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Coronavirus: Free to read

Coronavirus: Week of June 6 to 12, Malaysia extends lockdown for 2 weeks

India downplays lack of FDA approval for Covaxin; Thailand orders 20m Pfizer doses

Medical workers conduct coronavirus testing in Cyberjaya, Malaysia, in early June.   © 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 174,934,054, according to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. The worldwide death toll has hit 3,775,038.

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



Saturday, June 12 (Tokyo time)

10:12 a.m. China reports 35 new cases for Friday, up from 22 a day earlier. Of the new cases, eight were local transmissions, compared with nine the previous day, the National Health Commission says. All of the local cases were in Guangdong Province.

8:28 a.m. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration says Johnson & Johnson must throw away millions of doses of its COVID-19 vaccine that were manufactured at a problem-plagued Baltimore factory. The FDA also cleared about 10 million doses, two sources familiar with the situation told Reuters. The New York Times says the batches being discarded amount to around 60 million doses, citing people familiar with the matter.

Friday, June 11

10:05 p.m. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's lack of emergency-use approval for India's indigenous coronavirus vaccine Covaxin has no effect on the South Asian country's vaccination program, the Indian health ministry says.

The decision "has no impact whatsoever on our own program," V. K Paul, the ministry's top advisor on COVID-19, tells a media briefing on Friday.

"We are satisfied [with the vaccine]. Our regulator has approved it and we have so much data on [its] safety," he says. "Every country has their own parameters, which we respect."

Covaxin, one of the vaccines India is using in its inoculation drive that started on Jan. 16, was developed by domestic manufacturer Bharat Biotech. Ocugen, Bharat Biotech's partner in the U.S., said in a statement on Thursday that it will no longer pursue emergency-use authorization for Covaxin.

In a statement on Thursday, Ocugen said the FDA had recommended that it pursue another route, called biologics license application, instead of an emergency authorization for Covaxin, "and requested additional information and data." The company added that while this will extend its timelines, Ocugen is committed to bringing Covaxin to the U.S.

8:00 p.m. Malaysia has extended its strict lockdown for another two weeks, to June 28, Reuters reports, citing security minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob. The tighter controls had been due to end Monday but daily cases continue to number well over 5,000. The decision comes as the country's king and political leaders weigh whether to extend a separate national state of emergency that runs until Aug. 1.

5:30 p.m. Tokyo reports 435 new cases, slightly down from 439 from a day earlier. The seven-day average of new cases in the capital stood at 386, down 15.1% from a week ago.

5:00 p.m. Tokyo 2020 would be "grateful" if Group of Seven countries could support the Summer Games going ahead as planned, Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto tells a news conference, adding that organizers will start vaccinating staffers and certain volunteers on June 18.

4:30 p.m. Thailand has signed a purchase order for 20 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech to be delivered before the end of this year, the health minister says. Thailand also plans to buy 5 million doses of Johnson & Johnson's single-shot vaccine within this year. The country had relied heavily on its reserved 61 million doses of locally made AstraZeneca vaccines, but the government has tried to diversify its sources to meet its target of acquiring 100 million doses by the end of the year.

3:00 p.m. All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines are considering starting workplace vaccinations on June 14, prioritizing international flight and cabin crews to make them better prepared to handle their jobs with infection risks. The Japanese government has said workplace vaccinations will start on June 21 but also said companies can start earlier.

Indians wait to get Covishield shots at a vaccination center in New Delhi on May 4.   © Reuters

2:40 p.m. Indian shares hit record highs, fueled by financials and energy stocks, as more states ease pandemic restrictions, with investors confident that high U.S. inflation was transitory following the latest reading. The blue-chip NSE Nifty 50 index rises 0.51% to 15,819.45 and the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex adds 0.56% to 52,595.48.

The southern state of Karnataka announced on Thursday it would ease some pandemic curbs in a phased manner. The country's richest state, Maharashtra, Gujarat and the capital city have already announced similar relaxations.

1:16 p.m. India reports 91,702 cases in the last 24 hours, marking the fourth consecutive day with under 100,000 cases and bringing the cumulative total to 29.3 million. Deaths rose by 3,403 to 363,079.

1:00 p.m. China's government says that it welcomes Taiwanese to come and get vaccinated against COVID-19 and calls on Taiwan to remove obstacles and allow its people to receive the "highly effective" Chinese shots. China has repeatedly offered to send vaccines to the island, which is battling a spike in domestic infections but has expressed concern about the safety of Chinese shots and has not cleared them for use.

12:00 p.m. Japanese opposition leader Yukio Edano warns that the Olympics could cause an 'explosive' increase in COVID-19 cases, adding that the Games should be cancelled or postponed by a year. "We could potentially see the risk of high mobility, high movement of people during that time because of the summer vacation and the Olympics," he tells reporters at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan.

11:00 a.m. Business sentiment among large Japanese companies in the April-June period worsened for the second straight quarter due to the global semiconductor shortage and a third state of emergency, a government survey shows. The confidence index of companies with a market cap of at least 1 billion yen ($9.1 million) inched down to minus 4.7 from minus 4.5 in the January-March period.

10:02 a.m. South Korea extends social distancing rules for three more weeks and bans private gatherings of five or more people. The country reports 556 cases, bringing the total to 146,859 with 1,981 deaths. Authorities say 10.6 million people -- or over 20% of the population -- have received their first vaccine shot, while 5.1% are fully vaccinated.

9:50 a.m. China reports 22 cases for Thursday compared with 21 a day earlier. Of the new cases, nine were local transmissions, up from six the previous day. All new local infections were in southern Guangdong Province. The country also reports 25 asymptomatic cases compared with 27 a day earlier. China does not classify these infections as confirmed cases.

8:50 a.m. Australia's Victoria state reports zero locally acquired cases for the first time in nearly three weeks as state capital Melbourne comes out of a snap two-week lockdown called to quell an outbreak that has seen about 90 cases since May 24.

More than a billion vaccine doses might be on the way to poorer countries now that the G-7, U.K. and U.S. are gearing up to help inoculate other parts of the world.   © Reuters

6:30 a.m. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson expects the Group of Seven to agree to donate 1 billion vaccine doses to poorer countries during a summit starting today. Just hours after U.S. President Joe Biden vowed to supercharge the battle against the virus with a donation of 500 million Pfizer shots, Johnson said Britain would give at least 100 million surplus vaccine injections to the poorest nations.

3:40 a.m. U.S. President Joe Biden and U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson express support for an investigation into the origins of the coronavirus, including a focus on China's role and the effect that future outbreaks could have on global health security.

The two countries will "support a timely, transparent and evidence-based independent process for the next phase of the WHO-convened COVID-19 origins study, including in China, and for investigating outbreaks of unknown origin in the future," the two leaders say in a statement.

1:50 a.m. Moderna says it has asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to expand the emergency use authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine to adolescents aged 12 to 17.

If granted, it would likely dramatically expand the number of shots available to middle and high school students ahead of the new school year.

Thursday, June 10

Qantas and Singapore Airlines jets in Sydney: Australia and the city-state have discussed opening a travel bubble but say it will take time to put the necessary systems in place.   © Reuters

8:30 p.m. Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Australian counterpart Scott Morrison say they discussed restarting travel at an in-person meeting this afternoon, but they stop short of announcing specific plans.

"We discussed how two-way travel between Singapore and Australia can eventually resume in a safe and calibrated manner when both sides are ready," Lee tells reporters in a virtual briefing after the meeting. Morrison was stopping in Singapore on his way to this weekend's Group of Seven summit in the U.K.

Lee said the governments still need to prepare infrastructure and systems, such as mutual recognition of health and vaccination certificates in digital form. The briefing came hours after Singapore and Hong Kong said they would review their plans for a delayed travel bubble.

Singapore on Thursday also announced that it will progressively ease domestic restrictions starting Monday, allowing social gatherings of up to five people, versus the current two. Dining at restaurants will be allowed from June 21 unless local infections worsen.

6:30 p.m. Hong Kong and Singapore in July will review plans to open a travel bubble, their governments say, after the proposal was derailed for a second time in May due to a spike of coronavirus cases in Singapore. The COVID-19 situation in Singapore has since stabilized, its government says, noting that the number of community cases is showing a downward trend and the situation in Hong Kong remains stable.

5:00 p.m. Tokyo reports 439 new cases, about the same as the 440 reported a day earlier. The seven-day average of new cases in the capital stands at 391, down 17.6% from a week ago.

3:20 p.m. Taiwan reports 263 new domestic cases, down from 274 a day earlier.

People wait to receive a vaccine shot at a public inoculation site in Nara Prefecture, Japan. (Photo by Takaki Kashiwabara)

2:00 p.m. Japan had administered 20.38 million vaccine doses as of Wednesday, government data shows, as the country steps up its vaccination drive ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, to open on July 23. Japan still lags many developed nations but is gradually catching up. Some 15.22 million people, about 12% of the population, had received at least one shot.

1:38 p.m. India reports 94,052 cases in the last 24 hours, the third straight day with less than 100,000 infections, bringing the country total to 29.2 million. Fatalities rose 6,148 to 359,676. This the highest single-day death toll reported by the country, due mainly to the eastern state of Bihar revising upward the total number of fatalities in the region.

12:30 p.m. Thai consumer confidence dropped to a record low in May, hurt by the country's latest and biggest coronavirus outbreak so far and a correspondingly slow economic recovery, a survey shows. The consumer index of the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce fell to 44.7 in May from 46 in April, when the outbreak emerged.

11:30 a.m. South Korea reports 611 cases, up from 602 a day earlier and registering more than 600 for the second consecutive day. This brings the country total to 146,303, with 1,979 deaths.

Essential workers walk past a "Heroes Wear Masks" sign in May 2021 as the state of Victoria goes into lockdown in an attempt to control a Melbourne outbreak.   © Reuters

11:00 a.m. Two Australian states are on alert after an infected woman and her husband traveled from Victoria, a state in lockdown, through the states of New South Wales and into Queensland, visiting dozens of sites on the way. Authorities in New South Wales and Queensland are rushing to trace close contacts and locate virus hotspots. The couple may face criminal charges for breaching border restrictions.

9:50 a.m. China reports 21 new cases for Wednesday, up from 16 a day earlier. Of the new cases, six were local transmissions in the southern province of Guangdong. China also reports 27 asymptomatic infections, compared with nine a day earlier. China does not classify symptomless infections as confirmed cases.

7:10 a.m. The Biden administration plans to donate 500 million Pfizer vaccine doses to nearly 100 countries over the next two years, Reuters reports. The U.S. is likely to distribute 200 million shots this year and another 300 million in the first half of next year to 92 lower-income countries and the African Union. The donations will go through the COVAX vaccine program that distributes COVID-19 shots to low- and middle-income countries.

U.S. President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden disembark from Air Force One as they arrive in England ahead of the G-7 Summit.    © Reuters

12:16 a.m. Brazil will receive its first batch of 3 million doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine in a few days, Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga tells a Senate commission looking into the government's response to the pandemic. But he also notes that approval is still needed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for export of the doses.

Wednesday, June 9

10:43 p.m. Three people die in a fire that breaks out in the COVID-19 ward at a Russian hospital in the city of Ryazan, 180 km from Moscow. Authorities suggest a faulty ventilator may have sparked the blaze.

8:24 p.m. Thailand anticipates 3 million foreign tourists this year as the country proceeds with a phased reopening to vaccinated visitors. Most of these arrivals are expected in the October-December quarter. Thailand will allow inoculated foreigners to visit Phuket island without a quarantine next month before reopening nine other provinces in October.

5:31 p.m. Russia reports 10,407 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, the highest daily level since early March. A government task force says 399 people died from the disease over the 24-hour period.

Japan, which has been slower to kick off its COVID vaccination program, hopes to inoculate all those willing to take the shots by November. 

4:44 p.m. Japan plans to vaccinate all citizens who have applied for shots by November, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga says during a debate between party leaders on Wednesday. Less than 50 days before the scheduled start of the Tokyo Olympics, Japan has vaccinated about 11% of its population with at least one dose, a slower pace than other advanced economies.

4:38 p.m. Malaysia expects deliveries of the AstraZeneca vaccine made by Thailand's Siam Bioscience to be delayed, science minister Khairy Jamaluddin says. The minister did not specify how long the delay will be or how many shipments will be affected. The first shipment of 610,000 doses from Thailand had been scheduled for this month, followed by 410,000 doses in July and 1.2 million doses between August and September.

1:38 p.m. Singapore has reported its 34th death due to COVID-19, taking its toll from the pandemic beyond the 33 deaths recorded during the 2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome. The city-state was one of the countries worst hit by SARS outside mainland China, according to the World Health Organization's numbers for infections and deaths. SARS, a previously unknown infectious disease, is believed to have emerged from the wet markets of China's Guangdong Province before spreading into major cities. Globally, as many as 774 people died in the epidemic, which reached nearly 30 countries.

1:24 p.m. India reports 92,596 new cases in the last 24 hours, the second consecutive day with fewer than 100,000 daily infections, bringing the country's total to 29.1 million. Fatalities rose by 2,219 to 353,528.

1:12 p.m. Thailand's parliament starts debating a bill to allow the government to borrow an additional 500 billion baht ($16 billion) to help the tourism-reliant country deal with its biggest coronavirus outbreak so far. The government predicts Southeast Asia's second-largest economy will grow only 1.5-2.5% this year after last year's 6.1% slump, with tourism still struggling.

A Phuket Island hotel and beach are empty on March 31 after opening for visitors. The Thai government wants to borrow an additional $16 billion to help the tourism-reliant country.   © Reuters

11:38 a.m. Australia's second-largest city, Melbourne, will exit a COVID-19 hard lockdown as planned on Thursday night, Victoria state authorities say, although some restrictions on travel and gatherings will likely remain for another week. A two-week strict lockdown forced Melbourne's 5 million residents to remain home except for essential business.

Meanwhile, a measure of Australian consumer sentiment fell for a second month as the Victoria lockdown darkened the mood despite signs of strength across the economy. The Westpac-Melbourne Institute index of consumer sentiment released on Wednesday fell 5.2% in June, on top of a 4.8% drop the month before.

9:46 a.m. China reports 16 new coronavirus cases on the mainland for June 8, down from 33 a day earlier. Of the new cases, eight were local transmissions from the southern province of Guangdong, the National Health Commission says.

4:28 a.m. Pfizer will begin testing its COVID-19 vaccine in a larger group of children under age 12 after selecting a lower dose in an earlier stage of the trial. The study will enroll up to 4,500 children in the United States, Finland, Poland and Spain. Pfizer will test a dose of 10 micrograms in children between 5 and 11 years of age, and 3 micrograms for those 6 months to 5 years old, with those doses based on the safety, tolerability and immune responses seen in a Phase 1 study of the two-dose shot in 144 children.

A 12-year-old receives a Pfizer shot during an outdoor vaccination event in New York on June 4.   © Reuters

3:24 a.m. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control eases its travel recommendations for 61 countries, including Japan, from its highest "Level 4" rating, which had discouraged all travel to recommending travel for fully vaccinated individuals.

The new recommendations reflect revised criteria for travel health notices, according to the CDC.

Tuesday, June 8

9:59 p.m. India's health ministry says it has placed fresh orders for 250 million doses of the Covishield coronavirus vaccine, developed by AstraZeneca and manufactured locally by the Serum Institute of India

The ministry has also ordered 190 million doses of Covaxin, an indigenous jab developed by Bharat Biotech. The move comes a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the whole adult population of the country -- numbering about 940 million -- would be provided free jabs.

India, which started its COVID-19 vaccination drive on Jan. 16, aims to inoculate all its nationals older than 18 by the end of December. So far, it has administered about 236 million doses, mostly the first of the two required doses.

6:16 p.m. Taiwan's exports rose for an 11th straight month in May, far exceeding expectations, boosted by global demand for microchips and high tech gadgets in the work-from-home pandemic boom, government data shows. But the island's own COVID-19 spike could cloud its economic outlook.

5:30 p.m. China's Guangdong Province has increased mass testing this week in some cities, driven by rising infections since May. The manufacturing hub has reported more than 110 cases since May 21, with the provincial capital Guangzhou accounting for almost 90% of the cases. Since starting tests on May 26, the city has taken nearly 28 million samples, with 40 people testing positive.

3:16 p.m. Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto says visiting Olympic media will be monitored using GPS to ensure they don't visit places that they have not registered in advance. Foreign journalists will be required to refrain from using public transport in their first 14 days after their entry.

3:10 p.m. Taiwan reports 219 domestic cases, up from 211 a day earlier, as the island scrambles to secure vaccines. Japan's donation of 1.24 million shots and a promise of 750,000 more from the U.S. have helped, but are still far from meeting the needs of Taiwan's 23 million people.

1:23 p.m. India's daily cases fall below 100,000 for the first time in over two months, with the country reporting 86,498 new infections in the last 24 hours. The total caseload stands at nearly 29 million with 351,309 fatalities.

11:00 a.m. South Korea reports 454 cases, down from 485 a day earlier and falling below 500 for the second consecutive day. This brings the country total to 145,091 with 1,975 deaths.

10:40 a.m. Australian business conditions extended their run to reach all-time highs in May with sales, profits and employment all up strongly -- a sign the economy can cope with a coronavirus lockdown in Victoria. National Australia Bank's index of business conditions climbed 5 points to +37 in May after jumping 8 points in April, with strong showings across all industries.

9:30 a.m. A report on the origins of COVID-19 by a U.S. government national laboratory concluded that the hypothesis claiming the virus leaked from a Chinese lab in Wuhan is plausible and deserves further investigation, The Wall Street Journal reports.

9:00 a.m. Japan's gross domestic product declined an annualized 3.9% in January-March, not as bad as the preliminary reading of a 5.1% contraction, but still posting the first fall in three quarters.

3:26 a.m. New York will host a concert in Central Park featuring an undisclosed line-up of major musical artists in August to mark the city's comeback from the coronavirus pandemic, Mayor Bill de Blasio says.

A man holds an ampule of AstraZeneca’s vaccine at a vaccination center in Bangladesh on Feb. 9.   © Reuters

1:00 a.m. Glaring vaccine inequality has created a "two-track pandemic" with Western countries protected and poorer nations still exposed, World Health Organization head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says. "Increasingly, we see a two-track pandemic. Six months since the first COVID-19 vaccines were administered, high-income countries have administered almost 44% of the world's doses. Low-income countries have administered just 0.4%," he said, renewing pleas for shot donations.

Monday, June 7

11:50 p.m. All Indian citizens above 18 years of age -- about 940 million people -- will be vaccinated against coronavirus for no cost starting June 21, says Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

6:30 p.m. The 750,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses the U.S. has promised Taiwan will be flown in soon, President Tsai Ing-wen says, as measures to tackle the island's ongoing outbreak were extended.

"Follow-up coordination work for shipping the 750,000 doses of vaccines provided by the United States has already begun, and they will soon be sent to Taiwan by air," Tsai says. "I promise that the government will do everything in its power to strive for a more stable supply of vaccines."

5:10 p.m. Tokyo reports 235 new cases, down from 351 a day earlier. The seven-day average of new cases in the capital stands at 422, down 22.7% from a week ago.

3:30 p.m. China's imports in May increased 51.1% year on year in dollar terms -- the fastest growth in a decade -- fueled by surging demand for raw materials. Meanwhile, exports rose 27.9% last month from a year earlier, missing analysts' forecast of 32.1% after being hit by new COVID-19 outbreaks at major ports in the south.

2:30 p.m. Thailand kicks off a long-awaited mass vaccination campaign as the country battles its third and worst wave of the pandemic. The government aims to administer 6 million doses of locally made AstraZeneca and imported Sinovac vaccines this month. "The government will ensure that everyone is vaccinated," Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said in televised comments after he visited an inoculation center in Bangkok.

1:21 p.m. India reports 100,636 new cases in the last 24 hours, the lowest daily count in 61 days, bringing the country's total to 28.9 million. Deaths rose by 2,427 to 349,186.

12:30 p.m. Australia's Victoria state reports the biggest rise in locally acquired cases in nearly a week, as authorities scramble to track the source of the highly infectious delta variants. Meanwhile, authorities report 11 new cases, up from two a day earlier, but noted that all were linked to existing clusters.

Taiwan has yet to curb the latest surge in new COVID-19 cases.   © Reuters

11:55 a.m. Taiwan will extend COVID-19 curbs for another two weeks until June 28 and schools will remain shut until summer vacation, as the latest outbreak has not yet stabilized. After months of relative safety, Taiwan has been dealing with a spike in domestic infections and is at its second-highest alert level, with gatherings restricted, entertainment venues shut, and students shifted to online learning.

11:00 a.m. South Korea reports 485 cases, down from 556 a day earlier and dipping below 500 for the first time in six days. This brings the country total to 144,637 with 1,974 deaths.

10:00 a.m. A new poll by Japan's Yomiuri newspaper shows that 50% of Japanese think the Olympics will take place this summer, with 26% saying the games will be played without spectators. Meanwhile, 48% said the event will be canceled, down from 59% in early May.

8:30 a.m. One hundred former presidents, prime ministers and foreign ministers have urged the Group of Seven rich nations to pay for global coronavirus vaccinations to help stop the virus mutating and returning as a worldwide threat. The leaders made their appeal ahead of a G-7 summit in England that begins on Friday. "Support from the G-7 and G-20 that makes vaccines readily accessible to low- and middle-income countries is not an act of charity, but rather is in every country's strategic interest," their letter says.

4:50 a.m. Morocco will reopen airports and ports to international passenger traffic on June 15, both for its own citizens and foreign nationals, the foreign ministry says. All travelers will be admitted into the country if they have been vaccinated against COVID-19 or had a negative PCR test, the ministry says in a statement.

2:50 a.m. Japan intends to issue COVID-19 inoculation certificates this summer to vaccinated residents traveling abroad, hoping to give business travel and other economic activities a boost.

1:05 a.m. The WHO cannot compel China to divulge more data on COVID-19's origins, says Mike Ryan, director of the agency's emergencies program. "We fully expect cooperation, input and support of all of our member states in that endeavor," he says.

Sunday, June 6

6:40 p.m. Two more Taiwan tech suppliers have been hit by COVID-19 clusters, a further threat to supply chain continuity amid the global semiconductor shortage. After King Yuan Electronics suspended all domestic production on Friday, chip packaging and testing supplier Greatek Electronics and networking gear provider Accton Technology also reported clusters. The companies have production sites near a King Yuan plant in Miaoli County, which has confirmed 263 cases as of Sunday -- 219 of them among foreign workers, mainly from the Philippines. King Yuan accounts for more than half the infections.

2:28 p.m. India reports 114,460 new infections, the lowest daily total in two months, while the death toll increases by 2,677, as parts of the country prepare to ease movement restrictions.

1:03 a.m. The operator of India's biggest airline, IndiGo, reports its fifth straight quarterly loss, as the pandemic kept air travel well below normal levels. Interglobe Aviation records a net loss of 11.47 billion rupees ($157 million) in the three months ended March 31, compared with a loss of 8.71 billion rupees a year earlier.

Saturday, June 5

10:15 p.m. Authorities in the southern Chinese industrial hub of Guangzhou impose more restrictions on business and social activity, seeking to curb the virus's spread. The city's Nansha, Huadu and Conghua districts order all residents and any individuals who have traveled through their areas to be tested for the virus.

9:00 a.m. The inactivated COVID-19 vaccine developed by Shenzhen Kangtai Biological Products has gained approval in Malaysia for phase-3 clinical trials, the Malaysia's Ministry of Health announced on Saturday. The trial will involve 3,000 volunteers, joining countries including Argentina, Colombia, Pakistan, Philippines and Ukraine that are also testing the vaccine, which has been approved for emergency use in China.

8:53 p.m. Progress is being made toward a deal on an intellectual property waiver for COVID-19 vaccines at the World Trade Organization, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai says. Tai cites a revised proposal from the original proponents of the waiver, led by India and South Africa, as well as principles crafted by the European Union to guide negotiations. The latest draft from proponents sets a time span for a waiver of at least three years and would let the WTO's 164 members determine when it ends.

5:50 p.m. Taiwan begins talks with U.S. companies about making vaccines, following similar discussions with European companies. Health Minister Chen Shih-chung tells reporters Taiwan previously held talks with European companies about producing their vaccines under license. "Only recently have we started to have talks with U.S. companies," he said, "to see if it's possible or not to carry out relevant subcontracting work."

3:50 p.m. New Delhi is preparing to deal with a coronavirus infection peak of 37,000 cases a day, its chief minister says as he announces a partial easing of a lockdown. The highest daily total of new infections in New Delhi was 28,395 on April 20. The nation's capital will boost oxygen storage capacity to 420 tons and will set up genome sequencing labs to study coronavirus variants, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal says.


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

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