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Coronavirus: Free to read

Coronavirus: Week of May 2 to May 8, India reports 4,187 more deaths

Philippines extends quarantine for travelers; Hong Kong eases restrictions for vaccinated residents

A man reacts before the cremation of his relative who died from COVID-19, on the banks of the Ganges River at Garhmukteshwar in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, India, on May 6.    © 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 156,494,912, according to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. The worldwide death toll has hit 3,265,524.

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, May 8 (Tokyo time)

1:28 p.m. India reports 4,187 more deaths from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, taking the overall death toll to just under 240,000. New cases confirmed rose by 401,078, increasing the pandemic's total to 21.9 million, according to India's health ministry. This makes it the third consecutive day for new cases in the country to surpass 400,000. 

3:49 a.m. The U.S. calls on the head of the World Health Organization to allow Taiwan to participate as an observer in this month's WHO decision-making meeting, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken says in a statement.

"There is no reasonable justification for Taiwan's continued exclusion from this forum," Blinken says. Taiwan had participated in the World Health Assembly in the past, "prior to objections registered by the government of the People's Republic of China," the top U.S. diplomat says.

The statement echoes a call made by Group of Seven foreign ministers in London this week. Blinken's statement is likely to provoke a reaction from China, which regards the island's status as a nonnegotiable "core interest."

"Global health and global health security challenges do not respect borders nor recognize political disputes," Blinken says. Calling Taiwan a "reliable partner, a vibrant democracy and a force for good in the world," he says the island "offers valuable contributions and lessons learned from its approach" to global health issues.

3:00 a.m. An update on U.K. travel rules from the transport minister.

12:38 a.m. One of China's COVID-19 vaccines gained crucial recognition Friday, nearly one year after its debut, as the World Health Organization approved the shot for emergency use.

The SARS-CoV-2 vaccine by China National Biotec Group (CNBG) -- a unit of state-owned Sinopharm -- joined five Western peers on the WHO's emergency list.

Friday, May 7

8;52 p.m. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga sets a target of vaccinating 1 million people a day, as the country extended an emergency decree now in effect in Tokyo and three prefectures through May 31.

The state of emergency was due to expire on Tuesday, but the Suga administration has decided to fight on against the current wave of coronavirus infections -- an admission that of the battle Japan faces ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, due to start on July 23.

"Vaccines are the key to fighting the ongoing infections," Suga telss reporters in Tokyo on Friday evening. "It will be crucial to accelerate vaccinations" as infections from COVID-19 variants have been increasing in major cities.

7:00 p.m. Hong Kong will relax quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated inbound travelers and local residents who are close contacts of COVID-19 patients, in a bid to boost inoculation rates in the city.

Starting May 12, mandatory hotel quarantine will be shortened from 14 days to seven days for vaccinated travelers from low-risk countries, including Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. Local residents who have receive two shots of vaccine will also be allowed to quarantine at home, instead of in government facilities, and granted a shorter quarantine period.

A worker calls for passengers at the check-in counter of Qatar Airways at Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay City in the Philippines.   © Reuters

6:10 p.m. Travelers entering the Philippines will be required to undergo 14 days of quarantine, up from a week previously, as authorities try to contain more infectious coronavirus variants, the presidential spokesman says.

The new controls will apply regardless of whether a visitor has been vaccinated and the first 10 days of quarantine will be in a government-accredited facility and the remainder at home. Visitors will get a COVID-19 test on the seventh day after arrival, but will still be required to complete a 10-day stay in a facility even if they test negative.

5:22 p.m. Japan extends an emergency decree now in effect in Tokyo and three prefectures through May 31 as the government of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga tries to speed up vaccinations and bring new COVID variants under control before the Olympics open in July.

Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee President Seiko Hashimoto, foreground, called IOC President Thomas Bach's planned visit to Japan in mid-May "very difficult," in remarks in Tokyo on May 7.    © Reuters

5:04 p.m. International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach's planned visit to Japan in mid-May will be "very difficult," amid a resurgence of COVID-19 infections in the country, Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto says. Olympic organizers planned to host Bach who was scheduled to attend a torch relay event on May 17-18. But Hashimoto said: "Honestly speaking, it is very difficult [to bring the trip about]. ... It will likely cause a huge burden on him to visit."

3:30 p.m. Tokyo reports 907 new cases, up from 591 a day earlier. The Japanese government is set to extend a state of emergency that covers Tokyo as well as Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo prefectures through the end of May, and put two more prefectures, Aichi and Fukuoka, under the decree in the coming days.

3:13 p.m. Japan Airlines says it posted a consolidated net loss of 286.6 billion yen ($2.6 billion) for fiscal 2020, marking the biggest yearly loss since it relisted in 2012, amid a sharp decline in passengers due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Drivers stand near auto rickshaw ambulances in New Delhi: India recorded another record daily spike in cases, with 414,188 new infections in the last 24 hours.   © Reuters

1:09 p.m. India records yet another record daily spike in cases, with 414,188 new infections in the last 24 hours, bringing the national total to 21.49 million. Fatalities jumped by 3,915 to 234,083.

12:10 p.m. China's exports grew 32.3% from a year earlier in April, official data shows, beating market expectations as the world's second-largest economy continues to recover from the pandemic. The figure compares with 24.1% growth tipped by a Reuters poll of economists. Imports rose 43.1% from a year earlier, compared with a 42.5% rise tipped by the Reuters poll.

10:17 a.m. South Korea reports 525 new cases, down from 574 a day ago. Its total infections have reached 126,044 with 1,860 deaths. Finance minister Hong Nam-ki said that 200 South Korean residents in India returned to their home country in the morning.

10:00 a.m. Japan plans to extend the current COVID-19 state of emergency in Tokyo and the Osaka region to May 31,Yasutoshi Nishimura, the minister in charge of the government's coronavirus response says. Aichi and Fukuoka prefectures will be added to the emergency, starting Wednesday. The extension and expansion of Japan's third state of emergency during the pandemic is set to be formally approved by the government in the afternoon.

9:20 a.m. China reports 13 new cases for Thursday, up from five cases a day earlier. All the new cases originated from overseas. The number of new asymptomatic cases, which China does not classify as confirmed, rose to 17 from seven a day earlier.

8:50 a.m. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison says citizens stranded in COVID-ravaged India should be able to start returning home starting May 15, after repatriation flights resume. Australian authorities last week banned all travelers from India, including its own citizens, from entering the country due to the surge in COVID-19 cases there, and warned offenders could be prosecuted and penalized.

Japan may approve the use of coronavirus vaccines developed by AstraZeneca and Moderna as soon as May 20, in addition to the previously approved Pfizer and BioNTech shot.   © Reuters

7:00 a.m. Japan may approve the use of coronavirus vaccines developed by AstraZeneca and Moderna as soon as May 20, Nikkei has learned. Japan, which is lagging behind other developed nations in inoculations, so far has approved only the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech. The health ministry plans to hold an expert meeting around that date to discuss approval.

4:15 a.m. U.S. President Joe Biden's decision to back a waiver on patent protections for COVID-19 vaccines lowers one hurdle to broader production of shots, but the specialized skills required in quality control and manufacturing look likely to create another bottleneck.

Thursday, May 6

10:00 p.m. The European Union is willing to discuss a proposal, now backed by the U.S. to waive intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines. "The EU is also ready to discuss any proposals that address the crisis in an effective and pragmatic manner," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a speech to the European University Institute in Florence, Italy.

9:15 p.m. Japanese government is set to extend the state of emergency in Tokyo and three other regions to the end of the month to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Four prefectures -- Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo -- are now under a 17-day state of emergency which is due to expire on May 11, covering the Golden Week spring holidays that ended on Wednesday. Under the new plan, the state of emergency could also be extended to Aichi and Fukuoka prefectures.

7:30 p.m. U.S. drugmaker Pfizer and Germany's BioNTech on Thursday announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the International Olympic Committee to donate doses of their COVID-19 vaccine to inoculate athletes and delegates participating in the Tokyo Olympics this summer.

The drugmakers will start supplying vaccines as early as the end of this month so that athletes and delegates can be fully vaccinated by the opening of the games late July.

6:17 p.m. Japan's capital will seek to extend until May 31 its state of emergency aimed at curbing coronavirus infections, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike says, a move that could spark more questions about its ability to host the Olympics.

Thailand offers to vaccinate foreign residents in the country, with Head of Disease Control Opas Kankawinpong saying, "No one is safe until everyone is safe."    © Reuters

5:00 p.m. Thailand plans to include 3 million foreigners living in the country in its mass vaccination program to protect the entire population. "Anybody living in Thailand, whether they be Thai or foreign, if they want the vaccine, they can get it," Head of Disease Control Opas Kankawinpong told a press briefing. "No one is safe until everyone is safe," he added.

3:20 p.m. New Zealand has halted quarantine-free travel to Australia's state of New South Wales while an investigation is underway to determine the source of two cases announced in Sydney, Chris Hipkins, the minister for COVID-19 response says. The cases in the southeastern state were announced in the last two days.

3:15 p.m. Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike says an extended state of emergency is needed to contain infections that are straining the capital's medical system. Tokyo will discuss the appropriate extension with neighboring prefectures and the central government, Koike said. On Thursday, Tokyo reported 591 cases, down from 621 a day earlier.

Expansion work takes place at a crematorium in Kathmandu, Nepal, as India's latest wave of COVID cases spreads across the border.   © Reuters

1:00 p.m. India reports its highest infection total, 412,262, and a record number of deaths, 3,980, for the past 24 hours. The country has now suffered 21.08 million cumulative cases and 230,168 deaths, according to the health ministry's latest update.

12:50 p.m. Thai consumer confidence dropped to a record low in April, dented by a wave of COVID-19 infections and a slow economic recovery, a survey shows. The consumer index put together by the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce fell to 46 in April from 48.5 in March.

10:20 a.m. Australian authorities try to track the source of a mystery infection in Sydney, the first locally transmitted case in the city in more than a month, warning residents to brace for more infections. Health officials are baffled by the case of a man in his 50s who tested positive on Wednesday, given he had no known links to high-risk jobs or people. The New South Wales state health department issued an alert, naming more than a dozen venues across Sydney visited by the man, including restaurants, cafes and shopping centers.

10:12 a.m. Tokyo stocks rise on the first trading day following the nation's Golden Week holiday, with the blue-chip Nikkei Stock Average index up over 500 points at one point, or close to 2%, after the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended at a record high on Wednesday as concerns receded over a potential U.S. rate hike.

A medical worker in Sydney swabs a person at a drive-through COVID-19 testing center in December 2020.   © Reuters

9:20 a.m. China reports five new cases for Wednesday, down from seven cases a day earlier. All of the new cases originated from overseas. The number of new asymptomatic cases, which China does not classify as confirmed cases, fell to 7 from 10 cases a day earlier.

4:30 a.m. The Biden administration says it will support easing World Trade Organization patent rules on COVID-19 vaccines despite strong pushback from American drugmakers.

"The administration believes strongly in intellectual property protections, but in service of ending this pandemic, supports the waiver of those protections for COVID-19 vaccines," U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai says in a statement.

President Joe Biden has faced growing pressure to loosen vaccine patent protections as India, South Africa and other emerging countries contend with rising infections.

3:26 a.m. Canada becomes the first nation in the world to authorize the use of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 12 to 15, describing the move as a light at the end of the tunnel.

1:20 a.m. New York's Major League Baseball teams, the Yankees and the Mets, will give free tickets to fans who get vaccinated for the coronavirus at their ballparks before games, Gov. Andrew Cuomo says.

Wednesday, May 5

A child rides in a stroller to a school in New York City. Birth rate in the United States fell 4% in 2020 to about 3.6 million babies.   © Reuters

9:59 p.m. The U.S. saw the lowest number of births since 1979 in the pandemic year of 2020. U.S. births fell 4% to about 3.6 million babies, data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics shows.

8:51 p.m. India's foreign minister says he will self-isolate over possible exposure to coronavirus ahead of a meeting of top Group of Seven diplomats in London, reports Bloomberg. There have been two positive cases among the Indian delegation, but Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar was not one of them, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told fellow ministers. The U.K. insists that the meeting should go ahead.

2:52 p.m. The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency releases data indicating that one dose of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine jointly developed with BioNTech was 89.7% effective in preventing infection two weeks later compared to 86% for the AstraZeneca vaccine. The findings were based on inoculations of 3.5 million South Koreans aged 60 and above over a two-month period from Feb. 26, and included 521,133 people who received their second doses.

2:15 p.m. India reports a daily record of 3,780 deaths, one day after it became the second country to cross the 20 million infection milestone, following the U.S. Daily infections rose to 382,315, health ministry data shows. The surge of the highly infectious Indian variant has left hospitals short of beds and oxygen. Morgues and crematoriums are overflowing.

Men in protective suits stand next to the body of a relative who died from COVID-19, before her cremation in New Delhi on May 4.   © Reuters

12:58 p.m. Australia's most populous state of New South Wales reports its first locally acquired COVID-19 case in more than a month. A man in his 50s who tested positive had visited a movie theater, restaurants, a service station and a meat store in Sydney's eastern suburbs while unknowingly infectious, authorities said. The infected person has not traveled overseas in recent times.

11:13 a.m. The Philippines' food and drug agency approves the emergency use of Moderna's vaccine, assessing that the known and potential benefits outweigh the known and potential risks. Delivery of 194,000 doses is expected this month. The U.S. drugmaker's vaccine is the seventh to be approved for emergency use in the Philippines.

6:48 a.m. Everyone aged over 50 in Britain will be offered a third COVID-19 vaccination jab in the autumn in an attempt to eradicate the threat from the infection entirely by Christmas, reports Reuters, citing The Times newspaper.

4:30 a.m. U.S. President Joe Biden sets a goal of having 70% of American adults receive at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose and fully vaccinating at least 160 million by July 4. This will require delivering roughly 100 million shots over the next two months, according to the White House.

With the pace of vaccinations slowing, "now we're going to have to bring the vaccine to people who are less eager," Biden says.

A pop-up vaccination site in New York: The White House looks to deliver another 100 million shots into arms over the next two months to meet its July 4 goal.   © Reuters

4:08 a.m. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken agree on the need for a global rollout of COVID-19 vaccines to end the pandemic.

"They underlined the importance of G-7 work in this area, including efforts to increase international manufacturing capability," Johnson's office says in a statement after the two met in London.

3:56 a.m. Facing pressure amid renewed surges in coronavirus cases in India and other emerging countries, the U.S. has begun considering loosening vaccine patent protections to increase global access to the shots.

Roughly 100 countries, led by India and South Africa, are calling for a temporary exemption to the World Trade Organization's vaccine patent rules in order to increase vaccine production.

2:25 a.m. Goldman Sachs asks U.S. employees to return to the office by mid-June and those in the United Kingdom to return by mid-July, Reuters reports.

"We know from experience that our culture of collaboration, innovation and apprenticeship thrives when our people come together," Goldman's CEO David Solomon wrote in an internal memo seen by Reuters.

Tuesday, May 4

10:04 p.m. Singapore will impose stricter border controls and domestic safe distancing measures starting this weekend amid an uptick in community COVID-19 infections.

Vials of Sinovac's coronavirus vaccine: The shot is now under review by Europe's drug regulator.

7:30 p.m. Europe's drug regulator says it has launched a "rolling review" of Sinovac's coronavirus vaccine -- a type of assessment process meant to speed up approvals in a health emergency.

The European Medicines Agency says it is reviewing Sinovac's COVID-19 Vaccine (Vero Cell) Inactivated based on preliminary studies showing it triggers virus antibodies and "may help protect against the disease."

The EMA explains that in a rolling review, its committee considers data as it becomes available from ongoing studies in real time -- as opposed to a normal procedure where final trial data must be provided. It says it will evaluate data on the Sinovac shot "to decide if the benefits outweigh the risks."

Reuters reports that this is the first Chinese COVID-19 vaccine to be studied by the EMA this way.

7:00 p.m. This year's Indian Premier League cricket tournament has been suspended indefinitely amid reports of several participants testing positive for COVID-19 -- despite living in a strictly isolated "bubble." The IPL 2021, which started on April 9, featured international stars and was scheduled to last until May 30.

"These are difficult times, especially in India," the organizers say. "While we have tried to bring in some positivity and cheer, however, it is imperative that the tournament is now suspended and everyone goes back to their families and loved ones in these trying times."

2:32 p.m. Cambodia reports a daily record of 938 new coronavirus cases, the Health Ministry said in a statement. The rising infection numbers come a day after Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered the end of a blanket lockdown in the capital, Phnom Penh.

1:25 p.m. Total COVID-19 infections in India exceed 20 million as the country reports 357,229 new cases over the last 24 hours. Deaths rose by 3,449 for a toll of 222,408, health ministry data showed. India is the world's second nation, after the U.S. to pass the grim milestone. It took the south Asian country just over four months to add 10 million cases, versus more than 10 months for its first 10 million.

1:37 p.m. The chairman of a major South Korean dairy company stepped down after police launched an investigation into the company's assertion that its yogurt drink was effective in fighting the novel coronavirus, Reuters reports. Hong Won-sik, chairman of Namyang Dairy Product, resigned three weeks after the initial claim and its retraction.

12:12 p.m. South Korea reports 541 new cases of COVID-19, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency. The new daily cases in the country had been in the 600s since last Wednesday but were down to the 400s on Monday due to less testing over the weekend.

5:32 a.m. A man who entered Japan from India has died while staying at a lodging facility prepared by quarantine officials after testing positive for COVID-19 upon arrival, reports public broadcaster NHK. The 50-something man flew into Narita Airport on April 26, according to the health ministry.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken attends a news conference with India's Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar following a bilateral meeting in London on May 3.    © Reuters

5:28 a.m. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken promises to help India deal with a rapid rise in COVID-19 infections during a meeting with Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar in London.

"We remember so well when India came to our assistance in the early days of COVID in a very important and powerful way, and we are joined in this fight together and determined to do everything we can to help," Blinken says.

"[A]mong the many subjects we discussed was first and foremost the strong support we are getting from the United States on dealing with the COVID situation," says Jaishankar. "We are very, very appreciative of that."

1:15 a.m. Most capacity limits for retail stores restaurants, gyms and other commercial businesses in New York, Connecticut and New Jersey will end on May 19, the governors say.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the decision was made in light of the falling rates of coronavirus infections in the area. The number of people testing positive is down 50% on the month, while hospitalizations are down 40%.

In addition, Cuomo says New York City subways will resume 24-hour service on May 17 because deep cleaning to sanitize the cars is no longer necessary.

Monday, May 3

9:15 p.m. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte receives his first dose of the Sinopharm vaccine. The Chinese shot has yet to receive emergency use approval from the Philippine Food and Drug Administration. But presidential spokesperson Harry Roque says Duterte's "first dose was covered by the compassionate use permit issued to the Presidential Security Group Hospital by the FDA."

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has taken his first dose of the Chinese-developed Sinopharm coronavirus vaccine.   © Reuters

7:40 p.m. North Korea plans to skip next month's World Cup soccer qualifiers hosted by South Korea due to coronavirus fears, the South's football association says. North Korea's football association sent a letter Friday to the Asian Football Confederation declaring that its team would not participate in the second round of qualifiers, Korea Football Association spokesman Lee Jae-chul says. The AFC is asking North Korea to reconsider the decision, he adds.

6:00 p.m. American pharmaceutical company Pfizer says it will donate COVID-19 treatment medicines worth more than $70 million to India and is discussing with New Delhi "an expedited approval pathway" to make its vaccine available for use in the South Asian country, which is battling a deadly second wave of the pandemic.

5:00 p.m. China has administered 275.34 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the country as of Sunday, the National Health Commission said on Monday. That compares with 270.41 million doses given as of Saturday, up around 4.93 million doses.

3:50 p.m. Taiwan will close its borders from Tuesday to foreigners who had been to India over the previous 14 days, Health Minister Chen Shih-chung said, as the island becomes the latest to enforce curbs amid surging COVID-19 cases in the South Asian nation. Taiwan citizens will still be able to return, Chen said on Monday, with the restriction taking effect at midnight.

3:16 p.m. Indonesia has recorded two cases of a highly infectious COVID-19 variant first identified in India in Jakarta, the country's health minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin says. "There were two new mutations that entered. One from India, with two incidents in Jakarta and one from South Africa in Bali," Budi told a virtual conference.

Relatives cremate the bodies of persons who died due to COVID-19 at a crematorium ground in Giddenahalli village on the outskirts of Bengaluru, India on May 2.    © Reuters

2:02 p.m. India's total COVID-19 case count nears 20 million as the country reports 368,147 new infections over the past 24 hours, bringing the official total to 19.93 million. Total deaths have risen to 218,959, according to health ministry data. Reuters reports that medical experts say the actual figures for the country of 1.35 billion may be five to 10 times higher than the official tally.

11:52 a.m. Thailand's health ministry reports a new daily record of 31 coronavirus deaths. The ministry also reported 2,041 new COVID-19 cases, taking the country's total infections to 71,025 since the pandemic began last year. The country's total fatalities now stand at 276.

6:24 a.m. French sports minister Jean-Michel Blanquer says up to 1,000 fans will be admitted to each of the three main Roland Garros main courts while the smaller venues will be able to admit 35% of their capacity during the first 10 days of the French Open tennis tournament.

The limit will be raised to 65% but capped at 5,000 for matches on 15,000-capacity Philippe Chatrier and 10,000-seater Suzanne Lenglen courts from June 9 when the quarter-finals get underway, Blanquer told France 3 TV channel. This year's French Open is set to begin on May 30, after a week of delay.

3:30 a.m. A leading Indian industry trade group urges authorities to go all-out against escalating COVID-19 cases, even to the point of "curtailing economic activity," before the health care system is overwhelmed.

"Given the current pandemic situation, safeguarding lives is of utmost priority and nationwide maximal response measure at the highest level is called for to cut the transmission links," writes Confederation of Indian Industry President Uday Kotak, who is CEO of Kotak Mahindra Bank, in a statement.

India reports 392,488 new cases in the previous 24 hours, lifting the cumulative total to 19.56 million. Deaths jumped a record 3,689, taking the overall toll to 215,542.

Sunday, May 2

8:25 p.m. Malaysia has detected its first case of a potentially more infectious coronavirus variant initially identified in India, Health Minister Adham Baba says, days after imposing a ban on flights from the South Asian nation.

B.1.617, a so-called variant of interest, was found in an Indian national screened at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

Malaysia reports 3,418 new COVID-19 cases, bringing its cumulative total to 415,012. Deaths have reached more than 1,500.

2:16 p.m. Cambodia reports a daily record of 730 new coronavirus cases, the health ministry says, as the country struggles against a wave of infections that emerged about two months ago. The Southeast Asian nation has recorded one of the world's smallest COVID-19 caseloads, but the outbreak detected in late February has pushed up cumulative cases to 14,520, with 103 deaths.

12:19 p.m. Thailand reports 1,940 new coronavirus cases, while deaths hit 21 for a second day -- the most daily fatalities yet. The country largely controlled the virus early in the pandemic through shutdowns and strict border controls. But a deadly third wave that begin in early April includes the highly transmissible B.1.1.7 variant and has accounted for about half of its total cases and deaths. Sunday's numbers bring the country's cumulative confirmed infections to 68,984. Total deaths are now at 245. Thailand has administered nearly 1.5 million vaccine doses so far.

Saturday, May 1

8:50 p.m. India receives 150,000 Sputnik V vaccine doses from Russia. "Millions of doses" of the vaccine, which will be sold in India by Dr. Reddy's Labs, will follow, a Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman says.

8:41 p.m. Cambodia's army begins a drive to vaccinate nearly half a million people in the parts of Phnom Penh worst-hit by COVID-19, as the Southeast Asian nation looks to step up the pace of inoculations.

The country, which had been one of the least affected by the pandemic, is fighting a surge in coronavirus cases that has seen the total infections jump from about 500 to 13,790 since late February, including all 96 of the deaths it has recorded.

Phnom Penh is under lockdown until May 5 and has declared some districts of the capital "red zones," banning people from leaving their homes except for medical reasons.

6:50 p.m. The Philippines receives its first batch of a Russia-made vaccine. The 15,000 doses of Sputnik V, developed by Russia's Gamaleya Institute, will be used in four cities in the capital region, the Philippines' coronavirus hotspot, the Health Ministry says.

The Philippines is negotiating to buy 20 million doses of Sputnik V, as part of its target to inoculate up to 70 million adults this year.

6:00 p.m. Tokyo reports another 1,050 coronavirus infections, the highest daily number since Jan. 28, while Osaka confirms a record 1,262 daily cases and 41 deaths from COVID-19, the second-highest number.

2:25 p.m. Diving and volleyball become the first Olympic test events to include international athletes since such competitions resumed last month, as both begin under close supervision in Tokyo. The diving World Cup, also a qualifier for this summer's games, features more than 200 athletes from 50 countries.

"We're not allowed out of our rooms, where you have to stay... no outdoor air, no human interaction," said American diver Sarah Bacon. "But we've been making it work."

Japanese authorities are determined to protect not only games participants, but a local population that opinion surveys have shown is largely opposed to holding the Tokyo Games this summer due to the presence of the virus.

During a warm-up before a men's preliminary event, an announcer scolds divers for gathering too closely, thus violating social distancing standards, around the 3-meter springboard.

1:30 p.m. India posts a record 401,993 new coronavirus cases, while deaths from COVID-19 reached 3,523, according to health ministry data. India has added about 7.7 million cases since the end of February, when its second wave gained strength, according to a Reuters tally. In contrast, it took India nearly six months to reach the previous 7.7 million cases.

11:45 a.m. Thailand reports a new daily record of 21 coronavirus deaths in one day, the health ministry says, as the country prepared to open registration for a long-awaited mass vaccination campaign. The ministry reported 1,891 new cases, bringing the total number of infections to 67,044 since the pandemic began last year, with 224 deaths.

10:00 a.m. China reports 16 new cases for Friday, down from 13 cases a day earlier. All of the new cases originated from overseas. The number of new asymptomatic cases, which China does not classify as confirmed cases, rose to 16 from 19 cases a day earlier.


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

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