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Coronavirus: Free to read

Coronavirus: Week of Oct. 25 to Oct. 31, Probe of virus's origins 'intoxicated' by politics: WHO

Brazil will buy China COVID-19 vaccine, VP says, contradicting Bolsonaro

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

Follow the latest updates

Global cases have reached 45,477,552, according to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. The worldwide death toll has hit 1,187,023.

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



Saturday, October 31 (Tokyo time)

11:30 a.m. China's factory activity expanded at a slightly slower pace in October but was slightly above analysts' expectations, suggesting a continuing economic recovery as the country rebounds from the coronavirus shock. The official manufacturing Purchasing Manager's Index (PMI) fell to 51.4 in October from 51.5 in September, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed on Saturday, remaining above the 50-point mark that separates growth from contraction.

10:36 a.m. Mainland China reports 33 new COVID-19 cases on Oct. 30, up from 25 a day earlier, the country's national health authority said on Saturday.

7:12 a.m. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is considering imposing new national lockdown measures starting next week, amid concerns that hospitals across the country are being overwhelmed by a resurgence in coronavirus cases, The Times newspaper reported on Friday.

6:55 a.m. Brazil's government will "of course" buy a Chinese COVID-19 vaccine that is being tested in the country, Vice President Hamilton Mourao said on Friday, in the latest example of him contradicting President Jair Bolsonaro.

4:30 a.m. A "politically intoxicated" environment makes it difficult to probe the origins of the new coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, says the World Health Organization's top emergency expert, Mike Ryan.

Ryan also says travelling is now "relatively safe" with a "relatively low" risk, Reuters reports.

2:00 a.m. Japan will exempt qualified business travelers who return after overseas trips lasting one week or less from a 14-day-quarantine requirement starting on Sunday.

The change, approved Friday by the country's coronavirus task force, applies to Japanese citizens and those holding residency status.

To gain the exemption, business travelers must have proof of a negative coronavirus test and submit a written itinerary of places to be visited upon returning. They will be restricted to traveling between work and home.

12:30 a.m. Delta Air Lines and its pilots union have reached a preliminary deal that will prevent furloughs of about 1,900 pilots until January 2022, officials say.

Friday, October 30

11:30 p.m. China Southern Airlines, the largest mainland Chinese carrier, has returned to profit. The Guangzhou-based airline reports a net profit of 711 million yuan ($106 million) for the July-September quarter

While major aviation players globally suffer from a sharp drop in air travel demand as the coronavirus pandemic prompts border restrictions, Chinese carriers are moving toward a recovery led by the country's vast domestic market.

11:00 p.m. After more than 160 years, department store operator Robinsons will close its last two locations in the Southeast Asian nation, the company says.

The pandemic has dealt a fatal blow to the chain's struggling business. The two Robinsons in Singapore will shut their doors after a going-out-of-business sale lasting a few weeks. The company will also liquidate a subsidiary that operates stores in Malaysia.

7:05 p.m. Malaysian health authorities report 799 new cases, bringing the overall total to 30,889. The country recorded three new deaths, increasing the total number of fatalities to 249.

6:47 p.m. The Kremlin says there is a shortage of doctors across Russia as new COVID-19 cases surge past 18,000 to a record daily high.

Crew members of the four-mast sailing ship Krusenstern (Kruzenshtern) have their hands disinfected at the port of Kaliningrad. Russia is battling the pandemic with a shortage of doctors.

6:23 p.m. Thai Airways International is to begin cutting around 10% of its workforce in December after more than 1,900 employees signed up for an immediate early retirement scheme designed to cut costs and preserve cash.

5:29 p.m. The Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games will refund all tickets purchased in Japan through the organizing committee, officials say. "For those unable to attend [a rescheduled event], we will provide a refund for the tickets," said Hidenori Suzuki, Tokyo 2020's marketing director. The postponed games will open on July 23, 2021.

5:50 p.m. Indonesia reports 2,897 new infections, down from 3,565 a day earlier and taking its total to 406,945, government data shows. The country also reports 81 additional deaths, bringing the total number of fatalities to 13,782.

3:30 p.m. Tokyo reports 204 new infections, topping the 200 case mark for a second consecutive day and the 100 mark for the 11th day in a row.

3:15 p.m. Air France-KLM unveils a 1.05 billion euro ($1.24 billion) quarterly operating loss and warns of worse to come as a resurgent coronavirus brings new travel curbs. The Franco-Dutch airline group reported a 67% drop in third-quarter revenue to 2.52 billion euros, as France returned to full lockdown for at least a month.

Passengers wearing masks check in at Tokyo's Haneda Airport. Japan eased travel curbs for China, Australia, South Korea, and six other countries and regions on Friday.   © Kyodo

3:07 p.m. Japan Airlines forecasts a net loss of up to 270 billion yen ($2.5 billion) this fiscal year through March 2021, the company says, as reduced air travel continues to plague the industry.

1:30 p.m. India reports a daily rise of 48,648 infections, taking its tally to 8.09 million. The death toll rose 563 to stand at 121,090.

12:50 p.m. Japan has eased travel curbs for China, Australia, South Korea and six other countries and regions, Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi says, as Tokyo steps up efforts to revive its economy while preventing the spread of the virus. In addition to China, Japan lowered its infection risk advisory level for Thailand, Singapore, Taiwan, New Zealand, Brunei and Vietnam, South Korea and Australia to 2 from 3, telling its citizens to avoid nonessential trips.

12:00 p.m. The United States broke its single-day record for new infections on Thursday, reporting over 91,000 new cases, and hospitalizations also hit new highs in many states, according to a Reuters tally. The spike comes less a week before the presidential election on Tuesday. Among the hardest hit are hotly contested states, such as Ohio, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, that will play an important role in deciding whether President Donald Trump gets a second term.

Supporters at U.S. President Donald Trump's first campaign rally since being treated for COVID-19 cheer in Sanford, Florida, on Oct. 12.   © Reuters

10:11 a.m. South Korea confirms 114 new cases, down from 125 a day ago. Total infections reach 26,385, with 463 deaths.

9:05 a.m. China reports 25 new cases for Thursday, down from 47 a day earlier. Of the new cases, 24 were imported infections originating from overseas. One local infection was reported in the eastern province of Shandong. The country also reports 53 new asymptomatic cases, up from 16 a day earlier.

9:00 a.m. Japan's industrial output surged 4.0% in September from the previous month, largely thanks to strength in car and production machinery manufacturing, government data shows. The jump beat the median market forecast of a 3.2% gain in a Reuters poll of economists.

8:40 a.m. The jobless rate in Japan stood at 3.0% in September, unchanged from August, government data shows. The September reading is the highest since 3.1% in May 2017, indicating that a manufacturing-led recovery in recent months has not been enough to resolve unemployment caused by the pandemic.

6:30 a.m. European Union leaders agree to fairly distribute among EU countries a vaccine against the coronavirus once such a vaccine becomes available, the chairman of the leaders says. "We very much agreed, it was repeated around the videoconference table, to guarantee a fair distribution between member states in the case of contracts signed by the commission," Charles Michel told a news conference after an EU summit.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen gives a news briefing after a virtual conference with EU leaders about government measures against the coronavirus crisis in Brussels on Thursday.   © Pool Photo/Reuters

3:55 a.m. France reports 47,637 new cases over the past 24 hours, compared to 36,437 a day earlier and a record high of 52,010 on Sunday. The total number of infections rose to over 1.28 million. The death tally went up by 235 to 36,020. The number of people going into hospitals with the virus fell to 976, after three consecutive days of about 1,200 hospitalizations per day.

3:45 a.m. Spain's coronavirus tally climbs by 23,580 cases, marking a new one-day record as the hard-hit country struggles to control its second wave of infections, reports Reuters, citing Health Ministry data.

3:36 a.m. If all goes well, the first doses of a safe and effective coronavirus vaccine will likely become available to some high-risk Americans in late December or early January, says Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious diseases expert.

2:24 a.m. Exxon Mobil says it could cut the number of global employees by 15%, an estimated 14,000 workers, as the COVID-19 pandemic batters energy demand and prices. Layoffs in the U.S. would total about 1,900.

12:05 a.m. Total confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Japan exceed the 100,000 mark, as the number of daily infections has crept up in recent weeks.

The number of people infected with the coronavirus in Japan has reached 100,516, including those who contracted the virus aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship earlier this year, after 809 people newly tested positive.

Thursday, October 29

11:00 p.m. The U.S. economy grew at a record pace in the third quarter, expanding 7.4% from the previous quarter, or at a 33.1% annual rate, recovering about two-thirds of the ground lost earlier due to the coronavirus pandemic.

10:59 p.m. Catalonia announces a 15-day ban on entering and exiting its territory, the latest in a series of restrictions taken by Spanish regions to try and contain rampant COVID-19 contagion.

8:10 p.m. United Airlines will offer free rapid COVID-19 tests to passengers on select flights from the U.S. to the U.K., Reuters reports. The pilot program, which will run from Nov. 16 through Dec. 11, will apply to three evening flights a week from Newark Liberty International Airport, near New York, to London's Heathrow Airport. The carrier will administer Abbott Laboratories' rapid molecular ID Now tests, which take about 15 to 20 minutes, to all passengers above 2 years old. The travelers will still be subject to British quarantine rules.

7:15 p.m. A Singaporean company has developed a breathalyzer test for COVID-19, which it says delivers results in under a minute, according to Reuters. Breathonix, a startup that emerged from the National University of Singapore, says its test proved accurate more than 90% of the time in a trial on 180 people. It hopes to secure regulatory approval in early 2021.

6:00 p.m. Taiwan hits 200 days without a domestic transmission, highlighting the island's continued success at keeping the virus at bay even as cases surge in other parts of the world. Taiwan last reported a domestic infection on April 12. Since the pandemic began, Taiwan has recorded 553 cases and seven deaths.

5:30 p.m. Indonesia reports 3,565 new infections, down from 4,029 a day earlier, with the total rising to 404,048, government data shows. The country reports 89 additional deaths, bringing overall fatalities to 13,701.

5:00 p.m. The Philippines reports 1,761 new infections, down from 2,053 the previous day, taking the total to 376,935. The country also records 33 more deaths, bringing the total number to 7,147. New cases have increased by fewer than 2,000 in seven of the last 10 days.

3:30 p.m. Japan's Takeda Pharmaceutical says it will import and distribute 50 million doses of Moderna Inc.'s novel coronavirus vaccine candidate. Takeda will be responsible for securing regulatory approval for the vaccine, known as mRNA-1273, with supplies starting in the first half of 2021. Moderna's candidate is in late-stage trials in the U.S. Takeda has also agreed to produce Novavax Inc.'s coronavirus vaccine, aiming to manufacture 250 million doses for use in Japan.

3:30 p.m. Thailand upgrades its 2020 gross domestic product forecast to a 7.7% contraction, up from the 8.5% decline projected earlier but still representative of a record decrease. The new forecast takes into account government measures to mitigate the impact of the pandemic. The finance ministry also raises its 2020 estimate for exports, a key driver of growth, to a 7.8% drop from an earlier 11% fall.

3:18 p.m. Toyota Motor says that global production grew 11.7% in September from a year earlier to 841,915 vehicles, marking the first increase in nine months and indicating a recovery from the sales slump caused by the pandemic may have begun.

A crowded market in Mumbai on Thursday.   © Reuters

1:33 p.m. India's COVID-19 cases top 8 million after it reported 49,881 new infections in the last 24 hours, up from 43,893 the previous day. The total number of confirmed cases is the second-worst in the world, behind only the 8.85 million in the U.S. India's death toll has climbed by 517 to 120,527. Of the 8.04 million confirmed cases, 7.5% are active patients and 91% have recovered. The country's COVID-19 mortality rate stands at 1.5%, according to the latest data from the health ministry.

12:24 p.m. The Bank of Japan says it will maintain its ultra-easy monetary policy, opting to monitor the effects of past policy measures while the economy recovers from the coronavirus crisis. In a separately released quarterly outlook report, the bank provides a median projection of economic growth for the year ending March of minus 5.5%, versus the minus 4.7% predicted three months ago.

12:15 p.m. Samsung Electronics says it expects fourth-quarter profit to fall due to weak server chip demand and rising smartphone competition, after posting its best quarterly operating profit in two years in the third quarter. The world's top maker of smartphones and memory chips flags a recovery in the mobile and chip markets next year, although it is wary of disruption from the pandemic and U.S.-China trade tensions in the short term.

11:35 a.m. South Korea confirms 125 new cases, down from 103 a day earlier. Total infections reach 26,271, with 462 deaths.

11:30 a.m. Australia's COVID-19 hot-spot state Victoria reports only one new infection on Thursday, a day after it lifted a four-month lockdown in the city of Melbourne.

9:40 a.m. China reports 47 new confirmed cases for Wednesday, up from 42 a day earlier and the highest daily increase in more than two months. Of the new cases, 23 were local infections in Xinjiang involving previously asymptomatic patients following a mass infection reported in Kashgar. The rest were imported infections originating from overseas.

9:00 a.m. Japanese retail sales fell for the seventh straight month in September as the pandemic kept a lid on consumers' shopping appetites. Retail sales fell 8.7% from a year earlier, government data shows, a bigger fall than a Reuters median market forecast for a 7.7% drop.

7:07 a.m. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals says its coronavirus antibody cocktail -- the experimental treatment that U.S. President Donald Trump received -- significantly reduced medical visits in a trial of nearly 800 patients with mild to moderate COVID-19. Patients given the treatment, REGN-COV2, made around 57% fewer COVID-19 related medical visits than those given a placebo over a 29-day period.

French President Emmanuel Macron addresses the nation about the COVID-19 outbreak on Wednesday.   © Reuters

5:48 a.m. French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel ordered their countries back into lockdown on Wednesday as a massive second wave of infections threatened to overwhelm Europe. Under the French measures, starting Friday, people will be required to stay home except to buy essential goods, seek medical attention or exercise for up to one hour a day. Germany will shut bars, restaurants and theaters from Nov. 2 to 30. Schools will stay open, and shops will be allowed to operate with strict limits on access.

5:15 a.m. U.S. stocks tumble as investors lose confidence in the global economic recovery. The Dow Jones Industrial Average sheds 942 points, or 3.4%. All three major indexes are on pace for their worst week since March 20.

12:50 a.m. Eli Lilly says it has agreed to supply the U.S. with 300,00 doses of its experimental antibody drug to treat the coronavirus for $375 million.

The agreement is for delivery over the two months following an emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration. The U.S. government will also gain the option to purchase 650,000 more doses through June 30.

Wednesday, October 28

11:10 p.m. U.S. stocks fall sharply in morning trading as rising cases of coronavirus infections erode investor confidence.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down nearly 600 points, or 2.1%, while the S&P 500 trades 2.2% lower.

11:05 p.m. Boeing says it plans to shed another 7,000 jobs by the end of next year in response to the mounting toll on the global airline industry from rising infections around the world.

Boeing plans to shed another 7,000 jobs by the end of next year as the pandemic continues to weigh on its earnings.    © Reuters

8:09 p.m. Iran reports 415 coronavirus deaths, its highest one-day total, pushing total fatalities in the Middle Eastern country hit hardest by the pandemic to 33,714.

8:01 p.m. Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova says the situation in the country is deteriorating, and there is a critical situation in 16 regions, where hospital beds were at more than 90% capacity.

7:14 p.m. Malaysia reports 801 new coronavirus cases, raising the cumulative total to 29,441. The Southeast Asian country also records eight new deaths, taking the total to 246

7:01 p.m. The woman responsible for procuring possible jabs in Britain says a COVID-19 vaccine could be rolled out for some people before Christmas but an early 2021 launch is more likely.

6:10 p.m. Voters in the Indian state of Bihar lined up on the first day of a three-phase election for a new legislature. Health authorities face a big test in one of India's most populous regions with the country's first state assembly election to be held since the onset of the pandemic.

6:00 p.m. Swiss hospitals scramble to cope with a surge in new COVID-19 patients, bringing back retired staff to replace sick frontline workers and closing other wards as officials warn they could reach breaking point in about 10 days. Case numbers in Switzerland have risen to record levels this month, exceeding 127,000, with infection rates far exceeding those in neighbours Germany and Italy.

5:47 p.m. Indonesia's coronavirus infections pass the 400,000 mark, with 4,029 new cases confirmed on Wednesday. With the addition of 100 more COVID-19 deaths, it has recorded 13,612 fatalities.

A woman walks past a mural promoting awareness of the COVID-19 outbreak in Jakarta, on Oct. 2.    © Reuters

5:41 p.m. French drugmaker Sanofi and Britain's GlaxoSmithKline will supply 200 million doses of their COVID-19 candidate vaccine to a global inoculation scheme backed by the World Health Organization.

5:00 p.m. The Philippines' health ministry records 2,053 new coronavirus infections and 61 additional deaths.

3:49 p.m. Malaysia's king urges federal lawmakers to give their full support to the 2021 budget to be unveiled next week, as Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin grapples with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic and a leadership challenge.

3:42 p.m. Sony reports a 103% increase in net profit to 692 billion yen ($6.6 billion) for April-September as the conglomerate's video game business enjoyed strong demand thanks to coronavirus-related lockdowns and social distancing.

3:07 p.m. Tokyo reports 171 new infections, up from 158 a day earlier and bringing the capital's total to 30,456.

2:53 p.m. Cancer antibody developer Hummingbird Bioscience has received approval from Singapore health authorities to start a clinical trial for a COVID-19 antibody therapy.

1:59 p.m. As the pandemic weighs on Asia's pension systems, concerns percolate about whether some countries will be up to the task of allowing future retirees to live comfortably.

People throng a market in Mumbai, India, on Oct. 24, the eve of the Hindu festival of Dussehra. The country is on the verge of crossing the 8 million mark in total COVID-19 cases.   © Reuters

1:46 p.m. India's total cases are on the edge of crossing the 8 million mark as the country reports 43,893 new infections for the past 24 hours, up from 36,470 the previous day. The country's death toll climbed by 508 to 120,010.

1:03 p.m. Japan's Finance Ministry upgrades its overall assessment of the country's regional economies for the second consecutive quarter, another indication that the pandemic's impact is waning. Regional economies are "showing signs of picking up," the October report says, with the evaluation revised upward from July, when the economies were said to have had "recently stopped worsening" amid "some signs of picking up can be seen in parts." Tempering the upgrade, however, the ministry repeated an expression used in the July report, assessing that the economies as remaining "in a severe situation."

1:00 p.m. Malaysian exports jumped 13.6% in September from a year earlier, rising at their fastest pace in nearly two years amid a surge in demand for manufactured and agricultural goods, particularly palm oil and rubber, government data shows. It was the largest gain since October 2018, when exports rose 17.7%, and also beat analysts' expectations of a 5.5% spurt in a Reuters poll. In August, exports fell by 2.9%. Imports in September shrank by 3.9% from a year earlier, slowing from the 6.5% decline the prior month. Analysts had expected a fall of 3.8%.

12:03 p.m. Thailand's manufacturing production index dropped a smaller-than-expected 2.75% in September from a year earlier due mainly to lower production of cars, petroleum and sugar amid the pandemic, the industry ministry said. That compares with a forecast for a decline of 4.71% in a Reuters poll, and against August's revised contraction of 9.05%.

10:09 a.m. Mainland China reported 42 new COVID-19 cases for Tuesday, the highest daily toll in more than two months due to a rise in infections in the northwestern Xinjiang region. Of the new cases, 22 in the Xinjiang city of Kashgar were previously asymptomatic patients, the country's health authority said. The region's health authorities also reported another 19 symptomless infections, which China does not recognize as confirmed COVID-19 cases. They accounted for half of the new asymptomatic cases reported nationwide.

9:49 a.m. Australian consumer prices surged in the last quarter as one-time rebates linked to the coronavirus ended and gasoline prices rebounded -- yet the annual inflation rate stayed stubbornly below the target that would give a green light for further easing of monetary policy. The headline consumer price index rose a steep 1.6% in the July-September quarter, but that merely undid the previous quarter's record 1.9% plunge.

9:23 a.m. Britain's Vaccine Taskforce Chair Kate Bingham said on Tuesday that the first generation of COVID-19 vaccines are "likely to be imperfect" and "might not work for everyone."

"We do not know that we will ever have a vaccine at all. It is important to guard against complacency and over-optimism," Bingham wrote in a piece published in The Lancet medical journal.

People take photos in front of a celebratory sign in Melbourne on Tuesday after COVID-19 restrictions were eased for the Australian state of Victoria.   © Reuters

8:02 a.m. Australia's coronavirus hotspot of Victoria state reported two new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday after posting no infections in the previous two days as the state capital, Melbourne, emerged from more than three months of a hard lockdown.

Restaurants and cafes in Melbourne -- home to 5 million people -- can now reopen, and limits on social gatherings at homes have been eased, allowing two adults and dependents from one house to visit another household.

5:38 a.m. The French government is envisaging a monthlong national lockdown that could take effect from midnight on Thursday, France's BFM TV reported on Tuesday. The country reported 523 new coronavirus deaths over the past 24 hours, the highest daily toll since April 22, health ministry data showed.

4:28 a.m. The Russian Direct Investment Fund has submitted applications to the World Health Organization for an emergency-use listing and prequalification of its Sputnik V vaccine, Russia's sovereign wealth fund said on Tuesday.

4:26 a.m. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday predicted a "tough winter" as a second wave of infections engulfed much of the country, and he channeled public frustration, saying the pandemic "sucks" and calling it a horrific national tragedy after deaths topped the 10,000 mark.

1:30 a.m. Italy has registered 21,994 new coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours, the health ministry said on Tuesday, the highest daily tally since the start of the country's outbreak and up from the previous record of 21,273 posted on Sunday.

1:20 a.m. Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum tests positive for COVID-19 but says she is feeling well with no symptoms. "I will continue to work and coordinate all activities from a distance, with the same commitment as usual," she said on Twitter, where she announced her positive test.

1:00 a.m. Eli Lilly says it is ending a clinical trial of its antibody drug in hospitalized COVID-19 patients after federal researchers concluded the therapy produced no marked improvement.

The study of the monoclonal antibody called bamlanivimab has been paused since Oct. 13 due to a potential safety concern.

12:35 a.m. Japanese bicycle parts maker Shimano revises up its 2020 earnings forecast as demand recovers, driven by consumers gravitating toward bikes as a safer transportation alternative to public transit.

Novavax's COVID-19 candidate vaccine is administered to a clinical trial participant in Australia in this Australian Broadcasting Corp. image. (Photo courtesy of Novavax)

Tuesday, October 27

11:10 p.m. U.S. biotech company Novavax says it expects a clinical trial of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate to begin in the U.S. and Mexico "by the end of November."

"The company has made significant progress in large-scale manufacturing, with delays experienced versus original timing estimates," according to a statement.

Novavax says the trial will involve production from a U.S. contract manufacturing site under Japan's Fujifilm Holdings.

10:15 p.m. The governor of Japan's Saitama Prefecture, near Tokyo, says that dinner and drinking parties are responsible for around 10% of new COVID-19 infections.

As the year-end party season approaches, Gov. Motohiro Ono urges people to avoid large, raucous gatherings.

"When people drink, they get loud and talk a lot," Ono tells reporters.

"We want people to avoid binge drinking and pub crawls," the governor adds.

8:24 p.m. The number of new infections in Germany is likely to reach 20,000 a day by the end of the week, Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said. "In Germany, the number of new infections is rising by 70% to 75% compared to the week before," Altmaier told a virtual conference. On Tuesday, the number of confirmed cases rose by 11,409. That compares with 6,868 cases last Tuesday and with the record 14,714 reported on Saturday.

8:00 p.m. Iran reports 6,968 new cases and 346 deaths in the past 24 hours, its highest daily tally, pushing the death toll in the hardest-hit Middle Eastern country to 33,299. The new cases brought the country's total number of identified cases to 581,824.

7:01 p.m. Malaysia's health ministry reports 835 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, bringing its total to 28,640 infections. The country has also recorded two new deaths, taking the total number of fatalities to 238.

6:27 p.m. Japan's cabinet has approved a plan on Tuesday to use public funds to provide vaccines for COVID-19 to the public for free. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has pledged to provide vaccines for all by mid-2021. Japan has struck deals for hundreds of millions of doses from companies including AstraZeneca and Pfizer.

6:10 p.m. Italy's main medicines regulator has given the go-ahead for human clinical trials on raloxifene, a generic osteoporosis drug that researchers hope may also help reduce COVID-19 symptoms and make patients less infectious, Reuters reports. The drug was identified as a potential COVID-19 treatment by researchers using supercomputers to screen more than 400,000 molecules for chemical characteristics that might inhibit the virus, focusing on those already approved for use in humans.

5:50 p.m. Indonesia reports 3,520 new infections, taking the total to 396,454. The country records another 101 deaths, bringing the total to 13,512.

5:05 p.m. The Philippines reports1,524 new infections, a lower number than the 1,607 a day earlier and taking the country total to 373,144. The country also reports 14 more deaths, the lowest daily number of fatalities in two weeks, bringing its total to 7,053.

3:40 p.m. Tokyo reports 158 new infections, up from 108 a day earlier and bringing the capital's total to 30,285.

3:07 p.m. ANA Holdings expects its biggest-ever net loss of 510 billion yen ($4.8 billion) this fiscal year through March 2021, the Japanese airline says, as it struggles with plunging air travel demand with no quick rebound in sight.

3:00 p.m. Global foreign direct investment plunged 49% in the first half of 2020 from the same period a year ago and is on course to fall by up to 40% for the year, driven by fears of a deep recession, the U.N. Conference for Trade and Development says. FDI flows to European economies turned negative for the first time ever, reaching -$7 billion, versus $202 billion for the same period last year, while investment into the U.S. fell 61% to $51 billion.

2:20 p.m. HSBC Holdings is trying to flip its main source of income from interest rates to fee-based businesses. The group also accelerated plans to downsize and will slash costs further than forecast. The plans were unveiled as the bank posted a less-than-expected 35% drop in quarterly profit and eased procedures for dealing with bad loans, citing expected improvement in its main markets.

1:17 p.m. India reports 36,470 new cases in the last 24 hours, the lowest daily count in more than three months, bringing the national total to 7.95 million. The death toll rose by 488 to 119,502.

11:50 p.m. Profits at Chinese industrial firms in September rose 10.1%, year-on-year, to 646.43 billion yuan ($96.34 billion), government data shows, up for the fifth straight month. But the pace slowed as factory-gate deflation and rising raw materials costs undercut a recovery in the manufacturing sector.

A scientist holds up sample vials inside a laboratory at Sorrento Therapeutics where efforts are underway to develop an antibody, STI-1499, to help in coronavirus prevention in San Diego on May 22. A study in the U.K. has found antibodies against the new coronavirus declined rapidly, suggesting post-infection protection may not be long lasting.   © Reuters

11:30 a.m. South Korea confirms 88 new cases, down from 119 a day ago. Total infections reach 26,043 with 460 deaths.

10:30 a.m. Japan's cabinet approves a plan to use public funds to provide COVID-19 vaccines to the public for free. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has pledged to provide enough COVID-19 vaccines for the population by mid 2021. The country has struck deals for hundreds of millions of doses from companies including AstraZeneca and Pfizer.

9:50 a.m. China reports 16 new confirmed cases for Monday, down from 20 a day earlier. The number of new asymptomatic cases also fell to 50, from 161 reported a day earlier amid a fresh wave of symptomless infections being reported in the northwestern Xinjiang region. Xinjiang authorities separately report 26 new asymptomatic cases for Monday, down from 137 a day earlier.

9:10 a.m. Antibodies against the new coronavirus declined rapidly in the British population during the summer, a study finds, suggesting protection after infection may not be long lasting and raising the prospect of waning immunity in the community. Scientists at Imperial College London have tracked antibody levels in the British population after the first wave of COVID-19 infections in March and April. Their study found that antibody prevalence fell from 6% of the population around the end of June to just 4.4% in September.

8:00 a.m. The South Korean economy rebounded from a COVID-induced recession in the third quarter as demand for exports grew following the relaxing of lockdowns in the region. Asia's fourth-largest economy grew a seasonally adjusted 1.9% during the July-September period from the previous quarter, the Bank of Korea says.

5:10 a.m. The Dow Jones Industrial average closes down 650 points, or 2.3%, after bouncing off session lows. The broader S&P 500 falls 1.9%, while the Nasdaq drops 1.6%. All eyes will be on earnings reports from Caterpillar and other blue chips this week.

A family wearing masks to avoid the spread of COVID-19 takes souvenir photos at the Seoul Sky Observatory in Seoul on Oct. 5.  South Korea's economy returned to growth in the third quarter.   © Reuters

3:31 a.m. The executive committee of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats decides to postpone a party congress planned for Dec. 4 to elect a new leader, reports Reuters. The committee agreed it could not hold the meeting, which it had planned to stage in Stuttgart, in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. The timing of the election of a new CDU leader by 1,001 delegates is now unclear.

2:30 a.m. The Dow Jones stock index falls 950 points as investor worries deepen over surging U.S. coronavirus cases. The market is also disheartened by the lack of progress on stimulus talks.

Johns Hopkins University reports that the number of infections surpassed a record 80,000 on both Friday and Saturday, signaling accelerated infections. The rising case number has fueled concerns about the reopening of the U.S. economy.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows have accused each other of "moving the goalposts" in stimulus talks, signaling that the two sides remain far apart on the issue just nine days before the election.

Issues sensitive to the economy, such as Boeing and Caterpillar, come under heavy selling in the market, while Apple, which just released iPhone 12 models, and biotech company Amgen remain firm.

1:45 a.m. The average number of new coronavirus cases reported daily over the past week in the U.S. reaches an all-time high of 68,767, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis based on Johns Hopkins University tallies.

The stark number signals that the country is experiencing a fresh surge of infections as the weather turns cool.

1:30 a.m. American stock markets continue their declines in afternoon trading, with the Dow shedding 740 points, or 2.6%, and the S&P 500 down 2.1%.

12:40 a.m. U.S. stocks plunge as coronavirus cases surged in the U.S. and Europe, dimming the economic outlook after Congress and the White House failed to agree on a fiscal stimulus deal.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 688 points, or 2.4%, and the S&P 500 is trading 2% lower in morning trading.

Monday, October 26

11:30 p.m. Japan's government has called on local authorities to tighten coronavirus precautions on unsponsored events ahead of Halloween -- still a relatively new phenomenon in the country, but one that has brought out large crowds in past years.

Monday's guidelines tell local governments to urge voluntary restraint on large gatherings and to ensure police are deployed to prevent overcrowding in public spaces.

10:32 p.m. Russia's daily tally of new COVID-19 cases soars to a record high of 17,347 as the Kremlin warned the pandemic was beginning to inflict a greater toll outside the capital Moscow, reports Reuters.

Authorities say Russia has enough hospital beds and medication to tackle the second wave of the coronavirus outbreak. But Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said "extremely energetic" efforts from both the federal and regional governments were now needed to cope with rising case numbers.

7:15 p.m. Malaysia reports its biggest jump in daily cases since the start of the pandemic, with 1,240 new infections, and extends a partial lockdown on its capital Kuala Lumpur and the surrounding state of Selangor for another two weeks.

6:10 p.m. The COVID-19 vaccine being developed by the University of Oxford produces a similar immune response in both older and younger adults, and adverse reactions were lower among the elderly, British drug maker AstraZeneca Plc says.

"It is encouraging to see immunogenicity responses were similar between older and younger adults and that reactogenicity was lower in older adults, where the COVID-19 disease severity is higher," an AstraZeneca spokesman told Reuters.

5:00 p.m. The Philippines reports 1,607 new infections and 62 more deaths. Total cases had increased to 371,630, while deaths had reached 7,039. The Philippines has the second highest number of COVID-19 infections and deaths in Southeast Asia after Indonesia.

3:50 p.m. Global infections have exceeded 43 million, according to Johns Hopkins University. As the U.S. continues to be the worst-affected country, many European nations are tightening their virus-control measures as case numbers repeatedly set new daily records.

A woman walks past a closed bar in Pamplona, Spain, after the Navarran government limited all non-essential movement in and out of the region.    © Reuters

3:20 p.m. Malaysia says it will host the first-ever virtual summit of leaders from Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation nations in November, amid political uncertainty faced by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin. Doubts had arisen earlier as to whether the summit would go ahead due to the pandemic. New Zealand, which is hosting next year's APEC summit, has said it will use virtual platforms.

3:08 p.m. Tokyo reports 108 new infections, down from 124 a day earlier and bringing the capital's total to 30,127.

1:20 p.m. India reports 45,148 cases in the last 24 hours, down from 50,129 the previous day, bringing the country total to 7.91 million. The death toll jumped by 480 to 119,014.

1:00 p.m. Social distancing and lockdowns in Australia not only slowed the spread of COVID-19, they also saved the lives of about 400 people in the country who would have been expected to die in June from respiratory illnesses such as pneumonia, a research paper shows. The Actuaries Institute said there was a shortfall between verified deaths and the number expected during the midwinter month, which it concluded was due to a decline in respiratory illnesses.

10:07 a.m. South Korea confirms 119 new cases, up from 61 a day ago. Total infections reach 25,955 with 457 deaths.

 A medical worker collects a swab from a man to conduct a coronavirus test in the city of Urumqi in China's Xinjiang province, on July 19, 2020. The Xinjiang city of Kashgar on Saturday started testing its 4.75 million people after detecting an asymptomatic case at a garment factory.   © Reuters

9:40 a.m. China reports 20 new confirmed and 161 new asymptomatic COVID-19 cases for Sunday, following a surge in symptomless infections in the northwestern Xinjiang region. All new confirmed cases originated overseas. Of the 161 new symptomless infections, which China does not classify as confirmed cases, 137 were locally transmitted. Xinjiang's Kashgar on Saturday started testing its 4.75 million people after detecting an asymptomatic infection at a garment factory. Another 137 asymptomatic cases were reported on Oct. 25 amid that testing.

8:15 a.m. Australia's state of Victoria, the country's new coronavirus hot spot, reports zero cases for the first time since June, according to Reuters. The state on Sunday delayed the easing of COVID-19 restrictions because of a fresh outbreak in Melbourne's northern suburbs.

4:50 a.m. France registers a record 52,010 new confirmed infections over the past 24 hours on the heels of a previous all-time high of 45,422 on Saturday, as a second wave of cases surges through Europe. The new infections took France's total to 1,138,507, with the country pushing past Argentina and Spain to register the world's fifth-highest number after the United States, India, Brazil and Russia.

Sunday, October 25

11:39 p.m. Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said he has tested positive for the coronavirus and would stay at home. He met Keith Krach, U.S. undersecretary of state for economic affairs, on Friday.

11:00 p.m. Multiple other senior aides to U.S. Vice President Pence have tested positive for COVID-19, the White House chief of staff said.

10:30 p.m. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced a new state of emergency that imposes local nighttime curfews and bans travel between regions in certain cases.

6:49 p.m. U.S. infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci told the BBC it would be clear whether a COVID-19 vaccine was safe and effective by early December, but that more widespread vaccination would not be likely until later in 2021.

11:57 a.m. Marc Short, the chief of staff for U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, has tested positive for the new coronavirus, a spokesman for the vice president says. Vice President Pence and his wife tested negative.

10:38 a.m. China's health commission reported 15 new coronavirus cases in the mainland for Friday, down from 28 cases the previous day. All of the new infections were imported, according to a statement by the commission.

Saturday, October 24

7:49 p.m. Istanbul's mayor Ekrem Imamoglu said he has been hospitalized after testing positive for coronavirus and suffering a fever, Reuters reported. Istanbul's American Hospital said in a statement that Imamoglu, an opponent of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was admitted to the hospital after displaying symptoms of upper respiratory tract infection.

7:16 p.m. Malaysia reported 1,228 new coronavirus cases, a record daily jump since the start of the pandemic, bringing the total number of cases to 25,742. The health ministry also said seven new deaths were recorded across the Southeast Asian country.

5:15 p.m. Indonesia reported 4,070 new coronavirus infections, taking the total number of cases to 385,980, official data from the country's COVID-19 task force showed. It also reported 128 new deaths, taking the total number of fatalities to 13,205.

5:12 p.m. The Philippines' health ministry recorded 2,057 new coronavirus infections and 19 additional deaths. In a bulletin, the ministry said total confirmed cases have increased to 367,819 while deaths have reached 6,934. The Philippines has the second-highest number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in Southeast Asia after Indonesia.

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

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