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Coronavirus: Free to read

Coronavirus: Week of Oct. 10 to Oct. 16, U.S. OKs overseas arrivals who mixed their vaccines

South Korea to ease gathering curbs; Toyota to cut global output 15% in November

As countries like Thailand increasingly rely on vaccine cocktails to inoculate their populations, the U.S. CDC says it will open its borders to international travelers who have received mixed jabs.   © 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 240,043,461, according to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. The worldwide death toll has hit 4,889,036.

For more information about the spread of COVID-19 and vaccination progress 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

UPDATES CLOSED

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Saturday, Oct. 16 (Tokyo time)

10:00 a.m. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it will accept international travelers who have received mixed-dose vaccinations. The CDC previously said it would accept any vaccine authorized for use by U.S. regulators or the World Health Organization. "While CDC has not recommended mixing types of vaccine in a primary series, we recognize that this is increasingly common in other countries so should be accepted for the interpretation of vaccine records," a CDC representative said.

2:39 a.m. Outside advisers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration vote unanimously to recommend regulators authorize a second shot of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine to better protect Americans who received the one-dose vaccine, reports Reuters.

2:14 a.m. The U.S. health regulator is delaying its decision on authorizing Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine for adolescents to check if the shot could increase the risk of heart inflammation, the Wall Street Journal reports, citing people familiar with the matter.

12:51 a.m. The White House says it will lift COVID-19 travel restrictions for fully vaccinated foreign nationals effective Nov. 8, ending historic restrictions that had barred much of the world from entering the U.S.

Friday, Oct. 15

5:30 p.m. South Korea says it will lift stringent anti-coronavirus curbs on social gatherings next week, as the country prepares to switch to a "living with COVID-19" strategy amid rising vaccination levels. Starting Monday, the government will allow gatherings of up to four unvaccinated people and ease restrictions on operating hours at restaurants, cafes and cinemas. A new panel set up this week is drawing up a plan for a gradual return to normalcy over the long term by lifting sweeping restrictions and reopening the economy in November on the expectation that 80% of the adult population will be fully vaccinated.

3:14 p.m. Japan's blue-chip Nikkei Stock Average index closed up over 500 points, or 1.8%, on Friday following advances in U.S. stocks overnight, as worries over rising inflation eased. The yen declined against the greenback to a nearly three-year low, which also prompted stock buying in exporters such as automakers.

2:45 p.m. Toyota Motor will cut its global auto production in November by 15% from its latest output plan, or around 150,000 vehicles, due to a shortage of semiconductors and the power crunch in China, Nikkei has learned.

The move comes after the Japanese automaker cut its production by 40% from its initial plan from September to October as the resurgence of COVID-19 infections in Southeast Asia disrupted the supply chain for auto parts.

1:50 p.m. Indonesia's September trade surplus beat forecasts as exports surged on the back of booming commodity prices, government data shows. The resource-rich country booked a September trade surplus of $4.37 billion, higher than the median estimate of $3.84 billion according to analysts polled earlier by Reuters. Analysts say robust the exports should cushion the economic blow from Indonesia's devastating COVID-19 wave in the third quarter.

12:30 p.m. Japan slashes its forecast for exports in its October economic report for the first time in seven months, as Asia-bound shipments of cars and electronic parts peaked amid supply chain constraints and China's economic slowdown. But the government has maintained its overall economic assessment, pointing to signs of recovery in private consumption, especially in services spending, as a COVID-19 state of emergency was lifted thanks to a sharp fall in nationwide infection numbers.

11:20 a.m. New Zealand reports 65 new locally acquired cases, with all in locked-down Auckland, as the country readies for a mass immunization drive on Saturday, when it hopes to administer a record 100,000 vaccine doses. Auckland, the country's largest city, imposed a lockdown in mid-August to stamp out an outbreak of the delta variant, with officials looking to end the harsh restrictions when full vaccination rates reach 90%. About 2.6 million New Zealanders have so far been fully vaccinated, or about 62% of the eligible population.

South Korea and Singapore have agreed to allow quarantine-free travel between the two countries for people who can show proof of vaccination against COVID and a negative PCR test.   © Reuters

10:22 a.m. South Korea and Singapore agree to a "vaccinated travel lane" that will let fully vaccinated people from the two countries travel freely between the two countries without mandatory quarantines, starting Nov. 15. To qualify, travelers must carry a vaccination certificate issued by the country of departure, along with proof of a recent negative PCR test result.

10:00 a.m. Sydney will end its COVID-19 quarantine for fully vaccinated international travelers, starting Nov. 1, New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet says, foreshadowing a full return of overseas travel after more than 19 months. Australia closed its borders in March 2020 in response to the pandemic, restricting entry almost exclusively to citizens and permanent residents, who are required to undergo a mandatory two-week hotel quarantine at their own expense.

7:10 a.m. U.S. health advisers say that some Americans who received Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine at least six months ago should get a half-dose booster to bolster their protection against the coronavirus. The panel of outside advisers to the Food and Drug Administration voted unanimously to recommend a booster shot for seniors, as well as younger adults with other health problems, jobs or living situations that put them at increased risk of COVID-19. The recommendation is nonbinding but a key step toward expanding the U.S. booster campaign to millions more Americans.

4:01 a.m. U.S. President Joe Biden told visiting Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta that the U.S. will make a one-time donation of more than 17 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to the African Union, the White House says.

Thursday, Oct. 14

6:10 p.m. Russia reports a record 986 coronavirus-related deaths in the last 24 hours, as well as 31,299 new cases, its highest one-day infection tally since the pandemic began. The Kremlin blames the rising death toll on Russia's slow vaccination campaign.

A global energy crunch is expected to boost oil demand by half a million barrels per day and could stoke inflation and slow the world's recovery from the pandemic, the International Energy Agency says.   © Reuters

5:50 p.m. A global energy crunch is expected to boost oil demand by half a million barrels per day and could stoke inflation and slow the world's recovery from the pandemic, the International Energy Agency says. Oil and natural gas prices have soared to multi-year highs recently, sending power prices surging to record levels as widespread energy shortages engulf Asia and Europe.

"Record coal and gas prices as well as rolling blackouts are prompting the power sector and energy-intensive industries to turn to oil to keep the lights on and operations humming," the IEA says in its monthly oil report.

4:49 p.m. Indonesia reopens the popular holiday island of Bali to travelers from select countries, offering a ray of hope to the tourism-dependent economy, which has been ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic. International travel to the island from 19 countries, including China, Japan and South Korea, along with a number of countries from the Middle East and Europe, is now permitted. The trial reopening will last a month, Tourism Minister Sandiaga Uno said on Monday.

1:45 p.m. India reports 18,987 new cases in the last 24 hours, up from 15,823 the previous day, pushing the country's cumulative total to 34.02 million. Deaths rose by 246 to 451,435. The country's active caseload currently stands at 206,586, which is 0.61% of the total confirmed infections so far, according to the health ministry.

1:03 p.m. Newly elected Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida dissolves parliament for a general election on Oct. 31, as the lower house comes to the end of its four-year term. The ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its junior coalition partner, Komeito, are seeking to maintain their dominance in the Diet despite political headwinds. While the LDP may lose seats, the party hopes a fresh face will lift the party's public support even as the economy remains sluggish amid the COVID pandemic.

Thailand's economy is recovering but wobbly, according to minutes of the central bank's last policy meeting.   © Reuters

12:30 p.m. Thailand's economy bottomed out in the third quarter and will continue to recover, though uncertainty remains high, according to minutes of the central bank's last policy meeting that were released on Wednesday. As the country deals with its worst coronavirus outbreak, pent-up demand is expected to support the economic recovery throughout 2021, following progress on vaccination and an earlier-than-expected relaxation of containment measures, according to the minutes.

11:54 a.m. China's producer price index jumped 10.7% year-on-year in September, as manufacturers grappled with rising commodity price pressures, electricity shortages and supply chain delays. The rise in factory-gate prices was the fastest since China started compiling such data in October 1996, according to National Bureau of Statistics data published Thursday. The price increase beat market expectations -- 10.5% in a Reuters poll, putting further pressure on the country's COVID-19 recovery.

11:00 a.m. New Zealand reports its biggest rise in infections in six weeks, with all cases detected in Auckland, raising prospects of a further extension of lockdown restrictions in the country's largest city beyond next week. A total of 71 new local cases were reported, up from 55 a day earlier. Some 1.7 million people in Auckland are under strict stay-home orders until Monday as officials look to stamp out the highly infectious delta outbreak.

A new study has found that the Johnson & Johnson shot followed by a booster from Pfizer or Moderna produced a stronger immune response than two doses of J&J.    © Reuters

9:50 a.m. Australian employment fell sharply for a second month in September as coronavirus lockdowns forced businesses to lay off workers and slash hours, but another drop in the number of people actively looking for work held down the increase in the official jobless rate. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, employment fell by 138,000 in September. The unemployment rate edged up to 4.6%, from 4.5%, when analysts had expected a rise to 4.8%. The rate has been badly distorted by lockdowns, which prevent people from looking for work and being counted as unemployed.

9:12 a.m. Singapore's central bank tightens its monetary policy for the first time in three years as the country seeks to reopen its coronavirus-hit economy and manage inflationary pressures. The city-state -- which also reported a preliminary 6.5% increase in gross domestic product for the July-September quarter -- follows South Korea, New Zealand and others in backing away from an accommodative monetary stance.

8:30 a.m. People who got Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine as a first shot had a stronger immune response when boosted with vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, a study run by the U.S. National Institutes of Health shows. The study, which is preliminary and hasn't been peer-reviewed, is the latest challenge to J&J's efforts to use its vaccine as a booster in the United States. The study included more than 450 adults who had received initial shots from Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson. It showed that "mixing and matching" booster shots of different types is safe in adults. Moderna's and Pfizer's vaccines are based on messenger RNA, while J&J's uses viral vector technology.

With state capital Melbourne just days away from lifting a lockdown lasting months, Victoria's daily infection total has hit an all-time high.   © Reuters

8:20 a.m. Australia's Victoria records 2,297 new cases for Wednesday, data by the state's department of health shows. This is the highest number of any state or territory since the pandemic began, according to Reuters. The state capital, Melbourne, looks to exit its lockdown next week, several days ahead of plan, helped by a faster-than-expected vaccination pace. The surge in daily cases comes as Victoria's eligible adult population nears the 70% double-dose threshold; authorities have promised to end a monthslong lockdown when this line is crossed. Initial projections thought that would be Oct. 26.

Wednesday, Oct. 13

1:39 p.m. India reports 15,823 cases in the last 24 hours -- up from 14,313 the previous day -- bringing the cumulative total to over 34 million. Deaths rose from 181 a day ago to 226, bringing the total number of fatalities to 451,189.

12:53 p.m. South Korea establishes a panel to strategize about "living with COVID-19" in the long term as the country seeks to phase out coronavirus curbs and reopen the economy amid rising vaccination levels, Reuters reports. The government aims to relax restrictions for citizens who can prove they have been fully vaccinated while encouraging asymptomatic and mild COVID-19 patients below age 70 to recover at home, the health ministry said last week.

Canada began allowing fully vaccinated U.S. visitors for non-essential travel on Aug. 9.   © Reuters

11:56 a.m. The U.S. will lift restrictions at land borders with Canada and Mexico for fully vaccinated visitors in early November, ending curbs on non-essential travel that have been in place since March 2020, Reuters reports, citing U.S. officials. The new rules, which will be announced by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Wednesday, will cover land borders and ferry crossings. They are similar to planned rule changes announced last month for international air travelers, the officials said.

10:50 a.m. New Zealand reports 55 locally acquired cases. The country had been largely virus-free, excluding a small cluster in February, until a delta outbreak in August forced a lockdown in Auckland. Officials are looking to end strict lockdowns once 90% of the country's population over the age of 12 is fully vaccinated. Some 2.49 million people, or 59% of the targeted population, have had two doses.

10:32 a.m. Merck's Japanese subsidiary MSD is working to bring the COVID-19 pill to Japan soon. "We are moving quickly on development of the drug to make it possible for it to be administered at home," said MSD Representative Director Hiromichi Shirasawa. The unit is aiming for approval in Japan as early as this year and is now in talks with the government on a supply contract.

3:54 a.m. Russia will test a nasal spray form of its Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19 among adult volunteers as the country struggles to rein in rising numbers of infections and deaths, reports Reuters, citing a state document.

12:45 a.m. CureVac says it will give up on its first-generation COVID-19 vaccine candidate, CVnCoV, after late-stage trials delivered disappointing results in June with 47% efficacy. The German biotech company will instead focus on collaborating with GSK to develop improved mRNA vaccine technology.

Tuesday, Oct. 12

9:19 p.m. India recommends emergency use of Bharat Biotech's COVID-19 shot in the 2-to-18 age group as the world's second-most populous nation expands its vaccination drive to include children, reports Reuters. The country has so far fully vaccinated around 29% of about 944 million eligible adults, as per government data, which includes administration of more than 110 million doses of Bharat Biotech's Covaxin.

6:45 p.m. The World Health Organization is awaiting full clinical data on the antiviral pill made by Merck & Co to treat COVID-19 patients with mild to moderate symptoms, according to a WHO spokesperson a day after the company says it had applied for U.S. emergency use authorization.

"This is an interesting development," WHO spokesperson Christian Lindmeier said. "We would have to see the full data about it. If it holds true, then it is another weapon in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic." The treatment, molnupiravir, is said to cut the rate of hospitalization and death by 50% in a trial of mild to moderately ill patients who had at least one risk factor for the disease.

4:20 p.m. South Korea will donate 1.1 million doses of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine to Vietnam and 470,000 doses to Thailand, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency says. The donations come as South Korea has administered nearly 80% of its 52 million population with at least one dose of a vaccine.

Students attend class in Mumbai on Oct. 4 after more than a year of being closed due to the pandemic.   © Reuters

1:51 p.m. India reports 14,313 cases in the last 24 hours, the lowest daily figure since early March, bringing the country total to nearly 34 million. Fatalities rose by 181 to 450,963.

11:00 a.m. Japan's wholesale inflation hit a 13-year high in September as rising global commodity prices and a weak yen pushed up import costs, putting pressure on corporate margins and raising the risk of unwanted consumer price hikes. The corporate goods price index, which measures the price companies charge each other for their goods and services, surged 6.3% in September from a year earlier, Bank of Japan data shows.

10:30 a.m. China reports 12 new cases for Monday, compared with 25 a day earlier. All the new infections were imported cases. China also reported 14 new asymptomatic patients, which it classifies separately from confirmed cases, up from eight a day earlier.

10:10 a.m. South Korea's central bank keeps interest rates unchanged, taking a breather after its first rate hike in nearly three years in August, as a resurgence in COVID-19 cases also clouded the short-term economic outlook. The Bank of Korea held the benchmark interest rate unchanged at 0.75%, as expected by 29 of 31 analysts polled by Reuters.

8:30 a.m. Sydney's cases fell to their lowest in two months on Tuesday as authorities rolled out support measures for businesses, shifting their focus to rejuvenating the economy after the city exited a nearly four-month lockdown a day earlier. Pubs, cafes and stores reopened in New South Wales, home to Sydney, on Monday after vaccination levels in the state's adult population crossed 70%. New daily infections in the state fell to 360 on Tuesday, the majority in Sydney, marking a steady downward trend.

A healthcare worker from the El Paso Fire Department administers a Moderna shot in the border city. The COVID-19 policies of Texas and the U.S. have collided.   © Reuters

8:20 a.m. Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott barred all COVID-19 vaccine mandates in the state by any entity, including private employers. Abbott's move sets him up for a clash with President Joe Biden, a Democrat who last month called on businesses nationwide to order their workers to be vaccinated. At least several thousand people have since been fired for refusing to comply. "In another instance of federal overreach," Abbott said in an executive order, "the Biden Administration is now bullying many private entities into imposing COVID-19 vaccine mandates."

3:28 a.m. Turkey reports the highest number of daily COVID infections since the end of April, with 30,563 new cases on Monday, according to health ministry data. Daily deaths have gradually declined after touching 290 in September.

2:26 a.m. Thailand will welcome vaccinated foreign visitors nationwide without quarantine requirements starting in November, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said Monday, so that the kingdom can accommodate as many people as possible for the year-end holiday season. "Today, I would like to announce the first small but important step in decisively beginning the process of trying to restore our livelihoods," the prime minister said in a televised address.

12:30 a.m. The World Health Organization recommends that immunocompromised people be given an additional vaccine dose due to their higher risk of breakthrough infections after standard immunization. The Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on immunization said the additional dose should be offered "as part of an extended primary series since these individuals are less likely to respond adequately to vaccination following a standard primary vaccine series and are at high risk of severe COVID-19 disease."

Monday, Oct. 11

10:12 p.m. Merck applies for U.S. emergency use authorization for a pill to treat moderate cases of COVID-19, in what would be the first oral antiviral medication for the disease.

The treatment, molnupiravir, halved the rate of hospitalization and death in a trial of mild to moderately ill patients who had at least one risk factor for the disease, data released earlier this month showed.

5:30 p.m. Tokyo reports 49 new cases, the lowest daily count since June 25 last year, as the country continues its vaccination campaign. As of Sunday, 73% of the entire population had received at least one shot, and 64% were fully vaccinated.

The British drugmaker says its protective shot helps to reduce the risk of severe COVID-19 or death in non-hospitalized patients.   © Reuters

3:30 p.m. AstraZeneca's experimental COVID-19 antibody drug cocktail succeeded in reducing severe disease or death in nonhospitalized patients in a late-stage study, the British drugmaker says. AZD7442 reduced the risk of developing severe COVID-19 or death by 50% in patients who had been symptomatic for seven or fewer days, meeting the main goal of the trial.

"An early intervention with our antibody can give a significant reduction in progression to severe disease, with continued protection for more than six months," a senior company official said.

1:40 p.m. India reports 18,132 cases in the last 24 hours, the lowest daily count in seven months, bringing the country total to 33.97 million. Deaths rose 193 to 450,782.

1:30 p.m. New Zealand will require teachers and workers in the health and disability sectors to be fully vaccinated, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says as she extends restrictions in Auckland, the nation's largest city, for another week. About 2.38 million New Zealanders have been fully vaccinated -- roughly 57% of the eligible population -- with officials promising to end lockdowns once 90% are vaccinated.

People go out in Shibuya, Tokyo on Oct. 2 after the government lifted the state of emergency in the capital and other prefectures.

12:30 p.m. Japan's Nikkei stock average rose for a third straight session on Monday as a sharp decline in the yen boosted exporters and a drop in COVID-19 infections supported investor sentiment. The Nikkei was up 1.5% at 28,488 by the midday break. The number of infections in Japan fell to 553 on Sunday, the lowest in 11 months. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's remark on Sunday that he has no plan to immediately raise taxes on investment income also eased investor concerns, analysts say.

12:00 p.m. South Korea reports 1,297 new cases for Sunday, down from 1,594 a day earlier and the lowest daily count since Aug. 2. While reduced testing over the weekend appears to have pushed down the daily tally, it was the third consecutive day the country has registered fewer than 2,000 cases.

10:30 a.m. New Zealand reports a slight easing in new cases, all of them in the country's biggest city of Auckland, as authorities look to step up the pace of vaccinations. A total of 35 new cases were reported, down from 60 from a day earlier. New Zealand last week abandoned its long-standing strategy of eliminating the persistent virus and is now adjusting to putting up with it.

9:00 a.m. U.S. industrial conglomerate Honeywell International raises its outlook for business jet deliveries as the aviation sector shakes off the effects of the pandemic and travel picks up. The company forecast up to 7,400 new business jet deliveries worth $238 billion from 2022 to 2031, up 1% from the same 10-year forecast a year ago. Wealthy travelers wanting to fly with fewer people during the pandemic has put pressure on the availability of new corporate aircraft and led to a shortage of pre-owned business jets.

8:15 a.m. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un urged officials to focus on improving citizens' lives in the face of a "grim" economic situation, state media reports. To celebrate the 76th anniversary of the founding of the Workers' Party of Korea on Sunday, Kim made a speech to a gathering of officials. The country faces "huge tasks for adjusting and developing the state economy" and accomplishing the economic goals established in recent party and government meetings, Kim said.

Sydney, Australia's largest city, allows a range of service businesses to reopen after nearly four months of lockdown.   © Reuters

8:08 a.m. Cafes, gyms and restaurants welcome back customers in Sydney, Australia's largest city, after nearly four months of lockdown as Australia aims to begin living with the coronavirus through higher vaccinations. Some pubs opened at 12:01 a.m. local time, according to Reuters. Under the relaxed rules, 10 fully vaccinated people can gather in homes, while 100 can attend weddings and funerals. Retail stores can open with reduced capacity as the state pushes to hit an 80% vaccine rate around late October, when more curbs will be relaxed. But the unvaccinated must remain at home until Dec. 1.

5:00 a.m. Goldman Sachs cuts its U.S. economic growth target to 5.6% for 2021 and to 4% for 2022 citing an expected decline in fiscal support through the end of next year and a slower recovery in consumer spending than previously expected. The company had expected 5.7% gross domestic product growth in 2021 and 4.4% growth in 2022, according to research released on Sunday. The report pointed to a "longer lasting virus drag on virus-sensitive consumer services" as well as an expectation that semiconductor supply likely will not improve until the first half of 2022, delaying inventory restocking until next year.

1:02 a.m. Russia will suspend test-firing rocket engines at one of its design bureaus in the city of Voronezh until the end of the month to conserve oxygen supplies for COVID-19 patients, a top space official says. Russia, which is grappling with a surge of COVID-19 cases, on Saturday registered the most coronavirus-related deaths it has recorded in a single day since the pandemic began. Officials reported 962 COVID-19 deaths on Sunday and more than 28,600 new cases.

00:56 a.m. The U.S. government's top infectious diseases expert says families can feel safe trick-or-treating outdoors this year as COVID-19 cases in the U.S. decline, especially for those who are vaccinated. Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN's "State of the Union" that it's an important time of year for children, so "go out there" and "enjoy it." He added that people wanting to enjoy Halloween (Oct. 31) should consider getting the shots for that "extra degree of protection" if they are not yet vaccinated.

Sunday, Oct. 10

10:26 p.m. Italian police arrest 12 people, including the leaders of the extreme right-wing party Forza Nuova, after clashes in Rome a day earlier over a government drive to make the COVID-19 Green Pass mandatory for all workers. Thousands of people took to the streets of the Italian capital on Saturday to oppose the mandate. Some tried to break past police in riot gear guarding access to Prime Minister Mario Draghi's office, while a separate group broke into the headquarters of Italy's main CGIL trade union and turned its offices upside down.

4:30 p.m. Malaysia said it will lift interstate and international travel restrictions for residents fully vaccinated against COVID-19 on Monday as the country achieved its target of inoculating 90% of its adult population.

3:52 p.m. Italy reached its target of fully vaccinating 80% of the population over the age of 12, according to official data, achieving a goal Rome had set as a safety cutoff point, government data released on Sunday shows.

3:48 a.m. Italian police use water cannon and tear gas to push back hundreds of people, including neo-fascists, demonstrating in Rome against a government drive to make the COVID-19 "Green Pass" mandatory for all workers, Reuters reports. One group of protesters tried to break through police lines to reach Prime Minister Mario Draghi's city center office, while a separate group tried to smash their way into the headquarters of Italy's main trade union.

The protests come days before Italy becomes the first country in Europe to make all workers carry the Green Pass in an effort to accelerate vaccinations and stamp out coronavirus infections.

12:18 a.m. Singapore reaches another record for new cases in a single day, recording 3,703 infections, the Health Ministry says, while recording 11 new deaths from COVID-19. A recent spike in infections after the relaxation of some restrictions has prompted Singapore to pause further reopening. It also tightened curbs from last week that limited social gatherings to two people and made work from home a default.

Saturday, Oct. 9

4:30 p.m. Tokyo's government says new daily infections in the Japanese capital declined to 82, the lowest since Oct. 19 last year. Cases have been on the decline since peaking at more than 5,000 a day in August in a wave driven by the highly infectious delta variant. Tokyo and much of Japan last week exited a state of emergency that had lasted for almost six months.

2:13 p.m. Singapore is opening its borders to more countries for quarantine-free travel as the city-state seeks to rebuild its status as an international aviation hub, and prepares to reach a "new normal" to live with COVID-19. From Oct. 19, fully vaccinated people from eight countries, including Britain, France, Spain and the United States, will be able to enter the island without quarantining if they pass their COVID-19 tests, the government says.

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

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