ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronTitle ChevronIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinIcon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailPositive ArrowIcon Print
Coronavirus: Free to read

Coronavirus: Week of Aug. 23 to Aug. 29, Wuhan prepares to reopen all schools

Coca-Cola moves to cut jobs worldwide

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 24,649,431, according to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

The worldwide death toll has hit 835,793.

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 29

11:30 a.m. Authorities in Wuhan, where the novel coronavirus was first discovered, say the city will reopen all schools and kindergartens on Tuesday. As many as 2,842 educational institutions across the city are set to open their doors to almost 1.4 million students when the autumn semester gets underway, Reuters reports. 

5:15 a.m. The U.S. may have seen its first case of reinfection with the novel coronavirus, according to a study not yet subject to a peer review. The possible patient is a 25-year-old man living in Reno, Nevada, Reuters reports.

4:00 a.m. Casino operator MGM Resorts International has told staff that 18,000 U.S. employees on furlough will be laid off, according to media reports. The cuts amount to about a quarter of the company's workforce as of the end of 2019.

2:30 a.m. Japan's consumer watchdog has told a Tokyo company to change its advertising for Virus Shut Out, a pendant-like product worn around the neck, NHK reports. The Consumer Affairs Agency says there is no logical basis for claims that the product removes viruses.

The product has been sold online. The website says that its effectiveness varies depending on the environment, according to NHK.

12:50 a.m. In the latest job cuts by a major American company, Coca-Cola says it will offer voluntary layoffs to about 4,000 workers in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico. The food and beverage group adds that similar severance packages "will be offered in many countries."

Friday, August 28

11:00 p.m. U.S. consumer spending growth in July slowed to an annualized 1.9% from the previous month's 6.2%, the Commerce Department reports, indicating a weaker pace of recovery on Main Street. But the gain is higher than analysts had forecast.

8:20 p.m. Teams racing in the upcoming Tour de France, cycling's premier event, can be excluded if two riders from the same outfit test positive for COVID-19, the International Cycling Union says, according to Reuters. The tour starts on Saturday amid another rise in coronavirus cases in France.

7:10 p.m. German Chancellor Angela Merkel says the pandemic is likely to worsen in the coming months and that her government would respond by prioritizing the welfare of society as a whole, Reuters reports. The government will be "doing everything so that our children are not the losers of the pandemic," she says. "School and daycare need to be the most important things."

5:13 p.m. Indonesia's daily cases reach a new high for a second consecutive day at 3,003. Also, 105 new fatalities are recorded. The country totals are 165,887 cases and 7,169 deaths. Jakarta cases also set a daily record at 869.

5:10 p.m. The Philippines confirms 3,999 additional infections, up from 3,249 a day earlier, bringing the country total to 209,544. It also reports 91 more deaths, pushing the total to 3,325.

3:40 p.m. The China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank says it will lend $100 million to Bangladesh to help the country deal with the pandemic. The project will be co-financed by the World Bank and aims to increase the country's testing, tracing and treatment.

3:19 p.m. Tokyo reports 226 new infections, down from 250 a day earlier. The metropolitan government has extended a request to establishments serving alcohol and to karaoke venues to shorten business hours until Sept. 15.

2:40 p.m. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to announce his resignation today, after weeks of speculation that his health is deteriorating. The decision comes as the country struggles to recover from the economic slump caused by the pandemic.

2:10 p.m. Japan will aim to secure COVID-19 vaccinations for all citizens by the first half of 2021. At a government meeting, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announces measures that include beefing up Japan's virus testing capacity ahead of the flu season.

1:21 p.m. India reports another single-day high of 77,266 cases, bringing the country total to 3.39 million with the death toll rising to 61,529 -- up 1,057 since Thursday morning.

11:18 a.m. South Korea extends the current Phase 2 social distancing measures in the Seoul area for at least another week, stopping short of elevating it to the highest level. "Phase 3 social distancing is the choice of last resort," Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun says. The country confirms 371 cases, down from 441 a day ago, bringing the country's total to 19,077 with 316 deaths.

9:30 a.m. Two-time Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka has decided to play her semifinal match at the Western & Southern Open in New York after previously saying she would withdraw to protest against racial injustice.

9:00 a.m. China reports nine new cases, compared with eight a day earlier. All new infections were imported involving travelers from overseas, marking the 12th consecutive day of no local transmissions.

8:55 a.m. Australia's state of Victoria, the epicenter of the country's latest COVID-19 outbreak, says it has detected 113 new cases in the past 24 hours, unchanged from the previous day. The numbers raise hopes that Australia may have contained the spread of the coronavirus after a stringent lockdown of Melbourne.

6:30 a.m. Several large U.S. states are ignoring new calls by federal health officials to reduce the testing of some people exposed to the virus. Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Texas, New Jersey and New York all plan to continue to test asymptomatic people who have been exposed to COVID-19, despite new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that suggests such tests may not be needed.

Pilots at United Airlines will be facing job cuts from Oct. 1 if the U.S. government does not extend an aid package to cover salaries.   © Reuters

3:40 a.m. United Airlines says it will need to cut 2,850 pilot jobs between Oct. 1 and Nov. 30 if the U.S. government does not extend an aid package to help airlines cover employee payroll for another six months while they weather the coronavirus pandemic.

3:20 a.m. Sinovac Biotech starts manufacturing a coronavirus vaccine candidate on a pilot basis, as China shifts toward the mass production stage in the global immunization race.

Production has started at a new plant in Beijing with an annual capacity of roughly 300 million doses.

Thursday, August 27

10:10 p.m. The U.S. Federal Reserve says it will allow inflation to run above 2% so that it averages out to 2% over time. Inflation "moderately" above 2% is appropriate after periods persistently below it, the Fed explains an updated statement on longer-run goals and monetary policy strategy, adapting its approach in a climate of weak growth and low interest rates.

8:32 p.m. AirAsia founder Tony Fernandes say that more job cuts are likely unless borders reopen. "I hope not [to downsize] but there [are] a lot of other factors that we have to take into account, and we might be left with no other option," he said. The airline has already cut some 30% of its total workforce this year.

7:24 p.m. The European Commission said it had signed a contract with British drugmaker AstraZeneca for the supply of at least 300 million doses of its vaccine candidate. It is the first contract signed by the EU with a maker of potential vaccines.

6:19 p.m. The Hong Kong Marathon, one of the city's highest-profile races, will be postponed from January, the Hong Kong Amateur Athletic Association said. The postponement comes after this year's race was canceled.

5:27 p.m. Indonesia reports its biggest daily spike, 2,719 new infections, and records another 120 deaths, bringing the totals to 162,884 cases and 7,064 fatalities. Jakarta sets a daily record with 760 new infections.

5:05 p.m. The Philippines' health ministry reports 3,249 additional infections and 97 more deaths as total confirmed cases climb to 205,518, the most in Southeast Asia.

2:25 p.m. Cross-border cooperation on vaccines is on the rise as Southeast Asian countries seek supplies. Can Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's vaccine diplomacy with Russia and China kick-start the local pharma industry? Read more here.

1:19 p.m. The Tokyo metropolitan government decides to extend a request to establishments serving alcohol and to karaoke venues to shorten their business hours until Sept. 15, as part of efforts to stem the spread of the virus.

Jazz Lounge Encounter in Tokyo's Ginza district uses goldfish bowl-like acrylic screens as a social distancing measure. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government is now asking all bars to close early through Sept. 15.   © Reuters

1:06 p.m. India reports the highest single-day spike of 75,760 cases, bringing the country's COVID-19 tally to 3.31 million. The death toll jumps by 1,023 to 60,472.

10:48 a.m. Australian business investment fell by the most in four years last quarter as coronavirus lockdowns forced companies to delay equipment purchases. But future spending plans remained intact in a sign of recovery. During the June quarter, investment declined 5.9% to 26.1 billion Australian dollars ($18.9 billion) on top of a downwardly revised 2.1% drop in the March quarter.

10:52 a.m. South Korea records 441 new cases, the most in nearly six months, up from 320 a day ago, bringing the country total to 18,706 with 313 deaths.

The Bank of Korea cut its gross domestic product growth forecast to minus 1.3% this year. Despite this, the central bank kept its key rate unchanged at 0.5%.

10:44 a.m. Profits at China's industrial companies grew 19.6% on-year to 589.5 billion yuan ($85.6 billion) in July, another sign that the economic recovery from the coronavirus shock is firming. It follows an 11.5% gain in June and the third straight month of profit growth this year.

9:33 a.m. China reports eight new cases on the mainland as of Aug. 26, down from 15 a day earlier.

9:12 a.m. Air New Zealand plans to draw on a 900 million New Zealand dollar ($596 million) government loan to help it weather the effects of the pandemic after reporting its first annual loss in almost two decades.

8:41 a.m. Australia's second-most populous state of Victoria reports 113 new cases and 23 deaths in the last 24 hours, its lowest daily rise in nearly two months.

8:32 a.m. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said this week that people exposed to COVID-19 but not symptomatic may not need to be tested, shocking doctors and politicians and prompting accusations that guidance was politically motivated. The advice marks a reversal of the agency's previous position, which recommended testing for all close contacts of people diagnosed with COVID.

5:02 a.m. European Union Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan resigns over alleged violations of coronavirus guidelines during a trip back to his native Ireland. Hogan attended a golf dinner last week without completing 14 days of self-isolation in accordance with rules for incoming travelers.

4:20 a.m. Canada ends a partnership with China's CanSino Biologics, citing the Chinese company's lack of authority to ship a vaccine candidate. Under an agreement reached in May, CanSino planned to bring its vaccine candidate to Canada for testing with Canada's National Research Council as a partner.

3:30 a.m. U.S. biotech company Moderna said on Wednesday its experimental COVID-19 vaccine induced immune responses in older adults similar to those in younger participants, offering hope that it will be effective in people at high risk for severe complications.

12:47 a.m. Russia is set to approve a second COVID-19 vaccine in late September or early October, a government official says. Early-stage clinical trials on the vaccine candidate have progress without complications, Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova told President Vladimir Putin in a televised meeting Wednesday.

Wednesday, August 26

8:20 p.m. AirAsia X, the Malaysian long-haul budget airline and affiliate of AirAsia Group, says it needs support from creditors to ride out the coronavirus crisis, as it posts a quarterly loss and a plunge in revenue, Reuters reported.

7:50 p.m. Bangladesh reports 2,519 new cases in the past 24 hours, taking its total to 302,147, according to the state-owned media The death toll rose to 4,082 after 54 fatalities were registered in the same period.

7:30 p.m. The Indian capital, New Delhi, will double the daily number of tests to 40,000 starting next week, local news site The Hindu reported, citing Arvind Kejriwal, chief minister of the Delhi state government.

New Delhi will conduct 40,000 coronavirus tests daily starting next week, according to local media quoting Arvind Kejriwal, chief minister of the Delhi state government.   © Reuters

7:02 p.m. Iran's death toll from the virus rises by 119 to 21,020, a health ministry official tells state TV, as the total number of infections increases to 365,606.

6:30 p.m. Singapore confirms 60 new coronavirus cases, taking the city-state's total to 56,495, the Straits Times reports. The Health Ministry on Tuesday reported 31 new cases, the lowest daily count since March 22.

6:15 p.m. Prerecorded Kabuki plays are now available to stream. Shochiku, operator of the Kabukiza Theatre and producer of Kabuki performances, is offering the plays for a fee on its official site, "Kabukibito," for the first time.

6:09 p.m. Pope Francis says the pandemic has ''exposed and aggravated'' social inequalities in the workplace and schools, and that government programs are needed to address the economic impact of the pandemic, AP reports.

6:04 p.m. Indonesia and Singapore have initiated talks on opening a "travel corridor," the Jakarta Post reports. The arrangement would relax COVID-19 travel restrictions for urgent official travel and essential business, while maintaining strict safety protocols. Indonesia has similar arrangements with the United Arab Emirates, South Korea and China.

5:30 p.m. Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha says Thailand needs foreign tourists to return as well as systematic disease control so that Thais can start earning money again, the Bangkok Post reports. "There will be forms to fill in. Flights must be traceable. When they reach their destinations their whereabouts will have to be confirmed," Prayuth said, adding, "If nothing is done, things will get worse. Premises will be shut down. Employees will be laid off."

5:17 p.m. Indonesia reports 2,306 new coronavirus infections, taking the total to 160,165. It also logs 86 more deaths related to the virus, bringing the tally to 6,944.

5:13 p.m. The Philippines surpasses 200,000 confirmed coronavirus infections, reporting an additional 5,277 cases, its highest daily tally in nearly two weeks. The total number of infections stands at 202,361, with 3,137 deaths.

3:29 p.m. Kazakhstan says it has signed a deal for supplies of Russia's first potential COVID-19 vaccine, "Sputnik V," once clinical trials are complete, Reuters reports. The central Asian nation did not say how many doses of the vaccine it planned to buy or the price. It said the vaccine would be made available to at-risk Kazakhs free of charge.

3:12 p.m. Trade ministers from China, Japan, members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and other countries -- 16 in all -- participating in talks on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership are set to hold an online meeting Thursday, hoping to remove the final obstacles to a deal by the end of the year to reinvigorate their ailing economies.

3:09 p.m. Tokyo reports 236 new coronavirus infections, up from 182 a day earlier and topping 200 cases for the first time since Sunday.

2:56 p.m. Wary of a new wave of coronavirus infections, Malaysia may keep its borders closed to international tourists until the second quarter of next year, the country's tourism minister said in a recent interview with the Nikkei Asian Review.

2:34 p.m. Operations at Indonesia's Grasberg gold and copper mine have been disrupted as workers protest coronavirus restrictions for a third day. The mine is run by a unit of Freeport-McMoRan. Workers have blocked access to the mine in Papua since Monday, demanding to be allowed to return to their families and seeking bonuses for working during the pandemic.

2:07 p.m. Myanmar reports 70 new infections, the nation's biggest daily rise amid a recent resurgence of the virus after weeks without a confirmed domestic transmission. Outbreaks in Myanmar have been small compared with other countries in the region after the Southeast Asian nation found its first case in March, with only six deaths and 574 infections reported so far.

2:00 p.m. The percentage of small to mid-size companies forced to suspend operations or discontinue business in Japan amid the pandemic has remained lower than in many other countries. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the percentage in Japan reached 10% in May, well below the global figure of 26%.

1:54 p.m. Thailand's economic fundamentals and fiscal position remain strong, the country's finance minister said, despite fallout from the coronavirus on the tourism-reliant economy.

A rickshaw puller waits for customers amid the pandemic in the old quarters of Delhi on Aug. 24.   © Reuters

1:34 p.m. India reports 67,151 cases and 1,059 fatalities in the past 24 hours, bringing the country total to over 3.23 million infections and 59,449 deaths. The country recorded more than 60,000 cases for the eighth day in a row.

12:58 p.m. Australian researchers hope to start human trials of a coronavirus antibody in early 2021, while a vaccine trial could begin by the end of the year, scientists said, according to Reuters. Melbourne's Walter and Eliza Hall Institute has made progress in identifying the antibodies that could neutralize the protein that causes COVID-19, stopping it from entering human cells, researcher Wai-Hong Tam said.

12:40 p.m. Numerous business owners in India face labor shortages caused by an exodus of skilled workers. Nurses, caregivers, carpenters, plumbers, electricians and others have moved back to their villages after Prime Minister Narendra Modi imposed a sudden lockdown.

12:20 p.m. Thailand's manufacturing production index declined 14.69% in July from a year earlier, led by lower production of cars and petroleum amid the coronavirus outbreak. This compares with a fall of 13.9% as forecast in a previous Reuters poll, and against June's revised contraction of 17.8%.

11:56 a.m. Jakarta Gov. Anies Baswedan says the Indonesian capital will allow cinemas to reopen, provided that strict health protocols, such as age limitations and online ticket purchases only, are implemented. The exact reopening date will be announced later.

11:20 a.m. South Korea confirms 320 new cases, up from 280 a day ago, bringing the county total to 18,265 infections with 312 deaths. The country is mulling a second coronavirus stimulus check next month to boost the economy.

9:07 a.m. China reports 15 new cases on the mainland as of Aug. 25, compared with 14 the previous day.

7:45 a.m. Australia's second-most-populous state of Victoria reports 149 new cases and 24 deaths over the past 24 hours. The state recorded 148 cases and eight deaths the previous day.

6:00 a.m. Some countries in Asia have banked on tourism to lead them out of the economic doldrums, but that crucial growth engine is still sputtering. Find out more in this week's The Big Story as we report from Bali's empty resorts, a Thai luxury quarantine and other bizarre post-COVID landscapes.

4:02 a.m. America's Translate Bio says that an experimental coronavirus vaccine it developed with French drugmaker Sanofi generated immune responses in animal studies. It aims to start human trials in November.

As students return to college in the U.S., some schools report a surge in coronavirus infections.   © Reuters

3:07 a.m. The president of the University of Alabama says the school has experienced an "unacceptable rise" in coronavirus cases six days after classes began. The main campus has recorded 531 total cases.

Other American universities have had similar problems The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Notre Dame both stopped in-person classes just days after the start of the school year. Both recorded over 400 coronavirus cases since mid-August. Ohio State University suspended over 200 students who violated the school's regulations on socializing.

1:53 a.m. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez says troops will be ready to help regions hit by a resurgence of the coronavirus. Spain suffered its worst wave of infections since the pandemic's peak in late March.

Tuesday, August 25

9:50 p.m. Amid reports that Russia is seeking a partnership with India for producing its COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V, New Delhi says the two countries "are in communication" on the matter.

"Some initial information has been shared [with India and] some detailed information is awaited," India's Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan tells reporters in response to a question.

Meanwhile, Balram Bhargava, director general of the Indian Council of Medical Research, says India's COVID-19 testing capacity has reached a million tests per day, up from just 10 a day in late January when the country had reported its first infection.

India has so far confirmed more than 3.16 million cases of COVID-19, of which over 2.4 million have recovered. More than 58,000 have died.

9:10 p.m. Gaza has detected its first infections in the general population -- as opposed to border quarantine facilities -- raising alarm that the virus could spread quickly in the crowded Palestinian enclave, according to Reuters. Businesses, schools and mosques have been ordered to close for at least 48 hours.

8:45 p.m. As AirAsia nurses a 992 million ringgit ($237 million) net loss for the April-June quarter, the budget carrier and its Southeast Asian peers are locked in a battle for post-COVID survival.

7:35 p.m. Thailand's cabinet approves additional funding to promote domestic tourism, as the industry reels from the lack of international arrivals, Reuters reports. The government intends to expand an earlier subsidy package. Each Thai traveler will be entitled to a 40% discount on 10 hotel nights, up from five nights, while subsidies for flights will double to 2,000 baht ($63.50).

6:10 p.m. Two European patients are confirmed to have been reinfected with coronavirus, raising concerns about people's immunity to the virus, Reuters reports, citing regional broadcasters. According to the regional media, a patient in the Netherlands and another in Belgium were reinfected.

5:45 p.m. Indonesia reports 2,447 new cases, bringing the country total to 157,859. There were an additional 99 deaths as fatalities hit 6,858 -- the highest in Southeast Asia.

5:40 p.m. Tokyo reports 182 new infections, up from 95 a day earlier. Meanwhile, Osaka reports 119 new cases, up from 60 a day earlier.

5:10 p.m. The Philippines reports 2,965 new cases, bringing the country total to 197,164. The nation has reported more than 1,000 new infections for 42 straight days and has the largest number of cases in Southeast Asia.

4:50 p.m. Singapore's health ministry reports 31 new COVID-19 cases, the city-state's lowest daily count since March 22.

4:40 p.m. An experimental COVID-19 vaccine being developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca could be put before regulators this year if scientists are able to gather enough data, Andrew Pollard, the director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, tells BBC radio.

4:30 p.m. AstraZeneca says it has begun testing an antibody-based remedy for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19, with the first participants dosed, adding to recent signs of progress on possible medical solutions to the disease.

3:00 p.m. Hong Kong will relax its social distancing rules as daily new coronavirus cases dropped to single digits on Monday. Restaurants will resume dine-in services until 9 p.m., while cinemas, beauty parlors, and certain sports facilities will reopen on Friday.

2:20 p.m. Qantas Airways says it plans to cut up to 2,500 more jobs by outsourcing its Australian ground handling operations as it braces for a A$10 billion ($7.17 billion) revenue hit due to the pandemic this financial year. The job cuts flagged on Tuesday are on top of 6,000 across its workforce announced in June, which would take total job losses to nearly 30% of Qantas' pre-pandemic staffing.

12:40 a.m. Japanese shares rise on hopes that expected COVID-19 vaccines and treatments will speed Japan's economic recovery. The benchmark Nikkei average is now trading above where it was before the coronavirus crisis hammered markets early this year. The Nikkei 225 gained 1.87% to 23,415.54 in early afternoon trade, a level unseen since Feb. 21.

11:50 a.m. South Korea orders most schools in Seoul and surrounding areas to close and has moved classes back online, the latest in a series of precautionary measures taken to contain a resurgence in coronavirus cases. The country reported 280 new cases as of midnight Monday, up from 266 a day earlier, bringing the total to 17,945, with 310 deaths.

10:40 a.m. World-record sprinter and eight-time Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt has tested positive for the coronavirus and is self-isolating at his home in Jamaica. The country's health ministry confirmed late on Monday that Bolt had tested positive after he posted a video on social media around midday saying he was waiting to hear the results. "Just to be safe I quarantined myself and just taking it easy," Bolt said in the message.

9:10 a.m. China reported 14 new coronavirus cases on Monday, all of which were imported infections involving travelers from overseas. This compares with 16 new cases a day earlier, all imported, and marks the ninth consecutive day of no local transmission.

8:10 a.m. Australia's state of Victoria reports 148 new cases, up from 116 a day earlier. It also recorded additional eight deaths from the new coronavirus, down from 15 a day earlier.

5:15 a.m. The World Health Organization says that 172 countries are taking part in its global vaccine-funding program. The COVAX facility pools funds from participating countries to aid COVID-19 vaccine development efforts. Participants receive enough vaccine to inoculate at least 20% of their populations.

A woman watches her husband at a hospital in the Indian state of Bihar: The World Health Organization says that 172 countries are taking part in its vaccine-funding program.   © Reuters

3:55 a.m. Luxury hotels in Vietnam are providing lodging for foreigners under quarantine as a way to make up for lost tourism revenue during the pandemic.

One of such hotels, FLC Grand Hotel Halong, a five-star facility on the famous island-dotted Halong Bay east of Hanoi, accommodated around 500 Japanese visitors in May and June.

12:35 a.m. Masks made of nonwoven fabric performed best in a Japanese supercomputer model of their ability to block virus-carrying respiratory droplets, but other types of masks also showed effectiveness, according to the government-backed Riken institute.

Japan's Fugaku, which recently took the title of world's fastest supercomputer, modeled the performance of cotton, polyester and nonwoven fabric masks in blocking spray from cough by the wearer.

Monday, August 24

11:30 p.m. Researchers in Hong Kong report the first confirmed case of reinfection with the coronavirus.

"An apparently young and healthy patient had a second case of COVID-19 infection, which was diagnosed 4.5 months after the first episode," University of Hong Kong researchers say in a statement.

The 33-year-old man's second SARS-CoV-2 infection was detected via airport screening on his return to Hong Kong from Europe this month.

7:00 p.m. Singapore's core consumer price index fell to minus 0.4% year-on-year in July, hitting its lowest level since January 2010, according to official data. Due to the pandemic, consumer spending has been weak, driving prices down. Authorities in the city-state, battling its deepest-ever recession, expect core inflation to average between minus 1% and 0% in 2020.

6:45 p.m. Indonesia's popular resort island of Bali has dropped plans to reopen to foreign tourists this year. The island began bringing back domestic travelers at the end of July and had planned to start welcoming international visitors on Sept. 11.

6:30 p.m. Indonesia's state-owned Bio Farma announced that it has signed an agreement with China's Sinovac Biotech and a company from the United Arab Emirates. Bio Farma will import 50 million doses of vaccine from Sinovac from November through March 2021. In addition, Sinovac will give priority to Bio Farma for further supplies until the end of 2021.

6:18 p.m. The Olympic flame will be displayed at the Japanese Olympic Museum from Sept. 1 to Nov. 1, the Japanese Olympic Committee says. Reservations will need to be made to view the flame, and museum-goers will be put on a one-way viewing route to keep crowds from forming.

6:07 p.m. Malaysia's Petronas and South Korea's LG Chem sign an agreement to build a plant in Malaysia to begin producing the raw material for synthetic rubber gloves in 2023. The use of nitrile gloves has surged amid efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other infections.

Tokyo reported 95 new coronavirus infections on Aug. 24, the first time the daily total has fallen below 100 since July 8.   © Reuters

3:07 p.m. Tokyo reports 95 new coronavirus infections, down from 212 a day earlier and the first time the Japanese capital's daily tally has fallen below 100 since July 8.

1:53 p.m. India reports 61,408 cases in the last 24 hours, down from 69,239 the previous day and bringing the country total to 3.1 million. Fatalities have risen to 57,542, up 836 since Sunday morning.

12:40 p.m. New Zealand will extend the current coronavirus restrictions in its largest city, Auckland, until Sunday night, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says. A flare-up of COVID-19 cases about two weeks ago in Auckland prompted Ardern to put the city's 1.7 million residents on lockdown, forcing businesses to close. The lockdown was due to expire on Wednesday.

12:00 p.m. As the number of COVID-19 cases surges in Japan, the country's roughly 470 public health centers are under strain once again as they struggle with growing demand for testing, tracing and monitoring of the coronavirus.

11:00 a.m. Seoul requires face masks for both indoor and outdoor public spaces for the first time, as the country battles a surge in cases. In May, the city government had ordered that masks be worn on public transport and taxis, but the latest spike has officials worried that the country may need to impose its highest level of social distancing. South Korea reported 266 new cases as of midnight Sunday, continuing more than a week of triple-digit daily increases.

People use portable fans to cool down while wearing masks in Seoul to prevent the spread of COVID-19.   © Reuters

9:20 a.m. China reports 16 new cases for Sunday, all of which were imported infections involving travelers from overseas. That is up slightly from 12 new cases a day earlier, also imported, and marks the eighth consecutive day of no reported cases of local transmission. The total number of confirmed cases now stands at 84,967, while the death toll remains unchanged at 4,634.

830 a.m. Australia's state of Victoria reports 116 cases, its lowest daily rise in new infections in seven weeks, fueling optimism that a deadly second wave there is subsiding. Victoria also reports 15 deaths from the virus in the past 24 hours.

8:00 a.m. More than a dozen people were crushed to death or asphyxiated as partygoers tried to flee a Lima nightclub after it was raided by police for hosting a party in violation of coronavirus restrictions, Reuters reports. Eleven of the 13 dead tested positive for COVID-19. The partygoers were trapped between the only entrance, which was pushed closed in the chaos, and a staircase leading to the street, police said.

6:03 a.m. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorizes the use of blood plasma from recovered coronavirus patients to treat the disease. The method was determined to be safe based on an analysis of 20,000 patients who received the treatment, according to the agency.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has determined the use of blood plasma to treat COVID-19 to be safe, based on an analysis of 20,000 patients who received the treatment.   © Reuters

5:00 a.m. China has been giving experimental coronavirus vaccines to groups facing high infection risks since July, a health official tells state media.

2:03 a.m. The world's reliance on Chinese personal protective equipment has grown sharply as the country boosts exports to meet demand, even as nations seek to increase domestic production and diversify sources.

Sunday, August 23

8:17 p.m. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang says the country's economy could grow this year, state radio reports, despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The world's second-biggest economy grew 3.2% year on year in the second quarter, recovering from a record contraction as coronavirus lockdown measures ended and policymakers stepped up stimulus to combat the shock from the crisis.

5:41 p.m. The Philippines records 2,378 new coronavirus infections on Sunday, its smallest daily spike in nearly four weeks, but the nationwide tally rose to 189,601, still the highest in Southeast Asia. In a bulletin, the Department of Health also reported 32 more fatalities, bringing the country's death toll to 2,998.

5:16 p.m. Indonesia reports 2,037 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, bringing its total tally to 153,535, data from the country's COVID-19 task force shows. The Southeast Asian country also added 86 new deaths on Sunday, taking the total number to 6,680, the highest COVID-19 death toll in Southeast Asia.

3:21 p.m. The Tokyo metropolitan government reports 212 new cases of the novel coronavirus, topping 200 for the fourth straight day. The single-day figure, compared with 256 confirmed the previous day, brought Tokyo's cumulative total to 19,333.

2:42 p.m. India reports that its coronavirus cases have topped 3 million, a sign the world's second-most populous country is struggling to slow the spread of the virus.

12:31 p.m. Australia records a further 17 new coronavirus deaths on Sunday but infections in the hard-hit state of Victoria, the site of all the latest deaths, are showing a downward trend. Other than in Victoria, which accounts for over 80% of Australia's COVID-19 deaths due to a second wave of infections, the country has largely avoided the high casualty numbers of many nations with about 24,500 infections and 502 deaths.

12:00 p.m. Personal shoppers, known as daigou -- Chinese for "buying on behalf of" -- have been one of the major channels for Chinese to get their hands on products that are unavailable or pricey at home. With the coronavirus pandemic having grounded most international flights, cross-border transshipment and middleman platforms that are able to plug the market gap are booming.

11:43 a.m. South Korea reports 397 new infections, up from the previous day's 332, marking its highest daily rise since early March, as outbreaks continued to spread from a Seoul church and from political demonstrations its members had attended.

9:19 a.m. Mexico's health ministry reports 6,482 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infection and 644 additional fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 556,216 cases and 60,254 deaths.

7:52 a.m. The number of deaths due to coronavirus infection reached 800,000 worldwide on Saturday, according to Johns Hopkins University. The rate of increase has not slowed down, after surpassing 700,000 on Aug. 5th. Nearly 23 million people have been infected.

4:52 a.m. The aviation industry has taken a direct blow from the coronavirus, with an estimated 8,600 aircraft -- one-third of the global fleet -- grounded during a month that is normally the high season for vacations. In addition, aircraft-leasing companies are taking a hit because airlines are asking leasing companies to lower costs.

Saturday, August 22

8:03 p.m. Japan and Cambodia agreed Saturday to reopen their borders to expatriates, possibly from early September, on the condition of a 14-day self-quarantine period and other precautions against the novel coronavirus. Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi agreed on the policy with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen at their meeting in Phnom Penh, according to the Japanese Foreign Ministry.

7:00 p.m. Japan has begun preparing to allow long-term foreign residents to return to the country in September after facing criticism as the only Group of Seven economy to restrict their entry as a measure to prevent coronavirus infection. A decision will be made soon by the government's task force. Returnees will have to take a PCR test and self-quarantine for 14 days -- the same rules that apply to Japanese nationals.

5:17 p.m. India reported a record daily jump in COVID-19 infections on Saturday, bringing the total near 3 million and piling pressure on authorities to curb huge gatherings as a major religious festival began. The 69,878 new infections -- the fourth straight day above 60,000 -- took India's total cases to 2.98 million, behind only the U.S. and Brazil. Deaths increased by 945 to 55,794, data from the federal health ministry showed.

1:30 p.m. Mountains of disposable face masks and gloves used to protect against the coronavirus are being dumped into rivers and oceans around the world, causing serious harm to fisheries and ecosystems. The United Nations estimates that global sales of disposable face masks will increase some 200 times from last year to roughly $160 billion in 2020 -- and that around 75% of the used masks and other pandemic-related plastic waste will end up in landfills or floating in the seas.

1:10 p.m. South Korea said tougher social distancing guidelines to curb COVID-19 will be rolled out nationwide starting Sunday as it battles a new outbreak of the disease spreading from the capital, Seoul. The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 315 new domestic infections as of midnight Friday, the latest in a string of triple-digit increases in new local cases that took the country's tally to 17,002 with 309 deaths.

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."

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.

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