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Coronavirus: Free to read

Coronavirus: Week of Mar. 1 to Mar. 7, confirmed cases top 100,000 worldwide

South Korea to suspend visa waivers for Japan; Hubei, excluding Wuhan, reports no new cases

A member of the medical team in protective gear sprays disinfectant liquid at a taxi station in Tehran.   © 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.

China's National Health Commission raised the total number of cases on the mainland to 80,651 as of the end of Friday, an increase of 99 from the previous day. The official mainland death toll is 3,070.

To see how the disease has spread, click this interactive virus tracker:

Here are the latest developments (Tokyo time):

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UPDATES CLOSED

Saturday, March 7

10:25 a.m. South Korea reported 483 new cases, bringing its total to 6,767 with 44 deaths.

9:30 a.m. China's National Health Commission confirmed 99 new mainland infections as of the end of Thursday, down from 143 cases a day earlier, bringing the total accumulated number to 80,651. The death toll climbed to 3,070, up by 28 from the previous day.

7:43 a.m. The Dow Jones industrial average ended Friday down 256 points after plunging almost 900 points earlier in the day. Investors continued to be concerned about the impact of the virus outbreak on supply chains and consumer demand, but White House adviser Larry Kudlow said that the administration was considering targeted measures to help the economy. The index eked out a small gain for the week.

4:22 a.m. The escalation in travel curbs between Japan and South Korea was criticized as a "political spat" by the head of the World Health Organization's emergency response program. Mike Ryan said the restrictions served no purpose in halting the spread of the virus.

4:05 a.m. The coronavirus will "go away," U.S. President Donald Trump told reporters after signing an $8.3 billion emergency spending bill to address the outbreak. 

2:18 a.m. Italy reported an additional 49 deaths from the outbreak on Friday, the largest daily increase, raising the country's overall toll to 197.

1:28 a.m. The number of people infected globally surpassed 100,000 as of Friday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Friday, March 6

10:34 p.m. A Singapore Airlines cabin crew member is among 13 new cases confirmed in Singapore on Friday, according to the health ministry, bringing the nation's total to 130.

8:47 p.m. Egypt registered 12 people carrying the coronavirus on a Nile cruise ship heading to the southern city of Luxor from Aswan, Reuters reported, citing Egyptian state television.

8:29 p.m. South Korea announced it will halt a visa-free entry program for Japanese among other measures in response to Tokyo's decision to impose new restrictions on South Korean travelers over coronavirus fears, Yonhap News Agency reported.

7:28 p.m. Indonesia confirmed two new coronavirus cases on Friday, a government spokesperson said, bringing the total number of patients there to four, while Malaysia announced 28 new COVID-19 cases, bringing its total to 83.

6:41 p.m. Goldman Sachs estimated that if Japan is unable to contain its coronavirus outbreak by the end of May and the Tokyo Olympics is cancelled as a result, the economy could stand to lose 800 billion yen ($7.6 billion) in Games-related government spending and inbound and domestic consumption. The outbreak would also lower Japan's 2020 real GDP growth rate by 0.9 percent points to -2.0%, Goldman said in a report.

6:30 p.m. The Vatican reported its first new coronavirus case as a patient in its health services had tested positive. Cameroon also confirmed its first case of infection with a French citizen who arrived in its capital late last month being diagnosed with the disease.

5:00 p.m. Bhutan on Friday confirmed it's first case of coronavirus. The patient is a 76-year-old American tourist who arrived in Bhutan on March 2 from India. He was traveling in India from Feb. 21 to March 1, according to a statement from Bhutan's government.

3:20 p.m. India confirmed another new case of coronavirus infection, bringing its total number to 31. The patient, who is from Delhi and has a history of travel to Thailand and Malaysia, is stable and being monitored, a health ministry official said.

Visitors wear protective masks at a tourist site in New Delhi.   © Reuters

2:50 p.m. Hubei Province, excluding the capital of Wuhan, confirmed over a 24-hour period for the first time since the outbreak began. Wuhan, the epicenter of the epidemic, reported 126 new confirmed cases on Thursday, but there were none anywhere else in the province, the National Health Commission said on Friday.

2:30 p.m. Honda Motor said sales in China plunged 85.1% from the previous year, a record single-month fall, as the virus continues to plague the Chinese auto market.

2:15 p.m. Princess Cruises said fewer than 100 passengers and crew on the Grand Princess have been identified for testing, including those who were ill, Reuters reported.

1:30 p.m. In Australia, musician and composer Brett Dean has been hospitalized with the new coronavirus. The 58 year old had performed with Taiwan's National Symphony Orchestra, and Taiwanese health authorities are investigating his travel itinerary and contacts, AP reported.

11:47 a.m. The Asian Development Bank said the new coronavirus could knock $77 billion to $347 billion, 0.1% to 0.4%, off global gross domestic product, depending on how the epidemic evolves. The outbreak could have a "significant impact" on developing Asian economies through sharp declines in domestic demand, lower tourism and business travel, trade and production linkages, supply disruptions, and health effects, it said.

11:30 a.m. Tokyo stocks accelerated their slide as coronavirus concerns grew and the yen strengthened against the dollar, with the benchmark Nikkei index closing the morning session at 20,652, down 676 points from the previous day's close.

10:45 a.m. China's National Health Commission confirmed 143 new mainland infections as of the end of Thursday, up 139 from a day earlier, bringing the total accumulated number to 80,552. The death toll climbed to 3,042, up by 30 from the previous day.

10:30 a.m. South Korea reported 518 new cases, bringing its total to 6,284 with 42 deaths.

9:30 a.m. South Korea strongly protested Japan's decision to impose a two-week quarantine on visitors from the country. The foreign ministry demanded that Japan rescind the measure and criticized Tokyo for taking "unreasonable and excessive" action without sufficient prior consultation with Seoul. It went on to say Seoul is considering "appropriate measures" against Japan.

9:20 a.m. Tokyo stocks fell sharply following another plunge in New York, with the benchmark Nikkei average dropping more than 400 points in early morning trading over coronavirus concerns and the strengthening yen. It added the government is considering

4:45 a.m. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said that coronavirus test kits had been sent to a cruise ship holding off the California, but that the country does not have enough of them to meet an expected rise in demand.

4 a.m. As the death toll in France rose, French President Emmanuel Macron said it now seemed "inevitable" that the country would suffer a coronavirus epidemic.

3:05 a.m. U.S. long-term interest rates touched a new low as the stock market sell-off quickened, sending the Dow briefly down over 1,000 points. As markets shudder, governments must stop relying on central banks for help, writes William Pesek.

12:10 a.m. Volatility continues to plague U.S. stocks, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling by as much as 780 points.

Thursday, March 5

11:24 p.m. South Africa has confirmed its first case of the new coronavirus, with the health minister saying the infected man had traveled to Italy.

10:10 p.m. Thailand's Ministry of Public Health released a list of countries and regions that the kingdom sees as posing a high risk of coronavirus infection, including China, Macao, Hong Kong, South Korea, Italy and Iran. An earlier list leaked on Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul's Facebook page contained Japan, Taiwan, Singapore France and Germany, but those countries were removed.

8:01 p.m. The Delhi government said it will close all schools in the city until the end of March. The national government also said Prime Minister Narendra Modi's planned summit with European Union leaders in Brussels on March 13 has been postponed.

7:44 p.m. MTR, Hong Kong's railway operator, saw a 34% year-on-year drop in passengers for first two months of 2020 as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. This follows a 11% decline in the second half of 2019, when the city was hit by anti-government protests.

7:26 p.m. Malaysia confirmed five more positive cases, and urged people to postpone travel to certain regions in Italy, Japan and Iran. The government also decided to temporarily block entry of all visitors -- regardless of nationality -- who visited these regions within 14 days of arrival in Malaysia.

Indonesia on Sunday will begin banning the entry of foreign travelers who in the past 14 days have been in certain regions of South Korea, Iran and Italy. (Photo by Ken Kobayashi)

5:42 p.m. Japan intends to quarantine all visitors from coronavirus-hit China and South Korea at hospitals or other designated facilities before granting them entry permits, sources told Nikkei. Travelers from the two countries will be required to stay in quarantine for two weeks, effective next Monday.

5 p.m. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has sent a personal letter to South Korean President Moon Jae In commiserating with South Koreans over the coronavirus outbreak, the presidential office said. Kim said in the letter that he believes the South Koreans can overcome the epidemic and stay healthy.

4:21 p.m. Chinese President Xi Jinping has postponed his visit to Japan in April, the Japanese government said. It would have been the first visit by a Chinese president as a state guest to Japan in more than a decade.

3:30 p.m. Indonesia on Sunday will begin banning the entry of foreign travelers who in the past 14 days have been in certain regions of three countries -- South Korea, Iran and Italy -- Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi announced.

3 p.m. Shares of biopharmaceutical maker AnGes Inc. rose more than 18% from the previous day's close on Tokyo's Mothers market after the company announced it will work on developing a coronavirus vaccine with Osaka University. AnGes hopes to move to clinical trials within six months.

2 p.m. Thailand confirmed four new cases, bringing its total to 47 since January. The new infections include an Italian who arrived on March 1 and tested positive the following day.

12:31 p.m. Singapore said that construction projects, including those at Changi Airport, Tuas port and MRT stations, could be delayed if the coronavirus outbreak drags on, the Straits Times reported.

11:50 a.m. Australia has extended its ban on foreign arrivals to South Korea as it endeavors to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Arrivals from mainland China and Iran had already been banned.

11:30 a.m. Carnival Corp. said its Grand Princess cruise ship, which had been on its way to the Mexican town of Ensenada, is returning to San Francisco after a person on the ship's previous voyage died from the new coronavirus. Carnival is the operator of the "Diamond Princess," which was previously quarantined in Japan.

Some passengers have been told to stay in their rooms as another "Princess" cruise ship suffers a coronavirus scare.   © AP

10:50 a.m. Australia confirmed its second coronavirus death and the first from a "local transmission." The elderly victim contracted the disease from a worker at her senior citizens home.

10:20 a.m. South Korean President Moon Jae-in faces his biggest challenge since taking office three years ago as new coronavirus cases continue to surge. The country has confirmed another 438 cases, bringing its total to 5,766. Its death toll stands at 35.

10 a.m. China's National Health Commission confirmed 139 new mainland infections as of the end of Wednesday, up from 119 cases a day earlier and bringing the total number to 80,409. The death toll climbed to 3,012, up 31 from the previous day.

9:30 a.m. California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency after state officials announced the first California death due to the novel coronavirus. The state now has 53 confirmed cases. Earlier on Wednesday, health officials announced the first California death from the virus, an elderly person with underlying health conditions.

Fans wear masks as they enter Staples Center for an NBA basketball game  in Los Angeles, California.   © Reuters

8:06 a.m. Australia's Treasury Department estimates that the outbreak will sap GDP growth by 0.5 percentage point in the first quarter of the year.

4 a.m. Los Angeles County declared a local emergency and a public health emergency after six new travel-related cases of the coronavirus were confirmed the day before. Meanwhile, New York confirmed five more cases, bringing to 11 the total in the state.

3:45 a.m. France now has 285 confirmed cases of coronavirus, an increase of 73 from the day before, the head of the public health service said.

2:56 a.m. U.S. lawmakers agreed on a $8.3 billion response to the coronavirus outbreak in the country as the number of infections continues to rise. The legislation could be approved by the House the same day, paving the way for a vote by the Senate this week.

2:10 a.m. Delta Air Lines said it will reduce services between the U.S. and Japan in light of declining demand. The number of flights to and from Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya will be curtailed from Saturday through the end of April.

2:30 a.m. The number of coronavirus deaths in Italy rose to 107 after 28 people died over the past 24 hours, the Civil Protection Agency said. The number of cases since the outbreak surfaced 13 days ago has risen to 3,089. The nation's education minister officially announced that all schools and universities would be closed until at least March 15.

2:05 a.m. The words "cancellation" or "postponement" were not mentioned during an International Olympic Committee meeting on preparations for the Tokyo 2020 games amid the coronavirus outbreak, IOC President Thomas Bach told a news conference.

1 a.m. Japanese precision instrument maker Shimadzu is working on a one-hour test kit for the new coronavirus, with deliveries to health institutions starting as early as this month.

Wednesday, March 4

11 p.m. Italy is planning to close all schools and universities from Thursday to contain the coronavirus outbreak, according to media reports citing government sources.

Yoshiro Mori, president of the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee, attends a news conference in Tokyo on Wednesday.   © Reuters

9 p.m. The president of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics organizing committee said he was not considering canceling the Games. Yoshiro Mori told reporters in Tokyo that a cancellation or postponement was not discussed in a meeting between the Tokyo and the International Olympic Committee on Wednesday.

8:17 p.m. Iran's health ministry said the number of virus deaths in the country had risen to 92, with 2,922 people infected.

6:20 p.m. Iraq reported its first coronavirus death on Wednesday, an elderly man in the Kurdish province of Sulaimaniya, according to the local health department.

5:02 p.m. Indonesia will lower import duties for raw materials, Reuters reported, amid worries that prices will rise due to the coronavirus outbreak in China, industry Minister Agus Gumiwang Kartasasmita told media on Wednesday.

4:40 p.m. Toyota said on Wednesday its car sales in China, the world's biggest auto market, fell 70.2% on the year in February due to the coronavirus epidemic. Toyota, the first major global automaker to report February sales in China, said it sold 23,800 Toyota and premium Lexus cars last month.

2:16 p.m. Fifteen Italian citizens in India have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to media reports. State broadcaster Doordarshan as well as private TV networks NDTV and CNN-News18 said 21 Italian tourists had been tested in New Delhi, citing unidentified sources.

2:10 p.m. Saudi Arabia's decision last week to ban foreign pilgrims has shocked Asian Muslims in countries such as Indonesia, where it is hitting the bottom line of tour operators and airlines.

1:01 p.m. Budget carrier Vietjet Air said it will begin suspending flights to destinations in South Korea on Saturday over coronavirus concerns. Vietnam has suspended visa-free travel for South Koreans. Bamboo Airways and Vietnam Airlines have already suspended South Korea flights.

12:08 p.m. A debt-relief package from the Thai Bankers' Association comes on top of tax breaks and other state measures to mitigate the epidemic's potential $6.4 billion blow to tourism-related companies. Banks are already offering a yearlong grace period on loan repayments. Exporters, importers and retailers are also eligible.

12:06 p.m. Japanese stores have been stripped bare of medical masks as the new coronavirus spreads, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's push for a nationwide supply of 600 million this month faces foreign and domestic obstacles.

10:42 a.m. Mainland China added 119 confirmed cases on Tuesday, the country's National Health Commission said, putting its total number of confirmed infections at 80,270. The death toll stands at 2,981, up 38 from Monday.

10:24 a.m. South Korea reported 516 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, bringing its total to 5,328. The death toll climbed to 32. The epidemic is hitting South Korea harder than any country other than China.

A medical worker prepares to take samples from a visitor in his car at a drive-thru coronavirus testing center outside the Yeungnam University Medical Center in Daegu, South Korea, on March 3, 2020. 

9:41 a.m. The number of coronavirus infections reported in Japan reached 1,000 on Wednesday, Kyodo said. The tally, based on information provided by the health ministry and local authorities, includes more than 700 patients from the Diamond Princess. The domestic death toll stands at 12, including six linked to the cruise ship.

9:34 a.m. Chip and display makers in virus-hit Wuhan at the start of February received special approval from local and central governments to continue to ship products out of the city, sources tell the Nikkei Asian Review. The factories have also been receiving materials despite the lockdown.

8:36 a.m. Hong Kong's central bank lowered its base rate charged through the overnight discount window by 50 basis points to 1.5% on Wednesday, hours after the U.S. Federal Reserve delivered a rate cut of the same margin. Hong Kong's monetary policy moves in lock-step with the U.S. as the city's currency is pegged to the greenback at a tight range of 7.75-7.85 per dollar.

8:25 a.m. Chinese investment company Fosun International will donate tens of thousands of medical masks, gloves and other relief supplies to the Hokkaido Prefectural Office. Fosun has invested extensively in Hokkaido properties, including ski resorts and hotels.

7:59 a.m. U.S. President Donald Trump said his government is considering adding Japan to the list of destinations subject to travel restrictions over the new coronavirus. "We're watching Italy very closely, South Korea very closely, even Japan very closely," Trump told reporters on the White House lawn.

7:29 a.m. About 40 Japanese lawmakers from multiple parties have called for hospital ships to be commissioned so the government would be able respond to medical emergencies anywhere in the country within hours. The issue came up for the first time in seven years as Japan battles the novel coronavirus epidemic.

6:49 a.m. Alphabet has canceled its annual developer event, Google I/O, amid concerns related to the outbreak. Google's most important event of the year was to take place May 12 to May 14, when new services and products were to be highlighted.

6 a.m. U.S. stocks fell sharply even though the Federal Reserve surprised investors with a half percentage-point cut in interest rates, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropping 785.91 points, or 2.94%, to close at 25,917.41 points. The S&P 500 lost 2.81% to finish at 3,003.37.

5:55 a.m. Google advised all of its 115,000 employees worldwide not to travel internationally for work after an employee in Switzerland has tested positive for the new coronavirus.

4:29 a.m. The first death from the novel coronavirus was reported in Spain. The man had died on Feb. 13 but tests later showed COVID-19 was the cause.

4:11 a.m. Argentina confirmed its first case of the new coronavirus. The patient arrived in the country on March 1 after a two-week trip that included northern Italy.

The seal of the Federal Reserve: The central bank cited the risks of the coronavirus to the U.S. economy as it lowered interest rates Tuesday.   © Reuters

12:16 a.m. The U.S. Federal Reserve lowered interest rates in an emergency move designed to shield the world's largest economy from the impact of COVID-19.

Tuesday, March 3

7:35 p.m. Singapore said all new visitors who had traveled to South Korea, northern Italy or Iran over the last 14 days will not be allowed to enter or transit through the country from Wednesday 11:59 p.m. Singapore will also apply a COVID-19 swab test on travelers entering the country who have a fever or shown any symptom of respiratory illnesses, even if they do not meet clinical suspect case criteria.

7:04 p.m. Thailand's Ministry of Public Health announced that travelers from high-risk countries and regions will have to self-isolate for 14 days. The high-risk areas are mainland China, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Iran, Italy, France and Germany.

6:20 p.m. India has suspended visas issued on or before March 3 to nationals of Italy, Iran, South Korea and Japan who have not yet entered the country.

6 p.m. Travelers to Beijing from South Korea, Japan, Iran and Italy will have to be quarantined for 14 days, the city's municipal government said. Shanghai also said that those who had recently visited countries with "relatively serious virus conditions" will have to be isolated for 14 days, but did not name the countries.

5:30 p.m. South Korea confirmed 374 more infection cases, bringing its total to 5,186.

4:57 p.m. Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced seven more coronavirus cases in the country, bringing the total to 36. Of those, 22 patients had recovered from the virus.

4 p.m. Malaysia's central bank trimmed its key policy interest rate to nine-year low shortly after Australia cut its rate to a record low, as the coronavirus outbreak begins to spook the two economies.

2:30 p.m. Chinese authorities to reconsider their travel plans to return home as the new coronavirus epidemic is now spreading faster in some other countries than in China. Seven of the 125 new cases reported on Tuesday were imported, involving Chinese nationals who had traveled from Italy to China.

13:12 a.m. Australia's central bank cut interest rates to record lows in a move to cushion the economic impact from the new coronavirus, bringing the cash rate to 0.5%.

China' coronavirus prevention measures have taken a new turn with the request for its citizens to delay returning home from other countries affected by the epidemic.   © Reuters

11:50 a.m. Pakistan confirmed its fifth case, after having reported its first cases last week. A local TV station reported that the patient had been in Iran, according to Reuters.

11:10 a.m. Hong Kong will bring home 533 citizens who are scattered around Wuhan, Hubei Province, the epidemic's epicenter, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said. Four chartered airliners will bring back the returnees, who will be quarantined for 14 days upon their Wednesday and Thursday arrivals.

10:15 a.m. South Korea confirmed 600 more cases and three more fatalities, raising the totals to 4,812 infections and 29 deaths.

9:30 a.m. China's National Health Commission announced 125 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infections in mainland China as of the end of Monday, the fewest daily total since January and a fall from the 202 cases reported a day earlier. The total number of mainland cases now stands at 80,151. The death toll is at 2,943, up by 31 from the previous day.

5:40 a.m. Some 81 countries and regions have placed travel restrictions on visitors from South Korea, the No. 2 country ranked in terms of infections.

5:30 a.m. The number of deaths caused by the coronavirus in the Seattle area of the U.S. reached a total of six, Washington state officials say.

4:10 a.m. France confirmed 61 new cases of the coronavirus infection, bringing its total cases to 191, the country's head of the public health service said. The death toll so far is three.

1:45 a.m. The South Korean government says it will seek murder charges against the head of the secretive church in which many members were infected with the coronavirus.

Monday, March 2

8:40 p.m. An adviser to Iran's supreme leader died, state radio reported. He was the first top official to succumb to the virus, which has affected leading members of government, AP reported.

8:30 p.m. China's daily production of face masks hit 116 million units as of Saturday, 12 times more than on Feb. 1, state news agency Xinhua reported.

7:33 p.m. In Iran, 66 people have died and 1,501 people have been infected, the government said, according to Reuters.

7:13 p.m. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development slashed its world growth forecast to 2.4% in 2020 from 2.9% last year. But it said growth could fall to as low as 1.5% if the virus spreads across the wider Asia-Pacific region and into advanced economies. "Containment measures and loss of confidence would hit production and spending and drive some countries into recession, including Japan and the Euro area," the OECD said.

6:19 p.m. India confirmed two new cases, raising the total number to five. One person had traveled from Italy and the other from Dubai. Both are in stable condition.

6 p.m. South Korea announced additional 123 cases, raising the total number to 4,335 with 26 deaths.

5 p.m. Lee Man-hee, founder of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus religious group, apologized that one of its members had infected many others in South Korea. With hundreds of cases linked to the church, Lee said, "We did our best but were not able to stop the spread of the virus."

4:30 p.m. South Korea will postpone the start of all schools' next semester by two weeks to March 23, the education minister said.

4 p.m. Vietnam will temporarily suspend visa-free travel for Italians from Tuesday as the number of coronavirus infections surges in the European country, the government said. Vietnam had said it would suspend visa-free travel for South Korean nationals starting on Feb. 29.

3:30 p.m. The city of Wuhan closed its first makeshift hospital, one of 16 hurriedly built to handle the epidemic, after it discharged the last patients, state broadcaster CCTV reported. The news came as Hubei province, where Wuhan is located, had 196 new confirmed cases on Sunday, down from 570 cases a day earlier.

2:40 p.m. South Korea reported four more deaths, bringing its overall toll to 26.

1:30 p.m. Indonesia has confirmed its first coronavirus cases, President Joko Widodo said. Two Indonesians have tested positive and been hospitalized.

12:30 p.m. Kazakhstan on March 5 will begin barring Iranian nationals from entering the country due to the fast-spreading coronavirus epidemic.

11:30 a.m. Tokyo stocks rebounded after Bank of Japan Governor reassured that the central bank will take necessary measures to maintain market stability. Following a weak start, the benchmark Nikkei average closed morning trade at 21,377 points, up 234 from the previous day's closing.

11 a.m. South Korea confirmed 476 more cases, raising its total number to 4,212 with 22 deaths.

10:30 a.m. New York state has confirmed its first coronavirus infection. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the patient is a woman in her late 30s who contracted the virus while traveling in Iran. The patient is isolated in her home, Cuomo said.

10:06 a.m. Bank of Japan Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda pledged to join the fight against the epidemic's economic effects. He said the central bank "will monitor developments carefully, and strive to stabilize markets and offer sufficient liquidity via market operations and asset purchases." The Tokyo Stock Exchange's main gauge was up 143.24 points shortly after Kuroda issued the statement, bucking the global trend.

9:17 a.m. Mainland China had 202 new confirmed cases on Sunday, the country's National Health Commission said. The total number of confirmed cases in mainland China is 80,026. The death toll is at 2,912, up 42 from Saturday. This pushed the global death toll above 3,000.

9:09 a.m. The Nikkei Stock Average fell 293.17 points, or 1.4%, to 20,849.79 yen after trading opened on Monday. Investor sentiment is worsening due to the epidemic. The yen rose to the 107 per dollar level.

4:56 a.m. Global corporate bond issuances in January and February fell 6% on the year to $364 billion as of Thursday, as the new coronavirus wreaks havoc on business and sends investors fleeing to safe assets, according to Dealogic. The trend, particularly pronounced in Asia, comes in stark contrast to 2019, when a favorable fundraising environment pushed up offerings to a record $2.5 trillion.

4 a.m. Iran's death toll from the new coronavirus has reached 54, with the number of people infected reaching 978, a health ministry spokesman told state TV.

1:40 a.m. South Korean President Moon Jae-in urged Japan to work with his country to contain "the crisis," referring to the growing COVID19 outbreak in a speech commemorating resistance to Japanese rule more than a century ago.

1 a.m. Italy's coronavirus death toll has risen to 34, five more than a day earlier, officials said on Sunday. The cabinet is set to approve measures worth 3.6 billion euros ($3.5 billion) to help companies through the epidemic, Economy Minister Roberto Gualtieri said. The head of Italy's Civil Protection Agency said the cumulative number of confirmed cases had jumped to 1,694 from 1,128 on Saturday.

A display shows the latest information on the spread of the novel coronavirus worldwide during a crisis meeting of government officials in Berlin on Feb. 28.   © Reuters

Sunday, March 1

9:13 p.m. China's copper industry, hobbled by the epidemic, has been forced to store vast amounts of sulfuric acid, a byproduct of the smelting process that is normally sold off.

8:40 p.m. The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany has jumped to 117 from 66, the Robert Koch Institute for disease control said on Sunday.

6:42 p.m. Japan's work-from-home devotees are creating demand for office furniture.

5:30 p.m. Japan and China are discussing postponing Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit in April at least until the fall as the nations combat the growing outbreak, sources said.

5:10 p.m. South Korea confirmed 586 new cases, bringing the total number of coronavirus infections in the country to 3,736. The nation also reported an 18th death.

1:31 p.m. Thailand announced its first coronavirus death, a 35-year-old man.

1:11 p.m. Armenia reported its first coronavirus infection, in a citizen returning from neighboring Iran.

10:46 a.m. Australia has confirmed its first coronavirus death, a 78-year-old who was aboard the ill-fated Diamond Princess.

8:22 a.m. The U.S. raised its travel advisory to regions of South Korea and Italy to its highest level, while increasing restrictions on travelers from Iran.

Saturday, February 29

8:23 p.m. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said his government will provide subsidies to help working parents cope with school closures aimed at containing the epidemic.

7:49 p.m. After recording the biggest daily jump in infections -- 813 new cases took the tally to 3,150 -- South Korea urged citizens to stay indoors and warned of a "critical moment" in the nation's battle against the virus. South Korea is grappling with the largest outbreak outside China and has suffered 17 deaths.

A veterinarian scans a microchip in a tiger at Sriracha Tiger Zoo in Chonburi province, Thailand, in October 2016.   © Reuters

3:10 p.m. Chinese President Xi Jingping issued a directive banning wildlife smuggling, giving a shot in the arm to Thai investigators who have been battling the illegal trade for decades. Thailand is a key node for traffickers looking to move their catches from the forests of Africa to markets in China.

11:13 a.m. China's official Purchasing Managers' Index fell to a record low of 35.7 in February from 50.0 in January, the National Bureau of Statistics said, well below the 50-point mark that separates monthly growth from contraction.

10:20 a.m. South Korea confirmed 594 new cases, bringing the total number of coronavirus infections in the country to 2,931.

9:40 a.m. Mainland China had 427 new confirmed cases on Friday, the country's National Health Commission said. The total number of confirmed cases in mainland China is 79,251. The death toll is at 2,835, up 47 from Thursday.

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

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