, the person who will make the final decision of course is, as I mentioned earlier, the Foreign Secretary.

“But I think it’s important to recognise, yeah lockdown is painful, it’s difficult.

“It’s particularly difficult if you’re living in circumstances where you don’t have easy access to green space, you’ve maybe got children at home.

“I don’t underestimate how difficult it is, but the Prime Minister’s condition is a terrible and sad reminder of the fact that this disease spreads rapidly, and has a virulence which is frightening.

“So that’s one of the reasons we have this lockdown, so we can slow the spread of the disease and strengthen the NHS.”

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England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty said it would be a “mistake” to discuss the UK’s exit strategy from the lockdown because the number of cases has not yet reached its peak.

Speaking during Monday’s Downing Street press conference, he said: “The key thing is to get to the point where we are confident we have reached the peak and this is now beyond the peak, and at that point I think it is possible to have a serious discussion about all the things we need to do step-by-step to move to the next phase of managing this.

“But I think to start having that discussion until we’re confident that that’s where we’ve got to, would I think be a mistake.”

Professor Dame Angela McLean, the Ministry of Defence’s chief scientific adviser, added that decisions could only be made once data had been collected.

She said: “We need a good, long time series of data on all of these stages of infection in order to be able to tell what the impact of the measures that came on March 23 are going to be.

“It’s too early to tell yet, we need people to carry on following those instructions so that we can work out three weeks later what actually happens in hospitals.

“We need to know how well the current restrictions are working before we can say anything sensible about what the next stage might be.”

Asked whether easing the measures could be staggered by region or by type of person, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: “Obviously we’re very mindful of the challenges businesses are facing, small businesses, all employers and of course the workforce as well.

“But the risk is if we start taking our eye off the ball, of tackling the coronavirus, stopping the spread and getting through the peak, we risk delaying the point at which we could in the future take those decisions on easing restrictions.

“So it is really important right now to keep the over-riding focus on maintaining the discipline that we’ve had, keeping adherence to the guidelines that the Government has set out and making sure that we stop the spread of coronavirus.”

It comes as there have been 55,242 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the UK, with the death toll at 6,159.

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Trump campaign spokeswoman McEnany to become White House press secretary: CNN

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A spokeswoman for President Donald Trump’s campaign, Kayleigh McEnany, will become the new White House press secretary, CNN reported, in the latest shakeup of the president’s communications office.

The newspaper said McEnany, who was spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee before joining Trump’s re-election team, will take over from Stephanie Grisham. Grisham had only been in the post since June, when she took over from Sarah Sanders.

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