ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronTitle ChevronEye IconIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinIcon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailPositive ArrowIcon PrintTitle ChevronIcon Twitter
Coronavirus: Free to read

Coronavirus: Week of Aug. 16 to Aug. 22, Seoul church says government fabricating tests

Visitors to Japan down 99.9% for fourth month; India reports 68,898 cases in one day

South Korean police stand guard near the Sarang Jeil Church, which has become a new cluster of coronavirus infections, in Seoul on Friday.   © 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 22,868,238, according to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

The worldwide death toll has hit 797,871.

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

(Source photo by AP) 

Here are the latest developments (Tokyo time):

---

UPDATES CLOSED

Saturday, August 22

11:00 a.m. Moderna says it has so far enrolled 13,194 participants in an ongoing late-stage 30,000-volunteer U.S. trial testing its COVID-19 vaccine candidate. The drug developer says that 18% of the participants currently enrolled are Black, Latino, American Indian or Alaska Native, all groups among the hardest hit. Moderna began the study of its candidate, mRNA-1273, in July and expects to complete enrollment in September.

7:10 a.m. Boeing says it is developing a hand-held wand that emits ultraviolet light to neutralize bacteria and viruses, part of a suite of methods to disinfect flight deck surfaces and controls, as well as surfaces throughout the cabin, reports Reuters. The wand would eliminate the need for using alcohol or other disinfectants that could damage sensitive electronic equipment.

6:19 a.m. Transmission of COVID-19 from children or adults to other people in Rhode Island child care programs occurred on only a limited basis, reports Reuters, citing a study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Director Robert Redfield told reporters on a call that the findings indicated that there is a path "to get these child care programs to reopen, which are very important for our country."

6:09 a.m. The number of plots in Japan's big cities whose prices declined rises ninefold, including a dip of up to 3% in the price of the nation's most expensive real estate in Tokyo's ritzy Ginza district.

5:48 a.m. South Africa's confirmed COVID-19 cases have surpassed 600,000, the health ministry says, although the number of new cases has been declining since a peak in July, reports Reuters. Despite imposing one of the world's toughest lockdowns at the end of March when the country had only a few hundred cases, South Africa saw a surge in coronavirus infections that has left it the hardest hit on the continent.

4:38 a.m. COVID-19 patients saw only moderate improvements after being treated with Gilead Sciences's remdesivir, and new study says published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

1:05 a.m. The WHO says the scale of the coronavirus pandemic in Mexico is "under-represented" and "under-recognized," noting that testing in Mexico is about three people per 100,000, compared with about 150 tests per 100,000 people in the U.S.

12:18 a.m. Ireland's agriculture minister quits, saying he had hurt efforts to fight the coronavirus pandemic by attending a social event. Dara Calleary had attended a dinner hosted by the Irish parliament's golf society with more 80 other people the night after the country tightened restrictions to stop a rise in infections.

Friday, August 21

11:01 p.m. Russia gives AstraZeneca the green light to conduct Phase III trials of its potential coronavirus vaccine. The trial will involve 150 participants and be conducted in St. Petersburg and Moscow.

8:36 p.m. Singapore announces it will allow travelers from Brunei and New Zealand to enter the city-state without self-isolation from next month. While not reciprocal, Singapore will also update its advisory for its residents on general travel to the two countries.

8:34 p.m. The church at the center of South Korea's new outbreak says the government is fabricating tests and using the virus to persecute members, Reuters reports. As of Thursday, more than 700 people affiliated with the church had tested positive.

7:24 p.m. Hong Kong reports 27 new cases, of which 18 were locally transmitted. More than 4,600 people have now been infected in the city. Chief Executive Carrie Lam says testing for all residents will start on September 1.

6:00 p.m. The Philippines records 4,786 new coronavirus infections, up from 4,339 on Thursday, bringing its total confirmed cases to 182,365. The country also reports 59 more fatalities, raising the death toll to 2,940.

5:40 p.m. Indonesia reports 2,197 new infections, down from 2,266 a day earlier, taking the total cases to 149,408, government data shows. The country also records 82 additional deaths, bringing the total to 6,500.

5:10 p.m. Japan received an estimated 3,800 foreign travelers in July, down 99.9% from a year earlier for the fourth consecutive month amid the pandemic, government data shows. Japan continues to implement strict border controls, banning in principle the entry of people from 146 countries and regions.

3:30 p.m. Tokyo reports 258 new infections, down from 339 a day earlier. People in their 20s and 30s accounted for more than half the new cases, the metropolitan government says.

3:20 p.m. Britain's public debt went above 2 trillion pounds ($2.65 trillion) for the first time in July as the government ramped up public spending to cope with the coronavirus pandemic, Reuters reports.

1:00 p.m. India reports 68,898 new infections in the last 24 hours, slightly lower than 69,652 a day earlier, bringing the total cases to over 2.9 million. Deaths in the same period jumped by 983, with the total now at 54,849.

12:10 p.m. Peru and Morocco have approved Phase 3 clinical trials for a potential COVID-19 vaccine developed by China National Biotec Group, Reuters reports. The Sinopharm unit's vaccine has already entered Phase 3 trials in the United Arab Emirates, which has recruited 15,000 volunteers.

Medical workers take samples from people for COVID-19 tests at a makeshift clinic in Seoul on Aug. 20.   © AP

11:50 a.m. South Korea reports 324 new cases as of midnight Thursday, up from 288 a day earlier, bringing the country's total to 16,670, with 309 deaths. It was the highest daily count since March 8. Health authorities warn that a cluster of infections in Seoul is threatening to spread after thousands of people attended a rally by conservative political groups last week.

10:40 a.m. New Zealand reports 11 new cases and puts off a decision about easing restrictions in its biggest city, Auckland, to next week. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says she will announce on Monday whether the government will ease alert level 3 restrictions in Auckland and level 2 measures in the rest of the country.

9:00 a.m. Japan's core consumer prices stayed flat in July from a year earlier amid the economic slowdown from the pandemic, government data shows. The core prices, excluding volatile fresh food items, were also the same as in June.

8:20 a.m. Australia's state of Victoria reports its lowest daily rise in new coronavirus cases in more than five weeks. Victoria, which has become the country's COVID-19 hot spot, logged 179 new cases, compared with 240 a day earlier.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will announce on Monday whether New Zealand will lower restrictions imposed over the COVID-19 outbreak.   © New Zealand Herald via AP

7:19 a.m. Morocco's King Mohammed VI says the nation may have to reimpose a full lockdown due to a surge in COVID-19 cases. "The deterioration of the health situation "does not leave much room for optimism," he says.

4:13 a.m. U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy says he will self-quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19. The Louisiana Republican is a physician.

3:05 a.m. Drive-in movie showings have enjoyed a revival in some places during the pandemic, but Israel's Tel Aviv now boasts a sail-in theater on a lake.

2:30 a.m. Police in Vietnam have arrested four men accused of fraudulent sales of COVID-19 protective equipment that cost Americans nearly $1 million, according to media reports that cited the Ministry of Public Security.

1:05 a.m. Johnson & Johnson plans to test its experimental coronavirus vaccine in a late-stage trial involving up to 60,000 volunteers starting in September, Reuters reports, citing a U.S. government database.

Thursday, August 20

11:05 p.m. Blood tests conducted across the Indian capital between Aug. 1 and Aug. 7 indicate that 29.1% of the city's population of 20 million has developed antibodies against COVID-19.

"The survey findings mean that [nearly a third of the city's population] has recovered after catching the infection," Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain tells reporters, adding that prevalence of antibodies among women was 32.2% while it was 28.3% among men in an overall sample size of 15,000. "The study also shows that there are 70% people who are still at risk of catching COVID-19," the minister adds.

Airport officers stand at the international departures terminal of Soekarno-Hatta Airport near Jakarta.   © Reuters

10:30 p.m. Indonesia's Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi says her country has agreed with China to a travel corridor arrangement for essential business trips between the two nations, taking effect immediately. The new agreement follows similar deals struck with the United Arab Emirates and South Korea.

Marsudi, who is visiting China along with Minister of State Owned Enterprise Erick Thohir, says she conveyed to Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi "the importance of adequate, timely, safe and affordable vaccines." Indonesian state-owned vaccine maker Bio Farma is partnering with China's Sinovac for COVID-19 vaccine development.

9:00 p.m. Vietnam's cumulative COVID-19 cases surpass 1,000, the health ministry says, with 14 new infections bringing the tally to 1,007. The ministry says more than half are due to the recent outbreak in Danang.

7:15 p.m. The Philippines allows medical workers with overseas employment contracts as of March 8 to leave the country to work abroad. The nation is a major source of nurses but banned the deployment of health care professionals in April to boost its own pool of medical personnel for the fight against the coronavirus.

6:25 p.m. Hong Kong records its first year-on-year drop in its consumer price index since February 2017, with a 2.3% fall in July. Prices of various components including housing, food and utilities declined as the pandemic weighed on the economy. Meanwhile, the city reports 18 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, its lowest daily increase since July 7.

4:01 p.m. The Chinese Super League will allow limited numbers of spectators to watch live soccer matches as soon as Saturday, several local media reported. The move will ease the "bubble" format that has been implemented since the new season kicked off on July 25 with matches being played at two stadiums without the usual crowds.

The Philippines is easing restrictions on medical personnel leaving the country for work.   © Getty Images

3:59 p.m. South Korean shares tumble 3.66%, the sharpest fall in two months, over continuing fears of rising domestic infections. A cautious outlook from the U.S. Federal Reserve also weighed on investor sentiment. The benchmark KOSPI closed down 86.32 points, or 3.66%, to 2,274.22.

3:39 p.m. Tokyo reports 339 new cases, topping 300 in the Japanese capital for the first time since Saturday. The single-day figure is significantly higher than the 186 reported on Wednesday and 207 on Tuesday.

1:00 p.m. India reports a record daily high of 69,652 cases, bringing the country total to 2.84 million. It also reports 977 new fatalities, pushing the death toll to 53,866.

11:36 a.m. The Philippine central bank hikes the real estate loan limit of universal and commercial banks to 25% from 20% in a bid to lift the economy out of its pandemic-induced recession. The policy translates to additional liquidity of around 1.2 trillion pesos ($25 billion) for real estate lending, central bank Gov. Benjamin Diokno says.

11:13 a.m. China's national offshore oil and gas producer CNOOC said first-half profit slumped by nearly two-thirds -- its lowest since December 2017 -- as the pandemic battered energy demand and sent oil prices to record lows. The listed arm of the producer said on Wednesday that net profit totaled 10.38 billion yuan ($1.50 billion), missing forecasts for 12.6 billion yuan.

11:27 a.m. With more than 600 infections tied to the Sarang Jeil church having been reported in more than 80 locations across South Korea, the church, founded in 1983, is under fire for defying social distancing guidelines and putting South Korea's battle against COVID-19 at risk.

10:36 a.m. New Zealand reports five new confirmed cases compared with six a day earlier, as the Pacific nation battles a fresh outbreak in its biggest city of Auckland.

10:00 a.m. South Korea's Green Cross Corp has received regulatory approval for phase II human clinical trials of its experimental coronavirus plasma treatment drug, the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety says. The trials will test the safety and efficacy of the drug in 60 severe patients with underlying conditions like pneumonia.

9:06 a.m. Victoria, Australia's second-most populous state and No. 1 COVID hot spot, reports 240 new daily cases, a relatively small increase, buoying optimism that a hard lockdown of the state capital Melbourne is containing the virus's spread. Victoria reported 216 cases a day earlier, the lowest one-day rise in five weeks.

8:13 a.m. Australia's Qantas Airways posts a net loss of A$1.964 billion ($1.41 billion) for the 12 months ended June 30, one of its largest ever, driven by impairment charges and restructuring costs designed to help it weather the pandemic.

7:22 a.m. Mexico tells Moscow it would like to carry out Phase 3 testing of Russia's coronavirus vaccine, as part of the Latin American country's intensifying efforts to secure early supplies of an effective medicine to control the pandemic, reports Reuters.

4:45 a.m. Anticipated authorization in the U.S. for blood plasma as a COVID-19 treatment been put on hold after a group of top federal health officials including Dr. Anthony S. Fauci intervened, arguing that emerging data on the treatment was too weak, The New York Times reports.

While antibody-rich plasma is considered safe, clinical trials have not proved whether plasma can help people fighting the coronavirus.

3:00 a.m. Abu Dhabi's G42 Healthcare has signed an agreement with Israeli company NanoScent to explore ways to detect the presence of the coronavirus from samples of air exhaled from the nose, Emirates News Agency reports.

2:15 a.m. Japan's government plans to cover compensation for any health problems that may arise here from coronavirus vaccines, seeking to ensure a stable supply from foreign manufacturers as global competition intensifies, Nikkei has learned.

12:55 a.m. At least a quarter of people in India may have been infected with the coronavirus, says A. Velumani, the head of private medical diagnostics company Thyrocare, according to Reuters.

The estimate is based on an analysis of 270,000 antibody tests conducted by the company.

12:05 a.m. Thailand's plans to extend its state of emergency through September in response to the country's first locally transmitted coronavirus case in nearly three months.

A healthcare worker checks the temperature of a family in Mumbai.   © Reuters

Wednesday, August 19

11:00 p.m. Japan's government will launch a website in October that lets people search for PCR testing centers and make appoints online. The site is intended to first serve business travelers heading abroad.

8:30 p.m. Some people in Germany could begin being vaccinated against the coronavirus early next year, the head of a German institute is quoted as saying by Reuters.

6:55 p.m. Iran's health ministry spokeswoman tells state TV that the country's death toll from the virus has surpassed 20,000.

6:10 p.m. Japan's Osaka Prefecture reports 187 new infections, higher than Tokyo's 186. Along with the capital, Osaka has seen high levels of new infections, with a recent peak of 255 on Aug. 7.

5:40 p.m. The Philippines reports 4,650 new infections, bringing the country total to 173,774 -- the highest in Southeast Asia. The country also reports 111 new deaths, pushing the total to 2,795.

5:30 p.m. Indonesia reports 1,902 new infections, up from 1,673 a day earlier, bringing the total number of cases to 144,945. It also reports 69 deaths, taking the total to 6,346.

4:40 p.m. Britain plans regular population-wide testing so it can suppress the spread of the virus and ease restrictions that have crippled the country, one of the worst hit. Health Secretary Matt Hancock says the government is trialing a range of tests that can give instant results and hopes to roll them out toward the end of the year.

3:10 p.m. A New Zealand court finds the first nine days of a hard lockdown were justified but unlawful. The ruling comes after a Wellington lawyer challenged the legality of steps taken by the government in the early stages of the five-week lockdown, which began on March 26, before an order imposing stay-at-home restrictions was passed on April 3.

The Yoido Full Gospel Church in Seoul. South Korea is banning large public gatherings and shutting down churches and nightspots in the greater capital area.    © Yonhap/AP

2:09 p.m. India reports 64,531 cases and 1,092 deaths for the past 24 hours, bringing the country's totals to 2.77 million infections and 52,889 fatalities. The country also reports over 60,000 single-day recoveries, taking the overall recovery rate to 73.64%.

12:30 p.m. South Korea reports 297 new cases, up from 246 a day earlier and its biggest daily increase since early March. The escalating numbers come as restrictions are placed on gatherings in Greater Seoul amid fears that the virus's spread is out of control.

11:40 a.m. Global coronavirus infections now exceed 22 million, according to Johns Hopkins University, with the U.S., Brazil and India accounting for more than half the total. The worldwide death toll nears 800,0000.

10:40 a.m. New Zealand reports five new cases in the community. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the drop in cases indicates the country is not seeing a coronavirus surge. There were 13 cases reported on Tuesday.

9:00 a.m. Japan posted a trade surplus of 11.6 billion yen ($109 million) in July, government data shows. Exports fell 19.2% from a year earlier and imports decreased by 22.3%.

8:20 a.m. Australia's state of Victoria reports 216 new cases, down from 222 a day earlier. Australia has signed a deal with drugmaker AstraZeneca to secure a potential COVID-19 vaccine.

People wait to receive coronavirus tests for returning students, faculty and staff members at New York University in New York City on Aug. 18. Global infections have exceeded 22 million.   © Reuters

7:50 a.m. China and the United States will allow airlines to double the number of current flights between the world's two largest economies to eight per week, according to the U.S. Transportation Department. The department said it will allow four Chinese passenger airlines currently flying to the United States to double flights to eight weekly round-trips, as China has agreed to allow U.S. carriers to double their flights to China.

5:00 a.m. The S&P 500 closes at a record high, rebounding from huge losses triggered by the coronavirus pandemic. The index rose 0.23% to 3,389.78. Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 67 points, or 0.24%, to 27,778.07.

4:00 a.m. The Canadian province of Quebec announces plans to tackle earlier mistakes in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, while preparing its health sector against a possible second wave of coronavirus in the autumn, reports Reuters. Quebec, once the country's hardest-hit province for COVID-19, will boost public health sector hiring, reduce screening delays, and ensure staff like orderlies can no longer work at multiple long-term care facilities, a practice previously blamed for spreading the virus.

3:30 a.m. The World Health Organization calls for widespread influenza vaccinations this year, with senior adviser Bruce Aylward citing the need to help ward off the risk of complicating coronavirus infections.

3:10 a.m. Ireland significantly tightens its nationwide coronavirus restrictions to try to rein in a surge in cases, urging everyone to restrict visitors to their homes, avoid public transport and older people to limit their contacts, according to Reuters.

Tuesday, August 18

9:30 p.m. Australia has signed a deal with drugmaker AstraZeneca to secure a potential COVID-19 vaccine, Prime Minister Scott Morrison says, joining a growing list of countries lining up supplies of the drug.

9:01 p.m. A potential coronavirus vaccine being developed by a unit of China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) could cost no more than 1,000 yuan ($144.27) for two shots, Reuters reported. Sinopharm has said its experimental vaccine could be ready for public use by the end of this year.

8:47 p.m. Thailand's cabinet has approved a 214 billion baht ($6.87 billion) borrowing plan to meet a revenue shortfall in the fiscal year to September, due to the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. Following the cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha revealed his government's plan to hold a forum to canvas student opinion.

8:12 p.m. Vietnam's Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam says that COVID-19 would stay in the country for a long time, adding that it would take at least a year for the population to have access to a vaccine. The Southeast Asian country, which first detected the virus locally in January, has reported 983 cases and 25 deaths, with more than half of its infections in the past month alone, Reuters reported.

8:00 p.m. Singapore Press Holdings, the publisher of the Straits Times, says they will cut 140 jobs, 5% of its total in its media division due to the pandemic. The move will incur retrenchment costs of approximately 8 million Singapore dollars ($5.9 million).

"Subscriptions and readership of our news titles have increased since the onset of COVID-19. However, the economic downturn has significantly impacted our advertising revenue," Ng Yat Chung, CEO of SPH, said in a statement.

7:44 p.m. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, World Health Organization chief, says in a virtual briefing that countries putting their own interests ahead of others in trying to ensure supplies of a possible COVID-19 vaccine are making the pandemic worse.

"[Acting] strategically and globally is actually in each country's national interest. No one is safe until everyone is safe," he said.

7:04 p.m. France's champagne makers reach a last-minute agreement to reduce the volume of grapes they will harvest this year, as they try to recover from a collapse in sales caused by the coronavirus crisis, Reuters reported.

7:00 p.m. Complicating its recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, parts of China were hit by what officials are calling "once in a century" flooding on Tuesday, with a typhoon hurtling toward the country and expected to make landfall on Wednesday.

6:00 p.m. The Indian embassy in Moscow is in touch with the Russian medical research institute that has developed the world's first COVID-19 vaccine to be cleared for use by the public, local newspaper The Indian Express reported.

5:40 p.m. Indonesia reports 1,673 new infections, down from 1,821 it recorded a day earlier and bringing its total to 143,043 cases, according to the government. The country also recorded an additional 70 deaths, taking the total to 6,277.

Even as coronavirus cases are rising, the Philippines is easing lockdown to try to revive its economy.   © Reuters

5:10 p.m. The Philippines says it has 4,836 new infections, up from 3,314 it reported a day earlier and the seventh straight day it has recorded more than 3,000 daily cases. President Rodrigo Duterte has eased the strict coronavirus lockdown in the capital Manila and nearby provinces to reopen the economy, despite the country having the highest number of infections in Southeast Asia.

4:40 p.m. The U.S. and South Korea kick off joint military drills Tuesday, with the annual exercises scaled down amid the coronavirus pandemic, a South Korean Defense Ministry official said.

3:09 p.m. Tokyo confirms 207 new infections, sources tell Nikkei, up from 161 a day earlier. The spread of the virus is being driven by people in their 20s, the metropolitan government says.

3:00 p.m. Indonesia posted a $3.26 billion trade surplus in July, its biggest in nine years, as exports improved while domestic demand for imports remained subdued amid the pandemic, government data shows. July exports grew 14.33% from June to $13.73 billion, though were 9.9% below the value of shipments in the same month last year.

2:02 p.m. India confirms 55,079 cases for the past 24 hours, down from 57,981 the previous day and bringing the country's COVID-19 tally to over 2.7 million. The death toll for the day was 876, bringing the total to 51,797. Also, 57,937 patients are reported to have recovered, bringing the recovery rate over 73% and keeping the fatality rate below 2%. India's active cases now stand at 673,166, the health ministry says.

1:20 p.m. The China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) says it will lend $100 million to Uzbekistan to help the country deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and future public health disasters. The project will be co-financed by the Manila-based Asian Development Bank.

12:00 p.m. South Korea reports 246 new infections, up from 197 a day earlier and the fifth straight day of triple-digit daily increases, as health workers battle to contain transmissions in Greater Seoul, where church-linked infections remain active.

10:40 a.m. New Zealand reports 13 new cases for the past 24 hours compared with nine a day earlier as the country battles to contain an outbreak in its biggest city. Twelve cases are linked to the existing virus cluster in Auckland, which remains in lockdown due to the flare up in infections there.

9:50 a.m. China reports 22 new coronavirus cases for Monday, the same as the tally a day earlier. All of the new infections were imported, making it the second straight day for zero new locally transmitted cases.

Melbourne's central business district. Victoria state, Australia's coronavirus hot spot, experiences drops in new daily infections and deaths.   © AP

9:20 a.m. Australia's Victoria reports 222 new cases, down from 282 a day earlier and the lowest daily rise in a month, stoking hopes that the state's wave of infections is easing. The state recorded 17 deaths from the virus in the past 24 hours, a day after recording its deadliest day of the pandemic with 25 casualties.

6:00 a.m. The president of Mexico volunteers to receive the recently developed Russian vaccine against the coronavirus, saying he would welcome an injection if the method is proved to work.

"I'd be the first to be vaccinated," President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador says of the Russian product at a news conference.

5:00 a.m. The tech-heavy Nasdaq index marks a record-high close, helped by a gain in shares of Nvidia after analysts raised their target prices for the chipmaker.

4:40 a.m. Fitness gyms -- one of the industries hit hardest by the pandemic -- can open as early as next Monday in New York but will have to take steps to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, such a requiring guests to wear masks, Gov. Andrew Cuomo says.

3:45 a.m. In a first for the U.S., mink at two farms in the state of Utah tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the Department of Agriculture reports.

2:45 a.m. Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi has embarked on an expansive tour of Southeast Asia, offering medical assistance to help countries contain the spread of the coronavirus.

2:10 a.m. U.S. drug developer Novavax says it has begun mid-stage clinical trails of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate in South Africa.

1:15 a.m. Finance ministers from the Group of Seven nations have agreed to consider extending a debt repayment freeze for low-income countries as part of international aid, Reuters quotes a U.S. Treasury spokesperson as saying.

12:05 a.m. As parts of Japan and the U.S. bake under record temperatures, concerns are rising that mask-wearing could add to the risk of heatstroke.

Twenty-seven people died of heatstroke in Tokyo in the six days through Saturday, NHK reports. Temperatures in the Shizuoka Prefecture city of Hamamatsu, southwest of Tokyo, tied an all-time high for Japan of 41.1 C on Monday. In the U.S., Death Valley's Furnace Creek in the Southern California desert has registered 54.4 C.

Monday, August 17

11:20 p.m. Sixty percent of Japan's listed regional banks report profit declines or net losses for the April-June quarter. Provisions against credit risk are up roughly 20% compared with a year earlier as the pandemic weighs on small and midsize businesses.

8:19 p.m. Vietnam's health ministry reports 14 more coronavirus infections, bringing the total number of cases in the Southeast Asian country to 976, with 24 fatalities, Reuters reports.

7:08 p.m. Singapore on Monday earmarks a further $5.8 billion worth of support for businesses and residents after the city-state's economy saw its worst quarter on record -- contracting 13.2% on the year in the three months through June.

6:50 p.m. The Philippines has recorded 3,314 new coronavirus cases and 18 additional deaths from the disease, bringing total cases to 164,474 and fatalities to 2,681.

Meanwhile, Indonesia has reported 1,821 new cases, bringing its total to 141,370. Another 57 people died from the disease, taking total fatalities to 6,207, the highest death toll in Southeast Asia.

5:40 p.m. Hong Kong will extend social-distancing measures for another week, after the city recorded 44 new coronavirus cases on Monday. Dine-in in restaurants will only be allowed before 6 p.m., with a maximum of two people per table.

5:00 p.m. A late-stage trial of a COVID-19 candidate vaccine from CanSino Biologics has begun in Russia, registration records show, as the Chinese drugmaker steps up testing abroad to speed regulatory approval. The Ad5-nCoV vaccine has already been approval for use by China's military after early and midstage trials, and further late-stage trials are being lined up for Mexico and Saudi Arabia.

4:47 p.m. Fujifilm says it will produce a component for a coronavirus vaccine candidate under development by U.S. drugmaker Novavax at its U.K. unit. The Japanese company aims to make up to 60 million doses, which the British government has secured, at Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies facilities starting next year.

3:08 p.m. Tokyo confirms 161 new infections, sources tell Nikkei, down from 260 a day earlier, the first time Japan's capital has had fewer than 200 new coronavirus cases in a day since Aug. 11.

2:19 p.m. The Philippines, Southeast Asia's COVID-19 hot spot, is set to begin clinical trials for Avigan, the antiviral drug developed by Japan's Fujifilm Holdings, according to Health Undersecretary Rosario Vergeire. The trials will involve 100 patients aged 18 to 74 in four hospitals in Metro Manila.

1:40 p.m. China's Geely Automobile Holdings says its first-half net profit fell 43% on the year, as the coronavirus outbreak slammed the brakes on auto sales in the world's biggest market. Geely, China's highest-profile automaker globally due to the group's investments in Volvo Cars and Daimler AG, posted January to June profit of 2.3 billion yuan ($331.37 million), versus 4.01 billion yuan in the same period a year prior.

1:30 p.m. Chinese vaccine specialist CanSino Biologics has received a patent from Beijing for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, Ad5-nCOV, state media reports, citing documents from the country's intellectual property regulator. It is the first COVID-19 vaccine patent granted by China, according to state-owned newspaper People's Daily.

A devotee arrives to worship at an ancient temple of Hindu goddess Kali as it reopens in Jammu, India, on August 16, 2020, after being closed for nearly five months.   © AP

1:20 p.m. India's virus fatalities surpass 50,000 as total infections surge to nearly 2.65 million with a daily increase of 57,981. The death toll, which increased by 941 for the past 24 hours, now stands at 50,921.

12:10 p.m. Thailand's gross domestic product shrank 12.2% in the second quarter from a year earlier, the largest economic contraction in 22 years for the quarter ending June. The second-largest economy in Southeast Asia has had great success chasing the virus away, but at the cost of a deep recession.

11:30 a.m. South Korea reports 197 new cases, the fourth straight day of triple-digit daily increases, as health workers scramble to slow transmissions in Greater Seoul, where churches are giving rise to clusters. The country reported 279 cases a day earlier, the most since early March.

10:20 a.m. China reports no new local coronavirus cases in the western region of Xinjiang for Sunday, marking the first time the case count was zero since mid-July for the area, which had become a hotbed for the virus. Nationwide, the country reports 22 new cases for Sunday, compared with 19 a day earlier. All were imported cases.

8:50 a.m. Japan's economy shrank 7.8% in April-June from the preceding quarter, or at an annualized pace of 27.8%, the Cabinet Office says, as private consumption and exports bore the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic.

8:15 a.m. Australian rare earths producer Lynas posts an annual loss, hurt by the temporary coronavirus-linked closure of its Malaysian processing plant and lower market prices, the company says. The loss after tax came in at 19.4 million Australian dollars (US$13.9 million) for the year ended June 30, compared with a profit of A$83.1 million a year earlier.

8:10 a.m. The Australian state of Victoria reports the deadliest day of the pandemic with 25 fatalities in the past 24 hours and 282 new cases. The state had recorded 16 deaths and 279 new cases a day earlier.

7:35 a.m. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the country's general election, originally set for Sept. 19, will be postponed until Oct. 17 due to concerns over the spread of the coronavirus.

5:40 a.m. Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador posts a video to Twitter on which he says a COVID-19 vaccine will be ready for Mexico during the first quarter of 2021.

3:16 a.m. Japanese tennis player Kei Nishikori tests positive for COVID-19. The 30-year-old former world No. 4 has been staying at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.

Sunday, August 16

5:29 p.m. The Philippines records 3,420 new cases and 65 additional deaths, the health ministry says. The country's totals stand at 161,253 infections and 2,665 fatalities.

4:45 p.m. Indonesia reports 2,081 new infections and 79 deaths, according to data from Indonesia's COVID-19 governmental task force. The data takes the total number of infections in the world's fourth-most populous country at least to 139,549 cases.

3:10 p.m. New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters calls for a delay to the planned September general elections, given the reappearance of COVID-19 in the country, increasing pressure on Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to postpone voting.

10:31 a.m. South Korea reports 279 new cases, the most since early March, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of the new cases, 267 were locally transmitted, mostly in Seoul and surrounding areas. The new cases bring the country's tally to 15,318 infections; there have been 305 COVID deaths in the country.

10:25 a.m. New Zealand reports 13 new confirmed cases for the past 24 hours, bringing the number of active cases in the country to 69. Since the start of the year, New Zealand has recorded 1,271 cases.

2.47 a.m. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 5,285,546 cases of new coronavirus, an increase of 56,729 from its previous count. It says the number of deaths increased by 1,229 to 167,546, according to Reuters.

Saturday, August 15

8:08 p.m. Vietnam reports 21 new infections and two deaths, bringing total cases in the country to 950, with 23 fatalities. More than 470 cases are linked to the central city of Danang, where an outbreak began last month.

12:45 p.m. At the ceremony to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II in Asia, Japan's emperor and prime minister make speeches to mourn the war dead, both adding words regarding the coronavirus pandemic.

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.

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

Sponsored Content

About Sponsored Content This content was commissioned by Nikkei's Global Business Bureau.

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this monthThis is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia;
the most dynamic market in the world.

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia

Get trusted insights from experts within Asia itself.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 1 month for $0.99

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this month

This is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia; the most
dynamic market in the world
.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 3 months for $9

Offer ends October 31st

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers and subscribe

Your full access to Nikkei Asia has expired

You need a subscription to:

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers
NAR on print phone, device, and tablet media

Nikkei Asian Review, now known as Nikkei Asia, will be the voice of the Asian Century.

Celebrate our next chapter
Free access for everyone - Sep. 30

Find out more