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Coronavirus: Free to read

Coronavirus: Week of July 12 to July 18, Australian PM seeks to delay parliament

Singapore tightens rules on travelers from Japan, Hong Kong

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison says it is too risky to convene parliament next month given the spread of the coronavirus.    © 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 14,067,292, according to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

The worldwide death toll has hit 601,927.

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

(Source photo by AP) 

Here are the latest developments (Tokyo time):



Saturday, July 18

11:35 a.m. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison seeks to postpone an early-August session of parliament, saying the spread of the coronavirus has made it too risky.

5:03 a.m. The World Health Organization reports a record increase in global coronavirus cases, with the total rising by 237,743 in 24 hours. The biggest increases were from the U.S., Brazil, India and South Africa.

1:10 a.m. Coronavirus infections in Brazil appear to have reached a plateau, creating an opportunity to get the outbreak there under control, says WHO emergencies program head Mike Ryan. "The virus is not doubling itself in the community as it was before, so the rise is not exponential," he said. But there was "absolutely no guarantee that it will go down by itself."

12:25 a.m. Czech authorities tighten coronavirus restrictions in the northeast of the country after a spike in cases, reinstating compulsory face coverings, limiting restaurant opening hours and ordering checks on cross-border commuters, reports Reuters. The Czech Republic has suffered just 355 COVID-19 deaths, but infections have resurged in the past three weeks.

Friday, July 17

11:30 p.m. Singapore will strengthen rules on travelers coming from coronavirus hot spots, including Japan, Hong Kong and Australia's Victoria state, mandating quarantine in dedicated facilities for those who had been in those regions in the 14 days prior to arrival. Affected travelers will no longer be able to quarantine at their residences.

8:00 p.m. South Korea approves an early-stage clinical trial of Celltrion's experimental COVID-19 treatment, making it the country's first such antibody drug to be tested on humans. It anticipates primary results from the studies by the end of the year and aims to commercialize the drug by early 2021.

7:50 p.m. Kyrgyzstan adds thousands of cases and hundreds of deaths to its COVID-19 tally, describing them as cases of pneumonia most likely caused by the coronavirus but not confirmed by testing. It reports a total of 23,783 confirmed cases and COVID-like pneumonia as of Friday, having previously reported 12,498 COVID-19 cases. Similarly, the number of deaths surged to 785 from 167.

7:23 p.m. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says normal life will not fully return until November at the earliest, cautioning that nightclubs need to remain closed and wedding receptions capped. He said sports stadiums can bring back spectators in October.

The Boeing 747 was a revolutionary jetliner that made it a breeze to carry hundreds of passengers.   © Reuters

7:20 p.m. British Airways, the world's largest operator of Boeing 747s, is retiring its entire jumbo jet fleet. The company had been planning to retire the aircraft in 2024. "It is with great sadness that we can confirm we are proposing to retire our entire 747 fleet with immediate effect," the company said in a statement.

6:00 p.m. Indonesia reports 1,462 new coronavirus infections, down from 1,574 a day earlier, bringing the total number of cases to 83,130. Fatalities from COVID-19 rose by 84 to 3,957.

5:50 p.m. Hong Kong authorities report 50 locally transmitted coronavirus cases on Friday, stoking concern about an escalating third wave of infections in the global financial hub.

5:40 p.m. The Philippines records 17 more coronavirus deaths and 1,841 new infections, with the capital, Manila, accounting for the bulk of newly confirmed cases and fatalities. Total deaths have reached 1,660, while confirmed infections have risen to 63,001.

4:35 p.m. Cathay Pacific Airways warns that it expects a net loss of $1.28 billion for the first half of 2020 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. But the airline says it plans to add more flights, even as its outlook remains murky.

3:50 p.m. Urumqi, the capital of China's far western region of Xinjiang, reports five new coronavirus cases. The city also reports eight new asymptomatic cases.

2:11 p.m. Tokyo confirms 293 new infections, sources tell Nikkei, marking the second straight day of record cases, following Thursday's 286. The virus's resurgence in the nation's capital has forced the Japanese government to exclude Tokyo residents from claiming a travel subsidy aimed at reviving the domestic tourism industry.

1:19 p.m. India's coronavirus cases cross the million mark on Friday, with yet another record rise of 34,956 in the previous 24 hours. The total number of fatalities has jumped to 25,602, up 687 since Thursday morning in the biggest single-day spike so far.

12:10 p.m. The Philippines will allow the entry of foreign nationals with long-term visas into the country from Aug. 1, the presidential spokesman says. Foreigners with valid and existing visas will need to undergo quarantine upon arrival. Applications for new entry visas will not be accepted and returning Filipinos will have priority on inbound flights, given existing caps on airport capacity.

11:20 a.m. Australia's second-most populous state of Victoria reports a record increase in daily new coronavirus cases for the second straight day. Victoria recorded 428 new infections, a day after logging its previous high of 317 new cases.

10:50 a.m. South Korea confirms 60 new cases, down from 61 a day ago, with total coronavirus infections reaching 13,672 and 293 deaths.

9:30 a.m. The U.S. confirms 71,229 new infections, topping 70,000 cases in a single day for the first time, according to the Covid Tracking Project. Florida and Texas lead the states by each registering more than 10,000 cases. The death toll also rises to 977 fatalities, up from 855 a day earlier.

Nurses hold a demonstration to highlight hygiene practices amid the coronavirus pandemic in St. Petersburg, Florida, U.S., on July 15.   © Reuters

7:20 a.m. Brazil passes the 2 million coronavirus cases mark, with little sign that the rate of increase is slowing. It took just 27 days for Brazil, the world's second-largest outbreak after the U.S., to see its cases rise by 1 million.

6:47 a.m. Hydroxychloroquine is ineffective against mild COVID-19, says a U.S. study. The anti-malaria drug touted by U.S. President Donald Trump as a COVID-19 treatment was ineffective for patients with a mild version of the disease, say researchers at the University of Minnesota.

5:22 a.m. The governor of the U.S. state of Colorado issues a statewide mask order as the number of coronavirus cases there increases. Jared Polis requires all people 10 years and older to wear a face covering in indoor public spaces.

4:20 a.m. Even as the coronavirus pandemic rages, an Ebola outbreak in western Congo is growing. The World Health Organization says 56 people have been infected and the number continues to rise.

2:25 a.m. The Republican governor of the U.S. state of Georgia bars mayors from requiring residents to wear masks.

2:00 a.m. Johnson & Johnson is in talks with the government of Japan and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation about locking up allocations of its potential COVID-19 vaccine as it prepares to kick off human trials, Reuters reports.

1:30 a.m. The U.S. will extend restrictions on non-essential travel at land borders with Canada and Mexico through August 20, the Department of Homeland Security says.

Thursday, July 16

10:00 p.m. Hackers backed by the Russian state are trying to steal COVID-19 vaccine and treatment research from academic and pharmaceutical institutions around the world, the U.S., British and Canadian governments say. A coordinated statement attributed the attacks to group APT29, also known as "Cozy Bear."

9:54 p.m. Johnson & Johnson says it is in talks to begin late-stage studies of its experimental coronavirus vaccine in September.

9:39 p.m. After a nearly six-month shutdown, China issues a directive calling for the resumption of domestic tourism trade in all regions with a low coronavirus risk. Travel agencies and online tour companies will once again be able to sell interprovincial group package tours -- a big part of their core business.

7:19 p.m. Air France-KLM Group has been approved to add a second flight from Paris to Shanghai and a new flight from Amsterdam to Shanghai starting next week, the French embassy in Beijing says on its website.

7:13 p.m. The tourism ministry says Tokyo will be excluded from the government's travel campaign as it experiences a surge in infections, but critics are seeking a delay.

6:21 p.m. Hong Kong has recorded 67 new infections, the highest daily figure since the outbreak began. Two people were arrested for attacking an employee at a McDonald's restaurant. The worker was reportedly assaulted after he asked a customer to wear a mask.

6:00 p.m. Indonesia reports 1,574 new cases, up from 1,522 a day earlier, bringing the total to 81,668. The country also reported 76 new deaths, taking that total to 3,873.

5:56 p.m. The Philippines reports 2,498 new infections, the second-highest daily increase on record, and 26 additional deaths. The latest figures put the totals at 61,266 cases and 1,643 deaths.

5:00 p.m. Chinese state-owned pharmaceutical company Sinopharm has begun phase 3 clinical trials of a COVID-19 vaccine in Abu Dhabi, part of the United Arab Emirates. The human trial is being conducted by a partnership of Sinopharm's China National Biotec Group, Abu Dhabi-based artificial intelligence and cloud computing company Group 42 and the Abu Dhabi Department of Health.

4:33 p.m. Tokyo confirms 286 new coronavirus infections, sources tell Nikkei, the highest number of daily cases since the pandemic began.

4:30 p.m. Indonesia's central bank lowers its benchmark interest rate for the fourth time this year as it battles the pandemic's impact. As a result, the seven-day reverse repo rate goes to 4%, from 4.25%, its lowest point since at least 2016, when it became a benchmark.

1:51 p.m. India reports another biggest single-day jump with 32,695 new infections in the past 24 hours, bringing the country's tally to 968,876. The death toll has climbed to 24,915, up 606 since Wednesday morning.

12:10 p.m. China has approved an early-stage trial in humans of German company BioNTech's experimental COVID-19 vaccine, its local partner Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical says. The potential vaccine is one of the two most advanced candidates that BioNTech is working on with its partner Pfizer.

11:33 a.m. Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike says the capital is likely to report more than 280 new infections on Thursday, the highest number of daily cases since the pandemic began. The capital raised its coronavirus pandemic alert to the highest level on Wednesday after a resurgence of infections. Koike urged residents to refrain from making nonessential trips outside the metropolis.

11:07 a.m. China's gross domestic product grew 3.2% on year in the April-June quarter after contracting during the previous three months, driven by a recovery in production and spending amid coronavirus-induced headwinds, government data shows.

Police officers patrol the grounds outside a public housing tower, reopened the previous night after being locked down in response to the coronavirus, in Melbourne, Australia on July 10. The state of Victoria, where Melbourne is located, reported 317 new daily infections on Thursday, the most since the pandemic began.   © Reuters

11:00 a.m. Australia's unemployment rate shot up to 7.4% in June from 7.1% in May, reaching the highest mark since November 1998, government data shows. Meanwhile, the country's second-most populous state of Victoria reports 317 new daily infections on Thursday, the most since the pandemic began.

10:55 a.m. South Korea confirms 61 new cases, up from 39 a day ago. Total infections reach 13,612 with 291 deaths. The Bank of Korea forecasts that the South Korean economy will contract further this year from its May prediction of minus 0.2% on the pandemic, though the central bank did not mention specific numbers.

10:30 a.m. China reports one new confirmed COVID-19 case as of the end of July 15, down from six a day earlier. The new case was that of a traveler from overseas. Beijing, China's capital, reported no new cases for the 10th consecutive day.

10:00 a.m. The death rate for COVID-19 intensive care patients has dropped by about one-third since the start of the pandemic, due at least in part to better hospital care, a review of published studies found.

7:44 a.m. American Airlines said on Wednesday it is sending 25,000 potential furlough notices to frontline workers and warned that demand for air travel is slowing again as COVID-19 cases increase and states re-establish quarantine restrictions.

7:04 a.m. A Japanese campaign to promote domestic travel has sparked intense criticism as coronavirus cases in Tokyo rise once again, with opposition lawmakers and Gov. Yuriko Koike pushing the government to postpone the program.

American airlines jets made by Embraer and other manufacturers sit at gates at Washington's Reagan National airport as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to keep airline travel at minimal levels and the U.S. economy contracts in the first quarter at its sharpest pace since the Great Recession, in Washington, U.S. April 29.   © Reuters

5:40 a.m. Anthony Fauci, who heads the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, plays down what has been described as a race between America and China to develop the first COVID-19 vaccine.

"I think everybody's sort of on the same track," Fauci tells Reuters in an interview. "They're not going to get it particularly sooner than we get it. That's for sure."

2:06 a.m. Thailand's longstanding economic policy team is expected to be replaced in a cabinet reshuffle likely to occur soon, leaving it no role in the country's recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

1:30 a.m. Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt tests positive for the coronavirus, he tells reporters. Stitt says he is experiencing mild symptoms and is not considering issuing a statewide mandate to wear masks.

12:30 a.m. Walmart will require customers to wear face coverings inside all of its U.S. Walmart and Sam's Club stores starting July 20, becoming the largest company to impose restrictions at a time when mask-wearing in public space has turned into a polarizing issue.

Wednesday, July 15

10:40 p.m. The University of Washington's newly revised pandemic model forecasts the U.S. death toll from COVID-19 will reach 224,000 by Nov. 1 -- 16,000 higher than an earlier projection.

10:00 p.m. Osaka reports in own rise, albeit a mild one, in COVID-19 cases. Daily new infections reached 61, the highest level since a state of emergency was lifted on May 21. This compares with Tokyo's latest daily increase of 165.

8:19 p.m. The Maldives has opened its luxury island resorts for virus-weary tourists Wednesday, with a Qatar Airways flight landing this morning to mark the reopening of Velana International Airport to passenger travel.

8:14 p.m. Remittances from overseas Filipino workers fell 16.2% to $2.05 billion in April, the Philippine central bank says, attributing the sharp decline to the repatriation of tens of thousands of Filipino workers from coronavirus-stricken countries and the closure of money transfer centers during the lockdown. From January to April, cash remittances which help fuel the consumer-led Philippine economy were down 3% to $9.45 billion.

7:15 p.m. Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha orders authorities to review privileges given to foreign diplomats and military personnel after an Egyptian soldier and a Sudanese diplomat's daughter who tested positive for coronavirus were exempted from quarantine, the Bangkok Post reported Wednesday.

7:00 p.m. Toyota Motor discounts the high-end Aqua hybrid vehicle as well as Lexus models by up to 100,000 yen ($934) in an effort to boost Japan sales amid a pandemic-induced slowdown, Nikkei has learned.

6:40 p.m. The Philippines' health ministry reports 11 new coronavirus deaths and 1,392 additional infections, bringing total deaths to 1,614 and confirmed infections to 58,850. The country is now facing its worst recession in more than three decades due to the negative impacts of the virus epidemic.

The Maldives has reopened its luxury island resorts to tourists Wednesday.   © Reuters

5:31 p.m. Tokyo confirms 165 new infections on Wednesday, up from 143 a day earlier, as the Japanese capital raises its coronavirus alert to the highest on its four-tier scale. It now has 8,354 confirmed cases of the virus.

4:45 p.m. Russia on Wednesday reported 6,422 new coronavirus cases, pushing its confirmed national tally to 746,369, the fourth-highest in the world.

4:15 p.m. Japan had around 2,600 overseas visitors in June, a decline of 99.9% from the same month a year ago, the Japan National Tourism Organization annouced Wednesday. That was up from May, when just 1,700 arrivals were recorded, the lowest number since statistics began in 1964, but it is still very low.

4:08 p.m. Gold prices steadied on Wednesday, holding firm above the psychologically important level of $1,800 an ounce, as worries over surging coronavirus cases and simmering U.S.-China tensions solidified demand for the safe-haven metal. Spot gold was little changed at $1,808.85 as of 0658 GMT. U.S. gold futures eased 0.2% to $1,808.40.

3:21 p.m. India reports another record single-day rise in coronavirus cases with 29,429 in the past 24 hours, taking the country's COVID-19 tally to 936,181. The death toll rose to 24,309, up 582 since Tuesday morning.

1:54 p.m. Indonesia's June exports were up 2.28% on a yearly basis to $12.03 billion, the first expansion in four months, propped up by increased shipments of agricultural and manufactured goods. A Reuters poll had forecast a 12.26% fall. Imports fell 6.36% on-year in June to $10.76 billion, compared with the poll's expectation for an 18.7% drop. Imports of consumer goods surged nearly 40%, although purchases of raw materials remained weak.

1:53 p.m. Resorts World Sentosa (RWS), owned by Genting Singapore, has made a one-off cut in its workforce, as part of cost-cutting measures in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, it said on Wednesday. In its statement, RWS did not give the figure of staff affected. The resort, one of Singapore's top tourist attractions encompasses a hotel, a casino and the Universal Studios theme park among other attractions.

A boy reacts as a healthcare worker takes a swab to test a boy for the novel coronavirus: India reported another record number of new cases on July 15.   © Reuters

1:10 p.m. Authorities have confirmed 36 more coronavirus infections at Camp Hansen in Okinawa, Japan's southernmost prefecture, taking the tally at U.S. military bases on the island to 136, Kyodo News says.

1:07 p.m. Racing to develop a vaccine, Chinese biotechnology company CanSino Biologics has pulled off the feat of establishing warm ties with both China and Canada at a time of fraught relations between the two countries.

1:03 p.m. Tokyo raises its alert for coronavirus infections to the highest of four levels on Wednesday, after a spike in cases to record numbers in the Japanese capital. Fearing a second wave of infections spreading from the capital, local municipalities and opposition lawmakers also urged the central government to suspend a major travel campaign aimed at boosting domestic tourism.

12:02 p.m. The Bank of Japan forecasts the nation's economy to contract 4.7% in fiscal 2020 despite signs of a recovery. The bank said the contraction will be followed by an expansion of 3.3% in fiscal 2021 and 1.5% the following year.

11:00 a.m. Facebook and Sony are preparing to increase output of upcoming gaming devices by as much as 50%, showing how big tech companies are profiting from consumers' thirst for home entertainment during the global coronavirus pandemic, the Nikkei Asian Review has learned.

10:46 a.m. South Korea confirms 39 new cases, up from 33 a day ago. Total infections reach 13,551 with 289 deaths. The country lost 352,000 jobs in June, year-on-year, as workers in the retail and restaurant industries were hit hard by the pandemic. But, the loss narrowed slightly from the previous month's 392,000, thanks to a recovery in the service sector. The country's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate slipped to 4.3% in June, down from a decade-high 4.5% in May.

10:34 a.m. New Zealand must prepare for new coronavirus outbreaks as the pandemic spreads globally, but it will not drop its elimination strategy if community transmission is discovered, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, says.

U.S. Air Force crew at a pre-flight briefing at Yokota Air Base, western Tokyo, on May 21, 2020. The U.S. military is dealing with coronavirus clusters at its bases in Okinawa Prefecture.   © Reuters

9:58 a.m. Australian consumer sentiment worsened in July as renewed coronavirus lockdowns in Melbourne darkened the mood after two months of gain. The Westpac-Melbourne Institute index of consumer sentiment fell 6.1% in July, reversing a 6.3% gain in June. The July fall left the index down 8.9% from the same period last year at 87.9, meaning pessimists outnumbered optimists by some margin.

9:01 a.m. U.S. biotech startup Moderna experimental vaccine for COVID-19 passed safety tests and generated an immune response in all 45 healthy volunteers in an early-stage clinical study, U.S. researchers reported Tuesday.

8:35 a.m. Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein owner PVH Corp said Tuesday it would cut 450 jobs in North America and shutter 162 stores as the coronavirus crisis wreaks havoc on the apparel industry. The company said the layoffs, affecting 12% of its office workforce, will save about $80 million annually.

7:53 a.m. U.S. President Donald Trump said in an interview on Tuesday with CBS News that it was a "mistake" for California's two largest school districts, Los Angeles and San Diego, to keep schools closed in the fall.

6:53 a.m. Brazil recorded 41,857 new cases of the novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours and 1,300 additional deaths, the Health Ministry said Tuesday. It now has 1,926,824 confirmed cases and 74,133 deaths.

6:31 a.m. The United Kingdom may soon recommend face coverings in all public places including offices and other workplaces, The Telegraph newspaper reported Tuesday.

5:30 a.m. U.S. stocks rally following comments by Fed policymakers on support for the economy. After Federal Reserve Gov. Lael Brainard argues for continuing the central bank's asset-purchasing program, the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbs over 550 points, or 2.1%. The broader S&P 500 gains 1.3%.

4:40 a.m. The southern U.S. states of Alabama, Florida and North Carolina report their biggest daily rises in COVID-19 deaths to date, in another grim record for the country.

1:50 a.m. Tokyo health provider group Fast Doctor will begin offering door-to-door COVID-19 tests for registered patients next month in the Japanese capital's central 23 wards. The service is geared for elderly patients and others who have trouble leaving their homes.

12:30 a.m. Delta Air Lines' CEO says the company's capacity in the third quarter will be about 20% to 25% of 2019 levels, Reuters reports.

Tuesday, July 14

11:48 p.m. All COVID-19 patients that were infected aboard the cruise ship Diamond Princess, which became a symbol of the early days of the pandemic as it docked at Yokohama, have now been released from hospital, Japan's health ministry reports.

11:00 p.m. 3M and MIT researchers say they are developing a rapid test for COVID-19. The research could lead to a way to produce accurate results in minutes, according to a statement.

"The test could be administered at the point-of-care and would not need to be sent to labs for testing," the statement says.

10:15 p.m. Philippine authorities and police will go house to house to find coronavirus patients and take them to isolation facilities -- a tough new plan to curb rising infections -- Reuters reports, citing the country's interior minister. "We don't want positive patients to stay home in [self] quarantine especially if their homes don't have the capacity," Eduardo Ano, the minister, is quoted as saying. But as the police have already been criticized for heavy-handed measures, this looks likely to be controversial.

Police in the Philippines are set to play a larger role in tracking down COVID-19 cases.   © Reuters

8:25 p.m. Japan is considering easing coronavirus-related travel restrictions by allowing U.S and European business executives to enter the country, Nikkei has learned. No time frame has been set, but sources said the rules would likely include only short stays, a limited number of people and arrivals on non-commercial aircraft -- like private jets.

8:05 p.m. 3M, the U.S. industrial group, announces a partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to develop a rapid antigen test for COVID-19, Reuters reports. This type of test -- which detects proteins found on or inside a virus -- promises results in minutes on a cheap, paper-based device described as similar to a home pregnancy test. The company envisions producing millions of tests per day.

5:51 p.m. South Korea has unveiled $133 billion of post-coronavirus spending in what President Moon Jae-in called a "K-New Deal," echoing the term used by U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt for the programs he implemented to help his country emerge from the Great Depression in the 1930s.

4:49 p.m. India's sales of passenger vehicles, including cars, utility vehicles and vans, in June dropped about 50% from the previous year to 105,617 units amid the lockdown, according to the latest data released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers.

3:50 p.m. Malaysia and Singapore have agreed in principle to reopen their mutual border with a business travel "green lane," eyeing a mid-August start date.

3:20 p.m. Tokyo confirms 143 new infections, up from 119 a day earlier. Although the count has receded from the 200-plus level, it has remained at more than 100 new cases for six days in a row. The capital is also giving rise to multiple clusters -- at a theater, nursery schools and elderly care facilities.

Tokyo's Kabukicho: Many of the city's COVID-19 cases have been traced to popular entertainment districts.

2:00 p.m. China's exports unexpectedly rose in June as overseas economies reopened, government data shows. Imports grew for the first time this year, reinforcing views the recovery from the pandemic is gaining traction.

1:50 p.m. India's COVID-19 cases top 900,000 -- just three days after surpassing 800,000 -- with 28,498 new infections reported in the last 24 hours, slightly lower than 28,701 the previous day. The country's total caseload now stands at 906,752 with 23,727 deaths, which rose by 553 since Monday morning.

1:11 p.m. Tokyo health officials appeal for more than 800 theatergoers to get tested for the new coronavirus after a production starring Japanese boy-band members was found to be the source of at least 27 cases. The latest cluster has been traced to Theatre Moliere in Shinjuku, which staged a play for six days from June 30 to July 5. The theater is near the Kabukicho entertainment district, which has been the source of many infections.

11:40 a.m. Shares of Macao casino operators, including Wynn Macau and MGM China, soar after China loosens border restrictions, setting the stage for the resumption of business in the gambling hub. From Wednesday, visitors returning to the mainland from Macao will not need to quarantine for 14 days.

1:15 a.m. South Korea confirms 33 new coronavirus cases, down from 62 a day ago. The country's total infections have reached 13,512, with 289 deaths. The Health Ministry will host a meeting with 30 drugmakers in the afternoon to explain the government's support program for developing COVID-19 vaccines and treatments.

9:30 a.m. China reports three new cases for July 13, compared with eight a day earlier. All of the new infections were imported. There were no new deaths.

9:05 a.m. Singapore's economy shrank 12.6% on the year in the April-June quarter due to sweeping COVID-19 business closures, the government estimates.

9:00 a.m. Global infections surpass 13 million, according to Johns Hopkins University, taking only five days to climb by one million. The U.S. continues to lead the world, adding more than 60,000 cases a day, followed by Brazil and India. Fatalities from COVID-19 worldwide have topped 571,000.

8:30 a.m. Hong Kong Disneyland closes again due to a rise in newly confirmed cases. The theme park had just reopened in June. "As required by the government and health authorities in line with prevention efforts taking place across Hong Kong, Hong Kong Disneyland Park will temporarily close from July 15, 2020," it said on its website.

5:15 a.m. California's governor has shut bars and halted indoor restaurant dining across the state and told gyms, churches and other places where people gather to close in areas hardest hit by rising COVID-19 cases.

Education will be online-only in the Los Angeles school district, the second-largest in the U.S., when schools are supposed to reopen at the end of summer vacation.

2:55 a.m. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director general of the World Health Organization, tells reporters: "If basics are not followed, the only way this pandemic is going to go -- it is going to get worse and worse and worse."

1:50 a.m. Experimental coronavirus vaccine candidates from Pfizer and BioNTech have received "fast track" status from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Monday, July 13

11:00 p.m. Hong Kong will drastically tighten its social distancing rules as cases of local infections surge again. The new rules, announced by Chief Executive Carrie Lam, include banning dine-in services for restaurants from 6 p.m. to 5 a.m. the next day, requiring everyone to wear mask when they travel on public transport, and rolling back the limit for public gatherings from 50 to four.

In addition, gyms, cinemas and other ten types of venues will be closed again after reopening for slightly more than two months. Local authorities will also tighten the screening of people traveling from "high risk" areas, requiring the passengers to present documents showing a negative virus test result to be able to board a plane.

8:00 p.m. Thailand steps up security at its land borders after concerns surged over a possible second wave of coronavirus infections. The move follows the arrests of thousands of illegal migrants in the past month.

6:30 p.m. The Philippines reports 65 more novel coronavirus deaths and 836 additional infections. Total deaths have reached 1,599, while confirmed infections rose to 57,006, more than triple the number the country had when President Rodrigo Duterte eased quarantine measures in the capital in June.

5:50 p.m. Indonesia reports 1,282 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total count to 76,981. Deaths from COVID-19 rose by 50, bringing the total to 3,656.

Read here about the city of Jakarta raising the alarm as daily infections continue to rise after the movement restrictions were eased.

5:40 p.m. Hong Kong records 52 new cases of coronavirus, including 41 that were locally transmitted, health authorities say, as worries over escalating infections in the global financial hub grow.

3:47 p.m. Tokyo confirms 119 new infections, sources tell Nikkei, falling below the 120 mark for the first time in five days. Tokyo has been carefully monitoring the recent surge as infections have been on the rise in neighboring prefectures such as Chiba and Kanagawa as well.

3:33 p.m. Philippine car sales plunged 51.2% on the year to 85,041 vehicles in January to June, industry groups say, amid continuing lockdowns that began in mid-March. Market leaders Toyota, Mitsubishi and Honda saw their sales halved during the six-month period.

2:50 p.m. Sanrio Puroland, a theme park in western Tokyo that features the beloved Hello Kitty character, reopens after a five-month closure due to the coronavirus. Sanrio Entertainment, the operator, is limiting attendance to about one-10th the number before the pandemic, with reservations required for the time being as a precaution.

2:15 p.m. The Hong Kong Book Fair has been postponed due to a spike in locally transmitted cases, the organizer says two days before the exhibition was to open, adding that the event will be rescheduled. The city has reported 1,470 cases. Among the 38 new cases reported on Sunday, 30 were local infections.

1:41 p.m. India reports yet another record single-day increase in coronavirus cases, with 28,701 new infections in the last 24 hours, bringing the country's COVID-19 infection tally to 878,254. The death toll has climbed to 23,174, up 500 since Sunday morning.

12:45 p.m. Japanese shares rise, tracking Wall Street's rally on Friday as a positive analysis on a potential COVID-19 drug by Gilead Sciences offset investor fears over a surge in virus cases. The benchmark Nikkei average gained 1.73% to 22,677.25 by the midday break.

12:30 p.m. Japan and the U.S. are sharing information about coronavirus cases at U.S. military bases in Okinawa prefecture, a government spokesman says, after 62 new cases were confirmed at three bases.

11:05 a.m. After successfuly dealing with the initial coronavirus outbreak by swiftly offering test kits, South Korean drug makers are setting their sights on an even bigger challenge: developing coronavirus vaccines and treatments.

10:40 a.m. South Korea confirms 62 new cases, up from 44 a day ago. Total infections reach 13,479 with 289 deaths.

10:30 a.m. The Philippines reports its highest single-day death toll, with 162 new fatalities, bringing the total to 1,534. Meanwhile, 2,124 new infections were confirmed, putting the total count at 56,259. The latest tally was as of Sunday, but the figures were reported early Monday as the Department of Health needed time to verify the data.

A "no mask, no entry" sign is posted as a reminder for take-away customers and delivery riders outside a restaurant to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in Quezon City in the Philippines on July 8. The Philippines on Monday reported its highest single-day death toll of162 new fatalities, bringing the total to 1,534.   © Reuters

10:00 a.m. China reports eight new COVID-19 cases as of the end of July 12, up from seven a day earlier. All the new cases were imported infections involving overseas travelers. Beijing reported no new confirmed cases for the seventh consecutive day.

7:50 a.m. Florida reports a record increase of more than 15,000 new cases of COVID-19 in 24 hours on Sunday, as the Trump administration renewed its push for schools to reopen. If Florida were a country, it would rank fourth in the world for the most new cases in a day behind the U.S., Brazil and India, according to a Reuters analysis.

1:05 a.m. WHO reports record daily increase in global coronavirus cases, up by over 230,000. The biggest increases were in the United States, Brazil, India and South Africa.

Sunday, July 12

4:45 p.m. Russia reports 6,615 new coronavirus cases, taking its nationwide tally of infections to 727,162, and 130 deaths from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, bringing total fatalities to 11,335.

4:00 p.m. Tokyo reports 206 coronavirus infections, marking a record fourth straight day of over 200 new cases.

3:14 p.m. Thai researchers plan to begin human trials of a potential vaccine for the new coronavirus in November and are preparing 10,000 doses, a senior official says, aiming for a vaccine that could be ready for use by late next year. Following favorable results in trials on primates, the next step is to manufacture doses for human trials, said Kiat Ruxrungtham, director of Bangkok's Chulalongkorn University vaccine development program.

1:08 p.m. Plant-based faux meat makers in Asia are seeing sales soar as consumers seek safe and healthy alternatives in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

7:07 a.m. Brazil, the world's No. 2 coronavirus hot spot after the United States, recorded 1,071 new deaths from the outbreak on Saturday, with a total of 1,839,850 confirmed cases, the Health Ministry said.

6:38 a.m. U.S. President Donald Trump, who has avoided wearing a mask in public even as the coronavirus pandemic spread, donned one on Saturday at a military medical facility outside Washington where he was set to meet with wounded soldiers and front-line health care workers.

4:14 a.m. Disney World parks in Orlando, Florida, reopen as the southern U.S. state records more than 10,000 news cases on the same day. The parks had been closed for four months.

2:51 a.m. Iconic Indian actor Amitabh Bachchan tests positive for COVID-19 and is moved to hospital. "I have tested COVID positive... shifted to hospital... hospital informing authorities... family and staff undergone tests, results awaited," the 77-year-old says on Twitter.

12:07 a.m. Vietnam's most seriously ill COVID-19 patient, a British pilot who at one point seemed close to death, leaves hospital on his way home after a dramatic recovery that attracted national attention, Reuters reports. Stephen Cameron, a pilot for national carrier Vietnam Airlines, became a sensation in Vietnam, where a combination of targeted testing and an aggressive quarantine program has kept its coronavirus tally to an impressively low 370 cases, and zero deaths.

Saturday, July 11

10:40 p.m. The U.S. military has put two Marine bases in Okinawa on lockdown with 61 confirmed coronavirus cases, the prefectural government says. The U.S. military told Okinawan officials that the cases were confirmed between Tuesday and Saturday at U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma and Camp Hansen, the prefectural government said.

10:06 p.m. Chinese vaccine developer CanSino Biologics is in talks with Russia, Brazil, Chile and Saudi Arabia to launch a Phase 3 trial of its experimental COVID-19 vaccine, its co-founder says. China's success in driving down COVID-19 infections has made it harder to conduct large-scale vaccine trials, and so far only a few countries have agreed to work with it.

21:30 p.m. With the coronavirus pandemic crushing the business attire industry, Japanese apparel group Onward Holdings and online fashion retailer Zozo will partner in a bid to create new revenue streams based on big data, Nikkei has learned.

5:30 p.m. Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates calls for COVID-19 drugs and an eventual vaccine to be made available to countries and people that need them most, not to the "highest bidder," saying relying on market forces would prolong the deadly pandemic.

A child reacts as a healthcare worker takes a swab to test for COVID-19 in Ahmedabad, India on July 10.   © Reuters

3:06 p.m. Tokyo reports 206 new coronavirus infections, topping the 200 mark for the third straight day.

10:11 a.m. New cases in the U.S. rose by nearly 69,000 on Friday, according to a Reuters tally, setting a record for the third consecutive day. Even so, Walt Disney Co. stuck with plans to reopen its theme park in hard-hit Florida. A total of eight states -- Alaska, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Montana, Ohio, Utah and Wisconsin -- also reported record highs for single-day infections.

9:38 a.m. Health care systems worldwide need to upgrade to control disease transmission and cope with large numbers of sick during the pandemic, as well as guard against future outbreaks, the World Health Organization said on Friday.

7:31 a.m. China said on Friday it was suspending imports from three Ecuadorian shrimp producers after detecting coronavirus in recent shipments, prompting one of the producers to accuse China of "tarnishing the reputation" of the industry.

6:02 a.m. A two-member advance team from the World Health Organization left for China to investigate the origins of the pandemic that has killed more than 550,000 people globally, the U.N. said on Friday.

5:20 a.m. The White House calls for the Food and Drug Administration to authorize hydroxychloroquine to treat dire cases of COVID-19 after the regulator pulled authorization weeks ago. The renewed effort comes after a controversial study found the anti-malarial drug was associated with lower mortality rates. President Donald Trump praised the study on Twitter this week, urging the FDA to "Act Now."

2:31 a.m. Japanese airline ANA ends its recruiting activities for fiscal 2021 as the prolonged pandemic makes planning for the future difficult.

1:49 a.m. The World Health Organization reports a record increase in global coronavirus cases, with the total rising by 228,102 in 24 hours. The biggest increases were from the United States, Brazil, India and South Africa.

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

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