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Coronavirus: Free to read

Coronavirus: Week of June 28 to July 4, Global cases top 11 million

Tokyo surge rises to over 120 cases; Philippines and India log biggest spikes

A funeral pyre for a COVID-19 victim burns in New Delhi.   © 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 11,037,625, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The worldwide death toll has hit 523,898.

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 4

8:35 a.m. The U.S. states of Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Alaska experience record increases in cases on Friday, Reuters reports. Florida's most populous county imposes a curfew ahead of Independence Day weekend, and Arkansas joins a push toward mandating mask-wearing in public.

8:25 a.m. Global cases reach over 11 million, according to Johns Hopkins University. Total deaths are now at 523,898.

2:35 a.m. Brazil is set to pass 1.5 million confirmed coronavirus cases as the virus continues to ravage Latin America's largest country even as cities reopen bars, restaurants and gyms, reports Reuters.

2:19 a.m. China's Sinopharm completes construction of a plant in Wuhan for mass production of a coronavirus vaccine candidate now under development, doubling its capacity to more than 200 million doses a year.

2:19 a.m. The World Health Organization should get results from clinical trials it is conducting of drugs that might be effective in treating COVID-19 patients in two weeks, says Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Friday, July 3

6:18 p.m. The Philippines' health ministry reports six additional coronavirus deaths and 1,531 more infections, its largest single-day increase in confirmed cases, Reuters reported. The ministry said total cases had risen to 40,336, while deaths had reached 1,280. The previous high was 1,150 cases reported on June 23.

5:50 p.m. Indonesia reports 1,301 new infections, down from 1,624 on Thursday and taking the total number of cases to 60,695. The country, which has the largest number of confirmed cases and deaths from the virus in Southeast Asia, also reported 49 new deaths, taking total fatalities to 3,036.

4:45 p.m. Toyota Motor says it sold 172,000 vehicles in China in June, up 22.8% from the previous year, as the Chinese economy recovers from the pandemic's impact. The company posted record high sales for a second straight month in the market.

Tokyo officials are asking people to avoid nightlife districts as daily new cases for July 3 take another jump. (Photo by Rie Ishi)

3:40 p.m. Japan's Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF), the world's largest pension fund, reports a record 17.71 trillion yen ($164.74 billion) quarterly loss in January to March after global stock markets plunged due to the COVID-19 pandemic. GPIF posted a negative return of 10.71% during the three-month period, compared with a 4.61% gain in the previous quarter.

1:50 p.m. Thailand reports one new infection -- a quarantined Thai national returning from the Middle East -- stretching to 39 days its record of no local transmissions. The coronavirus has killed 58 people in Thailand and infected 3,180.

1:43 p.m. Confirmed new coronavirus cases in India record their biggest single-day spike of 20,903, bringing the country's COVID-19 tally to 625,544. The death toll has climbed to 18,213, an increase of 379 since Thursday morning.

12:45 p.m. Indian drugmaker Zydus says it has received approval from local regulators to begin human trials for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate. The potential vaccine showed a "strong immune response" in animal studies, and the antibodies produced were able to completely neutralize the wild-type virus, according to Zydus.

11:48 a.m. Tokyo confirms 124 new cases, sources tell Nikkei, as metro officials urge residents to avoid going to nightlife districts, hotspots for the recent resurgence. The tally is the biggest single-day rise since Japan lifted its state of emergency on May 25 and a climb from 107 a day earlier.

10:41 a.m. South Korea confirms 63 new cases, up from 54 a day ago. Total infections reach 12,967 with 282 deaths.

10:25 a.m. The U.S. reports more than 55,000 new cases for Thursday, the largest daily increase any country has ever reported, according to Reuters. The daily U.S. tally stood at 55,274 late Thursday, topping the previous single day record of 54,771 set by Brazil on June 19.

5:39 a.m. Texas Governor Greg Abbott mandates the wearing of mask in public areas in all counties with more than 20 coronavirus cases. That includes most counties in the state.

4:31 a.m. The fate of 100 million jobs hangs in the balance as a potential second wave of unemployment caused by the coronavirus pandemic looms over Japan, the U.S. and Europe with a combined $1 trillion worth of stimulus measures set to expire in the coming months.

2:10 a.m. While tigers and other animals have contracted COVID-19, there is "very little risk" of pets spreading the virus to their owners, the World Health Organization's chief scientist says.

12:30 a.m. The director of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, Francis Collins, says he is optimistic the Trump administration's push for a COVID-19 vaccine will succeed by the end of the year, Reuters reports.

Thursday, July 2

9:55 p.m. The latest U.S. jobs report shows record employment growth in June. Nonfarm payrolls increase by 4.8 million jobs, while the unemployment rate improves to 11.1% from the previous month's 13.3%.

9:20 p.m. Indonesia aims to produce its own coronavirus vaccine by next year, the head of the country's COVID-19 research team tells the media, according to Reuters. To ensure the country has access to vaccine supplies, the goal is to develop one "by Indonesia, from Indonesia, to Indonesia," Ali Ghufron Mukti said, adding that state company Bio Farma could run trials in the second half of 2021.

8:00 p.m. Kazakhstan will impose a second but softer lockdown starting Sunday, Reuters reports, citing the government. To combat a spike in cases, some nonessential businesses will be closed, public transit hours will be cut and public gatherings will be banned. But residents will still be allowed to go for walks in groups of up to three, and dine at restaurants with outdoor seating.

A health worker takes a swab for a COVID-19 test in Jakarta on July 2.   © Reuters

6:00 p.m. Indonesia reports 1,624 coronavirus infections on Thursday, its biggest one-day jump in new cases, bringing the total number to 59,394. The country also reported 53 new deaths, raising its COVID-19 fatalities to 2,987.

5:37 p.m. India's first plasma bank was inaugurated in the capital on Thursday, with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal urging COVID-19 survivors to donate blood plasma, which contains virus-fighting antibodies and thus can help patients with active infections recover after they receive transfusions. The central government says the treatment is being done on an experimental basis.

4:35 p.m. Russia reports 6,760 new cases, pushing its nationwide tally to 661,165. It also logged 147 more deaths from the virus in the last 24 hours, bringing the official death toll to 9,683.

4:00 p.m. A strain of COVID-19 that has infected more than 300 people in Beijing since early June may have originated in South or Southeast Asia, according to a study by Harvard University researchers.

2:06 p.m. Cases in India exceed 600,000, with 19,148 new infections reported in the last 24 hours as compared with 18,653 the previous day. The country's tally now stands at 604,641 and 17,834 deaths, which rose by 434 since Wednesday morning.

12:47 p.m. Tokyo confirms 107 new infections on Thursday, sources tell Nikkei, the most since Japan lifted the state of emergency on May 25. It is the first time the capital topped the 100 mark since May 2.

12:00 p.m. Australian police set up suburban checkpoints in new coronavirus hotspots in Melbourne as authorities struggle to contain outbreaks in the country's second-largest city. The state of Victoria reported 77 new cases on Thursday in line with two weeks of double-digit daily increases.

11:00 a.m. Malaysia-based Top Glove, the world's leading producer of rubber surgical gloves, will invest 3 billion ringgit ($700 million) to modernize its production facilities in a bid to reduce the dependency on migrant workers. The company has seen demand grow sharply amid the coronavirus pandemic.

10:44 a.m. South Korea confirms 54 new cases, up from 51 a day ago. Many of them have been infected at churches and temples. Total infections have reached 12,904 with 282 deaths.

10:30 a.m. New COVID-19 cases in the U.S. rose by nearly 50,000 on Wednesday, according to Reuters, marking the biggest single-day spike since the start of the pandemic. Brazil is the only other country to report more than 50,000 new cases in one day.

9:20 a.m. China reports three new cases for Wednesday, compared with three a day earlier. Two of the new infections were imported cases, while Beijing reported one. China also reported two new asymptomatic patients, down from three a day earlier.

8:00 a.m. Brazil reports 1,038 additional deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing overall fatalities to 60,632.

5:30 a.m. A potential coronavirus vaccine developed by China's Sinovac will be tested in Brazil by 12 research centers in six Brazilian states, Sao Paulo state government says. The study is led by Instituto Butantan, a research center funded by the state of Sao Paulo. The agreement with Sinovac includes not only trials but also the transference of technology to produce the vaccine locally.

4:10 a.m. A COVID-19 vaccine developed by German biotech company BioNTech and U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has shown potential and was found to be well-tolerated in early-stage human trials, the companies say. The potential treatment is the fourth early-stage COVID-19 drug to show promise in human testing, along with projects involving Moderna, CanSino Biologics and Inovio Pharmaceuticals.

3:50 a.m. U.S. President Donald Trump says he supports another coronavirus stimulus bill but wants it to include incentives for Americans to go back to work. His remarks indicate the Trump administration will oppose an effort by Democrats in Congress to renew a $600 supplement to weekly jobless benefits set to expire at the end of July.

3:00 a.m. U.S. health officials tell Americans to scale back Independence Day celebration plans after eight states reported single-day records for new coronavirus cases. State and municipal officials across the country have told residents to celebrate at home and ordered beaches closed and fireworks canceled.

2:10 a.m. Singapore has decided to bar COVID-19 patients and those in quarantine from casting a ballot in the July 10 general election.

1:30 a.m. A leading scientist behind the University of Oxford's potential COVID-19 vaccine says the team has seen the right type of immune response in trials.

"We're very happy that we're seeing the right sort of immune response that will give protection, and not the wrong sort," said Sarah Gilbert, professor of vaccinology at the university.

Wednesday, July 1

11:40 p.m. New York City will not allow indoor dining to resume next week after surges in virus cases in other states alarmed officials.

10:30 p.m. Scientists identify a new strain of the H1N1 swine flue virus that is spreading in workers on pig farms in China, raising concerns about another outbreak at a time when the world struggles to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

8:20 p.m. Brazil's government will restrict entry to the country by non-Brazilians for 30 days. But those with permanent residency status in Brazil will be exempted.

8:00 p.m. United Airlines says it would add nearly 25,000 domestic and international flights in August, as travel demand gradually returns. The company plans to fly 48% of its domestic schedule in August compared to a year earlier.

5:56 p.m. The Philippines has reported 999 new coronavirus infections and four additional deaths. Total confirmed cases in the country have reached 38,511 and deaths have increased to 1,270. President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday kept some restrictions in the capital Manila for another two weeks to contain the spread.

5:44 p.m. Indonesia reports 1,385 new coronavirus cases and 58 deaths. The country has a total of 57,770 cases and 2,934 have died.

5:34 p.m. Japan's Fujifilm Holdings Corp. announced a deal with India's Dr. Reddy's Laboratories and Dubai-based Global Response Aid to sell its anti-flu drug Avigan as treatment for COVID-19 globally excluding Japan, China and Russia.

2:45 p.m. Tokyo records 67 new infections on Wednesday, hitting the highest since lifting the state of emergency. Gov. Yuriko Koike told reporters at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government that "Most of the patients are in their 20s and 30s." It was the sixth straight day of more than 50 new infections in the capital.

2:06 p.m. India reports 18,653 new cases, up slightly from the 18,522 recorded the previous day. This brings the country's total to 585,493. The death toll has jumped to 17,400, up 507 since Tuesday morning in the highest single-day spike. The country had reported 2,003 deaths on June 17 but officials said that was a cumulative figure over a few days and was not a one-day record.

1:50 p.m. Japanese pharmaceutical Eisai is set to begin clinical trials in the U.S. for Eritoran, a drug initially developed as a treatment for severe sepsis but which could be useful in the fight against the new coronavirus, the company announces Wednesday.

1:36 p.m. Indonesia's foreign visitor arrivals plunged 86.9% on the year in May to 163,646, but were up slightly from the previous month, according to data from the statistics bureau. April's figure was 158,718. About 90% of visitors in May came from neighboring Malaysia and East Timor, while 1.2% were Chinese, the data show.

1:20 p.m. Authorities from Australian state of Victoria will lock down around 300,000 people for a month in the suburbs north of Melbourne, starting late Wednesday, to limit the risk of infection after the country's second-most populous state recorded two weeks of double-digit rises in new coronavirus cases. Australia has fared better than many countries in the pandemic, with around 7,830 cases and 104 deaths, but the recent surge has stoked fears of a second wave of COVID-19, echoing concerns in other countries.

12:15 a.m. Japan does not need to declare another state of emergency over the coronavirus, but may do so in a worst-case scenario, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga says Wednesday. The capital has sought to keep new cases below 20 a day since the government lifted the state of emergency on May 25, but has had five straight days of more than 50 new cases as of Tuesday, when 54 infections were reported.

Tokyo Disneyland staff greet visitors during the reopening of the theme park and Tokyo DisneySea in Urayasu, east of Tokyo, on July 1.    © Reuters

11:35 a.m. South Korea confirms 50 new cases of coronavirus, up from 43 on Tuesday. Total infections in the country have reached 12,850, with 282 deaths. Authorities plan to strengthen control of ports, as 19 cases were confirmed to have come from a Russian ship docked in Busan last month.

11:10 a.m. The coronavirus pandemic fuels a shift in investor interest in China as Industrial & Commercial Bank of China loses its crown to liquor giant Kweichow Moutai as the country's most valuable company in July. Old economy sectors -- finance, industry, property and energy -- have ceded ground to consumer staples, technology and health care amid lockdowns to contain the virus.

10:37 a.m. Tokyo Disney Resort, which has been closed due to the new coronavirus epidemic, reopens for the first time in about four months on Wednesday. Admission is limited to people with reservations, with customers lined up outside the theme park ahead of the opening.

10:14 a.m. The U.S. logged more than 46,000 new cronavirus cases on Tuesday, the country's biggest one-day rise since the pandemic started, Reuters reports.

10:03 a.m. South Korean exports slumped at a faster-than-expected pace in June, extending the double-digit contraction into a third month, as the coronavirus pandemic and lockdowns continued to dent global demand. The country's exports fell 10.9%, year-on-year, in June, trade ministry data showed on Wednesday, an improvement from the 23.6% plunge the previous month but a sharper slowdown than the consensus forecast for a 7.8% drop in June,according to a Reuters survey.

9:46 a.m. China reports three new cases of coronavirus, down from 19 a day earlier, all in the capital Beijing where an outbreak last month appears to have run its course amid intense testing and contact tracing. No new deaths were reported Wednesday, leaving the official death toll at 4,634 and 83,534 cases of COVID-19 since the virus was first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.

9:19 a.m. South Korea began supplying Gilead's antiviral drug remdesivir on Wednesday, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. The first batch of the drug, meant to last through July, will come from a Gilead donation, while health authorities will negotiate prices for further supplies after August, the centers said in a statement.

8:54 a.m. Japanese manufacturers' confidence sank in the second quarter of the year to levels not seen since the 2009 global financial crisis, underscoring the damage the coronavirus pandemic has inflicted on Japan's export-reliant economy.

6:41 a.m. New U.S. coronavirus cases could more than double to 100,000 per day if the current surge spirals further out of control, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government's top infectious disease expert, warned Tuesday, although he was "cautiously optimistic" a vaccine will be available early next year.

5:54 a.m. Airbus outlines plans to cut 15,000 jobs, citing the coronavirus-induced slump in air travel. The company's jet business has dropped 40% in the wake of the pandemic.

5:35 a.m. More than 1 million foreign workers in the Middle East are waiting for travel restrictions to be lifted so they can return to their home countries, mostly in Asia. With the pandemic and weak oil prices devastating the labor market, petroleum exporters in the Middle East have tried to protect the jobs of their own citizens. Migrant workers, who in some cases make up half of these countries' labor forces, have been left adrift.

12:44 a.m. Global employment is not forecast to return to pre-pandemic level this year, the International Labor Organization says. The UN agency says the the fall in working hours was "significantly worse than previously estimated" for the first half 2020. The Americas was the region hit hardest, with a 18.3% drop in work hours.

12:21 a.m. Japanese casual pub operator Watami will swab doorknobs, toilet seats and other surfaces to check for coronavirus in an effort to reassure customers.

Tuesday, June 30

11:34 p.m. The European Unions approves a "safe list" for reciprocal travel with 14 countries, including Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand, but leaving out the U.S. China is conditionally approved, pending reciprocity.

9:54 p.m. The residents of 36 suburbs of Melbourne will return to home lockdowns at midnight Wednesday, Daniel Andrews, the premier of the Australian state of Victoria, says. Police will enforce the measure and set up road check points.

9:11 p.m. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday extended a free food grain scheme for over 800 million people until the end of November as the country battles a spike in COVID-19 cases.

5:00 p.m. Thailand can expect to attract at most 8 million foreign tourists this year, down 80% from a year earlier, as the coronavirus pandemic cuts global travel, a tourism body says. The tourist sector, a key driver of Thai growth, is expected to recover in 2021, according to the Tourism Council of Thailand. Last year, Thailand had a record 39.8 million foreign tourists, whose spending accounted for about 11% of Thai GDP.

A| Hua Hin beach after the government relaxed restrictions. Thailand is expected to suffer an 80% fall in tourist arrivals this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.   © Reuters

3:30 p.m. Japan's AnGes starts clinical trials for a vaccine being jointly developed with Osaka University. The trials will be conducted at Osaka City University Hospital through July 31. The company is looking for 30 volunteers.

2:00 p.m. Thailand confirms two new coronavirus cases imported from abroad, marking 36 days without local transmission. The virus has killed 58 people in the country among its 3,171 infections.

1:53 p.m. India reports 18,522 new cases in the past 24 hours, down from the 19,459 recorded the previous day, bringing the country's total to 566,840. The country's 16,893 deaths are up 418 since Monday morning.

12:30 p.m. Thailand's economy is expected to shrink at least 5% this year due to the pandemic and take more than two years to return to pre-outbreak GDP output levels, the World Bank says. In the baseline scenario, the economy is projected to grow by 4.1% in 2021 and by 3.6% in 2022.

11:31 a.m. South Korea confirms 43 new cases, up from 42 a day ago, as total infections reach 12,800 with 282 deaths.

11:20 a.m. China's factory activity expanded at a stronger pace in June as the economy recovers after the government lifted strict lockdowns and ramped up investment, government data shows. China's official manufacturing Purchasing Manager's Index hits 50.9 for June, compared with May's 50.6.

10:30 a.m. Japan's industrial output for May fell 8.4% from the previous year to the lowest level since comparable data became available in 2013, government data shows. The decline is another sign of how the pandemic has sapped overseas and domestic demand and disrupted supply chains.

10:10 a.m. China reports 19 new coronavirus cases, up from 12 a day earlier. Of the new infections, seven were in Beijing, which has been battling a fresh outbreak. China also reported four new asymptomatic patients, who tested positive for COVID-19 but showed no symptoms.

9:40 a.m. New Zealand will use virtual digital platforms to host the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) group summit next year, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says. The decision was made in response to global disruption caused by COVID-19, including border closures.

9:23 a.m. Japan's gauge of job availability marked its biggest fall in 46 years in May, indicating a rapid deterioration in the employment market that had until only recently been in a severe state of labor shortage. The ratio of job openings to applicants, a key measure of how plentiful positions are in the labor market, dropped 0.12 point to 1.20.

8:30 a.m. Michael Ryan, head of the WHO emergencies program urges Brazil to link efforts to contain the virus at federal and state levels "in a much more systematic way." The country is suffering the second worst outbreak behind the U.S. and on Monday reported 24,052 new cases and 692 additional deaths, taking total overall fatalities to 58,314.

3:46 a.m. COVAXIN, India's first vaccine candidate for COVID-19 developed by Bharat Biotech, has received national approval for human clinical trials.

3:30 a.m. Gilead Sciences prices its COVID-19 antiviral remdesivir at $2,340 per patient for wealthier nations and agrees to send nearly all of its supply of the drug to the U.S. over the next three months. The price tag is slightly below the range of $2,520 to $2,800 suggested last week by U.S. drug pricing research group the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER).

2:00 a.m. Amazon will pay more than $500 million in special bonuses to employees at distribution centers and other workplaces in appreciation of their efforts during the pandemic.

1:30 a.m. New York's Broadway theaters will remain closed through Jan. 3, 2021, industry group the Broadway League says, extending their coronavirus-related shutdown for another four months.

The theaters, which went dark in mid-March, had previously set a tentative reopening date of Sept. 6, but social-distancing requirements for audiences, actors and production staff have made it impossible for plays and musicals to resume.

A person walks by the closed St. James Theater in New York, where Disney's Broadway production of Frozen the Musical was being shown.   © Reuters

Monday, June 29

8:07 p.m. India's western state of Maharashtra -- the worst-hit by the coronavirus pandemic, with 164,626 confirmed cases and 7,429 deaths -- extends until July 31 the lockdown that has been in place since late March.

The national capital territory of Delhi says a plasma bank will be set up to treat COVID-19 patients.The region has suffered the country's second-worst pandemic impact, with 83,077 cases and 2,623 deaths.

7:02 p.m. Singapore's Temasek Holdings and other investors are injecting around $250 million into German biotech company, BioNTech, via a private placement, Reuters reported. The investment reflects investor appetite for companies developing vaccines for the novel coronavirus. BioNTech has said it expects first clinical data on its COVID-19 vaccine development program, known as BNT162, this month or next.

The company, which listed on the Nasdaq in October, said the investors would buy about $139 million worth of ordinary shares and $112 million of four-year mandatory convertible notes.

5:50 p.m. Indonesia reports 1,082 new cases, down from 1,198 a day earlier, taking the total number of infections to 55,092. The country also saw another 51 deaths, taking total fatalities to 2,805, the highest in East Asia excluding China.

3:20 p.m. ANA Holdings chief Shinya Katanozaka tells shareholders that the Japanese airline group has "no problems with financing for the time being" as it has "prepared a total of 1 trillion yen ($9.34 billion) in borrowings and credit lines."

2:50 p.m. China's military has received the greenlight to use a COVID-19 vaccine candidate developed by its research unit and CanSino Biologics after clinical trials proved it was safe and somewhat effective, Reuters reports. The vaccine, Ad5-nCoV, is one of eight candidates being developed by Chinese companies and researchers that have been approved to advance to human trials.

2:30 p.m. Thailand reports seven new cases, all imported, marking 35 days with no community transmission. Yet, the government wants to extend the emergency decree beyond Tuesday, when it is set to expire.

2:15 p.m. Toyota Motor says its grobal production in May tumbled 54.4% from a year earlier to 366,000 units due to the pandemic's impact, registering the largest fall since 2004 when comparable data became available. Meanwhile, its global sales fell 31.8% in May, showing improvement from the record-low 46.3% drop in April, as global demand has been recovering led by the U.S. and Chinese markets.

1:58 p.m. India reports 19,459 new cases for the past 24 hours, down from the 19,906 recorded the previous day, bringing the country's total to 548,318. The country's 16,475 deaths are up 380 since Sunday morning.

12:20 p.m. Thailand's manufacturing production index for May dropped 23.19% from a year earlier, dragged down by lower production of cars, petroleum and air conditioners due to the pandemic, the industry ministry says.

11:50 a.m. Vietnam's gross domestic product for the April-June period grew 0.36% from a year earlier, government data shows, against an expansion of 6.73% for the same period last year.

11:30 a.m. Australia's second most populous state is considering reimposing social distancing restrictions now that 75 cases have been detected in Victoria in the past 24 hours -- enough to make it Australia's biggest daily outbreak since April 11.

10:48 a.m. South Korea will allow some spectators into stadiums to watch professional baseball and football games, with numbers and start dates to be confirmed later this week. Games have been held since May with no spectators. The news comes as the country confirms 42 new infections on Monday, down from 62 a day ago.

10:10 a.m. China reports 12 new cases as of the end of Sunday, down from 17 a day earlier. Five of the new cases were so-called imported ones involving travelers from overseas. The seven local infections were all in Beijing, as the capital tries to rein in a recent outbreak.

9:20 a.m. Retail sales in Japan tumbled 12.3% in May, marking a double-digit drop for the second straight month, as the pandemic and lockdown measures delivered a heavy blow to consumer confidence. Spending on big ticket items such as cars slumped, as well as clothing and general merchandise.

7:25 a.m. The death toll from COVID-19 reaches half a million people on Sunday, according to Johns Hopkins University.

A priest wearing personal protective equipment prays over the coffin of a person who died from COVID-19 during a funeral at a cemetery in Mumbai, India on June 27.    © Reuters

7:20 a.m. Brazil reports 30,476 new cases in the past 24 hours and 552 additional deaths. The nation has now registered 1,344,143 total confirmed cases of the virus and 57,622 deaths.

Sunday, June 28

10:00 p.m. Beijing has tested about a third of the Chinese capital's population so far as authorities seek to control a mid-June coronavirus outbreak stemming from a wholesale market. As of noon Sunday, China's capital had collected 8.29 million patient samples and completed 7.69 million tests, a city official says.

7:00 p.m. Tokyo records 60 new infections on Sunday, hitting the highest daily total since May 4.

11:55 a.m. The global coronavirus pandemic threatens to send capital fleeing from emerging economies, as falling exports and a dearth of tourists cause foreign reserves to dry up. Weaker local currencies also make servicing external debts harder.

10:14 a.m. Mainland China on Sunday reports 17 new coronavirus cases, mostly in Beijing, taking the cumulative number of confirmed cases in mainland China to 83,500. The death toll stands at 4,634, unchanged since mid-May.

6:07 a.m. American Airlines Group expects to have between 10% and 20% more workers than needed in July 2021, Chief Executive Doug Parker tells employees and says that avoiding furloughs will be difficult.

2:18 a.m. A pledging summit on Saturday raises 6.15 billion euros ($6.9 billion) to tackle COVID-19. The event was part of a joint initiative by the European Commission and the advocacy group Global Citizen and included a star-studded globally televised and streamed concert, Reuters reports.

Saturday, June 27

9:21 p.m. Delta Air Lines says late on Friday it will soon send warning notices to about 2,500 pilots regarding possible furloughs at the airline, as the industry takes a huge blow after the coronavirus pandemic slashed air travel demand, Reuters reports.

5:53 p.m. Indonesia reports its biggest daily increase in coronavirus infections with 1,385 new cases, taking the total to 52,812. The country's health ministry also says there have been 37 more coronavirus-related deaths, taking the total number of fatalities to 2,720.

4:38 p.m. Indonesia's central bank is ready to further finance the government's budget deficit and "share the burden" of fighting the coronavirus outbreak, the bank's chief told an online seminar on Saturday, Reuters reports.

2:50 p.m. Australia's state of Victoria records 41 new cases on Saturday, double the daily rate seen a week ago, struggling to gain control over the pandemic while the rest of the country continues easing social distancing restrictions.

1:30 p.m. India reports over 17,000 new coronavirus cases over the last 24 hours, pushing the country's total above 500,000, federal health ministry data shows, with infections surging in major cities including the capital New Delhi.

1:15 p.m. Spanish virologists have found traces of the novel coronavirus in a sample of Barcelona waste water collected in March 2019, nine months before the COVID-19 disease was identified in China, the University of Barcelona says.

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.

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

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