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Coronavirus: Free to read

Coronavirus: Week of Aug. 15 to Aug. 21, Australia's New South Wales logs record daily cases

Vietnam deploys troops in Ho Chi Minh City; New Zealand reports 21 new cases

A staffer at a COVID-19 clinic stands at the entrance during a lockdown to curb a serious outbreak of the highly transmissible delta variant of coronavirus in Sydney, Australia, on Aug. 20.    © Reuters

Nikkei Asia is tracking the spread of the coronavirus that was first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.

Cumulative global cases have reached 210,761,789, according to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. The worldwide death toll has hit 4,413,638.

For more information about the spread of COVID-19 and the progress of vaccination around the world, please see our interactive charts and maps.

-- Global coronavirus tracker charts

-- Status of vaccinations around the world

-- World map of spreading mutated strains

-- Distribution, duration, safety: challenges emerge in vaccine race

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UPDATES CLOSED

Saturday, Aug. 21 (Tokyo time)

10:30 a.m. New Zealand records 21 new cases, bringing infections associated with the current community outbreak to 51, officials say. Of the 21 new cases, 18 are in Auckland and three are in Wellington.

10:20 a.m. Australia's most populous state, New South Wales, reports a record 825 locally acquired daily COVID-19 infections, up from 644 cases seen in the previous day. There were three deaths reported overnight from the current outbreak of the highly transmissible coronavirus delta variant, state Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.

Friday, Aug. 20

9:58 p.m. Vietnam authorities are deploying forces including the army to deal with COVID-19 outbreaks in the economic hub of Ho Chi Minh City and provinces in the south, ahead of the arrival of U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, as deaths from the virus spiral.

Residents in those areas are required to "stay where they are" from Aug. 23, said Pham Duc Hai, deputy head of the city's steering committee for COVID-19 prevention and control, at a press conference on Friday.

Undertakers in protective suits bury a victim of COVID-19 at a cemetery in Klang, Malaysia, on Aug. 5.   © Reuters

5:40 p.m. Malaysian health authorities report 23,564 new infections, up from 22,948 a day earlier and registering another new daily record. The country has recorded 1.51 million cases in total.

5:13 p.m. The Philippines reports a record 17,231 new infections, bringing its total to 1.81 million cases, of which 123,251 are active. An additional 317 fatalities -- the third-highest single-day tally -- were also recorded, taking its death toll to 31,198. The grim milestone comes just as President Rodrigo Duterte approved a recommendation to ease lockdown restrictions in Metro Manila from Saturday.

5:10 p.m. Tokyo reports 5,405 new cases, posting more than 5,000 for a third straight day, as Japan's capital struggles to ward off the delta variant. The seven-day average of new cases in Tokyo rose 13.6% from a week earlier to 4,721.

4:15 p.m. The U.K.'s health regulator has approved an antibody cocktail developed by Regeneron and Roche to prevent and treat COVID-19, it says, which it hopes to roll out soon. The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency said the drug Ronapreve could help prevent infection, help resolve symptoms of severe COVID-19 infection and reduce the chances of hospitalization. Ronapreve can be taken via injection or infusion.

Vietnam's business hub, Ho Chi Minh City, will bar residents from leaving their homes as local authorities grapple with spiraling COVID-19 deaths.   © Reuters

3:40 p.m. Vietnam's business hub, Ho Chi Minh City, says residents will be barred from leaving their homes, as the country's biggest city takes drastic measures to slow the spiraling rate of coronavirus deaths. Details of the order, which takes effect Monday, have yet to be announced. Vietnam has been slow to procure vaccines, having logged just 35 deaths and fewer than 3,000 cases as of May 1. But that has since jumped to over 312,000 cases and 7,150 deaths, with about half of the infections and 80% of fatalities in Ho Chi Minh City alone.

3:30 p.m. Japan's blue-chip Nikkei Stock Average fell 1% on Friday, closing at its lowest level this year. Other Asian benchmarks also tumbled as investors worry about the spread of the delta variant and earlier-than-expected stimulus tapering by the U.S. Federal Reserve. In Tokyo, auto stocks weakened, with Toyota Motor closing down 4% after announcing cutbacks in its September production plans.

1:40 p.m. India reports 36,571 new infections in the last 24 hours, up from 36,401 a day earlier.

12:40 p.m. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has extended the country's strict nationwide coronavirus lockdown, saying the full extent of the delta outbreak was still unknown. The lockdown will run until midnight on Tuesday, Ardern told a news conference.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has extended the country's nationwide COVID-19 lockdown until midnight on Aug. 24, saying the extent of the delta outbreak is unknown.   © AP

11:10 a.m. South Korea has extended its social distancing curbs for two weeks to ward off a surge in cases, while allowing vaccinated people some latitude, the prime minister says. The country's fourth wave of COVID-19 has shown few signs of abating six weeks after the toughest Level 4 distancing rules, which include a ban on gatherings of more than two people after 6 p.m., were imposed in the greater Seoul area.

11:00 a.m. New Zealand's COVID-19 outbreak widened beyond its largest city Auckland as new infections were discovered in the capital Wellington and case numbers jumped to 31. The findings meant Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will most likely extend a nationwide lockdown that she announced this week to try and curb the spread of the highly contagious delta variant. Health authorities said 11 new cases were recorded on Friday, of which three were in Wellington.

10:45 a.m. China reports 33 new cases for Thursday, compared with 46 a day earlier. Of the new infections, four were locally transmitted, down from five a day earlier. Two of them were in Jiangsu province, while the other two were in Yunnan province. China also reports 30 new asymptomatic cases, which it does not classify as confirmed infections, unchanged from a day earlier. All of them were imported cases from overseas.

A person walks past a public health warning in Sydney: Authorities in New South Wales have extended a lockdown in the city until the end of September to curb a COVID-19 outbreak.   © Reuters

10:30 a.m. State authorities in Australia's New South Wales have extended a COVID-19 lockdown in Sydney until the end of September after nearly two months of restrictions failed to contain an outbreak of the delta variant. Curfews will be introduced from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. in the city's 12 worst-affected local council areas from Aug. 23, State Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters. The current lockdown was due to end on Aug. 28.

9:00 a.m. Japan's core consumer prices fell 0.2% in July from a year earlier, government data shows, the 12th straight month of declines and a sign that the drop in demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic is keeping the economy under deflationary pressure. Japan's decision on Tuesday to extend emergency curbs into mid-September is expected to deal a further blow to household spending.

3:30 a.m. The Africa director at the World Health Organization criticizes decisions by some wealthy nations to start administering coronavirus booster shots.

"Moves by some countries globally to introduce booster shots threaten the promise of a brighter tomorrow for Africa," Matshidiso Moeti says in an online news conference. "As some richer countries hoard vaccines, they make a mockery of vaccine equity."

African countries lag far behind other regions in inoculations, with only 2% of the continent's 1.3 billion people fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

A health worker administers an AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine in Nairobi that was donated to Kenya by the U.K.   © Reuters

1:00 a.m. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the easing of coronavirus curbs in the capital region from Aug. 21 to 31, his spokesman says, even as the country reported its second-highest daily number of COVID-19 infections.

The capital region will be placed under the second-strictest level of coronavirus restrictions, after being on tight lockdown since Aug. 6.

Thursday, Aug. 19

6:00 p.m. Tokyo reports 5,534 new cases, up from 5,386 a day earlier and the second highest daily case count as the capital battles the highly contagious delta variant. The seven-day average of new cases in Tokyo remains high at 4,774, up 20.1% from a week ago, keeping an upward trend despite being under a state of emergency.

5:30 p.m. The Philippines reports 14,895 new cases, the second highest daily increase in infections since the start of the pandemic. The health ministry said total confirmed cases had reached 1.79 million, while deaths have reached 30,881, after 258 fatalities were recorded on Thursday. Active cases rose to a near four-month high at 111,720.

4:30 p.m. Malaysia reports 22,948 new cases, up from 22,242 from a day earlier and marking another daily record. The country has recorded nearly 1.49 million infections so far.

2:36 p.m. Toyota Motor will reduce global production for September by 40% from its previous plan, sources tell Nikkei, as the spread of the coronavirus in Southeast Asia adds to supply troubles for Japan's top automaker.

1:46 p.m. India reports 36,401 new infections in the last 24 hours, up from 35,178 the previous day, pushing the country's cumulative caseload to 32.32 million. Deaths rose from 440 a day ago to 530, bringing the total to 433,049.

12:00 p.m. South Korea reports 2,152 new cases for Wednesday, up from 1,805 a day earlier and the second-highest daily tally since the pandemic began. Deaths from COVID-19 rose by 13 to 2,191.

Singapore Airlines and Malaysia Airlines have joined the growing number of airlines requiring pilots and cabin crew members to be vaccinated against COVID-19.   © Reuters

11:30 a.m. Singapore Airlines and Malaysia Airlines say they have mandated COVID-19 vaccination for pilots and cabin crew members, joining a growing number of airlines around the world making it an employment requirement. Singapore Airlines said 99% of active pilots and cabin crew members had been vaccinated ahead of a Sept.1 deadline, as well as all front-line ground staffers. Malaysia Airlines said all active pilots and cabin crew members had received vaccines, as had 95% of Malaysia-based employees under a policy set in July.

10:40 a.m. New Zealand's COVID-19 outbreak has jumped to 21 cases, but the authorities linked the origin of the virus to a recent Sydney returnee and said it may not have been in the community for long. There were 11 new cases in the last 24 hours. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said genome sequencing revealed that the current positive cases were a close match to a returnee from Sydney who arrived on a flight on Aug. 7. Ardern put the nation under lockdown after one new case was reported in its largest city, Auckland, the country's first in six months.

10:25 a.m. The U.S. Transportation Department says it will limit some flights from Chinese carriers to 40% passenger capacity for four weeks, after the Chinese government imposed similar limits on four United Airlines flights. China told United on Aug. 6 that it was imposing sanctions, after it alleged that five passengers who traveled from San Francisco to Shanghai had tested positive for COVID-19 on July 21.

10:10 a.m. China reports 46 new cases for Thursday, compared with 28 a day earlier. Of the new infections, five were locally transmitted, down from six a day earlier. Three of them were in Jiangsu Province, with one in Shanghai and another in Yunnan Province. China also reports 30 new asymptomatic cases, which it does not classify as confirmed infections, up from a day earlier. All of them were imported cases from overseas.

8:10 a.m. A British study has found that protection from the two most commonly used COVID-19 vaccines -- from Pfizer and AstraZeneca -- against the delta variant weakens within three months. Based on more than 3 million nose and throat swabs, the Oxford University study found that 90 days after a second shot of the Pfizer or Astrazeneca vaccine, their efficacy in preventing infections had slipped to 75% and 61%, respectively, from 85% and 68% two weeks after a second dose.

A booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is drawn at a pharmacy in Schwenksville, Pennsylvania.   © Reuters

1:35 a.m. The U.S. plans to make COVID-19 vaccine booster shots widely available starting on Sept. 20, citing data that vaccine protection diminishes over time.

A third shot will be administered to people who received the two-dose Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines at least eight months ago. Those who received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson shot are also expected to need boosters.

The booster shots initially will focus upon health care workers, nursing home residents and older people, among the first groups to be vaccinated, according to top U.S. health officials.

Wednesday, Aug. 18

11:32 p.m. Current data does not indicate that COVID-19 booster shots are needed, says the World Health Organization.

Two doses should be given to the most vulnerable worldwide before boosters are administered to those fully vaccinated, WHO senior adviser Bruce Aylward says, referring to booster shots being administered in high-income countries.

Indonesia COVID A healthcare worker in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) treats a patient inside a temporary tent erected outside the emergency ward for accomodating the lack of beds at a government-run hospital amid the surge of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Bekasi, on the outskirts of Jakarta, Indonesia, July 15, 2021   © Reuters

7:40 p.m. Indonesia's Food and Drug Monitoring Agency (BPOM) on Wednesday says it has issued a "good manufacturing practice" certificate to Biotis Pharmaceuticals Indonesia, paving the way for the local company to make its own vaccine, which is still in the preclinical study phase.

BPOM says it is hoping to give emergency-use authorization to the company for the vaccine, called Merah Putih, in the first half of next year. The country reports 15,678 new infections in the past 24 hours, the lowest since late June and down from 20,741 on Tuesday. It also reports 1,128 new deaths. A total of 3.9 million people have contracted COVID-19 in Indonesia and 121,141 have died of it.

6:00 p.m. The Philippines cut its 2021 economic growth forecast to 4% to 5% from the previous 6% to 7%, as it imposes strict new lockdowns to fight a delta variant-driven spike in coronavirus infections. On Wednesday, the country reported new 11,085 infections, up from 10,035 the previous day, bringing the total to 1.776 million. An additional 161 fatalities were also recorded, bringing the total to 30,623.

5:40 p.m. Russia reported 20,914 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, including 1,590 in Moscow, taking the official national tally since the pandemic began to 6,663,473.

5:20 p.m. The 2021 Japanese Formula One Grand Prix, scheduled to be held in October, has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers said. "Following ongoing discussions with the promoter and authorities in Japan the decision has been taken by the Japanese government to cancel the race this season due to ongoing complexities of the pandemic in the country," Formula One said in a statement.

The 2021 Japanese Formula One Grand Prix, scheduled to be held in October, has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Pictured here is the Austrian Grand Prix held in July.    © Reuters

5:00 p.m. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government reported 5,386 new cases on Wednesday, the second-highest number for a single day since the start of the pandemic.

2:40 p.m. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga asked the country's largest business lobby Wednesday to help reduce the number of commuters by encouraging remote work as growing COVID-19 outbreak strains the health care system. "Telework is an effective countermeasure. It may be difficult for some businesses to implement, but I ask for cooperation," Suga said at the group's headquarters.

1:00 p.m. India posts 35,178 new cases for the past 24 hours, significantly up from the five-month low of 25,166 the previous day, bringing the country's total to about 32.3 million. Deaths rose by 440 to 432,519. Meanwhile, the country has vaccinated 5.5 million people since Tuesday morning, bringing the total number of doses administered nationwide to over 560.6 million.

12:00 p.m. Recent outbreaks of COVID-19 are disrupting plans by Apple, Google, Amazon and their key suppliers to shift production from China to Vietnam as governments tighten border controls to contain outbreaks of new variants of the virus, Nikkei Asia reports.

11:30 a.m. New Zealand's central bank leaves interest rates unchanged at a record low of 0.25%, as policymakers quickly shift gears after the country was put into a snap lockdown following detection of new COVID cases.

9:00 a.m. Qantas Airways says it will require all employees to be vaccinated as part of its broader commitment to safety, in line with various airlines in the world. Pilots, cabin crew and airport workers will need to be fully vaccinated by Nov. 15, while other staff will have until March 31, 2022, the airline said.

8:55 a.m. Japan reports a goods trade surplus of 441 billion yen ($4 billion) in July. Exports rose 37% from a year earlier and imports increased 28.5%.

COVID Qantas Pilots, cabin crew and airport workers at Qantas Airways will need to be fully vaccinated by Nov. 15.   © Reuters

Tuesday, Aug. 17

8:30 p.m. The Japanese government decided to extend the COVID-19 state of emergency covering Tokyo and five other areas to Sept. 12, while expanding the measure to seven more prefectures as a resurgence of infections shows no signs of subsiding.

5:20 p.m. Tokyo reports 4,377 new cases, up from 2,962 a day earlier, as the Japanese government is set to extend a state of emergency in Tokyo and five other prefectures through Sept. 12 and add seven more.

4:30 p.m. New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern puts the nation under strict lockdown after one new case of the coronavirus was reported in its largest city of Auckland, the country's first in six months. All of New Zealand will be in lockdown for three days from Wednesday while Auckland and Coromandel, a coastal town that the infected person had also spent time in, will be in lockdown for seven days.

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern debates on national TV in September 2020.   © Reuters

3:30 p.m. Asian countries are increasingly counting on COVID-19 vaccination certificates to normalize international business travel, which has all but dried up due to the pandemic. However, the rapid spread of the delta variant has added to the difficulty of coming up with common entry standards, given differences in vaccination rates and public health capacities in Asia. This highlights the challenge of opening borders and exempting travelers from quarantines through European-style "vaccine passports."

2:30 p.m. The number of COVID-19 patients in serious condition in Japan rose to 1,646 as of Monday from 1,603 a day earlier, hitting a record high for a fifth straight day, as the government struggles to stop the rapid increase in infections, led by the delta variant. The government has proposed to a panel of experts to extend a state of emergency in Tokyo and five other prefectures through Sept. 12.

2:00 p.m. India reports 25,166 cases, bringing the country total to 32.25 million. Deaths rose by 437 to 432,079.

12:10 p.m. New Zealand reports its first case of COVID-19 in the community in six months after a person tested positive in its largest city, Auckland. The link between the case and the border or managed isolation is yet to be established, the Health Ministry says, adding the case is being investigated. The last reported community case in New Zealand was in February.

8:30 a.m. Australia's Victoria State reports a slight rise in locally acquired cases, the first day after officials reinstated a nighttime curfew and extended a hard lockdown in Melbourne to get on top of the highly infectious delta virus variant. A total of 24 new local cases were detected in the state, up from 22 a day earlier.

2:00 a.m. Pfizer and BioNTech, seeking authorization for a booster dose of their vaccine, say they have submitted initial data from an early-stage trial to U.S. regulators. They said the third dose resulted in significantly higher neutralizing antibodies against the initial SARS-CoV-2 virus as well as the beta and highly infectious delta variants. Some countries, including Israel, have already gone ahead with plans to give booster doses.

Monday, Aug. 16

A vaccination center in Dhaka: Bangladesh will produce doses of Sinpharm's Chinese-developed vaccine.   © Reuters

10:00 p.m. China's Sinopharm, Bangladesh's Incepta Pharmaceuticals and the Bangladeshi government have signed a memorandum of understanding on local production of a Chinese-developed coronavirus vaccine.

Under the deal, Sinopharm will provide materials for the vaccine doses, which will be produced by Incepta and become available in next three months.

9:03 p.m. Japan plans to extend the state of emergency in cities including Tokyo until Sept. 12 and expand the declaration to seven additional prefectures. The current deadline for the state of emergency for Tokyo and five other prefectures is set for Aug. 31. The seven prefectures to be put under the tighter measures from Aug. 20 are Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Shizuoka, Kyoto, Hyogo and Fukuoka.

5:00 p.m. Tokyo reports 2,962 new cases, down from 4,295 a day earlier, but the highest daily tally for a Monday, when the caseload is typically lower than other weekdays due to less testing on the weekend. The number of serious patients in the capital is 268, a record high for a sixth straight day, putting extra stress on the area hospitals.

4:00 p.m. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga visited a Tokyo hotel where an "antibody cocktail" treatment is being conducted on COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms. The treatment lowers the risk of hospitalization or death by about 70%. "We want to prevent serious illnesses at all costs by establishing hotels as temporary medical facilities, as well as medical facilities at hubs across the country," Suga told reporters.

The antibody cocktail treatment uses casirivimab and imdevimab, developed by U.S. firm Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and Swiss health care company F. Hoffmann-La Roche, and is administered intravenously.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Aug. 16. (Photo by Uichiro Kasai)

3:50 p.m. Taiwan has rejected an application for the production and emergency use of UBI Pharma's vaccine candidate in a setback for the island's push to attain self-sufficiency. Developing its own vaccine has been a major goal, though Taiwan has also ordered millions of shots from Moderna and AstraZeneca, and next week is due to start injecting its first domestically developed vaccine, made by Medigen Vaccine Biologics. The health ministry, explaining the rejection of emergency use authorization, said the antibodies engendered by UBI's vaccine candidate did not match with those prompted by the AstraZeneca vaccine.

1:50 p.m. New local COVID-19 infections in China declined for a sixth day, official data shows, as most regions brought the latest outbreak under control and others kept up vigilance by adding mass testing or delaying school re-openings. In its lowest daily tally since July 24, China reported 13 new domestically transmitted cases for Sunday.

1:32 p.m. India reports 32,937 new cases in the last 24 hours, down from 36,083 the previous day, bringing the country's total to over 32.2 million. Deaths rose by 417 to 431,642.

12:00 p.m. Thailand's gross domestic product grew 7.5%, year on year, during the three months to June, its first expansion in six quarters, the government's economic planning agency says, although the outlook remains grim due to the outbreak of the delta variant.

People wearing protective masks walk in Shinjuku, Tokyo on Aug. 13.   © Kyodo

11:41 a.m. Japan's blue-chip Nikkei Stock Average index tumbled on Monday morning, at one point falling over 500 points, or 1.9%. Along with the spread of the delta variant in many countries, new concerns are looming over global stock markets, including that posed by the Taliban's gains in Afghanistan increasing geopolitical tensions. Economic data out of China also disappointed investors. The country's industrial output rose 6.4% in July from a year earlier, falling below expectations.

11:20 a.m. China's factory output and retail sales rose more slowly than expected in July from a year ago amid signs of increasing pressure on the country's economy, as export growth cooled and new COVID outbreaks disrupted business. Industrial production in the world's second-largest economy increased 6.4% year on year in July, against expectations for 7.8% growth and after rising 8.3% in June.

9:00 a.m. Japan's economy grew an annualized 1.3% in April-June after a revised 3.7% slump in the first quarter, preliminary gross domestic product data shows, beating a median market forecast for a 0.7% gain. But many analysts expect growth to remain modest in the current quarter as a new state of emergency weighs on household spending.

8:50 a.m. Hundreds of unarmed defense personnel joined thousands of police to set up roadblocks and enforce COVID-19 lockdown rules in parts of Sydney. Tougher restrictions took effect in Sydney after seven weeks of stay-home orders failed to stop the delta variant. With the virus spreading into towns outside Sydney, capital of New South Wales state, lockdown restrictions were imposed statewide for a week until Aug. 21.

Police patrol Central Station in Sydney in New South Wales during a statewide lockdown on Aug. 12.   © Reuters

Sunday, Aug. 15

4:59 p.m. The Philippines records 14,749 cases -- its second-largest daily increase -- bringing the country total to 1.74 million. The Department of Health also reports an additional 270 deaths -- the third-highest daily spike in fatalities -- pushing total deaths to 30,340. The health ministry says it has detected the first case of the Lambda variant in the country, and reminds the public to strictly observe minimum public health standards.

2:15 p.m. India reports 36,083 cases in the last 24 hours, while daily deaths rose by 493.

12:06 p.m. Australia has purchased about 1 million doses of Pfizer's vaccine from Poland to boost inoculation efforts in Sydney and its home state, which on Saturday entered a snap lockdown amid record new infections. Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the extra vaccines would start arriving immediately, with over half directed to 20- to 39-year-olds in New South Wales, as the state reports its second-largest increase in locally transmitted infections.

7:34 a.m. Mexico records 23,642 more confirmed coronavirus cases and an additional 753 deaths on Saturday, according to health ministry data, bringing the total confirmed number of cases to 3,091,971 and the overall death toll to 248,167.

1:07 a.m. President Joe Biden's administration is developing a plan to offer coronavirus booster shots to some Americans as early as this fall, The New York Times reports, citing people familiar with the effort.

The first boosters likely will go to nursing home residents and health care workers, followed by other older people who were near the front of the line when vaccinations began late last year, the newspaper says. Officials envision giving people the same vaccine they originally received. They have discussed starting the effort in October but have not settled on a timetable, the report adds.

12:10 a.m. The number of U.S. children hospitalized with COVID-19 hits a record 1,902 on Saturday, as hospitals across the South are stretched to capacity fighting outbreaks caused by the highly transmissible delta variant.

Children make up 2.4% of the nation's coronavirus hospitalizations. Kids younger than 12 are not eligible to receive vaccines. The spike in cases intensifies tension between conservative state leaders and local districts over whether students should be required to wear masks in school as they return to classrooms this month.

Saturday, Aug. 14

5:05 p.m. Tokyo confirms 5,094 new coronavirus cases, one day after marking a record 5,773 new infections on Friday, the local government says. Japan surpasses 20,000 new infections Saturday for the second straight day.

The alarming rise in infections, linked to the spread of the highly contagious delta variant, has sparked fears that the country's medical system could collapse as patients fill up hospital beds in many prefectures.

5:00 p.m. The Philippine health ministry reports 14,249 new coronavirus cases, the country's second-largest daily increase, as well as 233 additional fatalities. Total confirmed infections have risen to 1.72 million, while deaths have reached 30,070, the ministry says.

1:16 p.m. India reports 38,667 new coronavirus infections in the past 24 hours, while health ministry data shows 478 additional COVID-19 deaths. Total cases nationwide have reached 32.12 million.

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To catch up on earlier developments, see the last edition of latest updates.

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