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Coronavirus: Free to read

Coronavirus: Week of Aug 9 to Aug 15, South Korea sees biggest daily spike since March

Japan scales back WWII memorial events; North Korea ends Kaesong lockdown

South Korea has now experienced a triple-digit rise in coronavirus infections for three days in a row.   © Reuters

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

Follow the latest updates

Global cases have reached 21,070,842, according to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

The worldwide death toll has hit 763,070.

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 15

12:15 p.m. South Korea reports 166 new infections, marking the biggest daily spike since March 11. The country has now seen a triple-digit rise in cases for three straight days, according to Kyodo.

5:00 a.m. Japan marks the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II with nationwide events, but attendance will be restricted as a precaution against the still-spreading coronavirus.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will address what is expected to be the smallest audience ever at a national memorial ceremony for war dead in Tokyo, NHK reports.

3:30 a.m. The Trump administration has chosen U.S.-based McKesson Corp. as the central distributor for future coronavirus vaccines in the country.

12:20 a.m. The U.S. will extend restrictions on nonessential travel at land borders with Canada and Mexico for another 30 days, Reuters quotes Acting U.S. Homeland Security Department Secretary Chad Wolf as saying.

Friday, August 14

11:27 p.m. North Korea has ended a three-week lockdown in the city of Kaesong that was sparked by a possible coronavirus case from outside the country. The country still appears to report zero coronavirus cases.

11:00 p.m. Foreign ministers from Malaysia and Japan agree to ease entry restrictions for corporate representatives and long-term residents in a step toward restarting travel.

10:00 p.m. As Japan enters the peak of its summer holiday season this weekend, people are moving around the country more, raising the risk of new COVID-19 infections, particularly among the elderly.

Tokyo reported 389 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, the first daily increase above 300 in five days.

8:00 p.m. China's average concentrations of PM2.5 air pollution were down by 10.8% in the January-July period as the pandemic slowed economic activity, Reuters reports, citing government data. Average readings came to 33 micrograms per cubic meter, below China's national standard of 35 but still much higher than the World Health Organization's recommended maximum of 10.

7:00 p.m. Hong Kong revises its annual GDP forecast to a contraction of 6% to 8%, down from a previous prediction of a 4% to 7% decline, citing the worsening coronavirus situation in the territory.

5:40 p.m. Taiwan's economy is expected to grow 1.56% in 2020, the statistics agency says, down from its forecast in May for 1.67% growth, due to the coronavirus pandemic. But forecasters predict a strong rebound next year.

Taiwan's government now expects the island's economy to grow 1.56% this year, down from its forecast for 1.67% growth in May, due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.   © Reuters

5:15 p.m. The Philippines reports 6,216 new coronavirus infections, up from 4,002 yesterday, bringing the country's total to 153,660, with 2,442 deaths.

4:15 p.m. Indonesian President Joko Widodo says the country must use the COVID-19 pandemic to "renew" itself as it aims to reach developed-nation status in the next 25 years.

3:30 p.m. Tokyo counts 389 new cases, the highest figure in about one week. Elsewhere in Japan, where many people are on summer vacation, urban and tourist areas continue to see relatively large numbers of infections.

2:50 p.m. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte postpones the reopening of schools to Oct. 5, Education Secretary Leonor Briones says. Basic education classes were scheduled to resume Aug. 24. The decision comes amid rising infection numbers that have forced Duterte to tighten community quarantine measures in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.

1:55 p.m. Thai Airways International has revealed the damage to its financial status inflicted by the coronavirus pandemic, which provided a final push for the company to give up the idea of self-resuscitation.

1:00 p.m. Malaysia's economy contracted 17.1% on the year in the second quarter, the central bank says, reflecting the dire impact of the coronavirus lockdown imposed through the three-month period.

12:30 p.m. New Zealand reports 12 new COVID-19 cases, all linked to a now 30-strong cluster first detected in a family in Auckland two days ago. Officials believe an imported strain of the virus is responsible for the country's first outbreak in three months, but are still investigating how the family was infected.

11:15 a.m. South Korea confirms 103 new cases, up from 56 a day ago. Total infections reach 14,873, with 305 deaths. The government considers strengthening social distancing rules as church and market clusters increase.

11:05 a.m. China's July industrial output rose 4.8% from a year earlier, data shows, expanding for the fourth straight month, though growth was less than expected as the economy gradually recovers from coronavirus-related lockdowns.

9:50 a.m. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is expected to announce on Friday whether a lockdown in Auckland will be eased or extended. Officials say the country's first outbreak in more than three months appears to be an imported strain, Reuters reports.

5:29 a.m. Francis Collins, director of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, says coronavirus vaccines developed under the Trump administration's Operation Warp Speed program are unlikely to receive regulatory approval before November or December.

4:18 a.m. The World Health Organization says it saw no evidence of coronavirus being spread by food or packaging and urged people not to be afraid of the virus entering the food chain. Two cities in China had said they found traces of the virus in imported frozen chicken wings from Brazil and on outer packaging of frozen Ecuadorian shrimp.

3:48 a.m. Mexican Energy Secretary Rocio Nahle says she placed herself in isolation due to a COVID-19 infection, though she was not suffering symptoms of the virus.

1:23 a.m. Japanese construction equipment maker Kubota plans to build a new factory for compact track loaders in the U.S. state of Kansas, anticipating a housing boom as more affluent Americans relocate to suburbs in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

12:58 a.m. Brazil requires more information and talks before it commits to buying the Russian COVID-19 vaccine, which is at a very early stage of testing, the country's acting health minister says.

12:42 a.m. The foreign ministers of Japan and Singapore agree to work toward resuming business travel between the two countries in September after a monthslong halt.

12:30 a.m. World No. 1 men's tennis player Novak Djokovic will compete in the U.S. Open, set to begin Aug. 31. He is "excited" to play while acknowledging the "obstacles and challenges" of holding the major tournament amid the pandemic, Djokovic says on his website. Djokovic tested positive for COVID-19 in June but said he has recovered.

Thursday, August 13

11:57 p.m. The Philippines begins clinical trials in October of a Russian-developed COVID-19 vaccine that Moscow says is the first in the world approved to prevent the disease, a government spokesperson says.

10:30 p.m. A religious leader who shared a stage with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a ceremony to launch construction of a grand temple has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Nritya Gopal Das, an 82-year-old Hindu priest, was the latest public figure to test positive after a string of Modi's top cabinet colleagues were stricken with COVID-19, including interior minister Amit Shah.

8:16 p.m. The Philippine unit of Royal Dutch Shell says it will shut down an oil refinery it owns in the country, blaming a pandemic-led slump in margins. Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. says its 110,000-barrel-per-day Tabangao facility in Batangas Province would be turned into an import terminal. There are two oil refineries in the Philippines.

7:57 p.m. Vietnam's health ministry has reported 25 more infections and three additional deaths, bringing the total number of cases to 905 and fatalities to 20. More than 430 of the total cases are linked to the central city of Danang.

6:56 p.m. Iran has recorded 174 deaths from coronavirus and 2,625 new cases. Those numbers take its death toll to more than 19,000 and total cases to 336,324, the Health Ministry said.

5:38 p.m. Hong Kong says it has recorded 69 new coronavirus cases, of which 65 were locally transmitted.

5:20 p.m. The Philippines has reported 4,002 more novel coronavirus infections and 23 additional deaths.

4:20 p.m. Indonesia has announced that a travel corridor arrangement with South Korea has been agreed for essential business trips between the two countries, and will be effective from Monday. This follows Indonesia's similar arrangement with the United Arab Emirates that took effect late July. Tourism is not part of these arrangements.

Indonesia reports 2,098 new coronavirus infections.   © Reuters

3:40 p.m. Most Asian stocks climb as the global equities rally gains momentum on fresh signs of U.S. economic recovery, shrugging off a resurgence of the coronavirus in several countries.

3:35 p.m. Japanese trading company Mitsubishi Corp. reports a 77% plunge in net profit for the April-June quarter.

3:20 p.m. Ukraine says it recorded a big daily jump of 1,592 cases on Wednesday.

2:00 p.m. The Philippines plans to start clinical trials for a Russian coronavirus vaccine in October, with President Rodrigo Duterte expected to be inoculated as early as May, the presidential spokesman says.

1:50 p.m. India reports another record for daily infections, 66,999, bringing its total cases to nearly 2.4 million. Meanwhile, the country's death toll jumped to 47,033, up 942 from Wednesday morning.

1:30 p.m. China's Lenovo Group, the world's biggest PC maker, posts a better than expected quarterly profit, after making good on opportunities presented by the globe's remote working and learning trends.

10:45 a.m. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says she expects the country's coronavirus cluster to add numbers before dissipating. "As we all learned from our first experience with COVID, once you identify a cluster, it grows before it slows," she told reporters. "We should expect that to be the case here."

9:45 a.m. Japan's benchmark Nikkei Stock Average rises in morning trading as investors expect the development of a COVID-19 vaccine. The Nikkei average reaches 23,000 yen, more than 1% higher than the previous day and the highest level since February.

Expectations for the development of a COVID-19 vaccine drove the Nikkei Stock Average to its highest level since February in morning trading. (Photo by Arisa Moriyama)

9:35 a.m. China reports 19 new coronavirus cases on the mainland on Aug. 12, down from 25 the previous day, the country's health authority said on Thursday.

7:18 a.m. Actors who had objected to Walt Disney's proposed coronavirus safeguards at the Walt Disney World theme park in the U.S. state of Florida have reached an agreement to return to work, reports Reuters. The company committed to providing COVID-19 tests for its members, who cannot wear protective masks while performing.

5:15 a.m. U.S. stocks advance, with the S&P 500 coming only about 6 points short of an all-time close high. Investors are weighing the chances of more fiscal stimulus from Washington, as well as prospects for an effective COVID-19 vaccine. Meanwhile, New York crude oil futures rebound after U.S. petroleum inventories fall.

3:10 a.m. The Brazilian state of Parana has reached a deal with Russia to manufacture a COVID-19 vaccine that Moscow claims is the first approved worldwide, Reuters reports.

12:49 a.m. South Korea's Celltrion says it will export its coronavirus antibody test kits to the U.S., which has struggled to keep up with testing of its population.

12:37 a.m. Jordan will close its land trade border crossing with Syria for a week after a rise in COVID-19 cases coming from its northern neighbor, reports Reuters.

Wednesday, August 12

11:31 p.m. U.S. private equity group Carlyle will invest over $9 billion in Japan, believing companies there will restructure there in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

11:03 p.m. Switzerland decides to allow events of more than 1,000 people from Oct. 1, provided organizers follow hygiene measures to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.

6:28 p.m. Russia says the first batch of its COVID-19 vaccine will be ready for some medics within two weeks.

5:56 p.m. Philippine scientists were set on Wednesday to meet representatives of the Russian state research facility that developed a coronavirus vaccine to discuss participation in clinical trials and access to its research data.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has lauded the Russian vaccine and offered to be "injected in public" to allay public fears about its safety.

4:45 p.m. Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko says allegations that Russia's COVID-19 vaccine was unsafe are groundless and driven by competition, the Interfax news agency reports.

3:50 p.m. Cathay Pacific Airways has reported a record net loss of nearly $1.3 billion for the first half of the year under the impact of the coronavirus pandemic which has grounded all but a small fraction of the group's passenger flights.

3:18 p.m. The city of Jingzhou, in China's central province of Hubei, reports a coronavirus case where a person tested positive again after recovering from COVID-19 months ago, the city government said. The 68-year-old woman, who tested positive for the coronavirus on Feb. 8 and recovered a few months ago, tested positive again on Aug. 9.

3:10 p.m. Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific Airways warns it does not expect a meaningful recovery in passenger demand for some time, due to the pandemic, after reporting a record first-half loss of 9.87 billion Hong Kong dollars.

3:08 p.m. Tokyo confirms 222 new coronavirus infections, compared with 188 the previous day and 197 on Monday.

3:02 p.m. New Zealand officials are investigating the possibility the country's first COVID-19 infection in more than three months came in through freight, as Aukland was put back on lockdown on Wednesday.

2:44 p.m. German Health Minister Jens Spahn on Wednesday said he was skeptical about Russia becoming the first country to grant regulatory approval for a COVID-19 vaccine, saying it was key to have a safe, tested product rather than just being first. Russia's vaccine, which was dubbed "Sputnik V" in homage to the world's first satellite launched by the Soviet Union, has not yet completed final trials. Approval came after less than two months of human testing.

2:00 p.m. New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said her cabinet will decide Friday on the next steps with regard to new coronavirus restrictions, as it reported four new suspected cases of community spread. Of the four new cases, two are colleagues of a man who tested positive and two are related to a household where an infected person stayed.

1:27 p.m. As people become desperate to return to normal life, outlandish claims for coronavirus cures and prevention have sprung up around the world. Asia has seen a number of politicians, officials and other people propose suspect treatments. Here is a selection of some dubious claims made over the past few months in the region.

11:25 a.m. South Korea confirms 54 new cases, up from 34 a day ago, sending total infections in the country to 14,714 with 305 deaths. The government strengthened social distancing rules in funeral homes and wedding halls to prevent spread of the contagion.

11:12 a.m. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand holds its official cash rate at 0.25% in a widely expected decision while expanding its large-scale asset purchase program to as much as 100 billion New Zealand dollars ($65.4 billion).

10:44 a.m. South Korea and the U.S. will kick off their annual joint military drills this week but without mobilizing U.S.-based troops, after scaling back the exercise due to the coronavirus, South Korean media reports.

9:28 a.m. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern delays a key step toward next month's general elections as the country returns to lockdown mode after the discovery of the first COVID-19 cases in more than three months. Ardern says she is suspending the dissolution of parliament, which was to make way for an election scheduled for Sept. 19, until Monday. No decision has been made on delaying the actual poll, she says.

9:19 a.m. Australia records its deadliest day of the pandemic and the biggest daily rise in infections in three days, denting hopes that a second wave gripping the state of Victoria may be stabilizing. Victoria reported 21 deaths, two more than the previous deadliest day earlier this week, and 410 new cases in the past 24 hours, ending a run of three consecutive days with new infections below 400.

8:09 a.m. South Korea's unemployment rate declined in July for a second month in a row as business sentiment improved and coronavirus concerns receded. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined to 4.2% in July, down from a decade peak of 4.5% in May, data from Statistics Korea shows.

7:42 a.m. Brazil's Parana state is in talks to produce a COVID-19 vaccine approved by Russia despite not having completed mass clinical trials, but it is unclear if the state's research institute would get regulatory approval in Brazil, according to Reuters.

7:36 a.m. Ecuador expects a quick resolution to a trade dispute with China over traces of coronavirus in a container of exported shrimp that led Beijing to suspend imports from three companies, Ecuador's production and trade minister says.

2:40 a.m. France's daily count of new infections has nearly doubled, Reuters quotes health authorities as saying.

Tuesday, August 11

10:51 p.m. Mexico will conduct late-stage clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccines in development by Johnson & Johnson and two Chinese companies, the foreign ministry says.

Some production of the vaccine may be located in the country, Reuters reports, citing the ministry.

8:00 p.m. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says that authorities have found four cases of the coronavirus in one household in Auckland, which came from an unknown source and are the first cases of local transmission in the country in 102 days.

7:50 p.m. Russia has named its first approved COVID-19 vaccine 'Sputnik V' for foreign markets, a reference to the world's first satellite, Reuters reported citing a top official. Russia has already received requests from more than 20 countries for 1 billion doses of its newly-registered COVID-19 vaccine.

7:07 p.m. The World Health Organization and Russian health authorities are discussing the process for possible WHO prequalification for the country's newly approved COVID-19 vaccine, a spokesman for the organization says.

6:39 p.m. The government of the city of Yantai in the east of China says authorities identified the novel coronavirus on the outer packaging of frozen seafood that arrived from the port city of Dalian, which recently battled a surge in cases, Reuters reported.

6:05 p.m. President Vladimir Putin says Russia is the first country in the world to grant regulatory approval to a COVID-19 vaccine, after less than two months of human testing. Moscow says the approval reflects Russia's scientific prowess.

Russian President Vladimir Putin takes part in a video conference call, dedicated to the opening of new military medical centres for patients infected with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Moscow, Russia June 30.   © Reuters

5:58 p.m. Hong Kong reports 33 new cases, the lowest daily increase since July 15. In total, 4,182 people have been infected in the city and 58 have died.

3:19 p.m. Tokyo confirms an additional 188 infections. The number compares to 197 the previous day and 331 on Sunday.

2:15 p.m. India reports 53,601 cases in the past 24 hours, down from 62,064 the previous day and bringing the country's total to 2.27 million. The death toll has climbed to 45,257, up 871 since Monday morning.

1:38 p.m. South Korea's Daewoong Pharmaceutical says it received Indian regulatory approval to test its anti-parasitic niclosamide drug to treat COVID-19 patients in an early-stage human trial. The Phase 1 trial, approved by India's Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation, will involve around 30 healthy participants to test safety and get started this month, Daewoong said in a statement. The South Korean drugmaker is testing the treatment in partnership with New Delhi-based Mankind Pharma.

1:23 p.m. China's Sinovac Biotech launches a late-stage human trial involving as many as 1,620 patients in Indonesia for a COVID-19 vaccine candidate that it is developing with Indonesian state-owned peer Bio Farma. The candidate, known as CoronaVac but previously as PiCoVacc, is among the few potential vaccines that have entered late-stage trials in a large-scale study to gather proof of efficacy for regulatory approval.

12:30 p.m. A New Zealand retirement village has gone into lockdown after residents displayed symptoms of respiratory illness, the New Zealand Herald reports. The Village Palms retirement community in Christchurch advised family members of the lockdown in a letter to them on Tuesday, the newspaper said. No further details were immediately available.

A doctor holds a box of Chinese company Sinovac Biotech's CoronaVac, a potential coronavirus vaccine, at a hospital in Porto Alegre, Brazil, on Aug. 8.   © Reuters

11:35 a.m. China's auto sales in July climbed 16.4% from a year earlier, the fourth consecutive month of gains as the world's biggest vehicle market comes off lows hit during the country's coronavirus lockdown. Sales rose to 2.11 million vehicles in July but are still down 12.7% for the year to date at 12.37 million vehicles.

11:05 a.m. South Korea confirms 34 new cases, up from 28 a day ago. Total infections reach 14,660, with 305 deaths.

10:52 a.m. Narita Airport, one of the main travel hubs for the Tokyo area, adopts new precautions as Japan looks to resume international business travel.

10:41 a.m. Australian employment was steady through July, weekly data showed on Tuesday, though the southeastern state of Victoria, which is grappling with a fresh wave of coronavirus infections, suffered a setback. The number of payroll jobs nationwide fell 0.1% in July, and Victoria recorded a fall of 1.5% as strict mobility restrictions and curfews came into effect.

9:04 a.m. Australia's second-most-populous state reported a small rise in new COVID-19 infections on Tuesday, boosting hopes that case numbers are stabilizing after a second wave forced authorities to send the city of Melbourne back into lockdown. Victoria state detected 331 new infections and 19 deaths in the past 24 hours, compared with 322 infections and the same number of fatalities a day earlier. Daily infections in Victoria peaked at 725 on Aug. 5 and have been trending lower in recent days, following the imposition of a hard lockdown in Melbourne on July 19.

A health worker wearing a face shield and a protective face mask checks the temperature of a man with an electronic thermometer at a school in Mumbai, India on Aug. 10. Confirmed cases of COVID-19 are still rising fast in the country.    © Reuters

9:02 a.m. Singapore on Tuesday revised this year's economic growth projection to a range of -5% to -7%, from the previous -4% to -7%, underscoring the prolonged impact of COVID-19 on the city-state's businesses.

8:58 a.m. Confirmed cases of COVID-19 across the globe have surpassed 20 million, according to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, while the total death count has reached 733,897.

6:22 a.m. Novavax's manufacturing capacity is sufficient to meet the U.S. demand for COVID-19 vaccines in 2021, which it believes could be as high as 500 million to 600 million doses, executives say.

6:06 a.m. Gilead Sciences says it has filed an application with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration seeking full approval for remdesivir, its experimental COVID-19 drug currently used under emergency authorization.

5:40 a.m. The Philippines will accept an offer for a pending Russian coronavirus vaccine once a supply becomes available, President Rodrigo Duterte says.

"I'll volunteer to take it in public," Duterte said. "I'll be the first to be experimented on."

4:40 a.m. Japan's listed companies are headed for their worst downturn since the global financial crisis, with aggregate net profit expected to shrink by 36% for the current fiscal year, a Nikkei analysis shows.

4:00 a.m. Tens of millions of garment workers, many in South and Southeast Asia, have lost up to nearly $6 billion in wages during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a study published by Clean Clothes Campaign.

The industry's plight is playing out in such countries as Cambodia and Bangladesh.

1:30 a.m. Japan, the U.K. and more than 70 other countries plan to form an alliance this fall to jointly procure 2 billion doses of coronavirus vaccines by 2021, looking to gain financial leverage in talks with pharmaceutical companies.

Monday, August 10

9:24 p.m. The Philippines reports 6,958 additional infections, the country's highest single-day count, bringing the total to 136,638, with 2,293 deaths.

A child gets a free coronavirus disease swab test at a gymnasium in Metro Manila on Aug. 7.   © Reuters

8:19 p.m. Vietnam's Health Ministry reports six more coronavirus infections and two additional deaths, bringing the total number of cases in the Southeast Asian country to 847, with 13 fatalities.

8:18 p.m. Macao says tourist visas, through which the majority of gamblers come to casinos in the Chinese territory, will be reinstated for the neighboring city of Zhuhai, paving the way for a revival of visitors. Macau's culture secretary, Ao Ieong U, says the highly anticipated individual visit scheme, or IVS, will resume Aug. 12.

7:42 p.m. Japan's total coronavirus cases top 50,000, rising by 10,000 in just one week, as urban centers including Tokyo and Osaka continue to see high levels of infections since the central government fully lifted the nationwide state of emergency in late May. The spread of the virus has accelerated since infections reached 20,000 in early July, eclipsing 30,000 in late July and 40,000 on Aug. 3. The nationwide tally includes about 700 from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which was quarantined in Yokohama in February.

5:16 p.m. As COVID-19 continues its devastating global rampage, countries are competing fiercely to secure vaccine supplies once they become available. Rich nations are investing heavily to ensure they receive millions of doses, leaving developing countries in their wake. Researchers worldwide are working on more than 150 potential vaccines, and 26 candidates have already reached human trials.

3:00 p.m. The Red Cross has trained 43,000 North Korean volunteers to help communities, including the locked-down city of Kaesong, fight the novel coronavirus and provide flood assistance, an official with the relief organization says.

2:00 p.m. India reports more than 1,000 deaths and 62,000 infections in the past 24 hours, bringing the country's totals to 44,386 fatalities and over 2.2 million cases. It is the fourth consecutive day for India to add more than 60,000 cases.

12:10 p.m. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison says internal border closures are unlikely to be lifted before Christmas, as the country reports a record single-day increase in COVID-19 deaths. The surge comes as evidence appears showing drastic lockdown measures in the city of Melbourne are having an effect, with daily new infections in the state of Victoria slowing to a near two week low.

10:00 a.m. China reports 49 cases, up from 23 a day earlier. Of the new cases, 35 were brought into the country by travelers. China also reports 31 new asymptomatic patients, compared with 11 a day earlier.

8:50 a.m. Australia's state of Victoria records 322 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, the lowest single-day tally since July 29. The state also records its highest single-day increase in deaths, 19 more than during the previous 24-hour period.

Attendees who were not wearing masks put on coverings provided by the White House as they wait for President Donald Trump to hold a news conference Aug. 7 at his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey.   © Reuters

3:00 a.m. Coronavirus cases in the U.S. top 5 million, according to Johns Hopkins University, by far the highest number in the world and more than 25% of all global confirmed cases. The country has recorded more than 160,000 deaths, nearly a quarter of the global total.

1:00 a.m. Britain confirms 1,062 new positive tests, up from 758 a day earlier for the biggest daily jump since late June, official data shows.

Sunday, August 9

11:50 p.m. Saudi Arabia will soon begin Phase 3 clinical trials involving around 5,000 people for a vaccine candidate developed by China's CanSino Biologics, a Saudi health ministry spokesman says. Last month, CanSino's co-founder said the company was in talks with Russia, Brazil, Chile and Saudi Arabia to launch a Phase 3 trial of Ad5-nCOV.

10:40 p.m. Japan confirms 1,345 new infections nationwide, with Tokyo reporting 331 of the cases.

8:30 p.m. Vietnam reports 31 new cases and an additional death, taking the country's cumulative tallies to 841 infections and 11 fatalities. All of the new cases are linked to the central city of Danang, where the new outbreak began late last month. There have been 355 cases since the virus resurfaced in the beach city, and all of the country's deaths have come since then.

6:00 p.m. Indonesia reports 1,893 new daily infections, down from 2,277 a day earlier and taking the country's cumulative total to 125,396.

1:29 p.m. New Zealand marks 100 days without a domestic transmission. "Achieving 100 days without community transmission is a significant milestone, however, as we all know, we can't afford to be complacent," Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said.

11:08 a.m. China reports 23 new cases, down from 31 a day earlier. Of the new cases, 15 were locally transmitted and eight were brought into the country by travelers.

6:51 a.m. Brazil reports 49,970 new cases and 905 deaths in the past 24 hours, the health ministry says. The country has registered 3,012,412 cases since the pandemic began; the official death toll now sits at 100,447.

Saturday, August 8

5:26 p.m. Indonesia reports 2,277 new coronavirus infections and 65 more deaths, data from its health ministry shows. This brings the country's total to 123,503 coronavirus infections and 5,658 deaths.

5:13 p.m. The Philippine health ministry reports 4,226 new coronavirus infections and 41 additional deaths. In a bulletin, the ministry says total confirmed infections have risen to 126,885 while deaths have reached 2,209, with bulk of cases and casualties reported in the capital.

4:42 p.m. The Tokyo metropolitan government reports 429 new cases of coronavirus infection, surpassing the 400 mark for the second straight day.

4:40 p.m. Russian authorities report 5,212 new cases of the novel coronavirus, pushing the national tally to 882,347, the fourth largest in the world. The official death toll rises to 14,854 after officials say 129 people had died across the country in the last 24 hours.

2:00 p.m. Japan's Kyushu University professor Takahiro Kusakabe and his team are working to develop a unique vaccine using silkworms. Each worm is a factory that manufactures a protein to serve as the key material for vaccine production. Kusakabe says it is possible to create an oral vaccine and aims to start clinical tests on humans next year.

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 preexisting 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.

6:18 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."

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

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