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Coronavirus: Free to read

Coronavirus: Week of May 10 to May 16, Trump calls 14 vaccines promising

Indonesia fell into trade deficit in April; global deaths top 300,000

Countries around the world are racing to create a vaccine for COVID-19.   © 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 4,438,371, according to Johns Hopkins Univertsity.

The worldwide death toll has hit 302,115.

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

(Source photo by AP) 

Here are the latest developments (Tokyo time):

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UPDATES CLOSED

Saturday, May 16

11:10 a.m. China reports eight new confirmed COVID-19 cases for May 15, up from four the previous day. Six of the eight cases are so-called imported infections, while two are locally transmitted in northeastern Jilin province. The number of new asymptomatic cases of the coronavirus rose to 13 from 11.

9:30 a.m. Italy's government on Saturday approves a decree which will allow travel to and from abroad from June 3, as it moves to loosen one of Europe's most rigid coronavirus lockdowns.

7:50 a.m. J.C. Penney files for bankruptcy protection on Friday, the latest among traditional brick-and-mortar retailers to crumble as prolonged store closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic deliver the final blow to troubled businesses.

7:30 a.m. Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway said on Friday it has sold much of its stake in Goldman Sachs Group, despite the billionaire's assurance that the banking sector was not a "primary worry" for him during the coronavirus pandemic.

4:50 a.m. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the state would join New Jersey, Connecticut and Delaware in reopening beaches for the Memorial Day weekend, in a move designed to prevent people from crossing state borders for a respite from the coronavirus lockdown.

4:40 a.m. China's economy shows signs of a resurgence thanks to Beijing stimulus efforts amid the pandemic, with industrial production growing 3.9% on the year in April.

2:11 a.m. U.S. President Donald Trump said the U.S. government would invest in all the top coronavirus vaccine candidates and said a list had been narrowed to 14 promising possibilities with a plan to narrow further. He expressed his hope that a vaccine would be in place before the end of the year and said his administration would mobilize its forces to get a vaccine distributed once one was in place.

Friday, May 15

7:32 p.m. Japanese apparel giant Renown will enter bankruptcy proceedings, Nikkei learned on Friday. With many people staying inside because of the new coronavirus, clothing sales plummeted and the company's financing reached its limit.

People cross a street in Tokyo on Friday. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has announced the end of the state of emergency for most regions of the country, but restrictions are being kept in place in Tokyo and seven other high-risk areas.   © AP

7:12 p.m. Indian food delivery platform Zomato says it will lay off about 13% of employees and temporarily cut pay by up to 50% across the organization as its business has been "severely affected" by the coronavirus lockdown. "A large number of restaurants have already shut down permanently, and we know that this is just the tip of the iceberg," founder and CEO Deepinder Goyal said in a note to employees.

6:55 p.m. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government announced on Friday a road map for easing restrictions on business operations and going out by residents. The Japanese capital unveiled three numerical targets: the number of new infections must be lower than 20 a day, the proportion of unknown infection routes must be lower than 50% and the weekly rate of increase in positive cases must be less than that of the previous week.

6:06 p.m. Rapid test kits unveiled in Singapore on Friday promise to help governments worldwide assess the true spread of the coronavirus and the extent of public immunity. The kits, called cPass, signal whether a subject has developed antibodies, or a biological response to fight the disease. The process takes only an hour.

6:03 p.m. Indonesia reports 490 new infections, down from 568 on Thursday and bringing the archipelago's overall totals to 16,496 cases, 1,076 fatalities and 3,803 recoveries.

6 p.m. Japan's megabanks expect a double-digit profit decline for the current fiscal year, after reporting a jump in asset writedowns and loan loss provisions for the 12 months through March. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, the nation's largest banking group, reported a 40% drop in net profit to 528 billion yen for the past fiscal year.

5:40 p.m. Germany plunged into recession after its steepest quarterly contraction since the 2009 financial crisis as shops and factories were shut down in mid-March, preliminary data shows. The 2.2% first-quarter contraction could portend more bad news for the economy.

5:20 p.m. Nissan Motor has registered with the Japanese government to issue up to 500 billion yen ($4.7 billion) in bonds within two years to prepare for a possible deterioration of earnings by increasing funds on hand.

4:31 p.m. Tokyo has only nine new cases, sources tell Nikkei, marking the first day of single-digit infections since March 22.

3:30 p.m. Taiwan's Foxconn posted an almost 90% drop in first-quarter profit Friday, as the coronavirus pandemic disrupted production and hit demand from Apple and other major clients. The world's largest contract electronics manufacturer reported a net profit of $2.1 billion New Taiwan dollars ($70.25 million) for the January to March quarter.

2:30 p.m. Cathay Pacific Airways said on Friday that it made an unaudited loss of $4.5 billion Hong Kong dollars ($580.53 million) at its full-service airlines during the January to April quarter and pointed to a "very bleak" outlook as the coronavirus pandemic has grounded planes globally.

2:00 p.m. India confirms nearly 82,000 cases, with 3,967 new infections reported on Friday, up from 3,722 recorded on Thursday. The country's tally now stands at 81,970 with 2,649 deaths.

1:20 p.m. Indonesia's April imports plummeted 18.5% to $12.5 billion, the biggest fall since October 2015, underlining weak domestic demand due to the pandemic. Exports dropped 7.0% on year to $12.1 billion, the sharpest fall in eight months. The country booked a $344.7 million trade deficit in the month, its first deficit after two months of surpluses.

12:30 p.m. Japan's beloved summer high school baseball championship is likely to be canceled, sources tell Nikkei. The Japan High School Baseball Federation will discuss next week whether to cancel the event at Koshien Stadium in Hyogo Prefecture when it holds a board meeting on Wednesday.

11:30 a.m. China's industrial output rose 3.9% in April from a year earlier, data show, expanding for the first time this year. But consumption remained weak with retail sales falling 7.5% in the month as the country slowly reopens its economy from icoronavirus lockdown.

10:55 a.m. Singapore Airlines says it will slash capital spending by 12% to 5.3 billion Singapore dollars ($3.72 billion) from a previously planned SG$6 billion in the financial year ending March 31, 2021. The airline on Thursday evening reported its first-ever annual loss, citing poor fuel hedging bets and the collapse in demand driven by the coronavirus pandemic.

10:33 a.m. The Asian Development Bank says the coronavirus could cost the global economy between $5.8 trillion and $8.8 trillion -- equal to 6.4% to 9.7% of gross domestic product. The loss estimates are significantly higher than the $2 trillion to $4.1 trillion the ADB predicted on April 3.

Health care workers at a hospital in New York on May 13: Johns Hopkins says that more than 300,000 people have died worldwide since the coronavirus outbreak began last year.   © Reuters

10:30 a.m. Japan will test around 10,000 people for coronavirus antibodies starting next month, the health minister says. The tests, which determine whether someone has had the virus, will be conducted in certain areas of the country rather than nationwide. Japan lifted a state of emergency in 39 of its 47 prefectures on Thursday.

10:00 a.m. The global death toll linked to the coronavirus pandemic now exceeds 300,000, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University, with more than 4.4 million people infected since the outbreak began in China late last year.

9:30 a.m. China reports four new coronavirus cases for May 14, up from three cases a day earlier. All were locally transmitted, the National Health Commission said on Friday. The number of new asymptomatic cases fell slightly to 11 from 12 a day earlier.

8:40 a.m. The Vietnamese government reports 24 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total confirmed cases in the country to 312, as of Thursday. All of the new cases are Vietnamese citizens returning home from Russia. Vietnam has had 29 straight days with no local infections.

5:26 a.m. U.S. President Donald Trump says he is not on speaking terms with Chinese President Xi Jinping and that Washington could go as far as severing the "whole relationship" with Beijing if trade relations do not improve.

5:08 a.m. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has told officials at the world body to weigh holding this year's General Assembly in September on schedule but with pre-recorded, not live, speeches from world leaders.

4:54 a.m. Investment funds are targeting logistics facilities in Asia, anticipating that growth in e-commerce will drive strong demand even after the pandemic.

4:49 a.m. Bitcoin rapidly gains traction in emerging economies battered by the pandemic-triggered capital flight.

3:24 a.m. Mexico's central bank lowered its benchmark interest rate 0.5 percentage point to 5.5%, making its eighth consecutive rate cut.

1:14 a.m. Japan, its Asian neighbors, European countries and the U.S. are all looking to carve their own paths toward the same destination -- an exit from the coronavirus crisis that has hammered their economies.

12:44 a.m. Virgin Australia's home state is considering a capital infusion or a loan to assist the financially distressed airline as it seeks to protect a major employer responsible for thousands of jobs.

12:43 a.m. Delta Air Lines says it will retire its Boeing wide-body 777 aircraft and other planes to cut costs amid a slump in air travel demand.

Thursday, May 14

11:38 p.m. Japan's government has proposed paying as much as 200,000 yen ($1,870) to students at risk of being unable to afford tuition because of financial losses from the coronavirus pandemic.

11:00 p.m. New U.S. applications for unemployment benefits totaled 2.98 million in the week to May 9, the Department of Labor reports, falling slightly from the previous week but coming in above market forecasts for 2.7 million.

10:57 p.m. Japan reports 99 new cases of COVID-19 as of 10 p.m., bringing the total to 16,005.

Migrant workers and their families wait for transport in India's Ahmedabad to reach their home state of northern Uttar Pradesh on May 14.   © Reuters

10:29 p.m. India's Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announces a 2 trillion rupee ($26.4 billion) concessional credit boost for 25 million farmers, free rice or wheat for 80 million migrant workers for two months, and a special credit facility worth 50 billion rupees that will support 5 million street vendors, among a slew of measures in a special economic package.

8:09 p.m. Singapore Airlines logs a net loss of 732 million Singapore dollars ($515 million) for the first quarter, swinging from a net profit of SG$202 million in the same period last year. The company's net loss for the fiscal year through March reached SG$212 million, marking the airline's first-ever annual loss since its split from Malaysia-Singapore Airlines in 1972.

7:54 p.m. Muslim-majority Malaysia says it will ease a ban on mass prayers in mosques on Friday, ahead of this month's Eid festival and following last week's reopening of many businesses. The country has had 6,819 infections and 112 deaths.

7:40 p.m. The Japanese-French alliance of Nissan Motor, Renault and Mitsubishi Motors has been forced into a major reshuffle by the coronavirus pandemic. This could include Nissan closing a factory in Barcelona, shifting production to Renault's plants and slashing production capacity by 20% in the fiscal year through March 2023.

6:18 p.m. The Philippines reports 258 new infections, down from 268 on Wednesday, bringing the total to 11,876 with 790 deaths.

An imam leads a prayer inside empty National Mosque in Kuala Lumpur on March 20, after all mosques in Malaysia suspended Friday prayers during the country's restrictions on movement prompted by the spread of the coronavirus.   © Reuters

6:05 p.m. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lifts the state of emergency in 39 of the country's 47 prefectures. Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto are among the prefectures that remain in a state of emergency.

5:46 p.m. Indonesia reports 568 new infections, lower than the country's biggest daily spike of 689 the previous day. The total stands at 16,006, which includes 1,043 deaths and 3,518 patients who have recovered.

3:10 p.m. India reaches 78,000 confirmed cases, with 3,722 new infections reported Thursday, compared with 3,525 on Wednesday. The country's tally stands at 78,003 cases, with 2,549 deaths.

3:00 p.m. Thailand will create a fund worth up to 100 billion baht ($3.12 billion) to support small businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak. "Small operators still have no access to funding, which is a worry," a deputy prime minister said Thursday. The country reports one new coronavirus case and no new deaths on the day.

2:30 p.m. South Korea is aggressively testing and tracing thousands of people who went to nightclubs in central Seoul, in a bid to prevent an explosion of infections from a new coronavirus cluster. About 35,000 people have been tested in relation to the club cluster. To date, 133 people related to nine clubs have been confirmed with COVID-19, making it the second-largest cluster so far in Seoul.

Workers at a supermarket in a shopping mall in Bangkok don protective gear as the mall prepares to reopen.   © Reuters

12:44 p.m. Japan's coronavirus panel greenlights ending the state of emergency in 39 of the country's 47 prefectures. The nation is set to mostly end the emergency today, though Tokyo and Osaka will remain on the list of potential virus hot spots.

11:50 a.m. Australia reports its biggest monthly jobs decline on record, with April job losses hitting 594,300 even as social distancing eases. Unemployment rose to 6.2% from 5.2% in March. "This is a tough day for Australia, a very tough day," Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

11:10 a.m. Japanese economic revitalization minister Yasutoshi Nishimura tells an advisory panel of health experts Thursday morning that the government believes it is appropriate to lift the state of emergency for the 39 prefectures where cases have been falling and sufficient capacity exists to provide medical care.

11:05 a.m. New Zealand unveils a record $30 billion in stimulus spending to help the economy, while warning it may not be enough to stop job losses and business failures.

10:22 a.m. South Korea reports 29 new cases, up from 26 on Wednesday, bringing the country's total to 10,991 with 260 deaths.

9:55 a.m. China reports three locally transmitted cases Wednesday, down from seven a day earlier. The number of new asymptomatic cases rose on that day to 12 from eight on Tuesday.

8:00 a.m. U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday describes as unacceptable a warning given by top U.S. infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci this week about the dangers of reopening the economy and schools too quickly. "To me it's not an acceptable answer, especially when it comes to schools," Trump tells reporters at the White House. Fauci warned that a premature lifting of lockdowns could lead to additional outbreaks of the virus.

Top U.S. infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci warned senators that a premature reopening of the economy risked creating additional outbreaks of the deadly coronavirus.   © Reuters

7:30 a.m. Brazil confirms a daily record of 11,385 new coronavirus cases Wednesday, along with 749 deaths, according to data from the country's health ministry. Brazil has registered 188,974 cases since the outbreak began, passing France's tally of 177,700 confirmed and suspected cases, the sixth highest in the world.

7:00 a.m. China-linked hackers are breaking into American organizations carrying out research into COVID-19, U.S. officials said on Wednesday, warning scientists and public health officials to be on the lookout for cybertheft. The Chinese Embassy in Washington condemns the allegations as "lies."

5:00 a.m. U.S. stocks fall after the Fed chair gives a somber outlook, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing 517 points, or 2.2%, lower and the S&P 500 dropping 1.75%.

4:00 a.m. The head of Toyota Motor says measures taken to fight the coronavirus outbreak have sharply cut corporate bureaucracy and given him more time to talk to global peers.

2:09 a.m. Bullet train service in eastern Japan will be slashed by about 40% indefinitely as the country's coronavirus outbreak disrupts plans by business travelers and tourists.

2:03 a.m. The Japanese government will inject cash into large and midsize corporations that are struggling in the face of the coronavirus, supplementing low-interest loans and subsidies already in place.

Wednesday, May 13

11:47 p.m. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell says "additional policy measures" may be needed to prevent greater long-term damage to the economy from the coronavirus pandemic.

11:35 p.m. Japan moves to bring an early end to the state of emergency Thursday in 39 of its 47 prefectures, though greater Tokyo and Osaka will remain on the list of potential coronavirus hot spots.

9:30 p.m. Gilead Sciences partners with India's Cipla and Jubilant Life Sciences, Pakistan's Ferozsons Laboratories and two other generic pharmaceutical makers to ramp up the supply of remdesivir, its closely watched investigational coronavirus drug.

8:15 p.m. Nobel laureate Shinya Yamanaka, known for his stem cell research, notes there is an imbalance in Japan's coronavirus testing -- significant numbers of tests are done to confirm recoveries, rather than find new cases. With the state of emergency having slowed the spread, he says now is the time to address this.

7:00 p.m. Hong Kong reports two locally transmitted coronavirus cases -- its first in more than three weeks. This follows the relaxation of some social distancing measures earlier this month, including the reopening of entertainment venues, which raised concerns about a new wave. Government health advisers say plans to reopen schools later in May could be derailed if new clusters emerge. The city has 1,051 confirmed infections.

6:05 p.m. The Philippines reports 268 new infections, up from 264 yesterday, bringing the total to 11,618 with 772 deaths.

5:47 p.m. Indonesia announces 689 new cases, the biggest daily spike so far. This raises the total to 15,438, including 1,028 deaths and 3,287 patients who have recovered.

5:25 p.m. Despite the coronavirus outbreak, the Indonesia Stock Exchange continues to list companies at a brisk pace. There have been 27 listings so far this year, propelling Indonesia to the top of Southeast Asia's IPO rankings in 2020.

4:06 p.m. Sony's net profit falls 36.5% to 582 billion yen ($5.43 billion) for the year through March, mainly due to weak sales of TVs, digital cameras and other electronics following coronavirus lockdowns around the world.

2:49 p.m. Japan's April Economy Watchers Survey current economic conditions index and future economic conditions index have both reached their lowest readings since 2002, when comparable data became available. The current economic conditions index fell 6.3 points from the previous month to 7.9, according to the Cabinet Office.

1:54 p.m. Thailand reports no new cases for the first time since March 9, standing at 3,017 with 56 fatalities.

1:37 p.m. The Malaysian economy grew 0.7% in the first quarter of 2020, well off the 4.5% pace recorded a year earlier, as the coronavirus pandemic took its toll.

12:47 p.m. Japanese sumo wrestler Shobushi, 28, dies from complications related to the virus, according to the Japan Sumo Association.

11:55 a.m. New Zealand doubles quantitative easing due to the pandemic, with the key interest rate unchanged at 0.25%.

Fujirebio's coronavirus test kit went on sale today in Japan. (Photo courtesy of Fujirebio)

11:12 a.m. The Philippines forecasts yearly GDP to contract 3.4% to 2.0% -- worse than initial estimates -- as quarantines imposed in mid-March extend to May 31. The country expects GDP to rebound to between 7.1% and 8.1% in 2021.

10:27 a.m. South Korea reports 26 new cases, down from 27 a day ago, bringing the country total to 10,962 with 259 deaths after clusters were found at a number of Seoul nightclubs.

9:27 a.m. Japan's Miraca Holdings announces that subsidiary Fujirebio has government approval for a test kit that allows quick coronavirus diagnosis, with sales starting today. This is the first antigen test kit approved in the country.

6:15 a.m. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence is keeping his distance from President Donald Trump for a few days in the wake of his press secretary testing positive for the coronavirus, White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany told reporters on Tuesday.

4:00 a.m. U.S. stocks sell off on concerns over a second wave of coronavirus outbreaks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average falls more than 450 points, or 1.9%, while the S&P 500 declines 2%

3:33 a.m. New York's Broadway, which took in $1.8 billion in revenue last year, will remain closed until at least Sept. 6, an association of producers and theater operators says.

A man walks past posters for closed Broadway shows in New York's Theatre District.   © Reuters

2:12 a.m. Russia now has the second-most confirmed COVID-19 cases in the world, trailing only the U.S., after 10 straight days of increases of at least 10,000 patients, according to data from Johns Hopkins University's Coronavirus Resource Center. Russia's more than 230,000 cases surpass the U.K.'s 227,000, the next-largest national total.

12:33 a.m. Shareholders of Li & Fung, the world's largest sourcing company, give the green light to a 7.2 billion Hong Kong dollar ($928.9 million) proposal that will allow the founding family to take the company private during the current difficult business environment.

Tuesday, May 12

11:56 p.m. India announces a 20 trillion rupee ($265 billion) economic package, which is 10% of GDP, to help small and midsize enterprises, farmers and others.

10:50 p.m. Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov says he has tested positive for the novel coronavirus and was receiving treatment, Reuters reported, quoting Russian news agencies.

10:20 p.m. Singapore will test all the more than 300,000 residents in housing for migrant workers, which have born the brunt of the country's coronavirus outbreak, the government says.

9:04 p.m. Zhang Xuezhong, a well-known Chinese constitutional expert and former lawyer, was briefly detained by public safety authorities after releasing a document criticizing the constitutional guarantee of the Chinese Communist Party's one-party rule, Kyodo reports. Zhang has also recently claimed that China's government intentionally concealed information about the new coronavirus.

8:06 p.m. India's Health Minister Harsh Vardhan says the country has built the capacity to conduct 100,000 COVID-19 tests per day, achieving the target much ahead of its deadline of May 31. "Currently, we have 347 government and 137 private labs conducting the tests across India," he said, pointing out that in February the country had just one such laboratory.

7:46 p.m. The Philippines has reported 264 new infections, down from 292 on Monday, bringing the total to 11,350 with 751 deaths.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte speaks to his cabinet on May 11: The government announced the following day that it will partially reopen the economy on May 16.   © AP

7:19 p.m. The State Bank of Vietnam said that, effective Wednesday, it would cut its refinancing rate to 4.5% from 5% to prop up the country's economy which has been hit by the coronavirus pandemic, Reuters reported. This is the central bank's second rate cut in less than two months.

6:35 p.m. Thailand's cabinet on Tuesday approved a plan to spend 400 billion baht ($12.45 billion) on job creation as a part of 1.9 trillion baht stimulus package, Reuters reported. Up to 26% of the country's total workforce could lose their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Thai Chamber of Commerce has estimated.

6:30 p.m. Bangladesh says Tuesday that 11 people died in the past 24 hours from COVID-19, bringing the death toll to 250, according to The Daily Star, one of the country's English-language newspapers. The total number of people infected has reached 16,607. The South Asian economy is now at risk of seeing millions of its citizens pushed back into poverty due to the outbreak and lockdown.

5:51 p.m. Indonesia's total number of deaths from the coronavirus infection has passed 1,000. The country on Tuesday reported 484 new infections, double Monday's count and bringing the archipelago's total infections to 14,749. It has also reported 16 new fatalities, bringing the total to 1,007, while 3,063 people have recovered.

4:42 p.m. Tokyo confirms 28 new coronavirus cases, marking the third straight day with the number coming in under 30, sources tell Nikkei. The capital registered 15 on Monday and 22 on Sunday.

3:46 p.m. Honda Motor scraps its earnings guidance for this year in a sign of the uncertainty created in the auto industry by the coronavirus crisis. The automaker posted a net profit of 455.7 billion yen for the 12 months to the end of March, down 25.3% from the previous year. Its revenue fell 6% to 14.9 trillion yen.

2:17 p.m. The Philippines will partially reopen its economy, starting May 16. Enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila and the nearby industrial province of Laguna will be extended until May 31. But the lockdown will be eased to allow activities, such as manufacturing, with 50% staffing. Many provinces outside the capital are under "general" community quarantine, allowing more businesses to reopen with strict physical distancing.

2:15 p.m. India's coronavirus cases exceed 70,000, with 3,604 new infections reported Tuesday, a decline from the 4,213 cases recorded the previous day. The nationwide tally now stands at 70,756, with 2,293 deaths.

1:48 p.m. Foxconn founder Terry Gou, in a rare public appearance on Tuesday, said the ongoing trade war and pandemic will only accelerate the reshaping of global supply chains. Foxconn's facilities worldwide are helping local governments by supplying medical resources, such as medical-grade ventilators and masks. Foxconn's Wisconsin complex has already started making ventilators in collaboration with U.S. company Medtronic. Foxconn's Taiwanese plants are also making masks that are being requisitioned by the government, Gou said.

1:10 p.m. Toyota Motor says it expects operating profit of 500 billion yen ($4.66 billion) for the year ending in March 2021, which would be a decline of 80% from 2.44 trillion yen in the year ended this past March, citing the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

1:00 p.m. Malaysia's industrial production index fell 4.9% from a year earlier, the sharpest decline in nearly a decade as measures to curb the coronavirus severely disrupted activity. The index measures output from the manufacturing, mining and electricity sectors.

12:30 p.m. China's factory prices fell in April at their sharpest pace in four years, underscoring slumping industrial demand in the world's second-largest economy as global growth withers on the coronavirus pandemic. The producer price index (PPI) declined 3.1% from the same month last year, according to the the National Bureau of Statistics.

12:25 p.m. Lauded Japanese novelist and perennial Nobel Prize in Literature candidate Haruki Murakami will host a radio special to boost the nation's spirits amid the continuing coronavirus state of emergency. Murakami, whose breakout novel "Norwegian Wood" was published in 1987, will spin his favorite songs and solicit listener comments during the "Stay Home Special" program, the name being a nod to Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike's request for residents to avoid going out for unnecessary and non-urgent purposes.

11:20 a.m. Japan's health minister says that some hospitals in the country have begun to receive deliveries of remdesivir, a newly approved coronavirus drug made by American company Gilead. While no amounts were disclosed, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has asked Gilead to supply the drug for about 600 seriously ill patients, according to sources. Japan approved remdesivir for COVID-19 on May 7.

11:00 a.m. South Korea confirms 27 new cases, 21 of which are linked to nightclubs in Seoul's Itaewon district. Seoul has delayed reopening of schools by one week to May 20 as worries over a second wave increase. The country has had 10,936 confirmed infections and 258 deaths. CJ Cheiljedang, a major food company, said that one employee at its Busan plant was confirmed to have COVID-19 after visiting an Itaewon nightclub on May 2. The company shut down production lines in the facility which makes cooked rice.

10:18 a.m. Sony has decided to extend telecommuting until May 31, meaning the total period of stay-at-home work will exceed two months after beginning in late March. The company had originally aimed to end the measure on May 15.

8:10 a.m. Tesla CEO Elon Musk confirmed Monday that the electric car maker has restarted its California factory, defying local government orders aimed at containing the coronavirus.

7:50 a.m. Brazil recorded 5,632 cases and 396 deaths on Monday, bringing the country total to 168,331 cases and 11,519 deaths on the day.

5:00 a.m. U.S. stocks remain largely flat as investors are torn between the benefits of reopening the economy and concerns about a possible second wave of COVID-19. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closes down 109 points, or 0.5%, while the S&P 500 inches up less than 0.1%.

4:20 a.m. The White House tells staff working in the West Wing, where the daily operations of President Donald Trump's administration are carried out, to wear masks at all times in the building, according to U.S. media reports. The memo comes after two officials tested positive for the coronavirus last week.

2:06 a.m. The Japanese government starts working with more than 400 domestic companies to bolster production of medical suppliers to reduce their dependence on China.

1:45 a.m. The World Health Organization's director general has "no mandate" to invite Taiwan to take part in its assembly next week, the body's lawyer says. Taiwan, with the strong support of the United States, has stepped up its lobbying to be allowed to take part as an observer at next week's meeting of the WHO's decision-making body

1:15 a.m. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he expects several regions in the state to be able to begin a phased reopening as soon as this weekend after the stay-at-home order expires Friday.

A worker wipes down a grab rail in the New York City subway system, which is shut down from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. nightly for disinfection. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said May 11 that he expects several regions in the state outside New York City to be able to begin phased reopenings as soon as this weekend.   © Reuters

Regions meeting criteria in federal guidelines will resume construction and manufacturing operations, along with select retail businesses using only curbside pickup, in phase one. Finance, professional services and other retailers fall into phase two, followed by the hospitality industry. Separately, New York City launches free antibody testing this week with a daily capacity of 5,000.

Monday, May 11

10:38 p.m. China has approached Japan about reviving business travel between the two countries, suggesting it will allow entry to those who test negative for COVID-19 and meet other conditions, Nikkei has learned.

10:30 p.m. U.S. stocks open lower as concerns grew over a second wave of coronavirus infections with the reopening of economies in several countries. The Dow Jones Industrial Average falls 74.87 points, or 0.31%, at the open to 24,256.45. The S&P 500 opens lower by 14.34 points, or 0.49%, at 2,915.46.

6:49 p.m. Tokyo reports 15 new confirmed infections, fewer than the 22 it reported a day earlier and the lowest daily total since a state of emergency was announced on April 7. Tokyo now counts a combined total of 4,883 confirmed cases.

6:26 p.m. Japan's Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group will issue a corporate bond in response to the coronavirus pandemic, a first for the country. The financial services behemoth aims to issue a 60 billion yen ($559 million) bond by early June. Funds raised through the bond will be used to help finance small and medium-sized businesses that are struggling amid the outbreak.

6:25 p.m. The Philippines reports 292 new infections, up from 184 yesterday, bringing its aggregate total to 11,086 with 726 deaths.

6:10 p.m. Russia overtakes Italy and the U.K. in coronavirus infections as it now has the third-highest total after a record daily increase of 11,656, announced hours before President Vladimir Putin was to review the country's lockdown regime. The official tally surged to 221,344, meaning Russia now only trails Spain and the United States.

6:08 p.m. Indonesia reported 233 new infections on Monday, the lowest tally in two weeks after the highest daily spike over the weekend, bringing total confirmed case to 14,265. There have been 991 reported deaths so far, and 2,881 recoveries.

4:50 p.m. China's monthly auto sales rose for the first time in almost two years as the country eased virus-related curbs and reopened for business. The April sales reached 2.07 million units, up 4.4% from a year earlier, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said.

4:30 p.m. Taiwan marks its 29th consecutive day of zero new local cases. Total confirmed cases stand at 440 with seven deaths. The government today said it will allow banquets of up to 250 people, such as for weddings, as long as each table sits only eight and tables are 1.5 meters apart.

3:50 p.m. China reports 31 new confirmed cases over the weekend, of which 22 people contracted the coronavirus inside the country, raising concerns over a second wave in China. Jilin Province, on the border with North Korea, reported 14 cases, and the city of Wuhan, where the coronavirus was originated, reported five.

3:30 p.m. China's monthly auto sales rose for the first time in almost two years in April, industry data shows, as more customers visited showrooms after authorities loosened coronavirus-related restrictions. April sales hit 2.07 million cars, up 4.4% from a year earlier, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. This follows a 43% drop in March and a 79% plunge in February.

2:15 p.m. New Zealand businesses including malls, cinemas, cafes and gyms will be allowed to reopen from Thursday as tight restrictions put in place to stop the spread of the coronavirus are further eased on Monday. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, "The upshot is that in 10 days' time we will have reopened most businesses in New Zealand, and sooner than many other countries around the world."

2:09 p.m. Thailand reports six cases, up from five the previous day, bringing the country total to 3,015 with 56 deaths. As new cases remain low, the government plans to ease restrictions in Bangkok, with department stores expected to reopen May 16 on a restricted basis.

1:32 p.m. India reports its highest single-day increase with 4,213 new cases, compared with 3,277 on Sunday, bringing the country total to 67,152 with 2,206 deaths. Indian Railways will phase in passenger services from Tuesday with trains from New Delhi to 15 major cities.

Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries will cut its budget for its new 70-seat Space Jet by half this fiscal year, citing an uncertain outlook for airlines due to the coronavirus pandemic.

1:08 p.m. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries plans to reduce the development budget for its 70-seat Space Jet aircraft for the fiscal year ending March 2021 to about 60 billion yen, half that of the previous year. The decision was prompted by uncertain demand, as the coronavirus pandemic hammers the earnings of airlines.

1:00 p.m. Tokyo stocks hit a two-month high as the benchmark Nikkei gained 1.6% to 20,500 in early afternoon trading, spurred by optimism that Japan's lockdown will soon be eased.

12:20 p.m. Japan's professional baseball league, the NPB, and its professional soccer league, J-League, meet jointly with medical experts but fail to agree on a restart of games suspended since March. The experts say it is hard to say when resuming will be safe, given the risk of new outbreaks.

10:33 a.m. South Korea confirms 35 new cases, up from 34 a day ago. Total infections reach 10,909 and 256 deaths as Seoul's nightclubs become new hotspots of the epidemic.

10:30 a.m. Walt Disney reopens Shanghai Disneyland after a roughly three-month closure, vastly reducing visitors while screening for the virus and requiring masks and social distancing. The company will keep visitors "far below" 24,000 -- or 30% of daily capacity -- as requested by the government. Tickets for the reopening sold out quickly. Meanwhile, Tokyo Disney Resort remains closed.

A visitor to Shanghai Disney Resort snaps a selfie as the popular amusement park reopens on May 11.   © Reuters

9:50 a.m. China reports 17 new cases on May 10, up from a day earlier and the highest daily rise since April 28. Seven of the new cases were so-called imported cases in Inner Mongolia involving overseas travellers. Wuhan reported five new locally transmitted cases, marking the highest increase in the city since March 11. Experts in China warn countries that reopen too early will face a second wave.

6:24 a.m. Japan considers lifting the state of emergency declaration in most prefectures this month, although it will keep urging caution in Tokyo and some other areas.

6:22 a.m. China locks down a northeastern city near the North Korean border as new coronavirus cases are found there, leading to concern that a new wave is coming.

4:56 a.m. Sony looks to enhance next-generation robots from avatarin, a startup launched by Japanese carrier ANA Holdings, as interest grows in remote-control machines that can take the place of humans.

4:00 a.m. The long-awaited sale of Air India is put off again, with the government extending by another two months the deadline for submission of preliminary bids to buy a 100% stake in the loss-making national carrier.

1:51 a.m. Japan hopes to test 400,000 people per week for the novel coronavirus, with the health ministry planning to approve the nation's first antigen test kit for COVID-19 on Wednesday.

Sunday, May 10

7:31 p.m. South Korea reports 34 new infections, the highest since April 9, after a small outbreak emerged around a slew of nightclubs, prompting the authorities to temporary close all nighttime entertainment facilities around the capital.

5:42 p.m. Indonesia reports 387 new coronavirus infections, taking the total to 14,032. The Southeast Asian country also reports 14 more people have died from COVID-19, raising the total to 973.

5:39 p.m. Malaysian health authorities report 67 new coronavirus cases, bringing the cumulative total to 6,656, and no new deaths.

5:26 p.m. The Philippine Health Department confirms 184 new cases, taking the Southeast Asian nation's total reported infections to 10,794. Fifteen more deaths related to COVID-19 are reported, bringing the toll to 719.

4:09 p.m. Singapore registers 876 new coronavirus infections, its health ministry says, taking the city-state's total to 23,336.

3:47 p.m. Malaysia extends movement and business curbs by another four weeks to June 9, amid a gradual reopening of economic activity.

2:18 p.m. China's National Health Commission reports 14 new cases Saturday -- the most since April 28 -- including the first infection in more than a month in the city of Wuhan, where the coronavirus outbreak was first detected late last year, Reuters reports.

2:00 p.m. South Korean President Moon Jae-in warns of a second coronavirus wave as infections rebound to a one-month high. Moon's warning comes during a speech in Seoul marking the third anniversary of his inauguration.

1:29 p.m. More than 4 million people worldwide have been infected with the new coronavirus, a tally by Johns Hopkins University indicates. The spread shows no sign of abating as infections spike in Latin America and the Middle East.

11:54 a.m. Australia's biggest state, home to Sydney, will allow cafes and restaurants, playgrounds and outdoor pools to reopen Friday after extensive testing shows a sharp slowdown in the spread of the coronavirus, the premier of New South Wales says.

6:13 a.m. Electric-car maker Tesla will leave California and move its headquarters to another state "immediately," CEO Elon Musk says after local health officials refuse to let the company's factory reopen amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Saturday, May 9

5:01 p.m. Mazda Motor has requested 300 billion yen ($2.8 billion) in financing from Japan's three megabanks and other institutions as the automaker braces for further fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

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

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