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Coronavirus: Free to read

Coronavirus: Week of July 18 to July 24, Australia's New South Wales logs biggest rise in daily cases

US buys 200m Pfizer doses for children and boosters; Philippines extends travel ban to Malaysia and Thailand

The city center in Sydney, Australia, is nearly deserted during a lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus on July 21.   © Reuters

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

Cumulative global cases have reached 193,165,622, according to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. The worldwide death toll has hit 4,143,105.

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

-- Global coronavirus tracker charts

-- Status of vaccinations around the world

-- World map of spreading mutated strains

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

UPDATES CLOSED

Saturday, July 24 (Tokyo time)

12:10 p.m. Tokyo 2020 says they failed to hand out PCR test kits to some athletes earlier this week at the Olympic Village due to a shortage. According to the "Playbook" guidelines, athletes are subject to daily tests. Organizers say that more test kits will be delivered today.

11:00 a.m. China reports 35 new cases for Friday, down from 48 a day earlier. Local infections account for 13 of the new cases, up slightly from 12 a day earlier. Almost all the local cases were reported in the eastern province of Jiangsu. The number of new asymptomatic cases, which China does not classify as confirmed cases, fell to 20 from 35 a day earlier.

10:30 a.m. New South Wales, Australia's most populous state, reports 163 locally acquired cases, its biggest daily rise, up from 136 a day earlier, in a worsening outbreak that has led to an urgent push to speed up vaccinations. Of the new cases, at least 45 spent time in the community while infectious, state health authorities say. That figure is being closely watched as the state appears poised to extend a lockdown that was due to end on July 30.

3:00 a.m. The U.S. has purchased 200 million more doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for flexibility if booster shots become necessary and the shots are approved for younger children, the White House says.

Pfizer will provide the U.S. with 65 million doses intended for children under 12, including doses available immediately after the vaccine is authorized for that age group, according to an U.S. official familiar with the contract.

The U.S. government also has the option to buy an updated version of the vaccine targeting new variants of the virus.

The purchase brings the total number of doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to be supplied to the U.S. to 500 million, of which roughly 208 million have already been delivered as of Thursday.

Friday, July 23

11:50 p.m. The 2020 Tokyo Games kick off with virtually no spectators, a reduced contingent of athletes, and subdued performances to acknowledge the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which delayed the Olympics by a year. The opening ceremony included a moment of silence for the 4 million people who have died in the pandemic. Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka lit the Olympic cauldron, fashioned in the shape of the sun over Mt. Fuji, after Emperor Naruhito officially opened the Games.

Naomi Osaka of Japan lights the Olympic cauldron at the opening ceremony in Tokyo on July 23. (Photo by Takaki Kashiwabara)

2 p.m. India reports 35,342 new cases in the last 24 hours, down from 41,383 the previous day, bringing the country total to 31.29 million. Deaths rose by 483 to 419,470. The country has vaccinated about 5.5 million people since Thursday morning, bringing the total number of doses administered nationwide to more than 423.4 million.

12:51 p.m. The Philippine presidential spokesperson says the country will ban travelers from Malaysia and Thailand. The country will also tighten restrictions in the Manila area, in a bid to prevent the spread of the contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus. The travel restriction will take effect from Sunday and run to the end of July. The Philippines has previously banned travelers from eight countries including Indonesia and India.

12:07 p.m. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga meets Pfizer Chairman and CEO Albert Bourla at the State Guest House in Tokyo to seek faster delivery of coronavirus vaccine shipments as infections. Bourla will attend the opening ceremony later today. Pfizer provided 40,000 doses of COVID vaccine to athletes and other people involved in the games.

11:50 a.m. Taiwan will lower its COVID-19 alert level from next week though some restrictions will remain, the government said on Friday, with rapidly falling case numbers giving authorities confidence to further relax curbs.

11:40 a.m. Officials in New South Wales, Australia, tighten lockdown measures in Sydney as the state reports its biggest daily rise in new COIVD-19 infections this year -- more than 1,900. State Premier Gladys Berejiklian also flagged the likelihood that stay-home orders for the country's biggest city would be extended beyond the current end date of July 30.

11:29 a.m. Tokyo 2020 confirm 19 new Olympics-related COVID-19 infections, including three athletes and three members of the media, bringing the total to 106.

12:30 a.m. Vietnam enters discussions with the U.S. to use technology to locally produce mRNA vaccines, its Foreign Ministry says.

The country has seen a surge in daily cases after being heralded as an example of how to prevent the spread of the coronavirus early in the pandemic. There are restrictions on movement in about a third of the nation, including major supply chain hubs of Ho Chi Minh City in the south and the capital, Hanoi, in the north.

Local mRNA vaccine production could start later this year or early next year, a foreign ministry spokesperson says at a news conference, adding Vietnam could make 100 million to 200 million doses a year locally if a deal was struck with U.S. companies.

A street in the capital city of Hanoi. Vietnam has struggled with an increase in the number of COVID cases.   © Reuters

Thursday, July 22

6:15 p.m. Chinese officials on Thursday rejected a proposal by the World Health Organization for a second study to trace the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, including the possibility that the virus escaped from a laboratory in Wuhan, calling it political and biased. Beijing insisted that it had fully cooperated with the WHO's team of international experts dispatched to Wuhan earlier this year.

5:57 p.m. Japanese auto group Toyota Motor has halted operations at its three factories in Thailand as the country's delta-variant COVID epidemic disrupts the supply of key automobile parts. The stoppage started from Wednesday and will last at least until July 28, Nikkei has learned. Toyota said it will "assess the situation and decide" whether to resume operations from July 29.

4:53 p.m. The Tokyo metropolitan government reported 1,979 new daily COVID-19 cases on Thursday, a day before the Olympics opening ceremony and the highest number since mid-January, as fears grow that the games could become a superspreader event amid the transmission of the highly contagious delta coronavirus variant. The latest figure represents an increase of 671 from Thursday last week, bringing the seven-day rolling average of cases to 1,373.4 per day, up 55.7% from the previous week.

1:40 p.m. Taiwan has ordered 36 million additional doses of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine, the government says, as it seeks to lock in deliveries for the months ahead. Taiwan has received about 9 million doses to date from Moderna and AstraZeneca, including almost 6 million doses donated by Japan and the U.S., enabling it to speed up its inoculation program.

1:36 p.m. India reports 41,383 new cases in the last 24 hours, slightly down from 42,015 the previous day, bringing the country total to 31.26 million. Deaths rose by 507 to 418,987.

1:30 p.m. Hospitals in Indonesia's easternmost region of Papua are nearing full capacity amid a surge in COVID-19 cases, with health officials bracing for the full impact of the virulent delta variant on one of the country's least-developed areas. The bed occupancy rate at some hospitals in Papua Province had reached 100%, with emergency units and tents being used to treat COVID-19 patients, Dr. Aaron Rumainum, head of the Papua health agency's disease control and prevention unit, said.

1:09 p.m. Thailand's central bank says a coronavirus flare-up may reduce gross domestic product by 0.8% to 2.0% this year, as authorities struggle with the country's biggest outbreak of the virus to date. However, the economy still has support from government measures, and exports could still perform better than expected, Senior Director Chayawadee Chai-Anant said at a briefing.

9:53 a.m. South Korea's daily infections hit a new record of 1,838, up from 1,784 a day ago. Of the cases, 309 originated from overseas, including 270 sailors aboard a navy ship operating in the Indian Ocean near Somalia. Total infections in the country have reached 184,103 with 2,063 deaths.

8:40 a.m. Australia's state of Victoria reports 26 new local infections, up from 22 a day earlier, after nearly a week of a hard lockdown imposed to contain an outbreak of the highly infectious delta virus strain. That took the total cases in the latest outbreak to almost 130.

1:30 a.m. Life expectancy in the U.S. fell by a year and a half in 2020 to 77.3 years, the lowest level since 2003, primarily due to the deaths caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, a U.S. health agency reports.

It is the biggest one-year decline since WWII, when life expectancy fell 2.9 years between 1942 and 1943, and is six months shorter than its February 2021 estimate, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

12:30 a.m. Saudi Arabia has banned direct or indirect travel by citizens to Indonesia over concerns about the coronavirus outbreak there, the state news agency SPA reports.

A medical specialist holds a vial of Sputnik V: The first test batch of the Russian-developed COVID-19 vaccine has been produced in Vietnam.   © Reuters

Wednesday, July 21

10:28 p.m. Indonesia reports another deadliest day of the pandemic with 1,383 deaths in the past 24 hours, despite a drop in new infections to 33,772 from 38,325 on Tuesday. East Java Province reports the highest death toll, followed by Central Java. Indonesia has reported a total of 2,983,830 cases with 77,583 deaths so far.

4:00 p.m. The first test batch of Russia's Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine has been produced in Vietnam, Russia's sovereign wealth fund RDIF and Vietnamese pharmaceutical company Vabiotech say. The first validation samples taken from the batch will be shipped to the Gamaleya Center in Russia for quality control checks, the fund and the company said in a joint statement.

1:19 p.m. India reports 42,015 new coronavirus infections in the last 24 hours, while daily deaths jumped to 3,998, their highest since June 12, health ministry data shows. India's tally of infections stands at 31.22 million, with a death toll of 418,480, the data shows.

1:00 p.m. U.S.-based Catalent plans a $100 million expansion of its plant in Anagni, Italy, where the contract drug manufacturer is currently filling millions of vials of COVID-19 vaccines for AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson. Catalent expects the expansion will allow it by April 2023 to make inputs for complicated biopharmacueticals, including COVID-19 vaccines or therapies like monoclonal antibodies. "In Europe there is a shortage of capacity of bioreactors for biologic (drugs)," Mario Gargiulo, Catalent's regional president of biologics in Europe, said in an interview.

12:46 p.m. A major Taiwanese Buddhist group says it has signed a deal to buy 5 million doses of BioNTech SE's COVID-19 vaccine via the German company's Chinese sales agent, aiding the island's fight against the pandemic. The Tzu Chi Foundation said in June it was bidding for the vaccines, and Taiwan's government said it would allow the group to negotiate on its behalf for the shots. The vaccines will be donated to the government for distribution. In a statement on its Facebook page, Tzu Chi said it had signed the deal with a Hong Kong subsidiary of Fosun.

10:49 a.m. China reports 22 new COVID-19 cases in the mainland on July 20 versus 65 a day earlier. Of the new cases, 20 originated overseas, and two were local transmissions, the National Health Commission said in its daily bulletin. All of the local cases were in the southwestern border province of Yunnan. Another 23 asymptomatic coronavirus cases were detected on the mainland on July 20, including one local infection in the eastern province of Jiangsu. That compared to 19 a day earlier.

A woman gets a COVID-19 test in Seoul on July 15.   © Reuters

9:57 a.m. South Korea reports daily cases hit a record high of 1,784, up from 1,278 a day ago, raising total infections to 182,265, with 2,060 deaths. Despite the record number of cases, South Korea has seen no significant increase in hospitalizations or deaths, with a mortality rate of 1.13% and the number of severe cases at 214 as of Tuesday.

7:58 a.m. Australia's Victoria state reports the biggest daily rise in locally acquired cases of COVID-19 in more than a week. Today is the first day of an extended lockdown to contain an outbreak of the highly contagious delta variant. Twenty-two local cases have been detected in Victoria, up from nine a day earlier. All of the new cases are linked to the current outbreak, the state health department says. Victoria officials on Tuesday decided to prolong the strict stay-home orders in the state by seven days until July 27.

3:56 a.m. Nine airport workers in the Chinese city of Nanjing test positive for the coronavirus, according to the Xinhua News Agency. The results came back from routine screening for airport workers carried out by local health authorities.

12:32 a.m. India's excess deaths during the pandemic could be 10 times the official COVID-19 toll, likely making it the country's worst human tragedy in modern times, according to a new study. Read more here.

Tuesday, July 20

11:00 p.m. Two-thirds of Indians have antibodies against COVID-19, shows a national survey of around 29,000 people conducted June through July.

A third of the population does not have any antibodies, which means that about 400 million people in the country of over 1.3 billion are "still vulnerable" to the infection, Balram Bhargava, director general of the Indian Council of Medical Research, told a media briefing, adding "there is no room for complacency."

10:10 p.m. President Joko Widodo extends Indonesia's coronavirus lockdown through the weekend, saying restrictions would be lifted gradually starting Monday if daily cases continue to decline.

Calling the measures a "very tough policy that the government can't avoid," Widodo says "we've now seen a downward trend for both new cases and hospital bed occupancy rates." Read more here.

6:30 p.m. Japan has secured an additional 50 million coronavirus vaccine doses made by Moderna, Health Minister Norihisa Tamura says. The vaccines are expected to arrive in Japan in early 2022.

5:30 p.m. Tokyo reports 1,387 new infections, up from 727 from a day earlier. The seven-day average of new cases in the capital rose nearly 50% from a week ago to 1,180, just days ahead of the opening of the Olympic Games.

4:30 p.m. Singapore will tighten social restrictions from July 22, including halting restaurant dining and banning gatherings of more than two people, the Health Ministry says. New local cases almost doubled on Monday from the previous day to 163, and 184 new cases are expected to be confirmed on Tuesday. Half of the city-state's population is fully vaccinated.

3:10 p.m. Japan's Nikkei stock average falls to a six-month low following a broad sell-off on Wall Street as concerns grew that rising coronavirus cases globally driven by the delta variant could derail an economic recovery. The benchmark index closed at 27,388 yen, down 0.98% from a day earlier.

2:00 p.m. Authorities around Southeast Asia once hoped a straightforward two-dose COVID-19 vaccine regimen would carry countries toward herd immunity. But faced with myriad issues -- from the spread of the highly transmissible delta variant to supply shortages and doubts over certain vaccines, the authorities are rethinking their inoculation strategies, looking at administering third doses to at-risk individuals for an extra layer of protection, and in some cases "mixing and matching" vaccine types.

People walk through a market in Mumbai on July 14. India has seen COVID-19 infections and deaths decline recently.   © Reuters

1:47 p.m. India reports 30,093 new infections in the last 24 hours, the lowest daily count in four months, bringing the country's total caseload to 31.17 million. Deaths fell from 499 a day ago to 374, bringing the death toll from the virus to 414,482. Of the total confirmed cases so far, 1.35% are currently active, while 97.32% patients have recovered. The fatality rate stands at 1.33%.

1:00 p.m. Top Olympic sponsor Panasonic says President Yuki Kusumi will not attend Friday's opening ceremony. The decision comes a day after fellow sponsor Toyota said it would not air any further Olympics-related TV commercials, adding to signs of corporate reluctance to be associated with the unpopular Games.

12:30 p.m. Two Mexican baseball players tested positive for COVID-19 before departing for Tokyo, says the Mexican Baseball Federation. They were immediately isolated in the team hotel. The team still plans to fly to Tokyo tomorrow. In Japan, Olympic organizers announced 9 new cases, including one athlete, bringing the total up to 68. Four more were identified by municipal governments outside Tokyo.

A woman receives a COVID-19 vaccine in Hanoi on June 27. Vietnam is ramping up its vaccination program as new cases increase.   © AP

12:20 p.m. Vietnam has reached agreements on technology transfers for Russian and U.S. coronavirus vaccines, the government says in a statement, without elaborating. The country is keen to boost its vaccine capacity and the World Health Organization said in May it was reviewing a proposal by an unidentified manufacturer in Vietnam to become an mRNA-based vaccine technology hub.

11:30 p.m. South Korea reports 1,242 new infections for Monday, compared with 1,252 a day earlier. The number of new cases was the highest daily count for a Monday since the pandemic began, as the country battles to contain the delta variant.

10:50 a.m. Australia's Victoria state extends its COVID-19 lockdown by seven days until July 27 as officials seek more time to quell an outbreak of the highly infectious delta variant that has now grown to more than 80 cases in a week. The state reported nine locally acquired cases on Tuesday, compared with 13 a day earlier.

10:20 a.m. Australia's most populous state, New South Wales, reports 78 locally acquired cases, down from 98 a day earlier, taking the total cases from an outbreak of the delta strain to more than 1,400.

A community worker delivers daily necessities to a household in the city of Ruili in southwestern China's Yunnan Province on July 8.   © Wang Guansen/Xinhua via AP

9:30 a.m. China reports 65 new cases for Monday, up from 31 a day earlier. Of the new cases, 57 originated overseas and eight were local transmissions. All the local cases were in the southwestern border province of Yunnan. Another 19 asymptomatic cases were detected, compared with 17 a day earlier. China does not count asymptomatic infections as confirmed cases.

4:53 a.m. The U.S. State Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention both issue their highest warnings against travel to the U.K. because of a rising number of COVID-19 cases in that country.

3:40 a.m. Canada says it would start allowing fully vaccinated U.S. visitors into the country on Aug. 9 for non-essential travel, relaxing a 16-month ban that businesses complained was crippling them.

Monday, July 19

6:50 p.m. Indonesia reports a record 1,338 new deaths, data from its COVID-19 task force shows, taking the total number of fatalities to 74,920. Meanwhile, the country registers 34,257 new cases, the lowest daily number since July 6.

5:30 p.m. Tokyo reports 727 new infections, down from 1,008 a day earlier. However, the seven-day average of new cases in the capital is now at 1,100, up 45.4% from a week ago.

Taiwan's approval of the emergency use and production of Medigen Vaccine Biologics' COVID-19 vaccine candidate is a major step in its plans to develop its own vaccines.    © Reuters

4:30 p.m. Taiwan's government approves the emergency use and production of Medigen Vaccine Biologics' COVID-19 vaccine candidate, a major step in the island's plans to develop its own vaccines to protect against the coronavirus. The candidate has yet to finish clinical trials and no efficacy data is available, but Taiwan's health ministry said studies so far have shown that antibodies created by the shot have been "no worse than" those created by AstraZeneca's vaccine. Taiwan-based Medigen said last month it was seeking a speedy emergency use authorization from the government for its vaccine candidate after safely completing Phase 2 trials.

2:16 p.m. Toyota Motor will not air any Olympic-related TV advertisements and its officials will not attend the opening ceremony or other events, despite the automaker being a top-tier sponsor. The decision comes amid lukewarm public sentiment toward the event, which is set to kick off on Friday amid a surge in coronavirus cases in Tokyo.

1:47 p.m. India reports 38,164 new cases in the last 24 hours -- the 22nd straight day with under 50,000 infections -- bringing the cumulative total to 31.14 million. Deaths dipped below 500 for the first time since early April, rising by 499 to 414,108. India has so far administered about 406.5 million vaccine doses nationwide, mostly the first of the two shots required. The country of over 1.3 billion has set an ambitious target to immunize its entire adult population of 940 million by the end of this year.

12:42 p.m. Coronavirus cases have surged to record levels in South Korea, resulting in stricter curbs that are pressuring small and midsized businesses already reeling from previous outbreaks and widening the performance gap between big companies and smaller rivals. While slightly down from the last week's peak, South Korea reported 1,252 cases for Sunday, the highest daily count for a Sunday since the pandemic began.

12:00 p.m. Australia's Victoria state will extend a COVID-19 lockdown beyond Tuesday despite a slight drop in new infections as the country fights to stop the spread of the highly infectious delta variant in big cities such as Melbourne and Sydney.

11:19 a.m. Japan's blue-chip Nikkei Stock Average index tumbles during morning trading, at one point falling 500 points, or 1.8%, as the rapid spread of the delta variant in Asian countries clouds their economic recovery from the pandemic. Japan will also have a long holiday weekend, which has made investors in the Tokyo market cautious of buying.

Despite being in a state of emergency, Tokyo on Sunday reported 1,008 new infections, topping the 1,000 mark for the fifth consecutive day, just days before the opening of the Olympics.

The need for oxygen at Thai hospitals continues to grow amid the COVID-19 pandemic.   © Reuters

10:30 a.m. Thailand reports 11,784 new cases, the fourth consecutive day of record infections, as the country struggles to tackle its worst outbreak to date. The country's COVID-19 task force also announces 81 new deaths, bringing total fatalities to 3,422 and with 415,170 cases registered.

10:15 a.m. Singapore's health ministry has "strongly" advised unvaccinated individuals, especially the elderly, to stay home as much as possible over the next few weeks, citing heightened concerns about the risk of community spread of COVID-19. The country reported 88 new locally transmitted coronavirus cases on Sunday, the highest daily toll since last August, driven by growing clusters of infections linked to karaoke bars and a fishery port.

9:40 a.m. China reports 31 new cases for Sunday, compared with 33 a day earlier. Of the new cases, 26 originated overseas and five were local transmissions, all in the southwestern border province of Yunnan. Another 17 asymptomatic cases were detected on the mainland on July 18, compared with 27 a day earlier. China does not count asymptomatic infections as confirmed cases.

6:30 a.m. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson ends more than a year of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions in England, urging the public to stay cautious but putting his faith in vaccines to protect the country even as infections are surging. Laws in England requiring masks to be worn in shops and other indoor settings lapse early Monday, as will capacity limits in bars and restaurants, and rules limiting the number of people who can socialize together.

Britain aims to accelerate its economic recovery. But that ambition could be thwarted, with the tens of thousands of new infections daily forcing hundreds of thousands of workers to self-isolate.

Johnson and Finance Minister Rishi Sunak are among those self-isolating after Health Minister Sajid Javid tested positive for the virus Saturday. A plan for Johnson and Sunak to dodge the 10-day quarantine requirement was abandoned Sunday after a public outcry.

5:00 a.m. Six athletes and two staff members of the Great Britain team have been forced to isolate after coming into contact with a member of the public who had COVID-19 on their flight to Tokyo.

1:25 a.m. U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy stands by federal guidance that those fully vaccinated against COVID-19 no longer need to wear masks. Murthy says Sunday that letting inoculated individuals forgo masks also gives communities the flexibility to revert to mask mandates based on new infections and vaccination rates, as Los Angeles has done.

New cases nationwide surged 70% in the past week, from the prior seven days, to an average of 30,000 per day, fueled by the delta variant. Deaths rose 26% to an average of 250 daily, mostly in unvaccinated patients.

Murthy blames social media companies for fueling misinformation and false narratives about the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines, echoing President Joe Biden's comments that such companies are "killing people."

Sunday, July 18 (Tokyo time)

8:34 p.m. COVID-19 deaths among Indonesian doctors have risen sharply in the first half of July, the country's physician association says, as the delta variant of the coronavirus fuels a surge in infections nationwide. The 114 doctors who died from July 1 to 17 represent the most reported for any period of similar length and more than 20% of the 545 total physician deaths from COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, officials from the association say during a virtual news conference.

8:33 p.m. Stricter social distancing measures in Hanoi take effect Monday as Vietnam's capital experiences an uptick in coronavirus cases. All nonessential services will be halted until further notice, authorities say Sunday, and public transport services to and from affected provinces also will be suspended. Citizens are urged to stay home and leave only when necessary.

5:11 p.m. The Tokyo metropolitan government reports 1,008 new coronavirus cases Sunday, topping 1,000 for the fifth straight day. The figure adds to the evidence that Japan's capital is seeing a fifth wave of the virus before the Olympics start in the city in less than a week.

5:10 p.m. South Korea expands tougher COVID-19 restrictions on private gatherings to beyond the Seoul metropolitan area starting Monday as the country struggles to contain its worst outbreak, the prime minister says. The current rules in Seoul limiting private gatherings to four people will apply nationwide until Aug. 1.

2:55 p.m. Australia's two largest states on Sunday report slight declines in new COVID-19 infections, prompting authorities to say it could be days before tough lockdown measures show progress in containing the spread of the delta variant.

11:09 a.m. Thailand announces an expansion of coronavirus restrictions that include travel curbs, mall closures and a nighttime curfew to three more provinces after the country reports a third consecutive day of record case numbers.

10:09 a.m. Thailand reports a record 11,397 new coronavirus cases, the third consecutive day that the Southeast Asian country has registered record numbers.

08:01 a.m. Britain is backing 15 new studies into the treatment and diagnosis of "long COVID," a condition that can include dozens of symptoms and last for months after an initial bout of infection with COVID-19.

Saturday, July 17 (Tokyo time)

10:17 p.m. Vietnam announces it will impose restrictions on movement in 16 southern provinces for two weeks from Monday as the country faces its worst COVID-19 outbreak so far.

The country has managed to keep coronavirus cases relatively low due to targeted mass testing and strict contact tracing, border controls and quarantine measures, but new clusters of infections in recent weeks have triggered concern among health officials.

"The current outbreak we are facing is getting more complicated," the government says in a statement. "The curbs are to protect people's health."

9:45 p.m. British health minister Sajid Javid tests positive for COVID-19, but says his symptoms are mild and he had two doses of vaccine against the disease. Javid, who has been health secretary for three weeks, has backed Prime Minister Boris Johnson's plan to fully re-open England's economy and scrap legal coronavirus restrictions from Monday.

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

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