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Coronavirus: Free to read

Coronavirus: Week of Nov.8 to Nov. 14, South Korea logs most daily cases since Sept.

Brazil suspects hackers targeted COVID data; US Secret Service fights cluster

Health workers prepare to give a man a flu shot at a drive-thru vaccine center in Goyang, South Korea on Oct. 26.   © Reuters

Nikkei Asia is tracking the spread of the new coronavirus that originated in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.

Global cases have reached 53,367,757, according to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. The worldwide death toll has hit 1,302,036.

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



Saturday, November 14 (Tokyo time)

2:10 p.m. Australia's state of Victoria, an epicenter of the virus surge in recent months, records its 15th consecutive day of no new infections and no related deaths -- two weeks after it eased one of the world's longest and strictest lockdowns.

10:30 a.m. China reports 18 cases for Friday, up from eight a day earlier. All new infections were from overseas.

10:00 a.m. South Korea reports 205 cases as of Friday midnight -- topping 200 for the first time since September -- of which 166 were domestic and 39 imported. More than 65% of locally transmitted cases were from Seoul and Gyeonggi Province, a densely populated area surrounding the capital.

7:10 a.m. U.S. President Donald Trump takes a swipe at New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has said he would not trust the administration to handle vaccine distribution.

"As soon as April, the vaccine will be available to the entire general population, with the exception of places like New York state," Trump says in a news conference at the White House. Cuomo "will have to let us know when he's ready for it" because otherwise, "we can't be delivering it to a state that won't be giving it to its people immediately," he adds.

U.S. President Donald Trump says the U.S. government would not deliver a coronavirus vaccine to New York if and when one is available.   © Reuters

6:30 a.m. The S&P 500 closes at a record high as U.S. stocks soar on anticipation of COVID-19 vaccines now in trials for release in the coming months.

The index rises 1.36% to 3,585.15 ahead of a White House news conference in which President Donald Trump says "million of doses will soon be going out the door."

Trump says Pfizer's vaccine will be distributed free of charge to health providers and vulnerable groups. The president mentions that the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 400 points and was close to hitting an all-time closing high.

6:20 a.m. Brazil says it had taken its COVID-19 reporting system offline in recent days to fend off a suspected cyberattack. Elcio Franco, a high-ranking health ministry official, said the ministry had blocked access to its network to protect data. The government website used to report Brazilian COVID figures is now back online.

4:40 a.m. McDonald's will inspect locations run by franchisees to ensure safety standards are being followed amid signs of "COVID fatigue," Reuters reports, citing an internal note.

3:00 a.m. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has tweeted about his experience being tested for COVID-19 four times -- in one day.

2:30 a.m. The head of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden's coronavirus advisory team favors targeted restrictions on business and social activity as response to the surge in American COVID-19 cases.

"We're not in a place where we're saying shut the whole country down." Dr. Vivek Murthy, an Indian-American former U.S. surgeon general, says in an interview with ABC's "Good Morning America."

"Right now the way we should be thinking about this is more like a series of restrictions that we dial up or down depending on how a bad spread is taking place in a specific region," Murthy says.

Members of the Secret Service detail of Sen. Kamala Harris wait for her to deplane before attending a campaign event in Atlanta on Oct. 23.   © Reuters

1:00 a.m. More than 130 U.S. Secret Service officers have tested positive for the coronavirus or had close contact with co-workers who have, The Washington Post reports, citing people familiar with the matter.

The Secret Service's duties include protecting the U.S. president at the White House and during travel.

The infections and possible cases, which have forced the affected personnel to isolate themselves, are believed to be partly linked to campaign rallies that President Donald Trump held before the Nov. 3 election, the newspaper reports.

Friday, November 13

10:00 p.m. Vietnam's National Assembly is set to deliberate a 12 trillion dong ($520 million) rescue of cash-strapped Vietnam Airlines, a package in which the state would underwrite the majority of a capital increase and state lenders would offer soft loans for the flag carrier.

9:00 p.m. As the world waits for more news about the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, read about the Turkish couple behind the effort to stop the COVID-19 pandemic.

The vaccine program stems from their nearly 20 years of research into the possibility of using modified genetic code to trick the body into developing cancer-fighting antibodies.

7:27 p.m. Indonesia hits a new daily record with 5,444 new coronavirus infections in the past 24 hours, up from 4,173 the day before, and 104 deaths. This brings the country's total to 457,735 cases, including 15,037 fatalities.

7:25 p.m. Malaysian reports 1,304 new coronavirus cases, raising the total to 45,095 infections.

7:00 p.m. Japan reports 1,685 new cases nationwide as of 7 p.m., notching a second straight daily high.

5:10 p.m. The Philippines reports 1,902 new infections and 31 additional deaths. Total confirmed cases increased to 404,713, while deaths related to COVID-19 reached 7,752.

5:00 p.m. Delhi, home of India's capital, New Delhi, reports a record daily high of 104 new deaths and 7,053 new infections. India's deaths increased by 547 to 128,668 in the past 24 hours. Total infections rose by 44,789, bringing the total to 8.73 million. A lack of physical distancing in public places around a major festival is considered to have contributed to the spike in infections.

3:30 p.m. Tesla CEO Elon Musk says he took four coronavirus tests on the same day, with two showing positive results but the other two negative. "Something extremely bogus is going on," Musk tweeted. "Was tested for covid four times today. Two tests came back negative, two came back positive. Same machine, same test, same nurse. Rapid antigen test from BD" -- likely a reference to Becton Dickinson and Co.'s rapid antigen test. Musk said he was also taking polymerase chain reaction tests from separate labs, whose results will take about 24 hours.

3:20 p.m. Tokyo reports 374 new infections, down slightly from 393 a day earlier but the third consecutive day of more than 300 confirmed cases. On Thursday, Japan reported a record number of new infections, more than 1,600, stirring fears of a "third wave."

2:48 p.m. Shares of Asiana Airlines rose sharply on expectations that the South Korean government will sell the troubled full-service carrier to its larger rival in a deal that would inject taxpayer money into both airlines.

2:00 p.m. Australia will not allow foreign students to return as Canberra prioritizes the return of citizens stuck overseas, Prime Minister Scott Morrison says. Although the government had hoped to slowly allow overseas students to return in 2021 and began trials earlier this year, Morrison says, "There is a queue, and Australians are in the front of the queue." Australia has since March closed its borders to all noncitizens and permanent residents.

Australia caps the numbers of citizens allowed to return home each week in order to minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19. Foreign students are worth about 35 billion Australian dollars ($25.3 billion) a year to the Australian economy.

1:02 p.m. Malaysia's economy contracted 2.7% in the June-September quarter, the central bank says, signaling a turnaround from the worst of the pandemic's business-crippling effects. The country's gross domestic product had plunged 17.1% on the year in the second quarter, and 16.4% in the first half, largely due to restrictions on movement.

South Koreans who venture out of their homes without a mask now face $85 fines as the government takes a harder line in its fight against resurgent transmissions.   © Reuters

12:00 p.m. South Korea begins fining people who fail to wear masks in public as it reports 191 new cases and as new daily infections creep higher. The tally is up from 143 a day ago, marking the biggest daily rise in two months and bringing the country total to 28,133, with 488 deaths. People caught without masks in nightclubs, malls, theme parks, hair salons and other public places face fines of up to 100,000 won ($89.75).

11:00 a.m. Blacks and Asians are at increased risk of COVID-19 infection compared to white individuals, according to an analysis published in The Lancet medical journal that cites U.S. and U.K. studies. Black people are twice as likely as white people to become infected with COVID-19, and people with Asian backgrounds are one and a half times as likely. The analysis found that many people from minority groups are more likely to work outside the home and live in overcrowded households due to socioeconomics.

10:30 a.m. Early testing of a potential COVID-19 vaccine developed by an Australian university and CSL Ltd. shows the candidate is safe and that it produces an antibody response, Australia's health minister Greg Hunt says. While slightly behind other candidates, such as the ones developed by Pfizer and AstraZeneca, the vaccine has now entered the last stage of testing, Hunt says.

9:20 a.m. China's customs office says it will suspend imports from India's Basu International for one week after detecting the novel coronavirus on three samples taken from the outer packaging of frozen cuttlefish.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga talks to reporters on Friday morning. (Photo by Uichiro Kasai)

9:10 a.m. Japan's resurgent outbreak has not reached a point that the government has to review its travel subsidy program or consider declaring a state of emergency, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga says, citing experts. Japan reported a record number of new infections, more than 1,600, on Thursday.

9:05 a.m. China reports eight new cases for Thursday, down from 15 a day earlier and all imported.

6:55 a.m. Data shows the pandemic continues to rage, with new COVID-19 cases topping 660,000 on Wednesday to set a fresh record.

The seven-day moving average came to over 573,000, setting a record for a second straight day, according to Johns Hopkins University's Coronavirus Resource Center.

The U.S. and Europe continue to lead the world in new infections.

In Japan, meanwhile, a new surge of coronavirus cases is filling hospital beds, putting pressure on government to curb new infections and relieve strains on the health care system.

6:05 a.m. U.S. infectious disease authority Anthony Fauci on the end of COVID-19: "Certainly it is not going to be pandemic for a lot longer, because I believe the vaccines are going to turn that around."

Fauci tells a webinar hosted by British think tank Chatham House that vaccine developers should make supplies available worldwide, not just in rich countries, according to Reuters.

5:30 a.m. U.S. Federal Reserve Chair echoes the International Energy Agency's cautious view on the near-term impact of COVID-19 vaccines.

"From our standpoint it's just too soon to assess with any confidence the implications of the news for the path of the economy," Powell says at the ECB's annual forum.

Overall, however, the three central banks in attendance express optimism on the global economy.

"We are clearly seeing a little less uncertainty on several fronts," the ECB's Christine Lagarde says, mentioning the outcome of the U.S. presidential election and progress on Britain's exit from the European Union.

4:00 a.m. Chicago has issued a stay-at-home "advisory" for America's third-largest city.

"If we continue on the path we're on and you, me and others don't step up and do more ... we could see at least a thousand more Chicagoans die" by the end of this year, Mayor Lori Lightfoot says.

Chicago, America's third largest city, has seen a growing number of coronavirus cases.   © Reuters

2:15 a.m. The International Energy Agency sees no prospect of COVID-19 vaccines boosting global oil demand until the second half of next year.

"It is far too early to know how and when vaccines will allow normal life to resume," the IEA says in a new report.

1:15 a.m. A drug normally prescribed to treat obsessive compulsive disorder may of prevent symptoms of COVID-19 in patients outside hospitals, a trial by Washington University in St. Louis suggests.

The authors of the study published in Journal of the American Medical Association say the trial was too limited to demonstrate the effectiveness of fluvoxamine against COVID-19 symptoms.

Thursday, November 12

9:00 p.m. A study conducted in the U.S. and U.K. has raised alarm over how conspiracy theories and misinformation could stop enough people from taking COVID-19 vaccines that they become less effective, Reuters reports.

A survey of 8,000 people in the two countries suggests fewer people would "definitely" take a coronavirus shot than the 55% of the population estimated to provide "herd immunity."

"Vaccines only work if people take them," said Heidi Larson, a professor at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, who co-led the study. "Misinformation plays into existing anxieties and uncertainty around new vaccines, as well as the new platforms that are being used to develop them."

6:00 p.m. Indonesia reports 4,173 new infections, taking its total number of cases to 452,291. It also reports 97 more deaths, taking total fatalities to 14,933.

5:10 p.m. The Philippines reports 1,407 new infections and 11 more deaths, the lowest daily increase in fatalities in nearly three months. Total confirmed cases rose to 402,820 while deaths reached 7,721. The Philippines has the second highest COVID-19 cases and deaths in Southeast Asia, after Indonesia.

4:00 p.m. Tokyo reports 393 new infections, up from 317 a day earlier and the most since Aug. 8. Meanwhile, Japan's Hokkaido confirms more than 220 new infections for the past 24 hours, the most in a single day for the prefecture, according to Kyodo. On Wednesday, Japan reported a near-record 1,547 cases, the most since early August, amid signs of what some health experts say is a "third wave."

3:40 p.m. Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy was hospitalized after he contracted the virus earlier this week, local news outlets report, quoting a presidential official. The country registered a record 11,057 new COVID-19 cases for the past 24 hours, its health minister says, up from a high of 10,746 reported on Nov. 7, taking the total of confirmed infections to 500,865, with 9,145 deaths.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, pictured in Kyiv in October, was hospitalized after he contracted the coronavirus earlier this week.   © Reuters

1:00 p.m. Japan says a panel tasked with guarding against the coronavirus during next summer's Tokyo Olympics plans to decide by spring audience limits and whether to accept foreign visitors. The panel also presented a plan to exempt foreign spectators from a 14-day quarantine if it decides to allow them entry into the country.

11:45 a.m. Indonesia has signed a A$1.5 billion ($1.09 billion) loan deal with Australia's government to be used to help combat the pandemic. Indonesian finance minister Sri Mulyani says, "Everybody, all parts of society, are hurt by this COVID-19 [outbreak] and the role of fiscal policy together with other instruments, like monetary policy, is very critical." Indonesia has the most coronavirus infections and fatalities in Southeast Asia.

10:30 a.m. South Korea confirms 143 new cases, marking the fifth consecutive day of reporting more than 100 cases. Total infections reach 27,942.

10:00 a.m. U.S. President-elect Joe Biden appoints top Democratic official Ron Klain, a fierce critic of Republican President Donald Trump's handling of the pandemic, as his chief of staff and assistant to the president. Klain was in charge of the Barack Obama administration's response to the Ebola health crisis in 2014 and is expected to be a key figure in Biden's response to the health crisis.

9:30 a.m. China reports 15 new cases for Wednesday, down from 17 a day earlier. One of the new cases is a local infection in Tianjin. The remaining 14 are cases travelers brought back from overseas.

9:20 a.m. Japan's core machinery orders in September fell for the first time in three months, dashing hopes the economy would quickly overcome the COVID-19 crisis. Core machinery orders, a highly volatile data series regarded as an indicator of capital spending in the coming six to nine months, lost 4.4% in September after a 0.2% rise the previous month. The drop, the first since June, was much larger than a 0.7% contraction seen by economists in a Reuters poll.

Moderna is preparing to submit the results of an interim analysis of a late-stage trial vaccine to an independent safety monitoring board.   © Reuters

7:00 a.m. Moderna says it has enough data for an interim analysis of a late-stage trial of its COVID-19 vaccine, which could help determine the vaccine's efficacy. The company said the information is being prepared for submission to an independent safety monitoring board. American disease-control expert Anthony Fauci says he expects Moderna's vaccine candidate will likely show "a similar degree of efficacy" to the one being developed by Pfizer and BioNTech.

6:20 a.m. The president of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, will start a four-day visit in Japan on Sunday, but the German says he is not going to discuss canceling next year's delayed Summer Games in Tokyo. Speaking to reporters, Bach says he wants to Olympic participants to have confidence that the environment for next year's event will be safe.

5:30 a.m. With infections surging across the state, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo limits private indoor gatherings to 10 people and tells gyms, bars and restaurants to close at 10 p.m. The restrictions will take effect on Friday, and local governments will be responsible enforcing them.

4:45 a.m. U.S. biotech company Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine candidate is likely to show "a similar degree of efficacy" to the one being developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, according to American disease control expert Anthony Fauci. "We were told that literally in the next few days to a week they'll be doing the same thing of looking at the data as the Pfizer people did a week ago," Fauci tells the FT Live Global Pharmaceutical Summit, describing the two vaccine candidates as "identical in many respects."

A demonstrator wearing a face mask with message reading "No Vaccine. Doria out" protests against Sao Paulo Governor Joao Doria and Sinovac's potential coronavirus vaccine in Sao Paulo, Brazil.   © Reuters

2:50 a.m. Brazil health regulator Anvisa allows resumption of late-stage clinical trials for China's Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine, which had been suspended due to the death of a study subject that was registered in Sao Paulo as a suicide.

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro, a longtime China skeptic who has dismissed the Sinovac vaccine as lacking in credibility, had hailed the earlier suspension as a personal victory.

The suspension was criticized by the trial organizers, who said there had been no need to stop the study as the death had no relation to the vaccine.

1:00 a.m. The European Commission seeks rules that would give the EU the power to declare a health emergency, in a potential blow to the World Health Organization.

The move follows an often uncoordinated reaction by the 27 EU governments to the COVID-19 pandemic, which at the beginning of the crisis led to competition on vital medical gear and export bans on medicines.

Wednesday, November 11

9:30 p.m. U.S. stocks open higher as investor optimism over vaccine progress gains momentum, with technology stocks bouncing back from losses earlier this week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 103.43 points, or 0.35%, at the open to 29,524.35. The S&P 500 opened 0.50% higher, while the Nasdaq Composite gained 0.89% at the opening bell.

8:06 p.m. A total of 462 people, a daily record, die from the new coronavirus over the past 24 hours, an Iranian health ministry spokeswoman tells state TV. The number of cases rose by 11,780, also a daily high.

7:57 p.m. Post-registration trials of Russia's second COVID-19 vaccine, being developed by Siberia's Vector institute, are expected to start on Nov. 15, Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova says.

7:07 p.m. Malaysia reports 822 new coronavirus cases, raising the total to 42,872. The Southeast Asian country also recorded two new deaths, taking total fatalities from the pandemic to 302.

6:39 p.m. Airlines in Malaysia could take three years to bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic, the transport ministry said. The minister said earlier this week that the Malaysian Aviation Commission expects passenger numbers to shrink as much as 75.6% to 26.6 million this year, compared with the 109.2 million passengers recorded in 2019.

6:35 p.m. Indonesia reports 3,770 new coronavirus infections on Wednesday, taking its total number of cases to 448,118, according to the country's COVID-19 task force. It also reports 75 more deaths, taking total fatalities to 14,836.

6:24 p.m. Russia's Sputnik V vaccine is 92% effective at protecting people from COVID-19 according to interim trial results, the country's sovereign wealth fund said on Wednesday, as Moscow tries to keep pace with Western drugmakers in the race for a shot.

The initial results are only the second to be published from a late-stage human trial in the global effort to produce vaccines that could halt a pandemic that has killed more than 1.2 million people and ravaged the world economy. Russia registered its COVID-19 vaccine for public use in August, the first country to do so, though the approval came before the start of the large-scale trial in September.

5:06 p.m. The Philippine health ministry on Wednesday recorded 1,672 new coronavirus infections and 49 additional deaths. In a bulletin, the ministry said total confirmed cases have increased to 401,416 while deaths have reached 7,710.

3:56 p.m. Online retailer Rakuten's membership base and credit card business model provided the impetus for launching the company's new wireless service, Rakuten Mobile, chairman and CEO Hiroshi Mikitani told the Nikkei Global Management Forum in Tokyo on Wednesday. The annual forum's theme this year centers on responding to an unprecedented time of change brought on by the pandemic.

3:38 p.m. Mongolia recorded its first domestic coronavirus transmission on Wednesday following hundreds of imported cases, the health minister said. A woman in Ulaanbaatar was infected by her husband, a truck driver delivering goods from Russia who tested positive after 21 days in quarantine. Another 24 people in close contact with the couple have been put in isolation. Authorities have ordered a three-day lockdown in Ulaanbaatar, with schools also closed.

3:37 p.m. The Nikkei Stock Average rose to 25,349.60 yen, up 444.01 yen, or 1.78%, from the previous day's close, surpassing the psychological milestone of 25,000 yen and reaching its highest level in 29 years, since June 1991. Expectations for a practical vaccine for the new coronavirus spread, and the inflow of surplus money generated by global monetary easing further intensified the rise.

3:22 p.m. Vehicle sales in China rose 12.5% in October from the same month a year earlier, the seventh straight monthly rise as the world's biggest vehicle market continued to lead the global auto industry's recovery from lows hit during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sales reached 2.57 million vehicles last month, data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers showed.

3:07 p.m. Tokyo reports 317 new infections, up from 293 a day earlier, topping the 300 mark for the first time since Aug. 20.

2:00 p.m. In an effort to accelerate its global expansion, Akio Nitori, chairman and CEO of Japanese furniture retailer Nitori Holdings, tells the Nikkei Global Management Forum that "from next year, [we] want to open 10 to 20 [new stores] every year" overseas. The company currently has stores in Taiwan, the U.S. and China. Nitori said he has high hopes for the Chinese market, particularly, in where incomes are still rising, adding that "winning in the Chinese market means successes in the world."

In Japan, despite Nitori stores in shopping malls having to close due to the coronavirus pandemic, the company has seen sales jump as many people turn their homes into offices and classrooms. He said that COVID-19 has "changed consumers' shopping behavior," and that many of them are spending less time in physical stores. But at the same time, the number of app users is increasing, he said.

Singapore Airlines stewardesses serve economy-class passengers on Oct. 24.   © Reuters

1:06 p.m. U.S. drugmaker Pfizer lifted spirits worldwide this week with word that its vaccine candidate was found to be "more than 90% effective in preventing COVID-19." Scientists think it could lead to a victory against the coronavirus but warn against premature optimism and want more information before drawing conclusions. Here are five things to know.

12:59 p.m. Indonesian retail sales in September fell 8.7% year-on-year, a slower pace compared with the 9.2% contraction in the previous month, a central bank survey showed on Wednesday. Improvements were seen in sales of food, beverages and tobacco, as well as clothes and fuel, according to around 700 retailers in 10 major cities, including the capital, Jakarta. The Bank Indonesia survey predicted sales in October would fall 10% from a year earlier.

12:50 p.m. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's coalition has retained power in Bihar state, results show on Wednesday, in what was a referendum on Modi's handling of COVID-19 and which may boost his chances in three more state elections next year. Modi's coalition won a fourth straight term in Bihar, the third-most populous state and one of the poorest in India, which has recorded more than 8.5 million COVID-19 cases, the world's second-highest tally after the United States. The alliance led by Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won 125 seats in the 243-member Bihar assembly, Election Commission data showed after counting started on Tuesday.

12:02 p.m. Cyrille Vigneron, the CEO of Cartier, the crown jewel in Compagnie Financiere Richemont's stable of luxury brands, says he has not lost any sleep over Cartier's market share because his luxury group is on a roll in China, where it has followed customers into the digital realm despite a pandemic that has depressed global demand for luxury goods. Speaking at the annual Nikkei Global Management Forum via video link on Tuesday, he said consumers stuck at home are investing their would-be travel budget in jewelry.

11:21 a.m. Singapore and Hong Kong will start the "air travel bubble" enabling no-quarantine general travel between them on Nov. 22, the governments announced. There will be one designated flight a day in each direction, operated by Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific Airways, with a quota of 200 passengers per flight. Flights will increase to two a day each way from Dec. 7.

11:16 a.m. As the novel coronavirus continues to disrupt lives around the world, the future of public health is "really about using AI," said Microsoft President Brad Smith at an international business forum in Tokyo on Wednesday. "We cannot leave COVID-19 behind," Smith said. "We could face another pandemic in our future," he added in remarks delivered via video link to the Nikkei Global Management Forum. Smith said AI can help with "managing hospital resources, to understand where resources are, where there are shortages, where things can be moved."

Microsoft President Brad Smith, speaking to the Nikkei Global Management Forum in Tokyo on Nov. 11, said his company is committed to protecting customer data. (Photo by Yo Inoue)

10:47 a.m. Hundreds of millions of Chinese stayed up until midnight and snapped up 372.3 billion yuan ($56.3 billion) of goods within 30 minutes early on Wednesday, as e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding kicked off its annual "Singles Day" sales promotion.

10:38 a.m. New Zealand's central bank on Wednesday unveiled a new monetary policy tool that will reduce borrowing costs for lenders, while holding the benchmark rate at a record low and signaling its readiness to deploy negative rates.

10:16 a.m. South Korea confirms 146 new cases, up from 100 a day ago. Total infections reach 27,799, with 487 deaths. Health authorities said they are in talks with global pharmaceutical companies to buy vaccines quickly next year.

9:17 a.m. South Korea's exports for the first 10 days of November surged on strong chip sales and solid demand from major trading partners, official data showed on Wednesday, despite continued worries over a resurgence of the pandemic. Exports for the first 10 days of the month jumped 20.1% from the same period a year earlier, according to Korea Customs Service data, sharply reversing a 28.9% plunge in the Oct. 1-10 period. Imports also rose 7.8%.

Day workers gather outside a Seoul day-labor agency early on Sept. 17. South Korea's unemployment rate climbed to a three-month high in October as the resurgence of the pandemic added pressure on businesses.   © Reuters

9:13 a.m. A measure of Australian consumer sentiment climbed for a third straight month in November to a seven-year high as consumers became more optimistic about the economy with the pandemic now under control. The Westpac-Melbourne Institute index of consumer sentiment released on Wednesday added 2.5% in November from October, when it climbed 11.9%. The index is now 11% above its level a year ago, and at 107.7 implies optimists outnumbered pessimists.

9:11 a.m. Mainland China recorded 17 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, down from 22 a day earlier, the country's health authority said on Wednesday. The National Health Commission said one of the new cases was a local infection in Anhui, the first such infection in the eastern Chinese province since Feb. 27. The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases reported in mainland China now stands at 86,284. The death toll remains unchanged at 4,634.

9:06 a.m. The second day of the 2020 Nikkei Global Management Forum kicked off in Tokyo on Wednesday, with the livestreamed event bringing together influential corporate leaders to share their views on the role of business in an unprecedented time of change brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

8:09 a.m. South Korea's unemployment rate climbed to a three-month high in October and the number of employed fell at the fastest pace in six months as the resurgence of the pandemic added pressure on businesses. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 4.2% in October, from 3.9% in September, and was the highest since July, data from Statistics Korea showed on Wednesday. Data also showed the number of employed people was 27.1 million in October, 421,000 fewer than a year earlier, the sharpest fall since April, when it shrank 476,000.

6:34 a.m. The pandemic has been a boon for Nintendo, with its stock soaring by 20% this year. Still, the 131-year-old company has a chink: In the age of mobile gaming, it remains stubbornly married to the console. Read more on Nikkei Asia's The Big Story from this week.

5:17 a.m. More than 15,000 minks in the United States have died of the coronavirus since August, and authorities are keeping about a dozen farms under quarantine while they investigate the cases, state agriculture officials said. Global health officials are eying the animals as a potential risk for people after Denmark last week embarked on a plan to eliminate all of its 17 million minks, saying a mutated coronavirus strain could move to humans and evade future COVID-19 vaccines. The U.S. states of Utah, Wisconsin and Michigan -- where the coronavirus has killed minks -- said they do not plan to cull animals and are monitoring the situation in Denmark.

5:09 a.m. Brazil's health regulator suspended a clinical trial of China's Sinovac coronavirus vaccine following an apparently unrelated death, delighting President Jair Bolsonaro, who has repeatedly criticized the vaccine's credibility and said it would not be purchased by his government. The state government of Sao Paulo, where the trial is being run, said the death of a trial volunteer had been registered as a suicide, was unrelated to the vaccine and was being investigated. Brazil's health regulator, Anvisa, suspended the trial late on Monday, saying a severe adverse event had occurred on Oct. 29. A police report of the incident was seen by Reuters. The suspension further inflamed tensions between Bolsonaro and Sao Paulo Gov. Joao Doria, who has pinned his political ambitions on the Chinese vaccine, which he aims to roll out in his state as early as January -- with or without federal assistance.

3:05 a.m. Pfizer's vaccine candidate is "very promising," the head of the World Health Organization says, but cites the logistical challenge of needing to store the doses at minus 70 degrees Celsius. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus reemphasizes the importance of ensuring equitable distribution of vaccines once they become available.

Tuesday, November 10

11:40 p.m. The U.S. plans to begin vaccinating Americans in December if Pfizer submits its COVID-19 vaccine candidate to regulators as quickly as expected, says Health Secretary Alex Azar in an interview with CNBC. He anticipates more vaccines from rivals soon, saying that "by the end of March, early April, we expect to have enough for every American who would like to be vaccinated."

8:50 p.m. Restaurants and nightclubs in Moscow will have to close between the hours of 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. as a virus precaution, the city's mayor has announced, according to Reuters. Mayor Sergei Sobyanin says the rule will be in effect from this Friday through Jan. 15. Schools will be restricted to online learning over that period as well. Russia has the fifth-highest case tally in the world, at over 1.8 million.

7:30 p.m. Saeb Erekat, a veteran Palestinian spokesman and negotiator, has died after contracting COVID-19, Reuters reports. The 65-year-old had been a key face of the Palestinian cause in the global media. Three years ago, he underwent a lung transplant that compromised his immune system, according to the report. In recent weeks he was being treated at Israel's Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem.

6:00 p.m. Indonesia reports 3,779 new infections, up from 2,853 a day earlier and bringing its total to 444,348. The country adds 72 new COVID-19 deaths, taking the total to 14,761.

5:00 p.m. Tokyo reports 293 new infections, up from 157 a day earlier. Meanwhile, new cases in Osaka jumped to 226 from 78 a day earlier, marking the highest daily rise since Aug. 7 in the western city.

4:40 p.m. The British government has asked the National Health Service to be ready to deploy any COVID-19 vaccine from the start of December for rollout starting with the most vulnerable, the health minister says. Matt Hancock told Sky News that there were still many hurdles to clear and the government would not deploy the shot until it was confident of its clinical safety.

3:45 p.m. China reports 22 new infections for Monday, down from 33 a day earlier. One of the new cases was a local infection reported in Shanghai, while the remaining 21 were imported by people returning from overseas. On Tuesday, one new locally transmitted infection was reported in the city of Fuyang in the eastern province of Anhui, the province's first since Feb. 27. That case is not included in Monday's count.

2:34 p.m. The pandemic has opened opportunities for Japanese travel agency H.I.S. to expand its scope, CEO Hideo Sawada tells the Nikkei Global Management Forum. Earlier at the forum, Sunao Manabe, CEO of Japanese pharmaceutical company Daiichi Sankyo, vowed to address global challenges in COVID-19 vaccine development and distribution.

1:20 p.m. U.S. biotech Arcturus Therapeutics says it expects to start distributing its vaccine in the first quarter of next year after early-stage trials showed promise. The company says it has already struck multi-million dollar supply deals with Israel and Singapore, where it is working on the vaccine with a local university and has been conducting trials.

12:00 p.m. The travel and ride hailing segments of Southeast Asia's digital economy have taken a drastic hit from the coronavirus pandemic. According to a yearly report released by internet giant Google, Singapore state investor Temasek and U.S. consultancy Bain and Company, both sectors shrank 13% in terms of consumer use amid COVID-19, as consumer behavior shifts.

Netflix founder and co-CEO Reed Hastings explained that streaming has an advantage because it lets people watch anytime they want. (Photo by Rie Ishii)

12:00 p.m. With or without pandemic lockdowns, video streaming will take over the broadcast of movies and related content, says Reed Hastings, founder and co-CEO of U.S. streaming service Netflix, at the Nikkei Global Management Forum in Tokyo.

11:45 a.m. Brazil's health regulator has suspended clinical trials of China's Sinovac vaccine due to a "severe adverse effect" that occurred on Oct. 29 but gave no details, Reuters reports. The regulator did not say whether the incident took place in Brazil -- where trials are being conducted -- or in another country. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who regularly expresses anti-Chinese sentiment, has said Sinovac lacks credibility.

11:13 a.m. Investors in Asian markets snapped up stocks on hopes of a breakthrough in the pandemic after drugmaker Pfizer indicated its vaccine was more than 90% effective in its largest trial. Japan's benchmark Nikkei Stock Average surged over 400 points, or 1.7%, reaching the 25,000 mark for the first time in 29 years. Other Asian markets also rose, with Australia's equity benchmark up over 1% and South Korea's Kospi climbing 0.2%. The Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong rose 1.1%.

11:04 a.m. The Philippine economy shrank 11.5% in the third quarter from a year earlier, easing from a record contraction that plunged the nation into its first recession in three decades.

10:00 a.m. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga instructs Cabinet ministers to compile a third supplementary budget for fiscal 2020 to finance a new economic stimulus package. The extra budget will fund a likely extension of the government's "Go To Travel" campaign to boost tourism, stimulate overall consumption and help businesses maintain jobs.

9:59 a.m. South Korea confirms 100 new cases, down from 126 a day ago. Total infections reach 27,653 with 485 deaths.

9:35 a.m. China has suspended imports from PT. Anugrah Laut Indonesia for one week after the coronavirus was detected in a sample of frozen fish products. Trade will resume after the seven-day suspension. Companies from Brazil, Ecuador and Russia have faced one-week suspensions during the last month after products tested positive for COVID-19.

9:20 a.m. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorizes emergency use of Eli Lilly's experimental COVID-19 antibody treatment for non-hospitalized patients older than 65, or for those with chronic medical conditions. The FDA said its authorization was based on clinical trials showing that the treatment, bamlanivimab, reduced hospitalization or emergency room visits in patients at high risk of disease progression.

9:02 a.m. Despite uncertainties during the pandemic, it is a "very good moment" to be in the automobile industry, said John Elkann, chairman of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, at the Nikkei Global Management Forum in Tokyo. "If you ... want to invest in the future, [the car industry] will be rewarding for every stakeholder," Elkann said. He added that cars are changing and "there are many exciting novelties around connectivity, autonomy and safety."

8:40 a.m. China prosecuted more than 15,000 people for wildlife-related crimes in the first nine months of the year, up 66% from 2019, as authorities moved to enforce a trafficking ban imposed after the COVID-19 outbreak. Nearly 7,000 arrests involved violations of fishing restrictions. Around 4,000 people were prosecuted for illegal hunting and 3,000 for illegally purchasing, transporting and selling endangered wild animal products.

8:30 a.m. Many COVID-19 survivors are at greater risk of developing mental illness, psychiatrists say, after a study found 20% of people infected are diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder within 90 days. Anxiety, depression and insomnia were most common among recovered patients. "People have been worried that COVID-19 survivors will be at greater risk of mental health problems, and our findings ... show this to be likely," said Paul Harrison, a psychiatry professor at Oxford University.

7:30 a.m. Novavax says it is on track to begin a U.S.-based late-stage study of its experimental vaccine later this month. The company also says the vaccine, NVX-CoV2373, has been given "fast-track" status from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and that results could support U.S. approval. Novavax, which is testing the vaccine in a late-stage study in the U.K., postponed the start of its U.S. trial last month due to delays in scaling up manufacturing.

6:10 a.m. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose nearly 3% and the S&P 500 climbed to just shy of a record as investors hailed positive news on Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine candidate.

4:00 a.m. The U.S. records its 10 millionth case, according to Johns Hopkins University's tracker, becoming the first country to cross that threshold. India's count stands at 8.55 million, followed by Brazil at 5.66 million.

3:30 a.m. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy tests positive for the virus. Cases in the country spiked in September and remain high, with the health minister saying last week that the situation was close to catastrophic.

2:38 a.m. The coronavirus vaccine approval process must be guided by science, says former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, citing the need for the public's confidence in its safety and effectiveness. Biden met with a 12-member coronavirus task force advising him leading into his January inauguration as the next president.

2:20 a.m. Britain is prepared to roll out a massive COVID-19 vaccination program, says Prime Minister Boris Johnson, but he cautions that it is too early to rely on the Pfizer vaccine candidate as a solution to the pandemic.

2:10 a.m. Japan's coronavirus advisory panel issues emergency recommendations in response to increases in new COVID-19 cases in Hokkaido and other regions. As economic and social activities restart, the panel warns that a sudden rise in infections is likely unless appropriate preventive measures are taken.

"There is no question that infections are on the rise nationwide," panel chief Shigeru Omi, a former World Health Organization regional director, tells reporters.

The panel calls for particular caution on hard-to-detect clusters in places such as universities.

Hokkaido, an early COVID-19 hot spot in Japan, reported 200 new cases Monday -- the prefecture's highest daily increase to date.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga told ruling Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers that "maximum caution" was needed in response to these increases. Suga said his government will consider steps such as mass testing in certain regions.

1:44 a.m. U.S. Housing Secretary Ben Carson tests positive for COVID-19 on Monday, according to a reporter at broadcaster ABC, the latest in a string of cases inside the Trump administration.

1:04 a.m. The Brazilian state of Sao Paulo will receive 120,000 doses of Chinese company Sinovac's vaccine candidate on Nov. 20, the governor says. A facility to produce Sinovac's vaccine is under construction in the state and is expected to go online by September 2021.

Monday, November 9

10:20 a.m. Pfizer stock climbs 15% at one point Monday morning after reporting a major breakthrough in its vaccine development.

11:30 p.m. The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumps 1,600 points at the open after Pfizer and BioNTech announced preliminary "success" in trials of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate.

9:40 p.m. Pfizer says its experimental COVID-19 vaccine was more than 90% effective, a major victory in the fight against a pandemic that has killed more than 1 million people, battered the world economy and upended daily life.

U.S. President Donald Trump welcomes Pfizer's experimental COVID-19 vaccine results and the stock market boost it brought. "STOCK MARKET UP BIG, VACCINE COMING SOON. REPORT 90% EFFECTIVE. SUCH GREAT NEWS!" he tweeted.

8:16 p.m. Iran reports a record daily high in coronavirus cases of 10,463, bringing total infections in the Middle East's worst-affected country to 692,949.

7:47 p.m. Ratings agency Fitch revises its outlook on Saudi Arabia to negative from stable, citing weakening fiscal and external balance sheets, but maintains the kingdom's core "A" rating. The finances of the world's top oil exporter have been hurt by the coronavirus pandemic and lower crude prices.

7:14 p.m. The Malaysian Health Ministry reports 972 new infections, raising the total to 41,181 cases. The Southeast Asian country also confirms eight new deaths, taking total fatalities to 294.

7:01 p.m. Oil prices rise on Monday, with Brent crude topping $40 a barrel, after former Vice President Joe Biden's victory in the U.S. presidential election buoyed risk appetite, partially offsetting worries about the impact on demand from the worsening pandemic.

Meanwhile, Citi Research has cut its 2021 oil price forecasts after a larger-than-expected rise in COVID-19 cases, but says tighter supply will still lead to a gradual uptick next year.

6:32 p.m. India's Tata Group has launched a COVID-19 test kit that it says will process results more easily and faster than the RT-PCR method considered the gold standard for detection, at a time when cases are still rising in the country, Reuters reports.

The nasal swab test, developed jointly by Tata and the government, is also more accurate than the rapid antigen test currently favored in India, the Ministry of Science and Technology says.

6:08 p.m. Indonesia reports 2,853 new infections, taking the total to 440,569, while the country's COVID-19 task force confirms 75 more deaths, taking overall fatalities to 14,689.

5:16 p.m. The Philippines reports 108 new deaths from COVID-19, the highest daily toll since Oct. 23, taking total fatalities to 7,647. The country's health ministry also reports 2,058 new infections, taking the total to 398,449, the second-highest number in Southeast Asia.

4:50 p.m. Russia reports a record high of 21,798 new cases, bringing the national tally to 1,796,132, while it registers 256 related deaths in the past 24 hours, taking the official death toll to 30,793.

French police officers on horseback check documents while enforcing a new monthlong nationwide coronavirus lockdown on the Champs-Elysee in Paris on Oct. 31. France's central bank says the country's economic activity is 12% below normal this month amid the measure.   © Reuters

4:30 p.m. France's economic activity is 12% below normal in November after the country entered a coronavirus lockdown for the second time this year, the central bank says. The government imposed the new lockdown Oct. 30. The 12% decline seen so far is worse than the 4% drop for all of October but far better than the 31% plunge seen in April during the first lockdown.

3:07 p.m. Tokyo reports 157 new infections, down from 189 a day earlier and bringing the capital's total to 32,767.

1:50 p.m. Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy plans to start a midstage clinical trial this month of a nasal spray vaccine, Reuters reports. The spray can trigger specific immune responses in airways by mimicking a respiratory virus, its researchers say. A Phase 2 study involving 720 participants, run by a city medical center in the eastern province of Jiangsu, will start Nov. 17, according to an entry in the Chinese Clinical Trial Registry dated Friday.

1:38 p.m. The Philippines revises its second-quarter economic contraction to 16.9% from a record 16.5% reported in August, suggesting that the lockdown harmed the country's economy more than initially estimated. Manila will report third-quarter figures on Tuesday.

Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of the World Health Organization attends a session on COVID-19 in Geneva on Oct. 5.   © Reuters

11:10 a.m. Taiwan, one of the world's few COVID success stories, has not received an invite to a key World Health Organization meeting this week that is expected to focus on the pandemic due to "obstruction" from China, the island's foreign ministry says. The U.S. mission in Geneva last week urged WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to invite China-claimed but self-ruled Taiwan to the WHO's decision-making body, the World Health Assembly.

11:00 a.m. Asian stock markets get off to a strong start now that Democrat Joe Biden has won the U.S. presidential election. Japan's Nikkei Stock Average at one point surged over 500 points, or 2%, continuing to rise after reaching a 29-year high on Friday.

10:30 a.m. President-elect Joe Biden's health care advisers have held talks with pharmaceutical executives on the U.S. government's Operation Warp Speed program to accelerate the development of COVID-19 treatments, a Biden spokesman says. The Trump administration has struck deals with several drugmakers to help speed up the search for effective treatments.

10:04 a.m. South Korea confirms 126 new coronavirus cases, down from 143 a day ago. Total infections reach 27,553 with 480 deaths.

9:30 a.m. China reports 33 new cases for Sunday, up from 28 a day earlier. Of the new cases, 32 were imported. The local case, reported in Tianjin, hit a cold storage worker who had handled frozen pork from Germany. The city government is carrying out tests on some cold storage facilities and their workers.

2:54 a.m. Total confirmed cases worldwide surpass 50 million, according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 1.25 million people have died of COVID-19. The U.S., the worst-affected nation, reported a record 131,420 COVID-19 cases on Saturday and has reported over 100,000 infections for four of the past seven days -- a week in which Americans came together to vote, protest and celebrate -- according to a Reuters tally.

A health care worker in Spain helps a colleague put on her personal protective gear before they collect swab samples from residents of the Andalusian village of Arriate on Nov. 7.    © Reuters

Sunday, November 8

7:16 p.m. Malaysia reports 852 new cases, taking the country's tally to 40,209 infections, as the government orders schools to close until the last day of the school year in December. The Southeast Asian country also records four new fatalities, raising its pandemic death toll to 286.

5:17 p.m. The Philippines reports 2,442 new infections, its biggest daily increase since Oct. 19, taking the overall total to 396,395, its health ministry says. The Department of Health also reports 54 more coronavirus-related deaths, taking the official death toll to 7,539.

4:35 p.m. Gymnasts from four nations attended a friendly meet in Tokyo in a closely watched event aimed at showing the world Japan can safely carry out the postponed 2020 Olympics next summer. Thirty gymnasts from Japan, the U.S., China and Russia took part in the first international event at a Tokyo Olympic venue since the postponement in March.

2:41 p.m. India counts 45,674 new cases, taking its total to 8.5 million, health ministry data shows as the daily increase remains at half the peak load, which hit in September, despite a series of religious festivals.

1:59 p.m. The number of confirmed cases in Germany increases by 16,017, to 658,505, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases shows. The reported death toll rises by 63 to 11,289.

10:23 a.m. Mexico's health ministry reports 6,810 additional cases and 485 more deaths, bringing the official number of cases to 961,938 and putting the death toll at 94,808.

9:23 a.m. Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa says his government will begin imposing localized nighttime curfews on Monday as cases reach a record high.

6:04 a.m. France's total deaths reach 40,169 as the number of new cases sets a fresh record. Of the deaths, 27,660 have been in hospitals.

Saturday, Nov. 7

4:20 p.m. Japanese gymnast Kohei Uchimura, who had a false positive COVID test last week, calls the episode a good experience in the lead-up to the Tokyo Olympics, due to begin in July. The erroneous result briefly appeared to threaten a four-nation meet.

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

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