Coronavirus latest: US business travel will not recover till 2024, industry group says

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that New York state is ending all Covid-19 restrictions across commercial and social settings. Once a hotspot for the virus, New York has reached its 70 per cent vaccination rate for adults across the state, Cuomo said. New York has administered more than 20.2m vaccine doses to date, “more per capita than any other big state” in the US, he said. 

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reclassified the Delta strain of Covid-19 as a variant of concern, saying it is more transmissible. The Delta variant, which was first detected in India, has spread to at least 66 countries, the CDC said. The Delta variant ravaged India earlier this year, sending the country’s case rates to record highs.

US deaths attributed to Covid-19 have surpassed 600,000 four months after reaching half a million, reflecting a sharp slowdown in new infections and hospitalisations from the virus. Data compiled by Johns Hopkins University showed that 600,012 Americans have died from Covid-19 since the pandemic began.

California has lifted most Covid-19 rules on business activity and mask-wearing, marking what has been called a “grand reopening” for the state. Gavin Newsom, California’s governor, laid out plans in April to reopen on June 15. And on Tuesday, California eliminated state-imposed social distancing requirements and capacity limits for restaurants, bars, grocery stores, gyms and other businesses.

Confidence among America’s top executives has rebounded to near-record levels, according to a new survey, setting the stage for a hiring and investment surge in the coming months. The Business Roundtable, one of Washington’s leading lobby groups, said that its economic outlook index shot up nine points between the first and second quarters to 116 points.

A fifth of coronavirus patients who reported no symptoms while infected said they were suffering from so-called long Covid a month later, a study has found. The most common conditions included pain, breathing difficulties, elevated cholesterol, fatigue and hypertension, said US-based non-profit Fair Health, which studied more than 1.9m Covid-19 patients, including under-18s, between February and December last year.

Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon on Tuesday signalled that plans for a major easing of coronavirus restrictions will be put on hold until next month. The Scottish government had previously hoped that restrictions could be reduced to the lowest tier, known as level zero, on June 28. However, it had been widely expected to follow the UK government’s announcement on Monday of slower loosening in England.

Businesses have warned that the UK government risks “falling at the final hurdle” after it refused to extend key coronavirus support programmes that begin to wind down at the end of the month. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to delay the final stage of ending the lockdown by a month means that many businesses — including nightclubs, music festivals and theatres — will be unable to open before late July. Pubs and restaurants will have to continue to operate with restricted capacity.

The spread of coronavirus has decreased in India and Japan, according to the FT infection tracker, although cases are rising rise in other parts of Asia. Infections in India, which have been driven by the Delta variant, have been declining for a number of weeks. There were 6.3 coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents in India on June 13, down from a high of 28.6 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in early May.

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