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Coronavirus: Free to read

Coronavirus: Week of Aug 2 to Aug 8, Fauci warns on vaccine effectiveness

Air India flight for pandemic returnees crash lands; WHO calls for Beirut aid

Dr. Anthony Fauci says that when a coronavirus vaccine is approved it could end up being effective only 50% to 60% of the time.   © Reuters

The Nikkei Asian Review is tracking the spread of the new coronavirus that originated in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.

Global cases have reached 19,295,350, according to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

The worldwide death toll has hit 719,805.

To see how the disease has spread, view our virus tracker charts:

(Source photo by AP) 

Here are the latest developments (Tokyo time):


Saturday, August 8

9:56 a.m. Mexico receives a donation of $3 million from the United States to help fight the novel coronavirus, a health official says. Mexico's health ministry reports 6,717 new confirmed infections and 794 additional fatalities, bringing the country's totals to 469,407 cases and 51,311 deaths.

9:47 a.m. President Donald Trump says he will spend the next couple weeks working out an executive order requiring health insurers to cover pre-existing conditions.

7:57 a.m. Brazilian billionaire Jorge Lemann's foundation and other business interests will fund the construction of a COVID-19 vaccine production center being developed by Oxford University and pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca PLC.

7:39 a.m. More than 160,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the United States, Reuters says as talks over an economic relief bill break down between Democrats in Congress and the White House. The grim milestone, which includes 10,000 deaths in the past nine days, comes as Americans and their political leaders remain divided over reopening schools, testing, closing businesses and wearing masks.

6:24 a.m. Nearly 600 children were admitted to U.S. hospitals with a rare inflammatory syndrome associated with the novel coronavirus over four months during the pandemic's peak, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. Multisystem inflammatory syndrome MIS-C is a rare but severe condition that shares symptoms with toxic shock and Kawasaki disease, including fever, rashes, swollen glands and, in severe cases, heart inflammation.

6:18 a.m. An approved coronavirus vaccine could end up being effective only 50-60% of the time, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious diseases expert, said on Friday. "We don't know yet what the efficacy might be. We don't know if it will be 50% or 60%. I'd like it to be 75% or more," Fauci said in a webinar hosted by Brown University. "But the chances of it being 98% effective is not great, which means you must never abandon the public health approach."

6:10 a.m. Japan's Financial Services Agency will work with banks to create a safety net for homeowners and business proprietors whose incomes have plunged during the pandemic. Proposals include mortgage payment reductions and debt forgiveness.

2:50 a.m. An Air India Express plane has crash landed in the southern city of Calicut, killing at least 15 people. The flight from Dubai was carrying about 190 passengers who had been stranded abroad because of the pandemic.

1:30 a.m. Vietnam Airlines plans to cut the wages of flight staff by roughly half this year as part of a cost-cutting campaign to win a government bailout that would cushion the financial distress caused by the global pandemic.

1:00 a.m. U.S. coronavirus deaths have surpassed 160,000 out of a global total of 715,000 killed by the pandemic.

Friday, August 7

10:55 p.m. Pfizer has reached a deal to manufacture Gilead Sciences' antiviral drug remdesivir, in a move to boost the availability of the COVID-19 treatment.

"We are pleased that Gilead is using our manufacturing capacity to help facilitate supply of this medicine to patients as quickly as possible," Pfizer says in a statement.

9:25 p.m. The World Health Organization issues an appeal for $15 million to cover emergency medical needs in Lebanon, as the country grapples with the coronavirus as well as the effects of Tuesday's massive explosion in Beirut, Reuters reports. The blast, which killed over 150 and injured more than 5,000, destroyed 17 containers of WHO supplies including protective gear, the agency's Middle East office says. Numerous health care facilities are damaged, and the organization warns that the situation "risks accelerating the spread of COVID-19."

A woman pushes a wheelchair at a hospital damaged in the massive explosion that devastated Beirut this week.   © Reuters

8:40 p.m. Singapore is "concerned" about the mental health of thousands of migrant workers, who have endured prolonged movement constraints during the pandemic. Such workers account for 94% of COVID-19 cases in the city-state, and reports of self-harm incidents have raised alarm about their well-being.

7:15 p.m. An Indian institute will partner with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and an international vaccine alliance to produce 100 million COVID-19 vaccine doses for India and other low- to middle-income nations, Reuters reports. The Serum Institute of India said it hopes to do this as early as 2021, with funding for candidate vaccines from AstraZeneca and Novavax.

5:40 p.m. Indonesia reports 2,473 new infections, bringing the total in the country to 121,226, government data shows. The country also reported 72 new deaths, bringing the total to 5,593.

5:30 p.m. The Philippines reports 3,379 new cases, bringing the country's total infections to 122,754. Deaths increased by 24 to 2,168.

5:15 p.m. The Hong Kong government will introduce a universal voluntary coronavirus testing scheme under which all of 7.5 million residents can take COVID-19 tests for free, with the help of medical experts from mainland China. Hong Kong is battling a third wave of infections, with almost 100 new cases a day, recently. Chief executive Carrie Lam dismissed concerns that Hong Kongers' genetic data will be sent to the mainland.

4:50 p.m. The Japanese government says it has raised its polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, testing capacity to 52,000 tests a day. It estimates demand for the tests will be around 56,000 per day at the peak and aims to boost capacity to 61,000 tests a day by the end of September.

4:16 p.m. Japan's Government Pension Investment Fund says it earned a first-quarter investment return of 12.49 trillion yen ($118.4 billion) as global stock markets rallied, following its record loss in the previous quarter. The world's largest pension fund managed 162.1 trillion yen of assets as of the end of June and its return on overall assets was 8.3% over the three month period.

3:45 p.m. Bridgestone, the world's top tiremaker by market share, says it expects its operating profit to drop 70% from a year earlier to 100 billion yen ($947 million) for the year ending December, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

3:11 p.m. Tokyo confirms 462 new infections, sources tell Nikkei, the first time the capital has reported more than 400 cases in a single day since Aug. 1.

A health worker collects a sample on Aug. 6 at a New Delhi school that was turned into a coronavirus test center.   © Reuters

1:48 p.m. India's cases topped 2 million, with a record single-day spike of 62,538 in the last 24 hours. Fatalities jumped to 41,585, up 886 since Thursday morning.

1:30 p.m. China's exports in July rose 7.2% from a year earlier -- the fastest pace in seven months -- as the economy recovers from its pandemic-induced slump. In contrast, imports swung back into contraction.

1:05 p.m. Malaysia's industrial production fell a slight 0.4% in June, versus last year, a declining for the fourth straight month. But output was supported by a recovery in manufacturing, compared with the peak of the coronavirus outbreak, government data shows.

12:00 p.m. Peninsula Hotels, known for having more staff per customer than other luxury chains, has been cutting positions amid the pandemic and looks set to post its first net loss since the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s.

11:20 a.m. Australia's central bank warns that the latest virus containment measures in Victoria State are expected to subtract at least 2 percentage points from economic growth in the current quarter. Victoria, which began six-week lockdown on Thursday, reports 11 coronavirus-related deaths and 450 new infections in the last 24 hours, compared with eight fatalities and 471 cases a day earlier.

10:31 a.m. Japan's cabinet approves a spending plan of about 1.1 trillion yen ($10.4 billion) from budget reserves to boost the support for small companies and households hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Japanese government has announced a $10.4 billion assistance package to help small companies and households hit by the coronavirus pandemic.   © Reuters

10:00 a.m. China reports 37 new coronavirus cases as of the end of Aug. 6, unchanged from a day earlier. Of the new cases, 10 were imported infections involving travelers from overseas, compared with seven a day earlier. There were also 14 new asymptomatic cases, down from 20 a day earlier.

8:30 a.m. Japan's household spending in June declined 1.2% from a year earlier, government data shows, following a record 16.2% drop in May, when stricter lockdown measures hurt consumption.

8:00 a.m. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro decrees that 1.9 billion reais ($356 million) be allocated to purchase and produce a COVID-19 vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University researchers, Reuters reports. The vaccine could be available for Brazilians by December or early next year.

7:00 a.m. Nearly 300,000 Americans could die from COVID-19 by Dec. 1, University of Washington health experts forecast, although they say 70,000 lives could be saved if people wore masks regularly.

6:45 a.m. The U.S. State Department lifts its global advisory recommending U.S. citizens avoid international travel. Instead, it issued high-level warnings for individual countries. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also drops its global advisory, but nearly all countries remain on its highest Level 3 advisory to avoid non-essential travel. Some countries, including Thailand, New Zealand and Fiji, were assigned a low-risk Level 1 advisory.

An airline waits at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston on July 21.   © Reuters

6:30 a.m. U.S. President Donald Trump signs an executive order to boost production of medicines and medical equipment, lower drug prices, and protect America against future pandemics. The order would also support manufacturing that would benefit U.S. pharmaceutical companies.

4:30 a.m. Visitors entering Britain from Belgium, the Bahamas and Andorra must quarantine for 14 days due to concerns over rising COVID-19 infections, the U.K. transport minister says.

12:05 a.m. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine tests positive for COVID-19, ahead of President Donald Trump's visit to the state.

Thursday, August 6

11:10 p.m. U.S. President Donald Trump says it is possible the U.S. will have a coronavirus vaccine before the Nov. 3 election, a far more optimistic forecast than the timing put forth by his own White House health experts.

9:40 p.m. The Turkish lira has hit a new all-time low against the dollar, falling more than 3% from the previous day. The tumble suggests the country's monetary authorities, which have propped up the currency for months, may have lowered their line of defense.

U.S. President Donald Trump tours the Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies' Innovation Center, where components for the potentiial COVID-19 vaccine candidate Novavax are being developed, in Morrrisville, North Carolina, on July 27.   © Reuters

8:38 p.m. Vietnam's health ministry reports 34 new COVID-19 infections on Thursday, taking the country's total to 747, with 10 deaths. In the capital Hanoi, 72,000 people who recently returned from Danang, the country's new coronavirus epicenter, would be re-tested, the city's governing body says.

5:56 p.m. Indonesia says it will deposit 2.4 million rupiah ($165) into the bank accounts of 13.8 million low-income private-sector employees. The announcement comes a day after the statistics agency revealed a 5.3% economic contraction for the second quarter, Indonesia's first negative growth in 20 years. Indonesia has announced other aid and incentives in the face of the coronavirus but has been unable to get most of it to the intended recipients.

5:56 p.m. Indonesia reports 1,882 new coronavirus cases, up from 1,815 cases on Wednesday, and 69 deaths. Its totals stand at 118,753 infections and 5,521 fatalities.

5:50 p.m. The Philippines' health ministry reports 3,561 new infections and 28 deaths. In a bulletin, the ministry says total deaths increased to 2,150 and total infections to 119,460 as the country tops Indonesia for the most infections in Southeast Asia.

4:20 p.m. Nintendo posted its highest ever operating profit for the April-to-June quarter, logging a 427% increase to 144 billion yen ($1.3 billion), the Japanese gaming giant says, as lockdowns and other social restrictions brought on by the coronavirus led to a surge in demand for its popular Switch console and game titles.

3:20 p.m. Australia's second-biggest city of Melbourne begins the first day of a six-week total lockdown with the closure of most shops and businesses -- raising new fears of food shortages -- as authorities battle a second wave of infections.

Volunteers prepare boxes of food aid in Jakarta. Indonesia has come up against an assortment of hurdles in trying to get aid to recipients amid the pandemic.   © Reuters

3:16 p.m. Tokyo reports 360 new cases, up from 263 the previous day. Japan's capital has now confirmed more than 200 new infections for 10 straight days.

2:50 p.m. India reports 56,282 new infections in the last 24 hours, up from 52,509 the previous day, marking the eighth consecutive day with over 50,000 cases and bringing the country's total to 1.96 million. The death toll jumped to 40,699, up 904 since Wednesday morning.

2:00 p.m. Toyota Motor Corp posted a 98% plunge in its first-quarter operating profit on Thursday as the coronavirus pandemic halved it global sales.

1:12 p.m. Southeast Asia's largest lender DBS Group Holdings on Thursday warned of further months of pandemic difficulty as it booked a net profit of SG$1.25 billion ($910 million) for the three months ended June -- a 22% dip from a year ago.

12:57 p.m. Ministers from the 11-member Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) have agreed to fight protectionism and avoid food and medicine shortages during the coronavirus pandemic, they said in a joint statement published on Wednesday.

12:55 p.m. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reiterates that there is no immediate need to declare another state of emergency in Japan despite a recent resurgence in coronavirus infections. Speaking at a press conference in Hiroshima, Abe said there had been far fewer serious and fatal cases recently compared to when the previous state of emergency was declared in April and that hospitals across the country were better equipped to treat patients.

11:12 a.m. South Korea confirms 43 new infections, up from 33 a day ago. Total cases reach 14,499 with 302 deaths. Health Minister Park Neung-hoo said that the government will be ready for boycotts by doctors scheduled for Aug. 14 to oppose increasing the number of medical school students. Doctors worry that a higher quota will increase competition in the medical industry and threaten their job security.

11:11 a.m. Australia's state of Victoria reports 471 new cases compared with a record 725 cases the previous day.

11:03 a.m. The Philippine economy shrank 16.5% in the second quarter, pulling the plug on what was one of Southeast Asia's fastest-growing economies before the pandemic and throwing the nation into a recession.

10:59 a.m. Unemployment in Australia will peak at about 10% as a result of restrictions to slow the spread of the coronavirus, Prime Minister Scott Morrison says. Australia previously saw unemployment hitting a high of 9.25% this year.

10:22 a.m. U.S. losses from coronavirus-related fraud and identity theft have reached nearly $100 million since the pandemic emerged in March, while complaints of COVID-19 scams have at least doubled in most states, a consumer protection group said on Tuesday.

9:36 a.m. China reports 37 new coronavirus cases on the mainland for Aug. 5, up from 27 a day earlier.

9:26 a.m. Bells tolled in Hiroshima on Thursday for the 75th anniversary of the world's first atomic bombing, with ceremonies downsized due to the coronavirus and the mayor urging nations to reject selfish nationalism and unite to fight all threats.

9:19 a.m. Facebook took down a post by U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday. The company said the post violated rules against sharing misinformation about the coronavirus. The post contained a video clip in which Trump claimed that children are "almost immune" to COVID-19.

9:18 a.m. Britain and Japan stand "side by side" on a range of international issues, including Hong Kong and the pandemic, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Wednesday following talks with Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi.

8:19 a.m. North Korea will provide special support for the border city of Kaesong, which has been locked down since the country's first suspected coronavirus case was detected there late last month, state-run media reports.

6:46 a.m. Toyota Motor is using the coronavirus as a chance to reevaluate and streamline under its signature kaizen efficiency drive, laying the ground for a strong recovery once sales rebound from the pandemic-induced slump.

5:09 a.m. Maritime transport companies are struggling to relieve exhausted crew members due to quarantine requirements and other precautions aimed at keeping the coronavirus out of ports.

12:30 a.m. The U.S. will pay Johnson & Johnson over $1 billion for 100 million doses of its potential coronavirus vaccine, as it stocks up on vaccine and drugs in an attempt to tame the pandemic, the drugmaker says.

J&J's experimental vaccine is currently being tested on healthy volunteers in the United States and Belgium in an early-stage study.

12:10 a.m. New York City will set up COVID-19 quarantine checkpoints at key entry points to ensure travelers from 35 states on New York state's travel advisory comply with the state's 14-day quarantine mandate, Mayor Bill de Blasio says.

"Travelers coming in from those states will be given information about the quarantine and will be reminded that it is required, not optional," de Blasio tells a news briefing. He adds that, under certain circumstances, fines for not observing the quarantine order could be as high as $10,000.

New York City will set up checkpoints at bridges, tunnel crossings and Pennsylvania Station.   © Reuters

Wednesday, August 5

11:20 p.m. Canada signs separate deals with Pfizer and Moderna to supply millions of doses of their experimental coronavirus vaccines.

Procurement Minister Anita Anand tells a news conference that Ottawa is negotiating with other potential domestic and international vaccine suppliers but did not give details.

Separately, Pfizer Inc and German biotech firm BioNTech SE say they have a deal to supply Canada with a coronavirus vaccine.

9:04 p.m. Scotland imposes new restrictions on the oil city of Aberdeen, closing pubs and restaurants and ordering visitors to stay away. "We are at a stage of this pandemic where extreme caution is necessary," First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says, adding that the city's outbreak has reached 54 known cases in recent days. There have been 64 new cases across Scotland in the past 24 hours.

8:27 p.m. Vietnam's health ministry reports an additional 41 cases, bringing the country's total to 713, with eight deaths. Forty of the new cases are linked to Danang.

7:53 p.m. French Prime Minister Jean Castex says the government must increase support for winemakers hit by a slump in demand as restaurant and bar closures as well as lower exports due to U.S. tariffs take a toll. "The international situation, the health crisis, a drop in exports: Our wine sector faces major difficulties. State support must continue and intensify," Castex said on Twitter.

6:37 p.m. India reports 52,509 new cases, taking its tally of infections to more than 1.91 million. Despite that, authorities eased restrictions, allowing gyms and yoga studios to open. The health ministry insisted that the fatality rate was now 2.1%, the lowest since the outbreak started.

Police officers check a man's travel permit during the two-day weekly lockdown in Kolkata, India.   © Reuters

6:30 p.m. Eurozone business activity returned to modest growth in July. The Composite Purchasing Managers' Index climbed to 54.9 in July from June's 48.5. It had been below the 50 threshold for four months.

5:55 p.m. Hong Kong reports 85 new cases, including three that were imported, as authorities battle to control a resurgence of infections over the past month. Since late January, around 3,700 people have been infected in Hong Kong, 43 of whom have died. Wednesday's figure was up marginally from Tuesday's 80 cases.

5:50 p.m. Germany's BioNTech and China's Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical announce the start of another COVID-19 vaccine trial, in China, with a total of 144 participants. "The study is designed to support the regulatory approval process for the Chinese market and intends to confirm that the safety and immunogenicity profile observed in participants from the German and U.S. trials is comparable to that of Chinese participants," a BioNTech statement says.

4:09 p.m. Thailand's central bank left its key interest rate unchanged at a record low 0.5% for a second straight meeting on Wednesday, as widely expected, on signs of improvement in the economy after the easing of measures to contain the coronavirus outbreak.

4:04 p.m. The global death toll from the coronavirus surpassed 700,000 on Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins University, with the U.S., Brazil, India and Mexico leading the rise in fatalities.

3:30 p.m. Japan on Wednesday began reopening its borders to tens of thousands of foreign residents locked out since April, as the government attempted to keep the coronavirus at bay. But after four months in limbo, some people who have lived in Japan for years are questioning the wisdom of returning.

3:10 p.m. Vietnam's government has dispatched a team of what officials called the country's "most experienced" medical workers to Danang, in an effort to stem a resurgence of coronavirus infections.

3:01 p.m. Indian drugmaker Zydus Cadila said on Wednesday its COVID-19 vaccine candidate was found to be safe and well tolerated in an early-stage human trial. The company will now start a midstage trial of ZyCoV-D in more than 1,000 healthy adult volunteers, starting Thursday, to test its effectiveness, it said in a regulatory filing.

2:59 p.m. Strict measures to stem the spread of COVID-19 in the Philippines and elsewhere in Asia have made sex workers' jobs that entail close contact difficult at best. With no income or safety net, many turn to online jobs that 'pay far less.'

2:57 p.m. The coronavirus crisis is dramatically adjusting the relative strength of companies, a trend not lost on the stock market, where the share price of Shimano, the big bicycle parts maker, hit another all-time high in August.

1:14 p.m. Indonesia's economy contracted for the first time in 20 years in the second quarter, putting the archipelago at serious risk of a COVID-induced recession. The country's inflation-adjusted gross domestic product shrank 5.32% in the three months ended in June from a year earlier, according to data released Wednesday by the country's statistics agency.

Filipinos stock up on meat on Aug. 3 at a public market in Manila, a day before the metropolitan authorities reimposed a stricter lockdown amid a spike in COVID-19 infections.   © Reuters

12:54 p.m. With universities and schools closed, India's edtech sector is cashing in on a surge of interest to become the country's hottest and most profitable tech startup area this year, with millions of students going online and professionals seeking to upgrade their skills or learn new ones.

12:36 p.m. Sri Lankans lined up before polling stations opened on Wednesday for a general election. Clad in masks and practicing social distancing, voters will choose a new parliament that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa hopes will clear the way for him to increase his powers.

11:53 a.m. South Korean officials are working to keep more than a thousand people displaced by flooding safe and healthy with anti-coronavirus measures at crowded shelters, as the government weighed declaring disaster areas on Wednesday.

11:32 a.m. Latin America overtook Europe on Tuesday to become the region with the highest coronavirus death toll worldwide, according to a Reuters tally. The region has recorded more than 206,000 deaths, approximately 30% of the global total.

11:31 a.m. Australia's second-most populous state of Victoria on Wednesday reports its deadliest day of the coronavirus outbreak, with 15 fatalities in the last 24 hours and a record daily rise in infections. The state reported 725 new cases, compared with 439 a day earlier. Last week it recorded its previous one-day high of 723 cases and 13 deaths.

11:15 a.m. The Philippines cut its first-quarter economic growth figure, logging a 0.7% contraction, versus an initial 0.2%, suggesting the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic is worse than initially estimated. Second-quarter gross domestic product figures will be released Thursday.

10:48 a.m. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar will lead a delegation to Taiwan in the coming days, the highest level visit by a U.S. cabinet official since 1979, the department said Tuesday. Azar will meet with President Tsai Ing-wen, Taiwan's Foreign Ministry said, which may infuriate China further. Azar will also meet senior Taiwanese counterparts, COVID-19 responders and experts on behalf of President Donald Trump, HHS said in a statement.

Jets owned by Australia's second-largest airline, Virgin Australia, sit on the tarmac at Sydney Airport's domestic terminal.   © Reuters

9:31 a.m. China reports 27 new coronavirus cases in the mainland for Aug. 4, down from 36 cases a day earlier.

9:09 a.m. Mexico's health ministry reports 6,148 new confirmed infections and 857 additional fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 449,961 cases and 48,869 deaths, respectively.

8:44 a.m. Virgin Australia Holdings plans to cut a third of its workforce as part of an overhaul to focus on being a short-haul Boeing 737 operator under prospective new owner Bain Capital. The coronavirus-hit airline says the 3,000 jobs would go as the carrier offloads its fleets of Boeing 777s, Airbus SE A330s and ATR turboprops, as well as low-cost brand Tigerair Australia and its Airbus A320s.

8:28 a.m. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday reports a cumulative total of 4,698,818 coronavirus infections, an increase of 49,716 cases from its previous count, and says that the number of deaths rose by 733 to 155,204.

7:03 a.m. Brazil reports 51,603 new infections and 1,154 deaths from the disease caused by the coronavirus in the past 24 hours, the health ministry says on Tuesday.

5:05 a.m. Novavax announces positive initial results from a clinical trial of its coronavirus vaccine. The 131 participants in the Phase 1 portion of the trial "elicited robust antibody responses," the company says. The drugmaker has received $1.6 billion from the U.S. government under Operation Warp Speed, an initiative to expedite vaccine development.

2:58 a.m. An analysis of 6 million coronavirus infections between Feb. 24 and July 12 found that the share of people aged 15 to 24 rose to 15% from 4.5%, according to the World Health Organization.

A researcher at a Chulalongkorn University laboratory in Bangkok works on the development of a vaccine candidate.   © Reuters

1:26 a.m. The spot price for gold reaches $2,000 per troy ounce for the first time ever, breaking through a major psychological resistance level, as investors seek a safe haven.

1:12 a.m. Europe's biggest hotel group Accor plans to lay off 1,000 staff, as lockdown measures and border closures implemented around the world continue to affect the travel industry.

12:39 a.m. The Madrid Open tennis tournament that was scheduled to take place Sept. 12-20 has been canceled due to the rise of COVID-19 cases in the Spanish capital.

12:02 a.m. Takeda Pharmaceutical begins clinical trials on three potential treatments for COVID-19 as part of a research and development team that includes U.S. peers Amgen and AbbVie.

Tuesday, August 4

11:46 p.m. India's Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan tests positive for COVID-19, becoming the second minister in the cabinet of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to be hospitalized after catching the infection. Earlier, on Sunday, Modi's key aide and Home Minister Amit Shah tweeted that he had tested positive.

10:43 p.m. Indonesia will have capacity to produce 250 million doses a year of a coronavirus vaccine by the end of 2020 pending trials on humans, a minister says, as the country seeks to halt a wave of infections that has shown no sign of relent.

10:00 p.m. Sri Lankans will vote on Wednesday in a parliamentary election, with officials aiming to keep the polls "infection-free." Citizens will have to wear face masks and observe social distancing rules.

9:35 p.m. Poland logs a record number of daily cases for the fourth time in a week, Reuters reports, with a significant proportion found in a southern region grappling with a virus resurgence among coal miners. The report says the country has now recorded 48,149 cases overall, with 1,738 deaths.

7:45 p.m. A World Health Organization team dispatched to China to look into the origins of COVID-19 has had "extensive discussions" with scientists in Wuhan, where the outbreak was first detected, Reuters reports. A WHO spokesman tells reporters that the team "received updates on epidemiological studies, biologic and genetic analysis and animal health research." The mission is meant to lay the groundwork for a broader international probe.

6:05 p.m. Indonesia records 1,922 new infections, up from 1,679 a day earlier and bringing the total to 115,056, official data shows. There were 86 additional deaths, taking overall fatalities to 5,388.

5:48 p.m. The Philippines reports a record 6,352 daily coronavirus infections, bringing the total to 112,593, along with 11 new fatalities, raising the death toll to 2,115. The Philippine capital and nearby provinces on Tuesday returned to a strict lockdown for two weeks to slow the spread of the virus.

5:45 p.m. Hong Kong reports 80 new cases, including 75 that were locally transmitted, as authorities race to contain a third wave of the outbreak.

5:00 p.m. Japan's MUFG Bank reports a net profit of 183.5 billion yen ($1.73 billion) for the three-month period ended June 30, down 53% from a year earlier as the pandemic caused credit-related costs to swell.

4:50 p.m. Toyota Motor says its vehicle sales in China rose 19.1% from a year earlier in July to 165,600 units, on the back of fast-recovering demand. Despite the pandemic, vehicle sales from January to July increased 1.1% year on year.

3:26 p.m. Sony expects net profit for this fiscal year to slide 12% to 510 billion yen ($4.8 billion), marking the lowest level in three years, the Japanese conglomerate says, as the coronavirus slams its music and movie business while sales of electronic devices crater.

3:10 p.m. Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike tells reporters the capital has confirmed 309 new infections, up from 258 on Monday.

Kindergarten students in Bangkok wear face masks and shields during a rehearsal of social distancing.   © Reuters

2:40 p.m. The United Nations' chief says the pandemic has led to the largest disruption of education in history, with schools in the middle of last month closed in more than 160 countries, affecting more than 1 billion students. In addition, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said at least 40 million children have missed out on education "in their critical pre-school year."

2:03 p.m. Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi says he will travel to the United Kingdom this week to meet counterparts to wrap up talks over a free-trade agreement between the two countries. The visit from Wednesday will be the first overseas trip for a Japanese minister since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

1:57 p.m. India reports more than 50,000 cases for the sixth straight day, bringing total infections to over 1.85 million. Deaths have risen to 38,938, up 803 since Monday morning.

1:40 p.m. Subaru forecasts its full-year net profit will drop 61% from a year earlier to 60 billion yen ($565 million) for the fiscal year ending March 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. For the April to June period, the Japanese automaker posted a net loss of 7.7 billion yen, compared with a profit of 66.4 billion yen for the same periold last year.

12:00 p.m. South Korea confirms 34 new coronavirus cases, up from 23 a day ago. Total infections in the country reach 14,423, with 301 deaths.

11:20 a.m. China reports 36 new cases, down from 43 the previous day. Of those, 28 were in the northwestern region of Xinjiang and two in Liaoning Province in the northeast. Another six were from Chinese arriving from overseas.

10:50 a.m. The Australian state of Victoria says anyone with COVID-19 who is caught outside in breach of isolation orders will face fines of nearly 5,000 Australian dollars ($3,559). The state earlier this week imposed a nighttime curfew, tightened movement restrictions, and shuttered large parts of the local economy to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

9:20 a.m. Japanese air-conditioner maker Daikin Industries will develop a high-performance reusable medical face mask in cooperation with the National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center and CrossEffect, a Kyoto-based 3D engineering company.

7.13 a.m. More than 18.19 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 689,871 have died, according to a Reuters tally. Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.

6.50 a.m. Brazil confirms coronavirus cases rose by 16,641 to 2,750,318 while deaths rose by 561 to 94,665. Brazil has the worst coronavirus outbreak in the world after the United States.

6:42 a.m. The rates of new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and intensive care unit admissions were all trending downward in California in the latest counts, the governor says. The state's seven-day average of infections has dropped more than 21%, compared to the previous period, he added,while hospitalizations are down 10% on a 14-day average.

A couple wearing face masks walks in Beverly Hills, California,on July 30. Rates for new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and intensive care unit admissions were all trending downward in the most populous U.S. state, its governor says.    © Reuters

3:30 a.m. The U.K. reports 938 new infections, the second-highest daily total since June, taking the cumulative number of positive test results to 305,623.

Monday, August 3

11:19 p.m. Spain aims to roll out a COVID-19 contact-tracing app across the country in September after saying that a pilot showed it could detect almost twice as many potential infections as human trackers during a simulated outbreak on a tiny island, reports Reuters.

8:40 p.m. Vietnam says the government has no plans for a nationwide lockdown and instead will impose quarantines on specific areas if the need arises. Acting Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long acknowledged that the nation's infection rate has been increasing.

8:10 p.m. Greece will mandate that masks be worn on the decks of ferries sailing to its islands, extending requirements beyond interior spaces after a recent spike in coronavirus infections, according to local media outfit Kathimerini.

8:03 p.m. One person dies from COVID-19 every seven minutes in Iran, Reuters reports, citing Iranian state television. Those figures were based on the 215 deaths recorded over the past 24 hours, as cited by a health ministry spokesperson. Iran's total death toll is 17,405, and the number of confirmed cases in the country has risen by 2,598 to 312,035.

7:45 p.m. U.S. drugmaker Eli Lilly is beginning a late-stage trial to determine whether one of its experimental COVID-19 antibody treatments can prevent the virus from spreading among residents and staff in nursing homes.

7:20 p.m. Indian drugmaker Wockhardt has agreed with the U.K. government to supply millions of doses of multiple COVID-19 vaccines, including the one being developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University. The company has reserved manufacturing capacity to supply vaccines to the client.

7:10 p.m. Australia's second-biggest city, Melbourne, already under night curfew, announces fresh restrictions on industries including retail and construction in a bid to contain a resurgence of the coronavirus, Reuters reports. Melbourne, the capital of Victoria state, will close retail, some manufacturing and administrative businesses starting Wednesday night as part of a six-week lockdown. Victoria has recorded several hundred new COVID-19 infections every day for the past few weeks.

5:50 p.m. Hong Kong reports 80 new cases, the first time in 12 days that it marks a rise of less than 100. A team of Chinese officials has begun preparations for widespread testing in the global financial hub, which has seen a surge in coronavirus infections recently.

5:40 p.m. Indonesia records another 1,679 infections, bringing its total number of cases to 113,134. There were 66 additional deaths, taking total fatalities to 5,302.

5:30 p.m. The Philippines confirms 3,226 new infections and 46 additional deaths. President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday ordered the reimposition of a strict lockdown in and around the capital starting Tuesday to stem the case surge.

4:09 p.m. Suzuki Motor says net profit for the April-June quarter slid 96% from a year earlier to 1.7 billion yen ($16 million), due to poor sales in India. Sales in Asia excluding Japan, including its key Indian market, fell 76% to 105 billion yen. Its Asia business excluding Japan swung to a 6.7 billion yen operating loss.

3:19 p.m. Tokyo confirms 258 new coronavirus infections, sources tell Nikkei, registering a daily tally of more than 200 cases for seventh consecutive day.

2:50 p.m. Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc says that early August will be key to preventing a major outbreak of the novel coronavirus, state broadcaster VTV reported, according to Reuters. "We have to deploy full force to curb all known epicenters, especially those in Danang," VTV quoted Phuc as saying. "Early August will be the decisive time within which to stop the virus from spreading on a large scale."

1:50 p.m. India reports 52,972 new coronavirus infections in the past 24 hours, taking the total to 1.8 million. With 771 new deaths, the COVID-19 disease has now claimed 38,135 lives in the country.

1:30 p.m. HSBC Holdings reports an 82% slump in second-quarter profit as it ratcheted up provisions for loan losses due to the coronavirus pandemic and warns of the fallout from mounting U.S.-China tensions. Net profit for the three months ended June 30 fell to $617 million from $5 billion a year earlier.

11:55 a.m. Global coronavirus infections surpass 18 million, according to Johns Hopkins University, led by the U.S., Brazil and India.

11:30 a.m. China's factory activity expanded at the fastest pace in nearly a decade in July, as domestic demand continued to improve after the coronavirus crisis. The Caixin/Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index rose to 52.8 last month from June's 51.2, the sector's third consecutive month of growth and the biggest jump since January 2011.

11:15 a.m. South Korea confirms 23 new coronavirus cases, down from 30 a day ago. Total infections in the country reach 14,389, with 301 deaths. The government has asked people to follow social distancing rules during the holidays as the country enters the peak of the summer break this week.

The coronavirus-induced recession threatens the job security of over 91 million migrants in Asia, the Asian Development Bank finds in a recent study.   © Reuters

11:10 a.m. Cash remittances from overseas Filipino workers, a lifeline for the Philippine economy, fell 19.3% to $2.1 billion in May versus a year earlier, the nation's central bank reports. The decline was due to limited operations of some banks during the lockdown and repatriation of workers, it says. Remittances from January to May totaled to $11.6 billion, down 6.4% on the year.

10:57 a.m. Total monetary remittances to Asia are expected to fall between $31.4 billion and $54.3 billion this year, or 11.5% and 19.8% of baseline remittances, respectively, the Asian Development Bank says. The global recession also threatens the job security of over 91 million migrants from the region. Expected to be hit the hardest are remittance-reliant economies in the Pacific as well as in West and Central Asia.

10:40 a.m. Australian shares fall to a more than one-month low, dragged down by financial stocks, as the state of Victoria imposed its strongest movement restrictions yet to curb an uptick in COVID-19 cases. The S&P/ASX 200 index was down 0.7% at 5,888.7 by 0106 GMT, hitting its lowest point since June 30.

9:20 a.m. Metro Manila and nearby provinces return to stricter lockdown measures from Tuesday through Aug. 18 amid rising infections in the Philippines, which now total more than 103,000, the second highest in Southeast Asia. President Rodrigo Duterte late Sunday approved a task force's recommendation for a two-week "modified enhanced community quarantine." Under the policy, a stay-at-home order will remain in place, public transportation will be suspended and business operations will be further restricted.

8:30 a.m. Total cases of the new coronavirus confirmed across the globe reach 17,960,538, nearing the 18 million mark, according to Johns Hopkins University.

7:00 a.m. Brazil records 25,800 new infections and 541 deaths from the disease caused by the virus in the past 24 hours. The country has registered more than 2.73 million cases since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to 94,104.

Sunday, August 2

11:40 p.m. Seven Chinese health officials arrive in Hong Kong, the first members of a 60-person team that will carry out widespread COVID-19 testing in the territory as it races to halt a third wave of illness. The initiative marks the first time mainland health officials have assisted Hong Kong in its battle to control the epidemic.

9:47 p.m. Indian Home Minister Amit Shah says he has been admitted to a hospital after catching the coronavirus, becoming the most senior politician in the country to test positive.

8:08 p.m. Vietnam reports 34 new infections, bringing the total number of cases in the Southeast Asian country to 620.

A worker wearing a protective face mask checks the temperature of a traveler at Dadar railway station in Mumbai on July 31.   © Reuters

5:21 p.m. The Philippines reports 5,032 additional infections, its largest single-day increase on record, taking the country's confirmed case total to 103,185. In a bulletin, the Department of Health says the Southeast Asian country's coronavirus death toll jumped by 20 to 2,059.

5:19 p.m. Indonesia reports 1,519 new infections, bringing the total to 111,455, and 43 new COVID-19 related deaths, bringing the toll to 5,236, data from the country's COVID-19 task force shows.

2:54 p.m. The Philippines' health department vows to update its game plan against COVID-19 within a week and sought to beef up the health care workforce in the capital Manila, where medical frontliners are calling for reviving strict lockdowns.

2:13 p.m. Australia's second-most populous state of Victoria declares a state of disaster and imposes a nightly curfew for the capital Melbourne as part of its harshest movement restrictions to date to contain a resurgent COVID-19. Victoria reports 671 infections, one of its highest, and seven COVID-19 deaths. High numbers of community transmissions and cases of unknown origins have forced the new restrictions, which will be in place for six weeks, officials said.

4:20 a.m. COVID-19 infections are increasing around the world, with 126 countries and regions -- about 70% of the globe -- reporting growing cases as of Friday, marking the highest percentage since the beginning of April. Nikkei examined data from Johns Hopkins University and calculated the number of countries and regions that have recorded new daily highs or upticks in the past week. Out of 188 countries and regions, 77 were experiencing an upward trend in May. That number has now reached 126.

Saturday, Aug. 1

3:15 p.m. Asia's smaller premium end of the luxury cruise stay is already showing signs of recovery, appealing to passengers with the idea of lower-risk voyages.

9:46 a.m. Vietnam's health ministry says 12 new local coronavirus cases linked to the recent outbreak in the central city Danang have been confirmed. Vietnam has registered a total of 558 coronavirus cases and recorded its first two deaths on Friday, according to Reuters.

5:46 a.m. Chilean police are training sniffer dogs to detect coronavirus in people's sweat at an early stage, after a similar trial in the U.K. showed encouraging results, reports Reuters.

To catch up on earlier developments, see last week's latest updates.

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