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Coronavirus: Free to read

Coronavirus: Week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3, Trump treated with antibody cocktail

Advance voting begins in NZ election; Thai ex-PM Thaksin was infected but recovered

U.S. President Donald Trump arrives at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center by helicopter after testing positive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Bethesda, Maryland, U.S., on October 2.   © Reuters

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 34,495,372, according to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

The worldwide death toll has hit 1,026,646.

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

(Source photo by AP) 

Here are the latest developments (Tokyo time):

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Saturday, October 3

9:43 a.m. A mask-wearing U.S. President Donald Trump moved to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, for treatment on Friday after being diagnosed with COVID-19 as his administration and re-election campaign scrambled to adjust to an extraordinary twist in his turbulent presidency. "I think I'm doing very well, but we're going to make sure that things work out," Trump said in a brief video posted to Twitter earlier.

9:24 a.m. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un sent a message of sympathy to Trump, wishing him well and hoping he quickly recovers from the coronavirus, North Korean state media said on Saturday.

8:54 a.m. Trump has been treated with an experimental antibody cocktail for COVID-19 as a precautionary measure, White House officials said on Friday. The president's physician, Dr. Sean Conley, said in a statement that Trump "remains fatigued but in good spirits" after receiving an intravenous dose of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc.'s dual antibody. Trump was also taking immune system boosters zinc and vitamin D, aspirin, and other generic drugs.

7:12 a.m. The new James Bond movie, "No Time To Die," on Friday became the latest blockbuster release to be pushed into next year as the movie industry struggles to get back to business amid the coronavirus pandemic.

6:41 a.m. A mass roll-out of a COVID-19 vaccine in Britain could be finished in as little as three months, the Times reported, citing government scientists. Researchers working on the Oxford vaccine hope regulators will approve it before the beginning of 2021, the newspaper said.

6:02 a.m. Early voting began in New Zealand on Friday with Prime Minister and Labour Party leader Jacinda Ardern seen securing a second term in office on the back of her success in handling the coronavirus pandemic and other crises. Voters can head to the polls with about 450 advance polling stations opened across the country in the lead up to election day on Oct. 17.

4:40 a.m. U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar defends the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's oversight of coronavirus vaccines under development and says he has tested negative for COVID-19, Reuters reports.

2:40 a.m. Venezuela has received a shipment of the Russian-made COVID-19 vaccine, Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez says. The delivery of the so-called Sputnik-V shot is the first to Latin America and will be used in clinical trials, Reuters quotes the vice president as saying.

12:55 a.m. Madrid becomes the first European capital to re-impose a lockdown in response to a flare up in COVID-19 cases. The Spanish city's residents will be barred from leaving the area starting Friday evening.

Friday, October 2

11:55 p.m. The U.S. presidential election has taken an unexpected turn with President Donald Trump saying that he and his wife have tested positive for COVID-19.

Trump is experiencing "mild symptoms," White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows tells reporters. He says that the president "remains on the job," and that the first thing he asked in the morning was "How's the economy doing?"

9:37 p.m. Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was diagnosed with COVID-19 in late August, his aide in Thailand reveals to Nikkei Asia. The 71-year-old spends most of his time in Dubai, where thousands of cases have been found on a daily basis recently. Thaksin has been cured and his family and confidants did not contract the disease, according to the source.

Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra gives an interview in Singapore in February 2016.   © Reuters

8:09 p.m. China hopes U.S. President Donald Trump and his wife Melania will soon recover after testing positive for the coronavirus, a foreign ministry spokesperson told Reuters, while Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of China's Global Times tabloid, tweeted, "President Trump and the first lady have paid the price for his gamble to play down COVID-19," and, "It will impose a negative impact on the image of Trump and the US, and may also negatively affect his reelection."

8:00 p.m. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who recovered after being hospitalized with COVID-19 in April, says he is sure that U.S. President Donald Trump and his wife Melania will stage a "very strong recovery" from the virus after they tested positive.

7:18 p.m. Gold ticks higher, on course for its best week in nearly two months, as news of U.S. President Donald Trump's positive test for COVID-19 sent investors scurrying for safe-haven assets, Reuters reported.

6:45 p.m. Malaysia reports its highest-ever number of new infections, 287, surpassing the 277 reported on June 4. The virus is believed to have widely spread in the eastern state of Sabah, which held elections recently.

6:35 p.m. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has sent Trump and his wife best wishes for a speedy recovery, her spokesman said on Twitter.

6:05 p.m. Russian President Vladimir Putin has sent Trump a telegram wishing him a swift recovery, Russian news agencies reported, citing the Kremlin.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrives in Dubrovnik, Croatia, on Friday.   © Pool photo/Reuters

6:00 p.m. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says he is reconsidering his upcoming trip to Asia as a precaution after President Donald Trump and his wife tested positive to coronavirus. No decision has been taken yet, Pompeo told journalists on the flight from Rome to Dubrovnik in Croatia. "I spoke with the Vice President's office this morning as well," Pompeo said. "We're taking this obviously very seriously."

5:10 p.m. European stocks slide after U.S. President Donald Trump's positive COVID-19 test hits global equity markets. The pan-European STOXX 600 fell 0.5%, although pulled back from early losses of as much as 1.1%. Germany7s DAX and France's CAC 40 dropped 0.8% each, while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 declined 0.6%.

5:00 p.m. British drugmaker AstraZeneca says clinical trials of its experimental COVID-19 vaccine resumed in Japan, adding that it remains in talks with regulators on data needed to restart trials in the United States where they remain halted.

4:50 p.m. Russia reports 9,412 new infections, its highest daily tally since May 23, pushing the national total to 1,194,643 cases. Moscow, the epicenter of the country's outbreak earlier this year, registered 2,704 new infections overnight. Authorities said 186 people had died nationwide in the last 24 hours, bringing the official death toll to 21,077.

3:30 p.m. The British government wishes President Donald Trump a speedy COVID recovery, U.K. Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick says. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson fell gravely ill from COVID in March.

3:00 p.m. U.S. President Donald Trump's physician, Sean Conley, says he expects the president to carry out his duties "without disruption" while he recovers. "The President and First Lady are both well at this time, and they plan to remain at home within the White House during their convalescence," Conley wrote in a memo that was distributed to the press.

2:30 p.m. U.S. stock futures extend losses after President Donald Trump said he and his wife tested positive for the coronavirus, just weeks ahead of the country's Nov. 3 presidential election. S&P 500 futures slid 1.21% by early afternoon in Asia, while Treasury yields also fell. The U.S. dollar rose, particularly against the British pound and the Australian and New Zealand dollars in a sign of risk aversion. The safe-haven yen made even larger gains against other currencies.

2:20 p.m. Japan's consumer confidence improved in September, a Cabinet Office survey shows, prompting the government to upgrade its assessment on the index while warning the situation remained severe amid worries over the coronavirus. The survey's sentiment index for general households, which includes views on incomes and jobs, rose to 32.7 in September from 29.3 in August.

2:00 p.m. U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump have tested positive for COVID-19, Trump says in a tweet. "We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately," the tweet says.

1:00 p.m. India's coronavirus case tally climbs to 6.39 million on 81,484 new infections in the last 24 hours, while deaths are just shy of the 100,000 mark, data from the health ministry shows. Fatalities from coronavirus infections rose by 1,095 in the last 24 hours to 99,773, the ministry said.

12:20 p.m. U.S. President Donald Trump says he is beginning a quarantine process after aide Hope Hicks tested positive for the coronavirus. Hicks accompanied the president to Ohio on Tuesday and then to Minnesota on Wednesday.

10:50 a.m. A close adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump, Hope Hicks, has tested positive for the coronavirus.

9:45 a.m. New daily infections in Australia's hot-spot state of Victoria have fallen to a near four-month low as it records only imported cases, raising the prospect of more domestic borders reopening. The state of Queensland, meanwhile, says it may open its border with the country's most populous state, New South Wales, on Nov. 1, if New South Wales goes 28 days without recording a new case. New South Wales has now gone six straight days with no local infections.

9:40 a.m. China reports 10 new cases, down from 11 a day earlier. All of the new cases were imported. The number of new asymptomatic cases, which China does not count as confirmed COVID-19 cases, rose to 33 from 10 a day earlier.

9:11 a.m. The U.S. House of Representatives approves a $2.2 trillion Democratic plan for fresh relief from the pandemic, though objections from the White House and top Republicans are likely to doom it in the Senate. Republicans say the plan costs too much, although Democrats have reduced the price tag by over $1 trillion since May.

8:35 a.m. Japan's jobless rate stood at 3% in August, up from 2.9% in July, data from the Statistics Bureau show. It is the highest since May 2017, when it was 3.1%.

Office workers wearing protective face masks head home amid the coronavirus outbreak in Tokyo.   © Reuters

6:10 a.m. Amazon.com says more than 19,000 of its U.S. front-line workers contracted the coronavirus in a disclosure sought by labor advocates critical of how the world's largest online retailer handled the virus. Amazon says its rate of infection was 42% lower than expected when considering the virus's spread in the general population and that the figure represents 1.44% of its workforce.

3:51 a.m. Paris is set to be placed on maximum COVID alert from as soon as Monday, a move likely to force the closure of restaurants and bars and impose further restrictions on public life, reports Reuters. Health Minister Olivier Veran said the wider Paris region had now passed all three of the government's criteria for being put on the highest level of alert. In the past 24 hours, the coronavirus infection rate had surpassed 250 cases for every 100,000 inhabitants.

3:00 a.m. The government of new Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and Japan's ruling coalition have begun discussing a fresh round of spending on coronavirus prevention and steps to pull Asia's second-largest economy out of recession, to be ready as early as this year.

1:30 a.m. U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she thinks Democratic lawmakers and the White House are close to a deal on the size of a coronavirus relief package, with the potential for the House to bring the legislation to the floor on Thursday.

12:30 a.m. Italy, one of the countries hit hardest by the pandemic, reports over 2,000 new COVID-19 cases for the first time since the end of April, according to media reports.

Thursday, October 1

9:30 p.m. Indonesia and Malaysia are rushing to bolster their ability to treat and stop COVID-19, as their infection trajectories raise alarm.

Shoppers wearing protective masks walk at a market in Kuala Lumpur on Sept. 29.   © Reuters

Indonesia, which is still logging over 4,000 cases a day, has introduced the antiviral drug known as remdesivir. Meanwhile, Malaysia's science minister reveals his country is negotiating with numerous vaccine manufacturers.

7:07 p.m. Malaysia reports its biggest daily spike in infections since early June, with 260 new cases confirmed. The health ministry says it is mostly due to an outbreak in Sabah state on the island of Borneo. There was a surge in travel to and from the region ahead of state elections on Saturday.

6:44 p.m. India's top court orders airlines to refund passengers forced to cancel tickets booked during a two-month, nationwide lockdown

6:37 p.m. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte says he would propose to parliament to extend the COVID-19 state of emergency to the end of January.

5:40 p.m. Indonesia reports 4,174 new infections, slightly down from 4,284 a day earlier, bringing the total to 291,182. Official data also show 116 new deaths, taking the total to 10,856.

5:10 p.m. Tokyo reports 235 cases, up from 194 a day earlier. This comes after the central government just made Tokyo residents and visitors to the capital eligible for a domestic travel subsidy.

5:00 p.m. The Philippines records 2,415 cases and 59 deaths, bringing the country totals to 314,079 cases -- the most in Southeast Asia -- and 5,562 deaths.

4:30 p.m. The Netherlands has had thousands more COVID-19 deaths than officially reported, data released by the nation's statistics agency shows. At least 10,000 people in the country of 17 million are likely to have died of COVID-19 during the first wave of infections between March and June, the agency says. Health authorities had confirmed 6,406 COVID-19 deaths until Wednesday. The agency says positive tests not being reported could explain the difference.

2:32 p.m. Indonesia's Kalbe Farma begins distributing the antiviral drug remdesivir. Made by India's Hetero and sold under the name Covifor, it is the first remdesivir to gain emergency use approval from Indonesia's drug agency. Kalbe says tens of thousands of doses will be distributed over the next few months at 3 million rupiah ($202) each.

1:42 p.m. India reports 86,821 new cases over the last 24 hours, up from 80,472 the previous day, pushing the country total over 6.3 million. The death toll jumped by 1,181 to 98,678. Meanwhile, movie theaters -- which have been shut since March -- can reopen on Oct. 15 with a 50% seating capacity, but only if outside highly infected "containment zones."

South Korea's Pyeongtaek port: Exports jumped 7.7% in September from a year earlier, the fastest rise in 23 months.   © Reuters

12:15 p.m. Fujifilm Holdings signs a vaccine manufacturing agreement with U.S.-based VLP Therapeutics. The Japanese company will use its manufacturing facilities and infrastructure to handle vaccine development for clinical trials. VLP's vaccine candidate was selected for funding by the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development. The American biotech company has a Japanese subsidiary that partners in drug research with government bodies and universities.

11:53 a.m. Tokyo residents are now eligible for domestic travel subsidies. The central government is offering 1.3 trillion yen ($12.3 billion) in inducements that cover up to half of applicants' domestic travel spending -- 35% for accommodation and 15% for restaurants and souvenirs. But Tokyo residents and travelers to the capital had been excluded from the campaign since July due to the city's high rate of infections.

11:30 a.m. South Korean exports rose for the first time in seven months in September as major trading partners eased lockdowns, government data showed. Exports jumped 7.7% in September from a year earlier to $48.05 billion, the first expansion since February and the fastest rise in 23 months. September also had more working days than a year earlier. South Korea also reported 77 new infections, down from 113 a day earlier, bringing the total to 23,889.

9:55 a.m. American Airlines says it will begin furloughing 19,000 workers, and a large union says other carriers will follow as hopes fade for a last-minute bailout from Washington, Reuters reports. CEO Doug Parker wrote to employees that he is ready to reverse the furloughs if a deal is reached. The carrier had more than 140,000 employees before the pandemic.

American Airlines is set to begin furloughing 19,000 workers as hopes fade for a last-minute bailout from Washington.   © Reuters

9:40 a.m. China reports 12 new COVID-19 cases for Wednesday, down from 19 a day earlier. All new cases were imported infections involving travelers from overseas. The number of new asymptomatic cases, which China does not classify as confirmed COVID-19 cases, fell to 10 from 22 reported a day earlier.

8:52 a.m. Business sentiment among Japan's large manufacturers has recorded the first improvement since 2017, the Bank of Japan's latest Tankan quarterly survey shows, helped by government and central bank efforts to resuscitate the nation's pandemic-hit economy.

6:00 a.m. The U.S. Federal Reserve says it will extend until the end of the year such measures as buyback restrictions "to ensure that large banks maintain a high level of capital resilience." The pandemic-related rules apply to banks with more than $100 billion in total assets, a segment that includes JPMorgan, Citi, Wells Fargo and Bank of America.

5:00 a.m. As fall weather arrives, New Yorkers are once again able to eat inside restaurants after a nearly six-month ban on indoor dining.

4:50 a.m. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says talks with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made progress on legislation to provide COVID-19 relief to the economy, but no deal was reached, according to media reports. The Trump administration and congressional lawmakers have wrangled for months over a second round of economic stimulus as the coronavirus continues to spread in the U.S.

4:00 a.m. The CEO of Moderna Therapeutics tells the Financial Times that the American biotech company will not be able to apply for approval for its coronavirus vaccine candidate until at least late November, after the U.S. presidential election.

1:30 a.m. Outbreaks of COVID-19 are accelerating rapidly in some parts of the U.K. and the virus is spreading in general nationwide, England's chief medical officer is quoted as saying by Reuters.

12:05 a.m. The U.S. economy shrunk by an annualized 31.4% in the April-June quarter, the Commerce Department reports, revising its August preliminary figure up by 0.3 percentage point. The consensus forecast of economists surveyed by Dow Jones was a 31.7% contraction.

Wednesday, September 30

10:10 p.m. Japanese excess deaths -- the difference between the observed numbers of deaths and numbers expected based on past averages -- were lower in the first half of 2020 than in the same period in the past three years, estimates published Wednesday by the health ministry show.

The decrease comes despite the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed over 1,500 people in Japan. The preliminary data used in the estimates does not show the cause of death.

"This year's influenza outbreak was small, and measures to prevent COVID-19 probably had an effect on other infectious diseases," says Motoi Suzuki, head of the Infectious Disease Surveillance Center at the National Institute of Infectious Diseases.

8:53 p.m. The Air Transport Action Group, an industry organization, publishes projections that the travel slump and a slow recovery will threaten the jobs of 4.8 million aviation workers and more than half of the 87.7 million jobs that are supported directly or indirectly by the sector.

8:47 p.m. Malaysia-based AirAsia Group is shutting down its Japan operations, with an announcement slated for early next week, Nikkei Asia has learned. A source close to the company told Nikkei that AirAsia's directors have decided to wind up the operations of AirAsia Japan, a joint venture between AirAsia and Japanese partners.

Vietnam's central bank cuts policy rates for second time in just over four months.   © Reuters

6:41 p.m. The State Bank of Vietnam, the central bank, will cut its key policy rates from Thursday to boost economic growth. The refinancing rate will be cut to 4.0% from 4.5% and the discount rate to 2.5% from 3.0%, the central bank said in a statement. This is the second time in just over four months that the bank is cutting rates.

5:13 p.m. Indonesia has reported 4,284 new coronavirus cases, taking the total number of infections to 287,008, data from the country's COVID-19 task force show. There were also another 139 coronavirus-related deaths, taking the total number of fatalities to 10,740.

5:00 p.m. The Philippines' health ministry reports 2,426 new coronavirus infections and 58 more people have died.

2:02 p.m. Fashion brand Esprit Holdings at the end of June retreated from all Asian retail markets as part of restructuring efforts that have only been made more urgent by the pandemic.

12:57 p.m. India's coronavirus case tally surged to 6.23 million after it reported 80,472 new infections for the past 24 hours. Deaths from the virus rose by 1,179, to 97,497.

12:48 p.m. Thailand is expected to welcome 50,000 foreign tourists in the fourth quarter, down 99.5% from the final three months of last year, according to an industry body.

Private residential blocks rise from Hong Kong's Tseung Kwan O district. The metropolis's home prices fell 1.1% in August.   © Reuters

12:18 p.m. Private home prices in Hong Kong fell 1.1% in August as the financial center was hit by a wave of infections, official data by the Rating and Valuation Department shows. The monthly drop was the biggest since February.

12:00 p.m. Philanthropist Bill Gates unveils his strategy to fight the coronavirus pandemic in a Nikkei Asia op-ed. "The world needs three things: the capacity to produce billions of vaccine doses, the funding to pay for them, and systems to deliver them," he wrote.

11:58 p.m. Thailand's manufacturing production index dropped a smaller-than-expected 9.34% in August from a year earlier, led by lower production of cars and hard disk drives amid the outbreak.

11:13 a.m. China's factory activity expanded at a faster pace in September helped by a return to export growth after several months of shrinkage, bolstering a steady recovery for the economy as it rebounds from the coronavirus shock. The official manufacturing Purchasing Manager's Index rose to 51.5 in September from 51.0 in August, data from the National Bureau of Statistics shows. The PMI remained above the 50-point mark that separates growth from contraction.

Employees make Christmas products at the Fuye toy factory in the Chinese city of Yiwu in Zhejiang Province on Sept. 16. China's factory activity expanded at a faster pace in September on the back of growth in exports.   © Reuters

9:11 a.m. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel to Japan, Mongolia and South Korea next week, the State Department announces. The crucial visit is meant to solidify alliances as Washington's relations with China remain fraught over the virus outbreak and trade.

9:03 a.m. Mainland China reports 19 new cases for Sept. 29, up from 12 a day earlier, the country's national health authority says.

8:54 a.m. Japan's industrial output rose 1.7% in August from the previous month, government data shows, signaling a further recovery in factory activity after a heavy blow from the virus. Output rose for the third straight month.

8:53 a.m. Japanese retail sales dropped 1.9% in August from a year earlier, down for a sixth straight month as consumer sentiment remained fragile due to the pandemic. The figure compares with a median market forecast for a 3.5% decrease.

6:05 a.m. The Walt Disney Co. says it will lay off roughly 28,000 employees, mostly at its U.S. theme parks, where attendance has been crushed by the pandemic, especially in California where Disneyland remains closed.

6:00 a.m. Results from an early safety study of Moderna's coronavirus vaccine candidate show that in older adults it produced virus-neutralizing antibodies at levels similar to those seen in younger adults, with side effects roughly on par with high-dose flu shots, researchers say.

4:55 a.m. The chief executive of GlaxoSmithKline, the world's largest maker of vaccines, said she was optimistic the industry will be able to make an immunization against COVID-19 widely available next year, reports Reuters.

4:09 a.m. Coronavirus cases among young adults rose steadily across the U.S. in recent weeks as universities reopened, suggesting the need for this group to take more measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, reports Reuters. Between Aug. 2 and Sept. 5, weekly cases among people aged 18 to 22 rose 55.1%, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.

12:45 a.m. New York City will fine people who refuse to wear a mask, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday, as the city faces a rise in cases in certain neighborhoods. People without face coverings will be offered a free mask first, with those refusing subject to a fine.

Tuesday, September 29

7:45 p.m. The global soccer players union warns footballers at Asian clubs are particularly vulnerable to wage reductions and job losses due to the pandemic, Reuters reports. "The unfortunate reality is that in many parts of Asia, the level of engagement and collective bargaining is lacking and this is having an drastic effect," Jonas Baer-Hoffmann, general secretary of FIFPRO, tells reporters. He says the situation is especially acute in Indonesia, where players have suffered 75% salary cuts.

6:00 p.m. The GAVI vaccine alliance says it has agreed on a new collaboration with pharmaceutical company Serum Institute of India that will make an extra 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines available for low and middle income countries. The additional doses bring the total COVID-19 vaccines to be delivered by the Serum partnership to as many as 200 million doses. They will be priced at a maximum of $3 per dose.

5:40 p.m. Nine in 10 coronavirus patients reported experiencing side-effects such as fatigue, psychological aftereffects and loss of smell and taste after they recovered, according to a preliminary study by South Korea. In an online survey of 965 recovered COVID-19 patients, 879 people or 91.1% responded they were suffering at least one side-effect from the disease, Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency official Kwon Jun-wook told a briefing.

5:15 p.m. Indonesia reports 4,002 new infections, up from 3,509 a day earlier, taking the country's total to 282,724, according to government data. An additional 128 deaths were recorded, taking the total to 10,601 fatalities.

5:05 p.m. The Philippines reports 2,025 coronavirus infections and 68 more deaths. Total confirmed cases have increased to 309,303, the highest in Southeast Asia, while deaths reached 5,448.

5:00 p.m. The average land price in Japan fell 0.6%, according to government data comparing prices on July 1 this year against the same date last year. The fall was the first in three years as the coronavirus pandemic caused a drop in demand for commercial sites such as hotels and shops. Among 21,519 sites surveyed in the country, 60.1% saw their prices fall as of July 1.

4:15 p.m. Thailand will receive its first foreign vacationers when a flight from China arrives next week, marking the gradual restart of its vital tourism sector battered by coronavirus travel curbs, Reuters reports. The first flight will carry about 120 tourists from Guangzhou flying directly to the resort island of Phuket, Tourism Authority of Thailand Governor Yuthasak Supasorn said.

1:40 p.m. Toyota Motor says its auto exports to the U.S. in August rose 1.8% from the previous year to 50,000 units, marking the first year-on-year increase in 11 months as demand recovers from the pandemic. Sales in China grew 27.2% in the month, marking the fifth consecutive, on-year monthly rise. Global sales posted a faster-than-expected recovery in August, falling 10.6% year on year to 720,00 units.

12:30 p.m. Australian defense personnel are being deployed to Port Hedland, one of the world's largest iron ore loading ports, to help contain a coronavirus outbreak on a bulk carrier that last changed crew in Manila, Reuters reports. Seventeen of the 21 crew members on the carrier have tested positive for the virus. The ship is anchored off the port on Australia's northwest coast.

Australia has deployed the military to a ship anchored off Port Hedland, one of the world's largest iron ore ports, shown in this photo from 2013.   © Reuters

11:23 a.m. Vietnam's real gross domestic product rose 2.62% in the July-September quarter, the government says. The year-on-year growth was higher than the 0.39% increase for the previous quarter, fueled by exports of electronic parts, steel and other key industrial products that had been hit hard by the virus.

11:10 a.m. South Korea's daily coronavirus increase falls to its lowest count in about 50 days, at 38 cases. But the virus could go back into rapid-spread mode after this week's traditional Chuseok autumn holidays, when South Koreans usually travel to visit their relatives, experts warn.

11:08 a.m. The East Asia and Pacific region faces a rapidly growing class of "new COVID poor" despite relative success in containing the pandemic, according to the World Bank. Strict lockdown measures and external factors including the collapse of tourism and weak demand for the region's exports are sinking 38 million people below the poverty line of $5.50 a day and driving a 3.5% contraction in 2020 throughout 13 developing economies.

10:30 a.m. Australia's Victoria reports 10 new daily infections as it succeeds in taming a second wave that last month was infecting over 700 people a day. To slow the spread, the country's second-most populous state in early August placed nearly 5 million residents of its capital, Melbourne, under a stringent lockdown.

Workers prepare new graves at the Christian burial ground provided by the government for victims of the coronavirus disease in Jakarta on Sept. 16.   © Reuters

9:50 a.m. Worldwide deaths from COVID-19 have reached 1 million, according to Johns Hopkins University's Coronavirus Resource Center. The U.S. has had the most deaths, more than 205,000. Brazil is next on the list with more than 142,000, followed by India at more than 95,000. India's toll is rising fast.

9:30 a.m. China reports 12 new cases for Monday, down from 21 a day earlier. All new cases were imported infections involving travelers from overseas. The number of asymptomatic patients, who are not counted as confirmed cases in China, rose to 26 from 14 a day earlier.

9:10 a.m. Air New Zealand says it has drawn down NZ$110 million ($72.20 million) of a NZ$900 million government loan facility as it weathers the pandemic. The airline says it expects to report a second consecutive annual loss for the financial year ending next June 30. It also says it is not able to provide earnings guidance.

5:15 a.m. Pension funds have filed lawsuits in the U.S. against Germany's Allianz, claiming the asset manager did not do enough to protect their investments during the coronavirus-induced market crash earlier this year, Reuters reports.

The funds hold retirement savings for truck drivers, teachers and other workers.

4:57 a.m. U.S. President Donald Trump announces new vaccine testing plan: 150 million Abbot virus tests to be distributed for rapid testing within 15 minutes. Of this amount, 100 million tests will go to schools.

3:00 a.m. In a sign of the impact of the pandemic on Japan's health care system, hospital admittances for such non-urgent procedures as cataract surgery fell by about 20% on the year in July, a study by Global Health Consulting Japan shows.

1:25 a.m. The World Health Organization says 120 million rapid COVID-19 tests will be made available to low- and middle-income countries. The kits yield results in 15 minutes, at a cost of no more than $5, Reuters quotes WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus as saying.

A medical specialist opens a COVID-19 test kit at a rapid testing center for coronavirus disease outside Hanoi.   © Reuters

12:50 a.m. Saudi Arabia says it will hold a virtual summit of Group of 20 leaders on Nov. 21-22, giving up on hopes of an in-person gathering.

Monday, September 28

10:55 p.m. All Nippon Airways will resume Tokyo flights in November to and from Singapore and Bangkok as well as increase service on other international routes.

9:47 p.m. The annual Hong Kong Film Awards presentation ceremony scheduled for April 2021 will be postponed by a year due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which has forced local cinemas to close for months this year and pushed back the release of numerous movies. This year's ceremony was livestreamed on social media following a monthlong postponement.

9:45 p.m. Researchers find evidence of multiple superspreading events of COVID-19 infections in Hong Kong, suggesting that timely identification of superspreaders may be a key to stopping a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, reports Caixin.

6:01 p.m. Japan plans to gradually lift overseas travel alerts in October in a bid to spur the removal of entry restrictions implemented in other countries, Nikkei has learned. The government will give priority to 10 countries and regions that have a low number of new coronavirus infections, including Australia, New Zealand, and Vietnam.

6:00 p.m. Thailand extends a grace period for visa renewals for foreigners stranded in the country due to the coronavirus pandemic until the end of October, as travel restrictions remain in place and new infections climb globally, Reuters reported. The extension will allow foreigners to remain in Thailand until Oct. 31.

5:30 p.m. Indonesia reports 3,509 new infections, taking the country's total to 278,722 cases. It also records 87 new deaths, taking the total to 10,473, the highest toll in Southeast Asia.

5:10 p.m. The Philippines reports 3,073 new infections and 37 additional fatalities, bringing totals in the country to 307,288 cases and 5,381 deaths.

5:00 p.m. Malaysia says it will impose strict movement restrictions in four districts in its largest palm oil producing state Sabah after reporting more than 1,000 coronavirus infections there in September. As part of efforts to contain the outbreak, nonessential businesses in Lahad Datu, Tawau, Kunak and Semporna district will be required to shut down starting Tuesday for a period of 14 days.

4:30 p.m. New cases in Russia have risen to the highest level since June 16. Authorities confirmed 8,135 new infections in the past 24 hours, pushing the total to 1,159,573. Another 61 people have died, taking the official death toll to 20,385.

3:17 p.m. Tokyo reports 78 new infections, down from 144 a day earlier, bringing the capital's total to 25,335 cases.

2:15 p.m. Beijing will protect whistleblowers who disclose information about health emergencies, the city government says, as part of China's efforts to avoid the problems that slowed response to COVID-19. The city will reward health workers who disclose critical information and ensure their legal rights. As long as there is no "malicious" intent, whistblowers will not face punishment even if their claims turn out to be false.

A girl wears a protective mask in Mumbai on Sept. 20. India's total coronavirus infections now exceed 6 million.   © Reuters

1:30 p.m. India's total coronavirus infections exceed 6 million as it reports 82,170 new cases in the last 24 hours. The death toll jumps by 1,039 to 95,542.

Of the total 6.07 million cases, 15.85% of patients are currently active while 82.58% have recovered. The coronavirus mortality rate in the country stands at 1.57%, according to the latest update from the health ministry.

11:56 a.m. South Korean shares rise around 1.5% in the morning, driven by major heavyweights, after the country reported the smallest daily total of new coronavirus cases since Aug.11.

10:15 a.m. South Korea reports 50 new infections, down from 95 a day earlier and the fewest since a new wave of outbreaks emerged from a church and a large political rally last month. Of the new cases, 40 were domestic and 10 imported. Total infections reach 23,661 with 406 deaths.

9:00 a.m. China reports 21 new cases for Sunday, up from 14 a day earlier. All new cases were imported. The number of new asymptomatic cases, not classified by China as confirmed COVID-19 patients, fell to 14 from 26 a day earlier.

8:30 a.m. Australia says it will extend a domestic airline relief package by four months in its annual budget, with one economics forecaster predicting the country will record a A$198.5 billion ($140 billion) deficit, Reuters reports. The government will continue underwriting domestic flights until Jan. 31, 2021, and flights to regional locations until March 28, in its annual budget to be delivered on Oct. 6, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said in a statement.

Australia's federal government will continue underwriting domestic flights until Jan. 31, 2021.    © Reuters

8:28 a.m. Australia's Victoria says its daily rise in new infections fell to five, dropping into the single digits for the first time in more than three months. The state placed nearly 5 million residents of its capital, Melbourne, into a hard lockdown in early August but lifted a night curfew on Sunday thanks to a steady fall in new daily cases.

Sunday, September 27

11:45 p.m. The U.K. resolves a problem with England's COVID-19 smartphone app that prevented it from accepting around one-third of test results, the government says. The app's official account had reported Saturday that it could not link to test results taken in Public Health England laboratories, via the National Health Service or as part of a survey run by the Office for National Statistics.

11:08 p.m. The Philippine health ministry reports 2,995 new coronavirus infections and 60 additional fatalities, bringing the totals in the country to 304,226 cases and 5,344 deaths.

10:12 p.m. Russia confirms 7,867 new coronavirus cases, its highest level since June 20, raising the country's total to 1,151,438, the nation's coronavirus task force reports.

9:42 p.m. Mainland China reports 14 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, compared with 15 announced on Friday, the national health authority says. Confirmed infections now total 85,351, while the number of deaths remains at 4,634.

5:11 p.m. Indonesia reports 3,874 new coronavirus infections, bringing the total number of cases to 275,213, data from the country's COVID-19 task force shows. The Southeast Asian country also reports 78 new deaths, raising its fatalities to 10,386.

3:54 a.m. New York records over 1,000 new cases for the first time since June, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announces. The 1,005 infections were found in 99,953 tests given Friday. Four people died, and 527 were hospitalized that day.

Saturday, September 26

11:14 p.m. British police arrest 10 people at an anti-lockdown demonstration in central London where four officers are hurt during scuffles, including two who required hospital treatment. Thousands of protesters flooded Trafalgar Square, holding signs reading "We Do Not Consent" and "Stuff the Stupid Rules."

10 p.m. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi pledges his country's vaccine production capacity would be made available globally to fight the COVID-19 crisis. "I want to give one more assurance to the global community today," Modi says in a prerecorded speech to the U.N. General Assembly. "India's vaccine production and delivery capacity will be used to help all humanity in fighting this crisis."

6:00 p.m. Russia's daily tally of new coronavirus cases hit its highest level since June 22 at 7,523, bringing its total to 1,143,571, the country's coronavirus task force reports. There were 169 deaths, taking Russia's official coronavirus toll to 20,225.

5:35 p.m. Indonesia reports 4,494 new coronavirus infections, taking total cases to 271,339, official data from the health ministry shows. The Southeast Asian country also reports 90 new deaths, increasing total fatalities to 10,308.

1:12 p.m. South Korea tallies 49 new domestic cases, the smallest number of locally transmitted cases in 44 days in a sign that tighter social distancing rules are paying off. Health officials reiterate calls to refrain from visiting their hometowns and meeting with relatives during the Chuseok holiday, worrying that the holiday may lead to another spike.

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

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