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Coronavirus: Free to read

Coronavirus: Week of May 30 to June 5, China approves Sinovac vaccine for children

US sends J&J vaccine to South Korea; China blasts Taiwan for taking Japan jabs

China has given the green light for emergency use of Sinovac Biotech's COVID-19 vaccine in people aged between 3 and 17 as it prepares to widen it vaccination campaign.   © 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 172,446,460, according to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. The worldwide death toll has hit 3,708,248.

For more information about the spread of COVID-19 and the progress of vaccination around the world, please see our interactive charts and maps.

-- Global coronavirus tracker charts

-- Status of vaccinations around the world

-- World map of spreading mutated strains

-- Distribution, duration, safety: challenges emerge in vaccine race



Saturday, June 5 (Tokyo time)

10:55 a.m. China approves emergency use of Sinovac Biotech's COVID-19 vaccine in people aged between 3 and 17. The company's chairman Yin Weidong revealed the approval on state TV. China's mass vaccination drive is currently only open to those aged 18 and above.

4:45 a.m. Travelers to Russia may one day be able to receive coronavirus vaccines for a fee, President Vladimir Putin has told the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, saying he had asked the government to study such a proposal.

4:15 a.m. Vietnam's Health Ministry has authorized a COVID-19 vaccine from China's Sinopharm for emergency use as the Southeast Asian country grapples with a wave of infections.

Vietnam already allowed the AstraZeneca vaccine and the Russian-developed Sputnik V. Read more here.

1:30 a.m. The Singapore Formula One Grand Prix has been canceled for the second year in a row owing to the coronavirus pandemic, race organizers say.

Friday, June 4

The U.S. says "one million J&J vaccines are headed to our partners in the Republic of Korea." (Photo courtesy of the U.S. State Department)

10:34 p.m. The U.S. sends 1 million doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine to South Korea, the State Department says, a day after U.S. President Joe Biden announced plans to ship out 25 million vaccine doses to other countries.

"One million J&J vaccines are headed to our partners in the Republic of Korea. With these doses we're ensuring the safety and readiness of ROK and U.S. forces. The friendship between our two countries runs deep, especially in times of great need," State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Twitter.

Cases are decreasing in South Korea, which has so far administered enough doses to inoculate about 9% of its population, according to Reuters.

5:30 p.m. Tokyo reports 472 new cases, down from 508 a day earlier. The seven-day average of new cases in the capital stands at 455, down 21.6% from a week ago.

5:11 p.m. Taiwan revises up its gross domestic product growth for the first quarter to 8.92% from a year earlier, after an initial reading of 8.16% in April. With the island notching its fastest expansion in a decade, the government raises its full-year forecast to 5.46% despite a surge in COVID-19 infections forcing it to implement movement restrictions.

4:00 p.m. Hong Kong authorities close off a large swathe of Victoria Park for the first time in 32 years. The move comes on the anniversary of the crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in and around Tiananmen Square, Beijing, in 1989. Police had already banned an annual vigil, citing the coronavirus, but some residents said they still planned to visit the park to pay their respects to those who perished 32 years ago.

Workers in Japan load COVID-19 vaccines onto an airplane bound for Taiwan. (Taiwan Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Japan/Handout via Reuters)

3:30 p.m. China criticizes Taiwan for accepting 1.24 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from Japan, saying Taipei "has blocked vaccine shipments from the mainland" and "accepting safe and well-stocked vaccines developed by the mainland can help contain the virus" on the island.

3:00 p.m. The number of babies born in Japan has fallen to a record low of 840,832 in 2020 while the average number of children a woman will bear in her lifetime has declined to 1.34, according to the government.

2:20 p.m. India's central bank forecasts its economy will grow 9.5% this financial year, which started in April, down from its February prediction of 10.5% growth, owing to a second wave of the pandemic. It expects GDP to expand 18.5% in Q1, 7.9% in Q2, 7.2% in Q3 and 6.6% in Q4 of the current fiscal year. The Reserve Bank of India kept the policy repo rate unchanged at 4%.

1:50 p.m. Authorities in the Australian state of Victoria say they have detected the highly infectious Delta COVID-19 virus variant for the first time in the latest outbreak in Melbourne. The Delta variant, which has been classified by the World Health Organization as among the four variants of concern due to evidence that they spread more easily, likely caused the latest devastating outbreak in India.

1:25 p.m. India reports 132,364 new cases in the last 24 hours, marking the eighth consecutive day with under 200,000 infections and pushing the country's total to about 28.6 million. Fatalities jumped by 2,713 to 340,702.

12:00 p.m. Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi tells reporters that 1.24 million AstraZeneca doses will arrive later today in Taiwan, which is struggling to secure vaccines amid a COVID-19 outbreak. The shipment from Japan is in response to a request from Taiwan.

A nurse injects a patient with the AstraZeneca vaccine in Taipei, Taiwan. More vaccine supplies are to arrive from Japan on June 4.   © Reuters

11:00 a.m. China reports 24 new cases for Thursday, the same number as a day earlier. Of the new infections, 15 were imported. All nine local cases were in Guangdong Province. China also reported 21 new asymptomatic patients, compared with 18 a day earlier.

10:40 a.m. Top U.S. infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci has called on China to release the medical records of nine people whose ailments might provide vital clues into whether COVID-19 first emerged as the result of a lab leak, the Financial Times reports. "I would like to see the medical records of the three people who are reported to have got sick in 2019," the report quoted Fauci as saying. Did they really get sick, and if so, what did they get sick with?"

10:15 a.m. Kaori Yamaguchi, a Japanese Olympic Committee executive board member, says the Tokyo Olympics "have already lost meaning and are being held just for the sake of them," but that she believes it is too late to cancel.

In an opinion article published by Kyodo News, she writes that canceling with only 49 days to go would "require too much energy to make and follow through with such a decision." With public opinion strongly against the games but the International Olympic Committee determined to go ahead, she argues Japan has been "cornered" and is "damned if we do, and damned if we do not."

9:00 a.m. Japan's household spending soared in April, although the gains were mostly driven by base effects from last year's sharp fall due to the initial impact of the coronavirus pandemic, government data shows. Household spending rose 13.0% year-on-year in April, after a 6.2% rise in March, and was stronger than the median market forecast for a 9.3% gain in a Reuters poll.

3:30 a.m. The U.S. will share the first 25 million COVID-19 vaccine doses with the rest of the world as part of a plan to distribute at least 80 million doses by the end of June.

"We are sharing these doses not to secure favors or extract concessions. We are sharing these vaccines to save lives and to lead the world in bringing an end to the pandemic, with the power of our example and with our values," President Joe Biden says in a statement.

At least 75% of these donated vaccines will be shared with COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access, or COVAX, an international vaccination program, and 25% will be shared directly with countries in need, the White House says.

The donation will come from the U.S. stockpile of Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

12:00 a.m. India is in talks with global drugmakers, including Pfizer, Johnson and Johnson, and Moderna, about sourcing and possible local manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccines, Foreign Secretary Harsh V. Shringla says.

The remarks come as India seeks to augment vaccine availability to meet the ambitious target of inoculating all its adult population of over 900 million by the end of December.

"We are also looking forward to [the] WHO's approval for India's indigenous vaccine [Covaxin] manufactured by Bharat Biotech," Shringla said, addressing a World Health Organization forum on COVID-19.

Thursday, June 3

6:00 p.m. Hong Kong's Department of Health has approved a government advisory panel's suggestion to lower the minimum age for the BioNTech vaccine from 16 to 12, citing phase-three clinical data. As of Thursday, about 14% of Hong Kong's population is fully vaccinated.

5:00 p.m. Indonesia has canceled the hajj pilgrimage for people in the world's largest Muslim-majority nation for a second year in a row due to concerns over the pandemic, the religious affairs minister says. For many Indonesians, the religious pilgrimage is a once-in-a-lifetime event, with the average wait time 20 years due to a quota system.

"Due to the pandemic and for the safety of the pilgrims, the government has decided that this year it won't allow Indonesian pilgrims to go again," the minister said, adding Saudi Arabia had not opened access for the hajj.

4:00 p.m. Taiwan reports 583 domestic infections, including 219 cases added to recent days' totals as it reflects delays in reporting positive tests. The figure was an increase from 549 reported on Wednesday.

3:55 p.m. While Vietnamese Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long shocked the world on Saturday by hinting that a newly discovered variant could have contributed to outbreaks within the country, Kidong Park, the WHO representative in Vietnam, told Nikkei Asia on Wednesday, "There is no new hybrid variant in Vietnam at this moment based on WHO definition."

Long had said the government uncovered "a new COVID-19 variant" that combines characteristics of two existing variants first found in India and the U.K.

3:05 p.m. The Japan Football Association says a member of Ghana's under-24 national team had a positive test on Thursday, just two days before he was set to play against Japan in southwestern Fukuoka Prefecture. Although the infected athlete has been quarantined and his teammates have tested negative, officials have not decided whether to proceed with the Saturday match.

India's health ministry says it has finalized a deal with domestic vaccine maker Biological-E and ordered 300 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine, which is currently in Phase 3 clinical trials.   © Reuters

1:50 p.m. India reports 134,154 cases in the last 24 hours, the seventh straight day with fewer than 200,000 infections, pushing the country's total to 28.44 million. Deaths rose by 2,887 to 337,989. Meanwhile, the health ministry says it has finalized a deal with domestic vaccine maker Biological-E and ordered 300 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine, which is currently in Phase 3 clinical trials. "These vaccine doses will be manufactured and stockpiled by Biological-E from August to December 2021," the ministry said in a statement, adding an advance payment of 15 billion rupees ($205 million) will be made.

12:00 p.m. Australia's second-most populous state, Victoria, reports its smallest rise in new cases in more than a week, a day after a snap lockdown in the capital, Melbourne, was extended for another week. Victoria reported three new local cases overnight, bringing the total number of infections in the outbreak to 63.

11:20 a.m. China's Stemirna Therapeutics says it has raised nearly $200 million to finance clinical trials and production of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate. The candidate, which uses messenger RNA technology, is due to enter Phase 2 clinical trials soon and is designed to be effective against variants spreading in South Africa, Brazil and India. A Stemirna spokesman said the company is building two plants to make the vaccine, each with an annual capacity of 100 million doses, and construction could be completed by August.

11:10 a.m. Seiko Hashimoto, president of the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee, has insisted the games must go ahead as planned despite the COVID-19 pandemic. "We cannot postpone again," she said in an interview with Japan's Nikkan Sports newspaper. The Olympian-turned-politician also rejected the possibility of canceling the games.

11:00 a.m. South Korea reports 681 cases, up from 677 a day earlier and bringing the country totals to 142,157 cases, with 1,968 deaths.

7:54 a.m. Taiwan's baseball association tweets that it is withdrawing from the final Olympic baseball qualifier in Mexico later this month -- an event the island was due to host itself before tighter COVID-19 border rules prompted a venue change.

5:01 a.m. A COVID-19 vaccine summit hosted by Japan and global vaccine alliance Gavi secures nearly $2.4 billion, filling a shortfall for delivering 1.8 billion vaccine doses to low-income countries. Japan said it will donate $800 million to the COVAX facility, in addition to the $200 million the country has already disbursed.

Israel's Health Ministry says a small number of heart inflammation cases were likely linked Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine. The U.S. drugmaker says no causal link has been established.   © Reuters

1:00 a.m. Israel's Health Ministry says it has found that the small number of heart inflammation cases, mainly in young men who received Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine in Israel, were likely linked to their vaccination. Pfizer said in a statement that it was aware of the Israeli observations of myocarditis, and said no causal link to its vaccine had been established. In Israel, 275 cases of myocarditis were reported between December 2020 and May 2021 among more than 5 million vaccinated people.

Wednesday, June 2

11:32 p.m. China National Pharmaceutical Group, or Sinopharm, has the capacity to provide more than 1 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses to the world beyond China in the second half of this year, says Chairman Liu Jingzhen.

11:00 p.m. At least 220 million people are expected to remain unemployed globally this year, well above pre-pandemic levels, the International Labor Organization says. The United Nations agency forecast the outlook improving to 205 million unemployed next year -- still well above the 187 million recorded in 2019. "Employment growth will be insufficient to make up for the losses suffered until at least 2023," the ILO said in a report.

8:57 p.m. Hong Kong government's expert committee says it will stop making public announcements on post-vaccination death cases, unless there is a potential association with the vaccine based on preliminary investigation. Instead, the committee will publish a monthly report on the safety monitoring of Covid-19 vaccines.

A medical worker conducts a rapid test for COVID-19 on a Taiwanese resident following an increasing number of locally transmitted cases at Songshan Airport in Taipei, June 2.   © Reuters

7:30 p.m. Taiwan reports its first cluster of coronavirus infections at a semiconductor plant. King Yuan Electronics, the world's biggest provider of chip-testing services, confirms that 13 employees at its biggest production site have tested positive for COVID-19. A local government official told Nikkei Asia that another 26 cases are linked to the cluster, though it is unclear if all of those were employees.

The outbreak has not yet affected production, the company told Nikkei, and King Yuan has initiated strict controls inside all of its plants and offices. The local government and company have decided to test all of King Yuan's 7,300 employees starting Thursday. Taiwan is under COVID-19 warning level 3 -- one step away from lockdown. The nationwide warning is scheduled to lift on June 14 if the outbreak is contained.

3:34 p.m. Malaysia reports 7,703 new cases, bringing its total number of infections to 587,165. Malaysia is experiencing a corona surge, though cases have dipped since hitting a record on Saturday.

3:08 p.m. Taiwan reports 549 COVID-19 cases, including 177 added to the totals for recent days as it continues to readjust its infection numbers following delays in reporting positive tests. The total is up from 327 on Tuesday.

3:02 p.m. Swiss contract drug maker Lonza says that a new production line in the Netherlands will produce ingredients for Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine, part of the U.S. pharmaceutical's plan to significantly lift output. The line in Geleen will have the annual capacity to make ingredients for up to 300 million doses at 50 micrograms per dose, Lonza says. That is half the 100-microgram dose that Moderna has been delivering to date. Moderna and scientists at the National Institutes of Health have been trying to determine whether doses of the company's COVID-19 vaccine can be halved to double the supply.

1:16 p.m. India reports a daily rise in new coronavirus infections of 132,788 over the past 24 hours, while deaths rose by 3,207. The nation's tally of infections now stands at 28.3 million, while the death toll has reached 335,102, health ministry data showed.

12:24 p.m. Australia's Victoria state extends a snap COVID-19 lockdown for a second week in Melbourne in a bid to contain an outbreak of the highly contagious virus strain first detected in India, but it will ease some restrictions in other regions. Australia's second-most-populous state was plunged into lockdown last Thursday, initially until June 3, after the first locally acquired cases in three months were detected, infections rose steadily and those in close contact reached several thousand. "If we let this thing run its course, it will explode," state acting Premier James Merlino told reporters in Melbourne. "This variant of concern will become uncontrollable, and people will die."

An empty train in Melbourne on May 28, the first day of a lockdown that has now been extended to a second week.   © Reuters

11:49 a.m. Australia's economy extended its rapid recovery in the first quarter as consumers and businesses spent with abandon, lifting output back above where it was last year, when pandemic lockdowns tipped the country into recession. The economy expanded by a real 1.8% in the three months to March, data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows. Economists in a Reuters poll had forecast a 1.5% rise following an upwardly revised 3.2% gain in the fourth quarter.

11:30 a.m. A shipment of coronavirus vaccines to North Korea via the global COVAX sharing program that was expected for late May has been delayed again amid protracted consultations, South Korea's Unification Ministry says. COVAX, which secures vaccines for poor countries, has said it will provide nearly 2 million doses of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine to North Korea.

9:30 a.m. Vietnam is allowing international flights to arrive in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City effective immediately, after a few days of suspension due to COVID-19, its aviation authority said on Wednesday. The country had initially banned incoming international flights to Hanoi's Noi Bai airport for a week starting Monday and to Ho Chi Minh City's Tan Son Nhat airport until June 14. The aviation authority did not say why it is resuming flights earlier than planned, but most of the COVID-19 cases in the current outbreak are locally transmitted, not from international passengers.

The international terminal at Hanoi's Noi Bai airport. Vietnam is allowing international flights to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City earlier than planned after suspending them due to a COVID outbreak.    © Reuters

9:26 a.m. The United States will announce in the next two weeks how it will sell and distribute 80 million COVID-19 vaccine doses it has pledged globally, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken says. President Joe Biden on Monday said his administration will send at least 20 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, on top of 60 million AstraZeneca doses he had already planned to give to other countries.

12:48 a.m. The World Bank now has $12 billion in COVID-19 vaccine financing available and will have approved vaccination financing operations in over 50 countries by the end of June, says David Malpass, the development lender's president.

Tuesday, June 1

11:46 p.m. The World Health Organization has approved a COVID-19 vaccine made by Sinovac Biotech for emergency use listing, the second Chinese-produced shot to receive the agency's endorsement, a WHO statement says.

The WHO emergency listing is a signal to national regulators on a product's safety and efficacy. It also would allow the shot to be included in COVAX, the global program to provide vaccines mainly for poor countries. COVAX faces major supply problems due to India's suspension of vaccine exports.

The independent panel of experts says it recommends Sinovac's vaccine for adults, with a second dose two to four weeks later. There was no upper age limit, as data suggests it is likely to have a protective effect in older people.

7:20 p.m. Hong Kong has asked banks to "strongly encourage" staff to get vaccinated, aiming to boost the inoculation rate in the financial center. Banks should "identify and draw up a list of designated staff expected to receive inoculation," Arthur Yuen, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority's deputy chief executive, said in a note to financial institutions on Tuesday.

The organizations will have to submit the list within two weeks. Those who are named will be expected to take a COVID-19 test by June 30 if they have not received their first vaccine dose by then, the city's de facto central bank said. The list should include individuals who have frequent in-person contact with customers, such as branch staff, as well as other critical employees, the HKMA said. Only 15.6% of the city's population has been fully vaccinated, below the rates in other financial centers such as Singapore and New York.

5:15 p.m. Tokyo reports 471 new cases, up from 260 a day earlier. The seven-day average of new cases in the capital stood at 537, 12.1% lower than the previous week.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, looks like a ghost metropolis as a lockdown begins in an attempt to tame the spread of the coronavirus.   © Reuters

4:00 p.m. Malaysia reports 7,105 new cases, bringing the country's cumulative total to 579,462, as it enters a strict, two-week lockdown. It set records for daily infections and deaths on Saturday, though the numbers have dipped since.

3:20 p.m. Taiwan reports 327 domestic cases, including 65 cases added to the totals for recent days as it continues to readjust its infection numbers following delays in reporting positive tests.

1:37 p.m. India continues to see a declining trend as it reports 127,510 new cases in the last 24 hours, the lowest daily count in 54 days, bringing the country's total cases to 28.2 million. Fatalities jumped by 2,795 -- the lowest single-day death toll since April 27 -- to 331,895.

12:30 p.m. The Japan Football Association says it is canceling a friendly soccer match between Japan and Jamaica scheduled for later this week after 10 Jamaican players could not board a flight to Japan. The association said in a statement that the athletes were unable to take the flight due to pre-landing coronavirus testing methods or other reasons, but did not elaborate.

A pensioner receives a jab at a mass vaccination center in Tokyo on May 24.   © Reuters

11:30 a.m. Japan plans to start vaccinations at workplaces and universities on June 21 to speed up the country's inoculation drive, says Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato, with the Moderna vaccine planned for those locations. Japan is lagging behind many developed nations in its vaccine rollout, with only about 7% of the population having been inoculated so far.

9:30 a.m. Japanese companies cut spending on facilities and equipment for the fourth consecutive quarter in January-March, as the economy continues to struggle with the coronavirus. Capital expenditure in Q1 fell 7.8% year on year, pulled down by weak investment in transportation equipment, electrical machinery and real estate.

9:00 a.m. Australia's softball team arrives in Japan for Olympic training amid growing public opposition to the games, due in part to slow vaccine rollouts. The Aussies are the first national team to come to Japan and will train in the city of Ota, 80 km northwest of Tokyo. All members of the delegation have been vaccinated and are scheduled to be tested daily.

7:00 a.m. Coronavirus variants with names such as B.1.351 and 501Y.V2 have now been assigned letters from the Greek Alphabet in a bid to avoid stigma, the World Health Organization says. The four types commonly known as the UK, South Africa, Brazil and India variants have now been given the names alpha, beta, gamma and delta, respectively.

People pray outside the Manila Golden Mosque. Coronavirus curbs in the capital region of the Philippines will remain in place for another two weeks.   © Reuters

2:40 a.m. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has extended coronavirus curbs in Manila and nearby provinces until mid-June to contain infections that have been on the decline since peaking in April. Religious gatherings remain capped at 30% of venue capacity while restaurants can operate at 20% in the capital region -- an area comprising 16 cities and 13 million people -- and nearby provinces.

2:30 a.m. An Indian court orders officials to inspect coronavirus-related safety protocols at Renault-Nissan's Tamil Nadu car plant, where workers are on strike over allegations that social distancing rules are not being followed, reports Reuters.

Monday, May 31

11:30 p.m. Thailand reverses a decision by local authorities in the capital, Bangkok, to ease some coronavirus restrictions. Massage shops, clinics and public parks -- which were to reopen Tuesday -- must remain closed along with schools, cinemas, gyms and zoos for at least 14 more days. Bangkok and neighboring provinces are the epicenter of the 2-month-old outbreak, during which the vast majority of Thailand's coronavirus cases and deaths have been recorded.

Noi Bai international airport in Hanoi. Vietnam will suspend incoming international flights to its capital Hanoi from Tuesday.   © Reuters

6:30 p.m. Vietnam will suspend incoming international flights to its capital Hanoi from Tuesday as part of the country's effort to contain a coronavirus outbreak, the government says. The announcement made no mention of domestic flights. Vietnam has been restricting the amount of inbound international flights since the start of the pandemic.

5:43 p.m. Indonesia receives 8 million doses of the Sinovac vaccine in bulk form, which requires further local processing. The country has thus received 91.9 million doses of coronavirus vaccines in total. As many as 10.5 million people have received two vaccine shots, and another 16.3 million have gotten their first.

4:50 p.m. Bangkok will ease closures of venues such as massage parlors, clinics and parks that were implemented to halt the spread of COVID-19. But schools, cinemas, gyms and zoos will remain closed, authorities in the Thai capital say. Thailand has been battling since April its deadliest coronavirus outbreak so far. It reported 5,485 new cases on Monday, with 1,356 of those in Bangkok.

3:30 p.m. Japan's two large vaccination centers in Tokyo and Osaka run by Self-Defense Forces reach their target of 10,000 and 5,000 jabs per day, respectively, as Japan tries to speed up shots for the elderly and others. The country has been lagging behind other developed countries in its vaccine rollout. Since it was launched in February, only 6% of the population has received at least one dose.

3:15 p.m. Taiwan reports 347 domestic cases, including 73 added to totals for recent days as it continues to adjust infection numbers following delays in reporting positive tests.

India sees promising signs as infections decrease but the numbers are still worrying.   © Reuters

1:40 p.m. India reports 152,734 new cases in the last 24 hours, the lowest daily count in 50 days, bringing the cumulative total to 28 million. Deaths rose by 3,128 to 329,100.

1:00 p.m. China imposes travel controls on the southern province of Guangdong, saying that anyone leaving must test negative for the virus following a spike in infections. The province, which borders Hong Kong, recorded 20 local cases in the 24 hours through midnight Sunday. Guangdong's numbers are low compared with other places in the world, but the rise has rattled the country's leaders, who thought the disease had been brought under control.

12:30 p.m. Australia's second-most populous state of Victoria, the country's latest coronavirus hotspot, reports 11 cases of community transmission, bringing the tally in the current cluster to 51. Victoria imposed a seven-day lockdown on Friday after new infections in the state capital Melbourne ended a three-month run of zero community cases.

12:00 p.m. China's factory activity slowed in May as raw materials costs grew at their fastest in over a decade, weighing on small and export-oriented companies. The manufacturing Purchasing Manager's Index inched lower to 51.0 during the month. Officials warn the recovery is not yet secure amid problems like more expensive raw materials and the pandemic situation overseas.

11:30 a.m. South Korea reports 430 cases, down from 480 a day earlier and the lowest daily count since March 29. National totals showed 140,340 cases, with 1,959 deaths.

A medical worker collects a swab during a mass testing for COVID-19 at a stadium in Guangzhou on May 30.   © Reuters

10:30 a.m. China reports 27 cases for Sunday, of which seven were imported. Infections surged in the southern province of Guangdong, which accounted for the remaining 20 cases, prompting authorities to lock down parts of the city of Guangzhou, the provincial capital.

9:30 a.m. Japan's industrial output rose in April, helped by production of general purpose and electrical machinery in a sign that manufacturers continued to benefit from recovering demand in the U.S. and China. Meanwhile, retail sales surged in the month, thanks largely to a better economic outlook than a year earlier, when the country was under stricter coronavirus curbs.

8:50 a.m. Chinese media say the city of Guangzhou has confirmed more than 20 cases of what appears to be an Indian variant and is requiring persons using airports or long-distance trains to have a certificate showing a negative PCR test. The city had mostly contained the virus, but in late May confirmed five symptomatic and 20 asymptotic cases.

Sunday, May 30 (Tokyo time)

11:30 p.m. Taiwan has signed deals with two local companies to provide up to 20 million vaccine doses, the official Central News Agency said on Sunday. The government signed deals on Friday with Medigen Vaccine Biologics and United Biomedical for five million doses each, and has informal agreements for another five million each for a total of 20 million shots.

9:30 p.m. Vietnam's business hub of Ho Chi Minh City will impose social distancing measures for 15 days from Monday in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19, the central government says. Of the city's 133 infections detected since last Wednesday, 126 relate to a cluster in the Revival Ekklesia Mission congregation, the official Vietnam News Agency reports.

6:41 p.m. Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong says he will speak Monday on how the authorities will combat the coronavirus while reopening the city-state's economy.

"Tomorrow, I intend to share with you how we plan to keep COVID-19 under control, while progressively opening up again," he writes on Facebook. "The solution: testing, contact tracing, and vaccinating, all faster, and more. Also: What will the new normal be like?"

4:30 p.m. Malaysia reports 6,999 new COVID-19 cases, bringing its cumulative total to 565,533. This daily figure is down from Saturday's 9,020, the fifth straight record rise in the Southeast Asian nation.

Science Minister Khairy Jamaluddin says that five more mega vaccination centers will be opened in the Kuala Lumpur area and that he will go to the northern state of Penang and the southern state of Johor next week to discuss the opening of more.

3:13 p.m. Taiwan reports 355 new domestic COVID-19 cases, including 89 retroactively added from a backlog, as it continues to readjust tallies following delays in reporting positive tests.

1:41 p.m. India reports its smallest daily rise in new cases in about a month and a half, at 165,553, with deaths up by 3,460. The South Asian country's cumulative cases total around 27.9 million, while the death toll has reached 325,972, according to the health ministry.

Saturday, May 29

4:00 p.m. Malaysia reports 9,020 new cases, the highest daily toll since the start of the pandemic. This is the fifth straight day of record new infections, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 558,534.

3:18 p.m. Taiwan records 486 new domestic cases, including 166 cases added to the totals for recent days as it continues to readjust its infection numbers following delays in reporting positive tests.

Meanwhile, Terry Gou, the billionaire founder of major Apple Inc supplier Foxconn, says his charity plans to apply to import 5 million doses of BioNTech SE's vaccine into Taiwan.

The shots would be airlifted from Germany to Taiwan without going via any middleman, Gou says in a statement.

"This plan is in process," he says.

1:50 p.m. India reports 173,790 new infections during the previous 24 hours, its lowest daily rise in 45 days, while deaths rose by 3,617. The country's tally of infections now stands at 27.7 million, with the death toll at 322,512, health ministry data shows.

1:20 p.m. Vietnam health minister Nguyen Thanh Long says the country has detected a new variant of the coronavirus, which is a mix of the Indian and UK COVID-19 variants and spreads quickly by air, according to online newspaper VnExpress.


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

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