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Coronavirus: Free to read

Coronavirus: Week of June 21 to June 27, AstraZeneca ahead in vaccine race, WHO says

United to resume San Francisco-Shanghai flights in July: Texas closes bars again

AstraZeneca's experimental COVID-19 vaccine is probably the farthest along in terms of development, said Soumya Swaminathan, the World Health Organization's chief scientist.   © Reuters

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 9,777,889, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The worldwide death toll has hit 493,672.

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

(Source photo by AP) 

Here are the latest developments (Tokyo time):



Saturday, June 27

7:00 a.m. Brazil reports 46,860 new cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours and 990 additional deaths. The country has logged 1,274,974 total confirmed cases of the virus and 55,961 deaths.

4:07 a.m. United Airlines will restart twice-weekly flights between San Francisco and Shanghai on July 8, according to the company.

3:02 a.m. Japanese materials group Teijin has ramped up production of carbon fiber in Germany in response to growing demand for the strong yet lightweight material for use in medical devices.

2:31 a.m. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence says new coronavirus cases are flattening in 34 states but urges people to still adhere to social distancing rules.

1:00 a.m. AstraZeneca's experimental COVID-19 vaccine is probably the world's leading candidate and most advanced in terms of development, says Soumya Swaminathan, the World Health Organization's chief scientist. Moderna's vaccine candidate was "not far behind." The two are among more than 200 candidate vaccines, 15 of which have entered clinical trials, she said.

12:24 a.m. Low-cost international carrier NokScoot has become the second Thai airline to fall victim to the coronavirus pandemic after the company's board of directors voted for its liquidation.

12:22 a.m. Texas Gov. Abbott orders bars to close down again and restaurants to reduce occupancy by 50% as the number of coronavirus infections in the state rises. U.S. share prices fall in the morning, dragging down the Dow Jones Industrial Average around 600 points at the start of trading.

Friday, June 26

10:30 p.m. India's government says international commercial passenger flights to and from the country will remain suspended until July 15. This will not apply to cargo-only operations and flights with special approval. Flights have been suspended since late March, when India imposed its coronavirus lockdown.

8:45 p.m. Russia's 6,800 new coronavirus cases on Friday mark its first daily tally below 7,000 since late April, Reuters reports. The country remains one of the hardest hit worldwide, having logged 620,794 cases with 8,781 deaths, including 176 in the last 24 hours.

A medical worker puts on protective gear at a hospital in Moscow.   © Reuters

6:10 p.m. The Dutch government says it will provide 3.4 billion euros ($3.8 billion) in support to the Dutch arm of Air France-KLM, capping months of wrangling with France over a coronavirus rescue. Paris in April announced a 7 billion euro bailout for Air France.

5:50 p.m. Indonesia reports 1,240 new coronavirus infections, up from 1,178 a day earlier, taking the total number of cases to 51,427. There were 63 more deaths recorded, with total fatalities now at 2,683. Indonesia's death toll from COVID-19 is the highest in East Asia, outside of China.

4:30 p.m. AstraZeneca says it has agreed with the Japanese government to start negotiations on supplying a vaccine for the new coronavirus under development with the University of Oxford. The British drugmaker aims to supply Japan in cooperation with its group companies, Daiichi Sankyo and Meiji Holdings.

4:10 p.m. Tokyo confirms 54 new cases, sources tell Nikkei, up from 48 a day earlier. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government says it is working to ensure the recent cluster of infections linked to nightlife districts does not spread more widely.

3:00 p.m. Australia will continue easing social distancing restrictions despite an outbreak of coronavirus in one state, Prime Minister Scott Morrison says. The country's second-most-populated state, Victoria has seen 10 straight days of double digit new cases.

1:26 p.m. India reports another single-day record with 17,296 new cases, bringing the country total to 490,401. The death toll has climbed to 15,301 -- up 407 since Thursday morning.

1:00 p.m. China's initial coronavirus outbreak and the current resurgence in Beijing have driven many Chinese to apply for long-term residency in Thailand as the kingdom enjoys plaudits for its handling of the pandemic. Thailand Privilege Card, operator of the Thailand Elite Card, has seen a surge in applicants since February.

12:20 p.m. Vietnam received $8.65 billion in foreign direct investment in the first six months of the year, down 4.9% from a year earlier, the government says. FDI pledges, which indicate the size of future FDI disbursements, dropped 15.1% in the year to $15.67 billion. Of the pledges, 51.1% are due to be invested in manufacturing and processing, while 25.2% are to go to gas, water and electricity distribution.

10:40 a.m. Qantas Airways has completed a discounted 1.36 billion Australian dollar ($940 million) share placement to institutional investors as part of a sweeping three-year cost-savings plan announced Thursday to cope with the coronavirus crisis. The move includes cutting its payroll by at least 20%.

10:32 a.m. South Korea confirms 39 new coronavirus cases, up from 28 a day ago, bringing the total infections in the country to 12,602, with 282 deaths.

9:29 a.m. Bank of Japan Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda says there is a risk the second-round effects of the coronavirus pandemic may push down the country's gross domestic product "considerably" in the April to June period. The central bank is "focusing on financial system stability and accommodative financial conditions" to deal with the risks, he said in an online seminar.

8:58 a.m. A preliminary study of patients hospitalised with COVID-19 has found the disease can damage the brain, causing complications such as stroke, inflammation, psychosis and dementia-like symptoms in some severe cases.

Bank of Japan Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda says a second wave of coronavirus infections could drag "considerably" on Japan's economy.

4:30 a.m. Mexican Finance Minister Arturo Herrera said he has tested positive but is experiencing only "minor" symptoms. "From this moment I will be in quarantine, and continue working from my house," Herrera tweeted.

4:00 a.m. The pandemic has made more people vulnerable to human trafficking, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in an introduction to the State Department's annual Trafficking in Persons Report.

"Instability and lack of access to critical services caused by the pandemic mean that the number of people vulnerable to exploitation by traffickers is rapidly growing," Pompeo wrote. The report highlights widespread use of forced labor in China, including through the mass detentions in camps of more than 1 million ethnic-minority Muslims.

2:50 a.m. The coronavirus pandemic reignites a push in Japan to move government functions out of Tokyo.

1:40 a.m. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott temporarily halts the state's phased economic reopening in response to a recent jump in COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations.

12:30 a.m. More than 20 million Americans could have contracted the coronavirus, 10 times more than official counts, indicating many people without symptoms have or have had the disease, senior U.S. officials say. The estimate, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is based on serology testing used to determine the presence of antibodies that show whether an individual has had the disease.

More than 20 million Americans could have contracted the coronavirus, the CDC estimates, based on serology testing used to determine the presence of antibodies.   © Reuters

12:20 a.m. It is not certain that scientists will be able to create an effective vaccine against the coronavirus, and doing so could take a year, World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says.

Thursday, June 25

11:20 p.m. About 440 Japanese business people will arrive in Vietnam by Saturday after being barred from entry for months due to travel restrictions enacted to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

10:50 p.m. U.S. stocks fail to rebound from the previous session's declines, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 down more than 0.7% in early trading.

9:07 p.m. Sri Trang Gloves Thailand raises 14.9 billion baht ($482 million) in the kingdom's first IPO since the pandemic took hold. Thailand's largest maker of medical gloves plans to increase its annual capacity to 50 billion pieces by 2025 and to 100 billion by 2032. It now produces around 33 billion.

8:07.p.m. Pakistan's central bank cuts its main interest rate by 100 basis points to 7%. "The domestic economic slowdown continues, and downside risks to growth have increased," the bank said in a statement. The rate cut is the fifth since the pandemic hit, and the cumulative reduction is 625 basis points.

7:34 p.m. France and Germany express their backing of the World Health Organization, with Germany pledging half a billion euros in funding for this year. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says the organization is getting all the financial and political support it needs.

7:32 p.m. Demand for private lodging rentals in Japan show some signs of recovery, with locations near large cities seeing big increases. Between June 7 and June 13, the number of bookings on Airbnb jumped 78% from the same period last year. Bookings for accommodations within 80 km of large cities were up 60% from a year earlier.

5:51 p.m. Ride hail service provider DiDi Mobility Japan will halt service in 11 prefectures on July 1 while continuing to operate in Tokyo and 13 prefectures. It blamed declining demand for rides.

5:04 p.m. The Philippine central bank unexpectedly cuts its key interest rate by 50 basis points to counter the economic slowdown brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.The reduction brought the benchmark interest rate to 2.25%, a record low.

4:30 p.m. Hawaii reacts to a Department of Justice-supported lawsuit by allowing travelers from Aug. 1 to skip quarantine procedures upon arrival if they come with a valid coronavirus test result. The lawsuit challenges the state's virus-control measures, saying visitors are being denied rights granted to most island residents.

3:30 p.m. Tokyo confirms 48 new infections, sources tell Nikkei, down from 55 a day earlier. The Tokyo metropolitan government remains cautious as a nightlife district cluster continues to lurk and a new one has emerged among employees at an unnamed company.

1:27 p.m India records another single-day high with 16,922 new cases over the last 24 hours, bringing the country total to 473,105, including 14,894 deaths -- up 418 fatalities since Wednesday morning.

Coronavirus infections continue to rise in India.   © Reuters

12:40 p.m. Australia's second-most populous state, Victoria, says 33 people tested positive for the new coronavirus in the past 24 hours, as the country recorded its biggest daily rise in two months. Four new COVID-19 cases were recorded in the neighboring state of New South Wales overnight.

12:10 p.m. Panasonic President Kazuhiro Tsuga says he sees the coronavirus pandemic as "an opportunity to change ourselves, not as a once-in-100-years crisis." Tsuga, wearing a mask, gave the remarks at the company's annual shareholders meeting in Osaka. The meeting was reduced in size, with just 312 shareholders attending, compared with more than 5,000 in a typical year.

10:46 a.m. South Korea confirms 28 new cases, down from 51 a day ago, bringing total infections to 12,563 with 282 deaths.

10:30 a.m. Reopening of Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park will be delayed until approval from the state of California, Walt Disney Co. says. The parks had originally planned to reopen on July 17. The company had also received pushback from unions representing 17,000 workers at its Disneyland Resort in Southern California, which said they were not convinced the theme park would be safe enough to reopen by the company's target date.

7:56 a.m. Qantas Airways on Thursday says it will raise Australian $1.9 billion ($1.30 billion) in equity, cut at least 6,000 jobs and ground 100 aircraft for up to 12 months, and some for longer, as part of its plan to deal with the coronavirus crisis.

5:00 a.m. U.S. stocks decline sharply on a surge in COVID-19 cases in the country. The Dow closed down 710 points, or 2.7%, while the S&P 500 fell 2.6%.

Qantas jets are seen at Kingsford Smith International Airport, following the coronavirus outbreak in Sydney on March 18.   © Reuters

4:40 a.m. New cases in the U.S. reached 165,000 on Tuesday, the third highest number, according to tallies by Johns Hopkins University, signaling that infections are picking up pace in the country.

4:25 a.m. Apple is set to shut seven of its retail locations in Houston, Texas again due to an increase in the number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States.

1:25 a.m. New York, New Jersey and Connecticut will begin requiring some visitors from states with high infection rates such as Texas and Florida to quarantine for two weeks. The New York City Marathon for 2020 was also canceled.

12:26 a.m. Chinese drugmaker Sinopharm is preparing phase three clinical trials for a coronavirus vaccine candidate in the United Arab Emirates.

Wednesday, June 24

10: 00 p.m. The IMF now expects global output to shrink by 4.9%, compared with a 3.0% contraction predicted in April. A recovery in 2021 also will be weaker, with global growth forecast at 5.4% for the year compared to 5.8% in the April forecast.

8:42 p.m. The Philippine government is seeking a record 4.3 trillion peso ($85.89 billion) budget for 2021 to revive the coronavirus-hit economy that is expected this year to shrink for the first time in two decades, a top official said on Wednesday.

The budget proposal, set to be submitted to Congress when it resumes session next month, is 5% higher than this year's 4.1 trillion pesos.

6:48 p.m. Sompo Japan Insurance next year will launch a policy that adjusts premiums based on companies' readiness for potential cyber risk at factories exposed to the internet of things as the pandemic creates demand for remotely operated devices to monitor factory activity.

5:28 p.m. The Bank of Thailand now expects GDP to contract 8.1% this year, a downward revision from the 5.3% decline it projected in March. The central bank also kept its policy rate steady as businesses gradually reopen.

3:22 p.m. International business groups are stepping up calls for Japan to reopen its borders to its foreign residents, saying the country is jeopardizing its reputation for business stability with tough travel bans imposed on these residents amid the virus's spread.

2:28 p.m. Fast Retailing Chairman Tadashi Yanai announces he will donate 10 billion yen ($93 million) to Kyoto University, split evenly between the research projects of Nobel Prize winners professor Shinya Yamanaka and special professor Tasuku Honjo. The money will go toward the development of new coronavirus vaccines and therapeutic agents that utilize iPS cells.

2:20 p.m. Tokyo records 55 new cases, the highest figure since Japan lifted the state of emergency, sources tell Nikkei. This follows Gov. Yuriko Koike saying the capital will record "quite a large number" of new coronavirus cases after a cluster of infections was discovered at an office. "Clusters in the workplace have become a big problem lately," Koike told reporters, adding that test results from the same unnamed company were expected to add to the seven infections found there previously.

2:09 p.m. Japan's Mothers index, an equity benchmark comprised of emerging companies, has gained strong momentum after hitting a bottom in mid-March. Investors are betting that an AI-led digital transformation, cybersecurity and greater use of the internet of things -- all spurred by reactions to the coronavirus -- will fuel growth for many of the young businesses.

1:22 p.m. India's COVID-19 tally exceeds 450,000 with the biggest single-day spike of 15,968 new cases. The total now stands at 456,183, including 14,476 deaths, which rose by 465 over the past 24 hours.

1:00 p.m. Malaysia's economy grappled in May with sluggish consumption for a third straight month, with the consumer price index falling 2.9% from a year earlier, government data shows.

12:54 p.m. Thailand's May exports fell by a more-than-expected 22.5% from a year earlier, weighed by lower shipments of cars and computers, the commerce ministry says. The result is lower than a Reuters forecast of a 6.4% decline in exports -- a major driver of the Thai economy -- and against April's surprise 2.12% increase.

11:40 a.m. Major League Baseball, the top U.S. professional league, and its players' union agreed to a shortened 60-game 2020 season on Tuesday, ending weeks of contentious talks between team owners and players. Players will report for training by July 1 with the season set to begin on July 23 or July 24, the league said. Major League Baseball postponed the normally 162-game regular season in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

11:11 a.m. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand holds its official cash rate at 0.25% in a widely expected move on Wednesday. It will keep its large-scale asset purchase program at 60 billion New Zealand dollars ($38.78 billion), but says more stimulus may be needed to restore economic growth.

10:43 a.m. South Korea confirms 51 new coronavirus cases, up from 46 a day ago. Of these, 31 were from overseas. Total infections in the country have reached 12,535 with 281 deaths.

9:36 a.m. The state of Victoria in Australia said Wednesday that a man in his 80s died overnight from the coronavirus in Australia's first death from the virus in more than a month, as Victoria logged a double digit rise in cases for the eighth straight day. Australia's total confirmed infections stand at 7,461, with 103 deaths.

9:17 a.m. Anglo-Australian mining company BHP announces stricter health protocols on Tuesday after cases of the novel coronavirus at its Escondida copper mine in Chile, the world's largest, reached 150, with 59 at its smaller Spence deposit.

9:14 a.m. The number of people who have died from coronavirus in Latin America exceeded 100,000 on Tuesday, according to a Reuters tally of registered deaths.

7:57 a.m. A Brazilian judge orders President Jair Bolsonaro to wear a mask in public after the right-wing populist attended political rallies without one. Brazil has the second-highest total of confirmed infections.

7:36 a.m. Brazil records 39,436 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours, as well as 1,374 new deaths, the country's Health Ministry said on Tuesday.

7:45 a.m. European Union countries planning to reopen their borders after months of coronavirus restrictions are prepared to block Americans from entering, citing the uncontrolled outbreak in the U.S., The New York Times reports. The move would lump American visitors in with Russians and Brazilians as unwelcome in a stinging blow to the country's prestige.

4:00 a.m. Japan's ruling party has decided to spearhead the creation of an epidemic response agency modeled on America's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention after bureaucratic divisions delayed steps taken to combat the pandemic.

2:38 a.m. Indian aviation authorities are considering letting some international airlines resume flights after the U.S. accused India of "unfair" practices, Reuters reports.

1:52 a.m. Gojek, Indonesia's most valuable startup, will shut down some services and slash 9% of its global workforce, becoming the latest Southeast Asian tech group to make cutbacks in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

12:20 a.m. Pubs, hotels and other businesses in England will reopen on July 4 in the latest phase of easing coronavirus restrictions, the U.K. government says.

12:03 a.m. Japan's Rohto Pharmaceutical says it plans to launch clinical trials in August for a stem cell-based treatment for patients suffering severe symptoms induced by the novel coronavirus.

Japan and Vietnam are easing travel restrictions between their countries, at least for several hundred businesspeople.   © Reuters

Tuesday, June 23

11:06 p.m. Novak Djokovic, the world's top-ranked male tennis player, has tested positive for COVID-19, according to his official website.

9:21 p.m. Delhi, home to India's capital city, is now the second worst hit state in the country with 62,655 confirmed cases and 2,233 deaths. Maharashtra, in the country's west, remains the most affected state with totals of 135,796 infections and 6,283 fatalities.

6:44 p.m. Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced Tuesday that he had asked the president to dissolve parliament. This paves the way for a general election. Shortly after Lee's speech, the elections department said voting will be held on July 10. Lee said he was pushing ahead with elections after being satisfied that local conditions were safe enough to proceed.

6:31 p.m. Philippines reports 1,150 new infections, a daily record high, bringing its total to 31,825 with 1,186 deaths.

6:06 p.m. Mongolia will hold parliamentary elections on Wednesday, finally coming to a decision not to postpone the quadrennial event despite political wrangling. The decision indicates the ruling party's desire to consolidate its grip on power before the coronavirus pandemic sinks the economy.

4:00 p.m. Three chartered flights from Japan will carry a total of 440 businesspeople to Vietnam from Thursday through Saturday as the countries relax travel restrictions, Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi says. Vietnam has agreed to accept travelers on condition they take enhanced preventive measures.

3:00 p.m. Tokyo confirms 31 new cases, sources tell Nikkei, up from 29 a day earlier.

2:20 p.m. French drugmaker Sanofi says it expects to get approval for the potential COVID-19 vaccine it is developing with Britain's GlaxoSmithKline by the first half of next year, faster than previously anticipated. It has received financial support from the U.S. Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority.

1:35 p.m. India confirms 14,933 new infections over the past 24 hours, up from 14,821 reported the previous day, taking the country's COVID-19 tally to 440,215. The total includes 14,011 deaths, up 312 since Monday morning.

1:00 p.m. Toyota Motor has resumed operations at most of its vehicle plants in Brazil. The company restarted those in San Bernard, Indaiatuba and Porto Feliz from June 22, and plans to reopen the remaining one in Sorocaba on June 25.

11:00 a.m. Oriental Land, operator of Tokyo Disney resort, considers reopening of Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea on July 1. The company plans to limit daily attendance to 15,000 people for the time being. The theme park closed at the end of February due to the coronavirus outbreak.

10:50 a.m. South Korea confirms 46 new cases, including 16 sailors from a Russian cargo ship in Busan. The figure is up from 17 a day ago. Total infections have reached 12,484 with 281 deaths.

10:00 a.m. China reports 22 new coronavirus cases for Monday, 13 of which were in Beijing. This compares with 18 confirmed cases a day earlier, nine of which were in the capital. Authorities are restricting movement of people in the capital to prevent the virus from spreading. Another seven asymptomatic COVID-19 patients, those who are infected but show no symptoms, were reported.

Tokyo Disney Resort has been shut down since February due to the coronavirus outbreak.   © Kyodo

8:00 a.m. Black Americans enrolled in Medicare were around four times more likely as their white counterparts to be hospitalized for COVID-19, U.S. government data shows, highlighting significant racial disparities in health outcomes during the pandemic.

7:28 a.m. Gilead Sciences says it expects to supply enough of its remdesivir antiviral treatment for more than 2 million patients by year end, more than double the previous target.

5:05 a.m. Nasdaq reaches another closing high, climbing 1.1% to 10,056, despite investor concern over the increase in coronavirus cases in the U.S. and elsewhere.

3:45 a.m. Saudi Arabia will allow Muslims to make the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca only in very limited numbers this year to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Reuters quotes the state news agency as saying.

2:22 a.m. New York City, once the epicenter of the global outbreak, moved into Phase 2 of reopening Monday with restaurants and bars offering outdoor service and many shops reopening. Barber shops and hair salons welcomed customers for the first time since mid-March, with some fully booked for the next two weeks.

2:05 a.m. Global COVID-19 cases top 9 million, according to Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. is at the top with more than 2.3 million cases followed by Brazil, Russia and India. Coronavirus cases are soaring in several major countries, with "worrying increases" in Latin America, especially Brazil, the World Health Organization said on Monday.

1:00 a.m. Health authorities in South Korea say for the first time it is in the midst of a "second wave" of novel coronavirus infections around Seoul.

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Jeong Eun-kyeong says it had become clear that a holiday weekend in early May marked the beginning of a new wave of infections focused in the densely populated greater Seoul area, which had previously seen few cases.

Monday, June 22

10:30 p.m. U.S. stocks open somewhat lower following declines in major Asian bench marks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 both fall as worries over a second coronavirus wave hang over equities markets.

9:00 p.m. Japan's northern island of Hokkaido, a popular tourist destination, proposes a 367.7 billion yen ($3.4 billion) supplementary budget to bolster its economy against the effects of the pandemic. The latest round of additional fiscal spending marks Hokkaido's largest supplementary budget ever.

8:05 p.m. The second stage of a COVID-19 vaccine trial has begun in Thailand, Reuters reports. The tests on monkeys, backed by the Thai government, follow promising results from a similar trial in May. If this round goes well, it could pave the wave for human trials in the fall.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization, says politics is getting in the way of the global fight against the coronavirus.   © Reuters

6:40 p.m. The global coronavirus pandemic has been exacerbated by politicization, the World Health Organization's director general says. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was speaking at a virtual health forum organized by the World Government Summit, an event organized by Dubai.

5:50 p.m. Indonesia reports 954 new infections, taking its total to 46,845. There were 35 more deaths, with total fatalities now at 2,500, the highest coronavirus death toll in East Asia, outside of China.

4:45 p.m. Russia reports 7,600 new cases, pushing its nationwide total to 592,280, the world's third highest tally. Also, 95 people died in the past 24 hours, bringing the country's death toll to 8,206.

3:30 p.m. Tokyo confirms 29 new infections, sources tell Nikkei, down from 35 a day earlier. Many of the recent cases have been linked to workers and customers in nightlife districts.

2:10 p.m. Thailand reports three new cases, all imported, marking 28 days without a local transmission. The new cases were detected in state quarantine among Thai nationals returning from India. The country has recorded 58 deaths related to COVID-19 and 3,151 infections.

A guard stands inside Bangkok's Grand Palace as it reopened in early June. Thailand has become a global success story in terms of stopping the spread of the coronavirus.   © Reuters

1:45 p.m. India's COVID-19 cases exceed 425,000, with 14,821 new infections reported over the past 24 hours, down from 15,413 the previous day. The country's tally now stands at 425,282, including 13,699 deaths, which rose by 445 since Sunday morning.

1:20 p.m. Shares of Shionogi are up nearly 3% in Tokyo as the Japanese drugmaker announces it is preparing to mass-produce a saliva test for the coronavirus that provides faster results without requiring special equipment or technicians.

11:30 a.m. Japan's professional baseball and soccer leagues will allow spectators to attend games from July 10, Nippon Professional Baseball Commissioner Atsushi Saito and J-League Chairman Mitsuru Murai say. The NPB opened its 2020 baseball season on Friday without fans in the stands due to the coronavirus pandemic.

11:10 a.m. Share buybacks announced by listed Japanese companies fell 78% to around 896.1 billion yen ($8.3 billion) in the April-June quarter from the previous year, according to data aggregated by Nikkei, highlighting cash-strapped businesses that have been hit hard by the pandemic.

10:45 a.m. South Korea confirms 17 new cases, down from 48 a day ago. Total infections reach 12,438 with 280 deaths.

10:00 a.m. Beijing reports nine new cases of the coronavirus in the city for June 21, down from 22 a day earlier. The capital reported its first case in the latest wave on June 11. The resurgence has been linked to a wholesale food center in Beijing's southwest. So far, 236 people in the city have been infected in the outbreak.

9:50 a.m. Gold prices rose on Monday to their highest in a month as surging coronavirus infections heightened concerns over a delay in the global economic recovery and prompted investors to seek the safe-haven metal.

A man undergoes a nucleic acid test at a makeshift Beijing facility as a new outbreak of the coronavirus threatens the city.   © Reuters

9:00 a.m. Japan Airlines will give its front-line employees up to 150,000 yen ($1,400) in extra pay as a token of gratitude for maintaining flights despite the coronavirus pandemic.

7:00 a.m. Brazil, the world's No. 2 coronavirus hot spot after the U.S., exceeded 50,000 coronavirus deaths on Sunday. The country now has a total of 1,085,038 confirmed cases and 50,617 deaths, up from 49,976 on Saturday. Experts say the true numbers are a lot higher because of a lack of widespread testing.

2:33 a.m. Japanese drugmaker Shionogi prepares to mass-produce a saliva test for coronavirus that provides faster results without requiring special equipment or technicians.

1:42 a.m. India's drug regulator greenlights the production of a generic version of Gilead Sciences' remdesivir treatment by Hetero Labs and Cipla, according to the Indian drugmakers.

12:57 a.m. The new coronavirus likely began spreading in China last fall, based on genome analyses by research teams in the U.K. and elsewhere.

12:03 a.m. PepsiCo China says it halted operations at a food processing plant in Beijing after at least one employee tested positive for the virus. Production was stopped with the confirmation of the first case on June 15.

Sunday, June 21

8:48 p.m. China suspends poultry imports from a U.S. plant owned by meat processor Tyson, citing the outbreak of cases at the company's Arkansas facility.

5:46 p.m. Indonesia reports 862 new coronavirus infections, taking its total number of cases to 45,891. Fatalities rise by 36, reaching 2,465 overall.

5:13 p.m. Chinese researchers have started a phase two clinical trial of a coronavirus vaccine candidate, the Institute of Medical Biology at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences says, in efforts to further assess effectiveness and safety.

5:11 p.m. Australia's second most populous state, Victoria, extends its state of emergency for four more weeks to July 19, as it battles a spike in coronavirus cases with a rise in community transmission. Victoria reports 19 new infections, the fifth day in the double digits.

11:32 a.m. Mainland China reports 26 new cases for Saturday, down from 27 a day earlier, driven largely by the latest outbreak of COVID-19 in Beijing. Of the new infections, 22 were in the Chinese capital, the same as a day earlier.

10:41 a.m. President Donald Trump tells thousands of cheering supporters at a campaign rally in Oklahoma that he asked U.S. officials to reduce testing for the virus, calling it a "double-edged sword" that led to more cases being discovered. Trump said the U.S. has tested 25 million people, far more than other countries. "When you do testing to that extent, you're gonna find more people, you're gonna find more cases. So I said to my people, 'Slow the testing down, please," Trump told supporters, many of whom did not wear masks. A White House official said Trump was joking about his call for a slowdown in testing.

9:17 a.m. Mexico reports 4,717 new infections and 387 additional deaths from the coronavirus, bringing the totals in the country to 175,202 cases and 20,781 fatalities.

Saturday, June 20

5:38 p.m. Indonesia reports 1,226 new infections, taking its total cases to 45,029, and 56 more deaths, with fatalities now reaching 2,429. The country has the highest coronavirus death toll in East Asia outside of China.

3:00 p.m. Japan launched a coronavirus tracing app developed by Microsoft. Smartphones with the app installed can detect each other via Bluetooth short-range wireless and log those who have come in close contact.

10:30 a.m. The U.S. rejects a request by airlines from China for additional weekly flights between the two countries, but says the decision is not meant to escalate tensions over travel restrictions, Reuters reported.

4:30 a.m. The U.S. Navy has decided not to reinstate Captain Brett Crozier as the commanding officer of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt after an in-depth probe found him and his then-boss Rear Admiral Stuart Baker at fault for their responses to the coronavirus outbreak.

2:07 a.m. Apple says it will close some U.S. stores again as the number of coronavirus cases spikes in the country. A total of 11 outlets will be shuttered in Florida, Arizona, North Carolina and South Carolina.

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

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