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 256,121,417 according to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. The worldwide death toll has hit 5,133,242.
For more information about the spread of COVID-19 and vaccination progress around the world, please see our interactive charts and maps.
Saturday, Nov. 20 (Tokyo time)
2:46 p.m. Hong Kong approves lowering the age limit for the COVID-19 vaccine from China's Sinovac Biotech to three years old from 18, as it pushes to incentivize more of its 7.5 million residents to get inoculated, according to Reuters. "Adolescents aged 12 to 17 will be accorded priority to receive the CoronaVac vaccine, with a view to extending to children of a younger age group at a later stage," said Hong Kong Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan.
10:09 a.m. China records 23 new confirmed coronavirus cases for Nov. 19 compared with 24 a day earlier, Reuters reports. Of the new infections, three were locally transmitted cases, according to a statement by the National Health Commission, compared with eight a day earlier. China reports 16 new asymptomatic cases, which it classifies separately from confirmed cases, down from 26 the day before. There were no new fatalities, leaving the death toll unchanged at 4,636.
2:44 a.m. Austria says it will become the first country in western Europe to reimpose a full COVID-19 lockdown, as neighboring Germany warns it may follow suit, sending shivers through financial markets worried about the economic fallout. Europe has again become the epicenter of the pandemic, accounting for half of global cases and deaths.
2:00 a.m. Canada authorizes the use of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11. The shot is the first to be made available for young children in the country.
Incidences of COVID-19 in Canada are now highest among those in the 5-to-11 bracket. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said that Ottawa signed a deal with Pfizer to quickly receive 2.9 million doses once the vaccine was approved.
1:30 a.m. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorizes booster doses of COVID-19 vaccines for all adults six months after they were fully inoculated with either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna shots.
The decision made Friday authorizes booster doses for all U.S. adults, including recipients of Johnson & Johnson's vaccine. Final regulatory review moves to a meeting of a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention committee later in the day, and then a recommendation from the agency's director, who has publicly supported boosters for all.
Friday, Nov. 19
6:15 p.m. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's cabinet approves an economic stimulus package with a record 55.7 trillion yen ($490 billion) in spending to weather the prolonged fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. The package, worth 78.9 trillion yen when funds from the private sector are included, aims to achieve Kishida's signature policies, such as narrowing the income gap through pay hikes and securing the nation's economic security interests.
6:00 p.m. Russia reports 1,254 coronavirus-related deaths in the last 24 hours, a record daily high that follows a surge in cases. The government coronavirus task force also reports 37,156 nationwide infections, including 3,371 in Moscow, down from a peak of 41,335 recorded on Nov. 6.
5:50 p.m. AstraZeneca's vaccine partner in China, Shenzhen Kangtai Biological Products (BioKangtai), has made its first shipment of the shot, sending more than 4 million doses to Indonesia, BioKangtai says. Including the first batch, BioKangtai plans to send over 8 million doses of the China-made AstraZeneca shot, branded as KconecaVac, to Indonesia this month. BioKangtai has the right to manufacture the vaccine, and the right to sell it in mainland China, Indonesia and Pakistan.
1:35 p.m. The Philippines has approved a plan to allow vaccinated foreign tourists to enter the country soon. The country's coronavirus task force "approved in principle the entry of fully vaccinated tourists" from countries with few COVID-19 cases, the tourism ministry said, adding that guidelines must be finalized. The Philippines saw an 83% drop in foreign arrivals last year, receiving about 1.4 million visitors compared with 8.2 million in 2019. Japan, South Korea and China are its biggest tourism markets.
11:00 a.m. South Korea's daily cases edged down from a record 3,292 infections the previous day, but, at 3,034, still topped the 3,000 mark for the third straight day, government data shows. The number of patients in serious condition also remains high at 499, as the government has lifted most curbs on activity in a shift to a "living with COVID" policy. Deaths rose by 28, reaching a cumulative total of 3,215.
10:00 a.m. Japan's core consumer prices rose for the second straight month in October, as fuel costs accelerated at the fastest pace in more than a decade and pressures from raw material shortages passed through to retailers. The core consumer price index, which excludes volatile fresh food prices but includes fuel costs, rose 0.1% year-on-year in October, government data shows.
8:30 a.m. Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific Airways says it has fired three cargo pilots who were infected with COVID-19 during a layover in Frankfurt, over an unspecified "serious breach" of crew rules while overseas. "The individuals concerned are no longer employed by Cathay Pacific," the company said in a statement. The discovery of the infections led to more than 150 other Cathay employees, including pilots and flight attendants, as well as many household members and community contacts being sent to a government quarantine facility for three weeks.
5:16 a.m. India has approved the export of 20 million doses of the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine made by the Serum Institute of India to Indonesia, reports Reuters, citing a government document and source.
4:37 a.m. Pfizer says the U.S. government would pay $5.29 billion for 10 million courses of its experimental COVID-19 antiviral drug, as the country rushes to secure promising oral treatments for the disease.
Thursday, Nov. 18
5:30 p.m. Russia reports 1,251 coronavirus-related deaths in the last 24 hours, a record high that follows a surge in cases. The government coronavirus taskforce reported 37,374 infections nationwide, down from the peak of 41,335 recorded Nov. 6.
5:00 p.m. AstraZeneca has cemented its lead in bringing a preventative COVID-19 shot for the uninfected to market for people who do not respond well to vaccines, saying its antibody drug cocktail offered 83% protection over six months. The injected therapy, called AZD7442 or Evusheld, had previously been shown to confer 77% protection against symptomatic illness after three months, in an earlier readout of the late-stage PROVENT trial in August. The company also said a separate study in patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 showed a higher dose of AZD7442 cut the risk of symptoms worsening by 88% when given within three days of the first symptoms.
3:16 p.m. Japan's economic stimulus package set to be approved by the cabinet on Friday will be a record 55.7 trillion yen ($487 billion) on a fiscal expenditure basis, Nikkei has learned. The package will surpass the previous high set in 2020 in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The size of the stimulus, including private sector funds, will be 78.9 trillion yen.
2:12 p.m. India posts 11,919 new infections in the last 24 hours, up from 10,197 the previous day and pushing the country's total caseload to 34.48 million. Deaths climbed from 301 a day ago to 470, bringing the total number of fatalities to 464,623.
2:10 p.m. Honda Motor says its Japanese car factories will return to normal operations in December, after working at around 90% of capacity this month due to a shortage of chips and supply disruptions from COVID-19 lockdowns overseas. The two domestic production sites will return to their usual capacity in the first half of December. Earlier this month, the automaker cut its full-year profit forecast for the second time, citing production delays and rising materials costs.
2:00 p.m. A foreign athlete participating in the Luge World Cup in Beijing has tested positive for COVID-19 during a routine test, state media reports, citing a local organizing committee. The competition is also serving as a test event ahead of the Beijing Winter Olympics. The athlete, who is classified as an asymptomatic case, has been transferred to an isolation facility for observation, state media reported, quoting Zhao Weidong, an official from Beijing 2022. The athlete is a close contact of a previously confirmed asymptomatic case, Zhao said, without revealing the person's identity.
11:30 a.m. Melbourne's pubs and cafes on Thursday night can start letting in as many vaccinated patrons as they have room for, and stadium events can fill as many seats as possible as authorities have lifted nearly all remaining COVID-19 restrictions for vaccinated residents of Australia's second-largest city. Victoria, the state that is home to Melbourne, began gradually easing curbs when dual-dose inoculations reached 70%. More easing came when the 80% threshold was met. The 90% threshold is expected to be reached over the weekend.
10:00 a.m. South Korea reports a record high 3,292 new cases as it moves into the first phase of its loosened "living with COVID-19" restrictions. A rise in cases was predicted by officials as many social distancing restrictions were lifted earlier this month after the country surpassed its goal of vaccinating 70% of its population. More than 78.5% are now fully vaccinated, including more than 90% of adults. As of Thursday there were 506 serious cases, down slightly from an all-time high 522 reported a day before.
1:54 a.m. The U.S. plans to invest billions of dollars in expanding COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing capacity and make available an additional one billion doses per year, White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients says.
12:20 a.m. Japan will raise the limit on daily arrivals from overseas to 5,000 on Nov. 26, up from the current 3,500, as the nation eases its entry ban to let in business travelers and foreign students.
To prevent airport COVID-testing facilities from becoming overwhelmed, Japan until now had asked airlines to limit the number of international arrivals. The government lifted the entry ban for business travelers and foreign students on Nov. 8, but it is expected to take some time for sponsoring companies and schools to complete an intricate screening process.
Wednesday, Nov. 17
5:10 p.m. Russia reports a new record one-day death toll of 1,247 from COVID-19, a little over a week after most of its regions emerged from a week-long workplace shutdown designed to curb the spread of the virus, according to Reuters. The government coronavirus task force also reported 36,626 new coronavirus cases nationwide in the last 24 hours, including 2,966 in Moscow.
5:09 p.m. South Korea plans to cut to four months from six the gap for coronavirus vaccine boosters for senior citizens to dampen a spike in serious cases, Reuters reports, citing authorities. More than 90% of South Korean adults have been vaccinated, but breakthrough infections have been growing among elderly people, straining the medical system. The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said it will shorten the dosing interval for booster shots for people aged 60 or older and those who live or work at nursing homes and other vulnerable facilities to four months.
2:16 p.m. India reports 10,197 cases in the last 24 hours -- up from 8,865 the previous day -- pushing the country total to 34.47 million. Deaths rose from 197 a day ago to 301, bringing the total number of fatalities to 464,153.
1:07 p.m. The Philippines has approved emergency use of a vaccine made by Novavax, Reuters reports. It is the ninth vaccine approved in the Southeast Asian country. The nanoparticle Covovax vaccine will be manufactured by Serum Institute of India, and is approved for adults 18 and older, said Rolando Enrique Domingo, head of the country's food and drug agency. Covovax, which showed an 89.7% efficacy in clinical trials, will be administered in two doses not less than 21 days apart, he said.
11:54 a.m. Hong Kong Disneyland will close for a day on Nov. 17 to allow staff to take compulsory COVID-19 tests after authorities found one person who visited the theme park over the weekend who was infected with the coronavirus. Disneyland, which is majority-owned by the city government, said in a note the closure was out of "an abundance of caution" and advised visitors to reschedule. Any person who visited the park on Nov. 14 between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. will also have to get tested by Nov. 18, the government said in a notice.
10:56 a.m. Internal borders around New Zealand's largest city, Auckland, will reopen on Dec. 15 for fully vaccinated people and those with negative COVID-19 test results, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Wednesday. Auckland is the epicenter of an outbreak of the highly infectious Delta variant of COVID-19 and the city has been sealed off from the rest of the country for over 90 days. But with more than 80% of Auckland and the rest of country fully vaccinated, it was time to open up the ability to travel again, Ardern said at a news conference.
10:10 a.m. Japan's export growth snapped seven months of double-digit expansion in October due to slowing U.S. and China-bound car shipments, highlighting risks for the export-reliant economy from global supply constraints. The slowing growth shows Japan's vulnerability to supply chain bottlenecks that have been particularly disruptive for the car industry and have clouded the outlook for overseas demand.
9:54 a.m. South Korea reports 3,187 new COVID-19 cases, up from 2,125 a day ago, the biggest jump in two months. Total infections in the country have reached 402,775, with 3,158 deaths. South Korea faces a rising number of cases after it loosened social distancing rules on Nov. 1, lifting restrictions on restaurants, cafes, bars and other public facilities.
6:46 a.m. Pfizer says it is seeking U.S. authorization of its experimental antiviral COVID-19 pill that cut the chance of hospitalization or death for adults at risk of severe disease by 89% in a clinical trial. It completed submission of its application for emergency use authorization of the drug, Paxlovid, with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
5:18 a.m. Top U.S. infectious disease official Anthony Fauci says it is possible for COVID-19 to be reduced to an endemic illness from the current major health crisis next year if the country ramps up vaccination rates, reports Reuters. Booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccines are vital for reaching that point, he says.
Tuesday, Nov. 16
8:01 p.m. Japan intends to expand its list of international business travelers eligible for relaxed quarantine rules to those inoculated with Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine.
6:22 p.m. Hong Kong's biggest sport event, the Rugby Sevens, will be postponed again from April 2022 to November of that year due to ongoing uncertainty around travel restrictions. The rugby tournament last held in 2019 was canceled two years in a row over COVID-19 concerns. The Hong Kong Rugby Union said it was a long postponement, but emphasized the games can only be delivered with "confidence that all participating teams can be allowed to travel and the ability to host the event to our own high standard, which we cannot guarantee."
6:20 p.m. Myanmar will reopen its land borders with China and Thailand, starting next month, due to improvements in its COVID-19 vaccination rate, its information ministry says. The reopening, for which no date was set, is to be followed by a resumption of air travel in the first quarter of next year.
4:30 p.m. Over 75% of Japan's entire population has been fully vaccinated as of Monday, the government says, with new infections easing. The country reported just 79 new cases on Monday, the lowest daily count so far this year. Authorities are preparing to administer booster shots from December to prevent a possible resurgence.
1:38 p.m. India logs 8,865 new cases in the last 24 hours, the lowest daily count in over nine months, bringing the country's total to 34.46 million. Fatalities rose by 197 to 463,852.
11:00 a.m. South Korea reports 2,125 new cases, up from 2,006 a day earlier, with the number of patients in serious condition hitting a record high of 495. Deaths from COVID rose by 22 to a cumulative total of 3,137.
10:20 a.m. China reports 22 new cases for Monday, down from 52 a day earlier. Of the new infections, 11 were locally transmitted cases, compared with 32 the previous day. China also reports 13 new asymptomatic patients, which it classifies separately from confirmed cases, compared with 14 the day before. The country has recorded over 1,300 local cases in the latest outbreak since mid-October, forcing authorities to place affected areas under strict curbs as China maintains its zero-COVID policy.
9:30 a.m. Two billion doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford University COVID-19 vaccine have been supplied worldwide, the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker and its partner say, in just under a year since its first approval. The shot, which is the biggest contributor to the COVAX vaccine sharing scheme backed by the World Health Organization, is being made in 15 countries for supply to more than 170 nations.
5:10 a.m. Japan, India and Pakistan have moved down to the lowest level of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's COVID-19 travel advisory scale. The three countries are now considered "low" risk destinations for the disease. The CDC told Americans to make sure they are fully vaccinated before traveling to these countries. Liberia, Gambia and Mozambique have also been lowered to the Level 1 designation.
1:40 a.m. New York City clears the way for all adults to receive a booster shot of COVID-19 vaccine as the city braces for a wave of new infections amid cold weather. City Health Commissioner Dave Chokshi says he is issuing an official advisory instructing all health care providers in the five boroughs to offer the extra booster dose to any adult who wants one. "There should be no barriers to accessing a booster shot, provided that someone is an adult, meaning 18 or older," Chokshi says.
Monday, Nov. 15
8:00 p.m. Singapore announces the inclusion of Indonesia and several other countries under its Vaccinated Travel Lane program that lets passengers enter the city-state without quarantine. India is also expected to be included. Fully inoculated travelers from Indonesia can enter Singapore from Nov. 29, subject to COVID-19 tests. Transport Minister S. Iswaran says the goal is to allow travelers from India on the same day. Those from Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates can enter starting Dec. 6.
The city-state has already included countries such as Malaysia, Brunei, Germany, Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, the U.K. and U.S. under the arrangement, as it moves to revive air travel and rebuild its status as a regional hub.
5:00 p.m. The Japanese government plans to allow booster shots of COVID-19 vaccines to be administered as soon as six months after a second dose has been received. The health ministry has set an eight-month interval between second and third shots, but local governments will be able to shorten the period by two months if they deem it necessary. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has vowed to begin administering them within the year, starting with medical personnel. Individuals aged 18 and older will be eligible.
1:56 p.m. India reports 10,229 new infections for the past 24 hours, down from 11,271 the previous day, pushing the country's total caseload to 34.45 million. Fatalities rose by 125 to 463,655. Active cases account for 0.39% of the total confirmed cases so far, the lowest figure since March 2020, according to a health ministry statement. The daily positivity rate, the number of people testing positive out of every 100 samples per day, currently stands at 1.12%; the rate has remained below 2% for the past 42 days. The country has administered 3 million vaccine doses since Sunday morning and more than 1.12 billion doses overall.
12:22 p.m. Bank of Japan Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda says the country's economy is likely to recover to pre-pandemic levels in the first half of 2022. Kuroda said, "The economy's recovery has been somewhat slower than initially expected," as COVID-19 curbs and parts shortages hit consumption and output. "But the mechanism for an economic recovery remains intact," he said in a speech at a meeting with business leaders in Nagoya.
11:40 a.m. Thailand's economy returned to year-on-year contraction in the three months ending September due to the country's delta outbreaks that led to business lockdowns in heavily affected provinces, including Bangkok. Gross domestic product shrank 0.3% in the third quarter year on year, according to data released by the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council.
10:45 a.m. China's new home prices fell 0.2% in October from the previous month -- the biggest decline since February 2015 -- amid weakening demand, as authorities maintain purchase restrictions to deter speculators. New home prices rose 3.4% year on year in October, slower than the 3.8% in September, according to Reuters calculations released by the National Bureau of Statistics.
10:00 a.m. China reports 52 cases for Sunday compared with 89 a day earlier. Of the new infections, 32 were locally transmitted, down from 70 the previous day. The city of Dalian in the northeastern province of Liaoning accounted for 25 of the local cases. The country also reports 14 new asymptomatic patients, which it classifies separately from confirmed cases, compared with 25 a day earlier.
9:30 a.m. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison's approval rating has fallen to its lowest level in 18 months, a poll conducted for The Australian newspaper shows. Satisfaction with Morrison's performance dropped to 44%, the lowest level since March 2020 when he faced criticism over his response to devastating bush fires. The findings are a blow to Morrison's hopes that easing COVID curbs and signs of a stronger economy will aid his reelection prospects in May 2022.
8:56 a.m. Japan's economy shrank 0.8% in the July-September quarter from the previous quarter, equal to an annualized pace of 3.0%. The economy struggled as exports fell and consumer spending remained sluggish amid the pandemic. The result compares with an average forecast of an annualized 0.56% decline, according to a survey of 37 economists by the Japan Center for Economic Research.
5:00 a.m. Israel says children aged 5 to 11 will be eligible for vaccination and that a starting date for the inoculation campaign would be announced within days. The decision followed approval by an expert panel on vaccinations last week after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use of Pfizer and BioNTech's vaccine for the age group at a 10-microgram dose. The jab given to those aged 12 and older is 30 micrograms. The two companies have said their vaccine showed 90.7% efficacy against the coronavirus in a clinical trial of children aged 5 to 11.
0:20 a.m. Singapore reports 1,723 cases compared with 2,304 the previous day, with 10 new deaths.
Sunday, Nov. 14
5:56 p.m. Cambodia will stop requiring quarantine for vaccinated travelers from Monday, Prime Minister Hun Sen says. The announcement was made via social media in a voice message. The country had previously required a lengthy quarantine of more than 18 months. Travelers will have to show a negative test 72 hours prior to travel and have had two jabs. Unvaccinated travelers will have to quarantine for 14 days.
1:29 p.m. The city of Beijing says people who recently visited China's ports of entry should avoid coming to the capital, as the country remains concerned about infections from abroad amid a monthlong outbreak. The small northern administrative divisions of Heihe, Erenhot and Ejina, along China's borders with Russia and Mongolia, were among the hardest-hit areas in an outbreak since mid-October that has seen more than 1,200 domestically transmitted cases.
1:25 p.m. Australia could start administering jabs for children under age 12 in January. Health Minister Greg Hunt said medical regulators are reviewing the health and safety data for vaccines targeting children between the ages of 5 and 11 and are unlikely to decide this year. "The expectation that they have set is the first part of January, hopefully early January," Hunt told the Australian Broadcast Corporation. "But they're going as quickly as possible."
2:35 a.m. Young children in Vienna can start getting coronavirus vaccinations next week as part of a pilot project, Austria media reports. Broadcaster ORF reported that about 200 children between the ages of 5 and 11 can get jabs of the Pfizer vaccine each day in the Austrian capital starting Monday. The pilot project is limited to Vienna only and doesn't apply to the rest of the country.
1:57 a.m. Morocco will conduct rapid COVID-19 tests to passengers arriving in its airports and ports, and will deny access to any visitor with a positive result, the government says. The measure, which strengthens an existing requirement of a negative PCR test 48 hours before departure, aims to protect the country amid a surge of cases in Europe. Travelers with positive tests must be returned at the cost of the airline that brought them into the country, unless they have a permanent residency document, the government says.
Saturday, Nov. 13
11:51 p.m. Singapore's Health Ministry reports 2,304 new cases compared with 3,099 the previous day, along with 14 deaths. Of the new cases, 2,179 are reported in the community, 120 in the migrant worker dormitories and five are imported cases. The weekly infection growth rate is 0.98.
10:15 p.m. German Chancellor Angela Merkel calls on all unvaccinated Germans to get their shots as quickly as possible as the country's infection rate hit the latest in a string of new highs and death numbers were growing, the Associated Press reports. "If we stand together, if we think about protecting ourselves and caring for others, we can save our country a lot this winter," Merkel says in her weekly podcast.
6 p.m. Thailand will delay the reopening of nightlife entertainment venues to Jan. 15 despite pleas from the industry to open sooner. A spokesman for the government's COVID-19 administration cited concerns about ventilation and inefficient prevention measures in pubs, bars and karaoke joints, the Associated Press reports. The Thailand Nightlife and Entertainment Business Association had hoped that nightlife businesses, shut since April, would reopen next month.
5:43 p.m. According to Reuters, Russia reports a record one-day death toll of 1,241 from COVID-19 as well as 39,256 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours.
To catch up on earlier developments, see last week's latest updates.