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Coronavirus: Free to read

Coronavirus: Week of Sept. 6 to Sept. 12, Canada has 1st day with no deaths since March

Vietnam Airlines to resume Tokyo flights; Myanmar battles 2nd wave

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on before unveiling plans for post-coronavirus recovery for Black-owned businesses and entrepreneurs in Toronto on Sept. 9.    © Reuters

The Nikkei Asian Review 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 28,316,230, according to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

The worldwide death toll has hit 912,212.

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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UPDATES CLOSED

Saturday, September 12

10:20 a.m. For the first time since March 15, Canada reports zero new deaths from COVID-19. But the number of positive cases for the past 24 hours rose by 702, bringing the country total to 135,626, Reuters reports.

4:45 a.m. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has proposed extending temporary waivers of minimum flight requirements at some American airports until late March. The hubs include New York's JFK and LaGuardia airports and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. In normal times, airlines can lose their slots at busy hubs if they do not keep usage high. Waivers now in place are set to expire in October.

3:00 a.m. The release of the Warner Bros superhero sequel "Wonder Woman 1984" has been postponed until Christmas Day from Oct. 2 as many theaters remain closed owing to the pandemic, according to media reports. Motion picture studios from the U.S. to China face a slow recovery from lockdowns and social distancing requirements that have kept moviegoers away for months.

1:00 a.m. France's government has no plans to impose a new nationwide lockdown in response to a flare-up of COVID-19 cases, Prime Minister Jean Castex is quoted as saying by Reuters.

Friday, September 11

10:00 p.m. Japan will study whether the effects of the coronavirus pandemic were behind a 15% increase in suicides in the country last month, NHK reports. Preliminary data shows 1,849 suicides in August, an increase of more than 240 from the same month last year.

8:16 p.m. Nissan Motor will issue $8 billion in U.S. dollar-denominated corporate bonds for the first time to offset expected sluggish sales due to the pandemic.

6:42 p.m. Malaysia reports 182 cases, the sharpest spike in more than three months, and no new deaths. The new infections marked the biggest jump since June 4.

A man wearing a protective mask crosses a street in Kuala Lumpur on Aug. 11.   © Reuters

6:08 p.m. Swiss pharmaceutical Roche will apply for approval in Japan of a reagent that detects COVID-19 and seasonal influenza. This is hoped to reduce the burden on patients and medical workers bracing for the double threat of COVID-19 and the winter flu.

5:50 p.m. Myanmar reports 115 cases, a day after imposing sweeping new lockdown measures as it battles a second wave of infections. This brings the country total to 2,265 with 14 deaths. Infections quadrupled over the last month after the virus resurfaced in the western state of Rakhine.

5:36 p.m. Vietnam Airlines says it will resume international commercial flights from Sept. 18, starting with routes from Hanoi to Tokyo and Ho Chi Minh City to Tokyo. More routes from Vietnam to South Korea, China, Taiwan, Laos and Cambodia will be announced later this month.

5:30 p.m. The Philippines reports 4,040 new cases, its highest daily increase in 12 days, and 42 more deaths. Total infections have hit 252,964 -- the most in Southeast Asia -- while deaths have reached 4,108.

4:00 p.m. The U.K. economy grew 6.6% in July for the third consecutive monthly rise. The economy expanded after crashing by a record 20% in the second quarter due to the pandemic, but remains 11.7% smaller than in February before the crisis struck Britain.

3:20 p.m. Tokyo on Oct. 1 will be allowed back into Japan's travel subsidy program, tourism minister Kazuyoshi Akaba says. With infections on the rise, the capital -- its residents and as a destination -- was excluded right before the campaign began, in July. On Friday, Tokyo reports 187 new infections, down from 276 a day earlier.

1:45 p.m. India reports its highest single-day spike in cases and fatalities, with 96,551 infections and 1,209 deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing the country COVID-19 total to over 4.56 million.

1:10 p.m. Malaysia's industrial production index rose 1.2% in July from a year earlier, recovering after four straight months of declines, government data shows. Output in July was up from the 0.4% drop in June.

A Singapore Airlines plane sits on the tarmac at the city-state's Changi Airport in March. Singapore and Japan have agreed to start a reciprocal "green lane" program for business travelers on Sept. 18.    © Reuters

12:55 p.m. Singapore and Japan will start a reciprocal "green lane" program for business travelers on Sept. 18, the governments say. A 14-day self-isolation period will not be required if certain conditions are met, including pre-departure and post-arrival coronavirus testing, presentation of an itinerary of their stay, and not using public transportation, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said.

12:30 p.m. A key Indonesian parliamentary committee reaches agreement with the government to expand the 2021 budget deficit to 5.7% of gross domestic product, from 5.5% initially proposed by President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, the committee chairman says. The 2021 growth target was approved at 5%, the midpoint of the president's proposed range of 4.5-5.5%.

Women ride past a coronavirus-themed mural reading "Come on together fight the coronavirus," on September 10 in Jakarta.    © AP

12:00 p.m. Japanese shares inch higher after the nation's capital lowered its coronavirus alert by a notch, with cases continuing to trend down. The benchmark Nikkei average was up 0.31% at 23,308.47 going into its midday break.

10:19 a.m. South Korea confirms 176 new cases, up from 155 a day ago. Total infections reach 21,919, with 350 deaths.

9:30 a.m. Business sentiment among large Japanese companies in the July-September period turned positive for the first time in a year, recovering from a plunge due to the economic impact of the pandemic, a government survey shows. The confidence index covering companies capitalized at 1 billion yen ($9.4 million) or more stood at plus 2.0 in the third quarter of 2020, up from minus 47.6 in the April-June period.

9:20 a.m. China reports 15 new cases for Thursday, up from seven a day earlier. All of them involved overseas travelers. The country has gone 26 straight days with no local transmissions.

7:50 a.m. Victoria state, the center of Australia's coronavirus outbreak, reports 43 new cases and nine deaths from the virus in the past 24 hours. A day earlier, it reported 51 new cases and seven deaths.

7:00 a.m. Brazil records 40,557 cases and 983 deaths in the past 24 hours. Its country totals now stand at more than 4.2 million infections and 129,522 deaths.

Smithfield products at a supermarket in Shanghai. The U.S. company is owned by China's WH Group.   © Reuters

5:05 a.m. The U.S. Labor Department says Chinese-owned American meatpacker Smithfield did not do enough to protect workers from the coronavirus. At least 1,294 Smithfield workers came down with COVID-19, and four died from the disease, according to a statement by the department. The department proposes a fine of $13,494, the maximum allowed by law. Smithfield is part of China's WH Group, the world's biggest meat processing company.

3:40 a.m. Turkey is considering a request from Russia to conduct Phase III trials of Russia's COVID-19 vaccine, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca says. Russia is developing the "Sputnik-V" vaccine, the world's first registered coronavirus vaccine, to showcase its scientific prowess. But Moscow's decision to grant approval for its vaccine before finishing clinical trials has raised concerns among experts.

3:28 a.m. France records almost 10,000 new COVID-19 infections, its highest ever single-day total, a day before a cabinet meeting that might consider imposing fresh, local lockdowns to curb the spread of the disease, reports Reuters.

1:55 a.m. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's decision to pardon a U.S. Marine convicted of killing a transgender woman may reflect his desire to ensure access to an American-developed coronavirus vaccine, his spokesperson says, according to media reports.

The spokesperson, Harry Roque, says this view is "my personal opinion."

12:50 a.m. Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, says she still hopes for a coronavirus aid bill before the Nov. 3 election, according to Reuters.

12:30 a.m. AstraZeneca's pause of an experimental vaccine trial after a participant fell ill should not discourage researchers, the World Health Organization's chief scientist said. "This is a wake-up call to recognize that there are ups and downs in clinical development and that we have to be prepared," Soumya Swaminathan said. "We do not have to be discouraged. These things happen."

Thursday, September 10

10:42 p.m. Singapore Airlines will eliminate 4,300 positions, including 2,400 layoffs, due to the prolonged slump in travel demand stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, the company said Thursday, becoming the latest global carrier to announce big job cuts.

10:00 p.m. The coronavirus pandemic has taken a toll on leading Japanese banks' stock repurchases. The value of buybacks announced from April to August fell about 90% from a year earlier, a Nikkei analysis shows, as lenders held on to more cash to support struggling clients.

8:36 p.m. Myanmar steps up lockdown measures in Yangon, reporting another record daily rise in coronavirus cases, with 120 new infections taking overall cases past the 2,000 mark.

8:27 p.m. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the head of the World Health Organization, urges countries on to contribute resources that can expedite products that may help stem the coronavirus pandemic.

8:15 p.m. AstraZeneca's chief executive says the company should still know by year-end whether its experimental vaccine protects people against coronavirus, as long as it is cleared to resume trials soon, Reuters reports.

Indonesia on Sept. 10 reported 3,861 new coronavirus infections in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of cases to 207,203, with 8,456 deaths.   © Reuters

5:53 p.m. Indonesia's daily coronavirus infections reach a new high, adding 3,861 in the last 24 hours, and 120 new deaths. This brings the totals to 207,203 cases and 8,456 fatalities.

5:10 p.m. The Philippines reports 3,821 new infections -- the most in 11 days -- and 80 deaths. Total confirmed cases have risen to a Southeast Asian high of 248,947 while deaths have hit 4,066.

4:05 p.m. Malaysia's central bank keeps key interest rates steady at a record low of 1.75% after four consecutive rate cuts this year, as the coronavirus-hit economy slowly recovers.

3:30 p.m. China's auto sales in August grew 11.6% from a year earlier to 2.19 million units, the fifth consecutive monthly rise, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. But overall sales are down 9.7% for the first eight months at 14.55 million units.

2:40 p.m. The Japan Sumo Association says 18 wrestlers from the Tamanoi stable tested positive for the coronavirus, resulting in the entire group sitting out the Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament. The 15-day competition, which starts on Sunday, will still go ahead as scheduled.

People wait to board buses in Mumbai on Sept. 9. India has since recorded new daily highs for infections and deaths.   © Reuters

1:34 p.m. India reports its highest single-day spike in cases and fatalities, with 95,735 infections and 1,172 deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing the country COVID-19 total to over 4.46 million.

12:44 p.m. The Indonesia Stock Exchange is halting trading for 30 minutes after the index plunged 5%, following Jakarta Gov. Anies Baswedan's announcement on Wednesday night of new large-scale movement restrictions in the Indonesian capital that will take effect on Monday of next week.

12:30 p.m. South Korea is preparing its fourth supplementary budget this year to aid struggling small businesses facing mass closures amid unprecedented social distancing restrictions due to the pandemic. President Moon Jae-in said the fresh spending of 7.8 trillion won ($6.6 billion) will go for for cash payments to small businesses as well as to households for settling mobile phone bills, Reuters reports.

11:30 a.m. Tokyo's office vacancy rate rose to 3.07%, the highest since January 2018, amid the pandemic, data from real estate brokerage Miki Shoji shows. Vacancies in the Chiyoda, Chuo, Minato, Shinjuku and Shibuya wards of central Tokyo increased an average of 0.30 percentage point in August from the previous month.

10:02 a.m. South Korea confirms 155 new cases, down from 156 a day ago. Total infections reach 21,743 with 346 deaths.

9:10 a.m. China reports seven new cases for Wednesday, up from two a day earlier. All of the new cases were imported, involving travelers from overseas. China has gone 25 consecutive days with no local transmissions.

9:00 a.m. Japan's core machinery orders rose 6.3% in July from the previous month, government data shows, a respite from weakness in capital spending induced by the pandemic.

8:00 a.m. The global death toll from the coronavirus has passed 900,000, with the total number of infections topping 27.7 million, according to Johns Hopkins University. The United States remains the worst-affected country, with deaths exceeding 190,000 and cases surpassing 6.3 million. Brazil has the second most deaths, with more than 127,000, and No. 3 India has counted nearly 74,000 dead.

7:40 a.m. Australia's state of Victoria reports 51 new cases and seven deaths from the virus, compared with 76 cases and 11 deaths a day earlier.

Pedestrians walk past partially reopened bars along an alley in Shinjuku, one of Tokyo's entertainment districts, back in May.   © Reuters

5:30 a.m. Tokyo on Tuesday will drop its request for restaurants and karaoke houses in the capital's 23 wards to close at 10 p.m. The metropolitan government will also lower its alert level by one notch. Tokyo reported 149 new cases on Wednesday, down from 170 a day earlier.

5:15 a.m. U.S. stocks rebound after a three-session selloff in big technology stocks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closes up 440 points, or 1.6%, and the S&P 500 gains 2%. Nasdaq rises 2.7%.

4:45 a.m. The International Olympic Committee has confidence in its preparations and in Japanese government support for next year's Tokyo Olympics but says all scenarios would be discussed in the coming weeks amid the ongoing pandemic.

"In the coming weeks you will see important and intensive discussions taking place with regard to different scenarios to COVID-19 counter measures," IOC President Thomas Bach tells a news conference following an executive board meeting.

3:05 a.m. President Donald Trump acknowledged to the journalist Bob Woodward in a taped interview conducted Feb. 7 that he knowingly downplayed the coronavirus earlier this year, even though he was aware it was "deadly" and vastly more serious than the seasonal flu, The Washington Post and other media report.

"This is deadly stuff," Trump tells Woodward in one of a series of interviews the journalist conducted with the president for his upcoming book, "Rage." The Washington Post and CNN have received advance copies of the book.

2:30 a.m. Indoor dining can resume in New York City at 25% capacity from Sept. 30, Gov. Andrew Cuomo says, a major milestone for the city hit hard the coronavirus crisis.

The announcement comes more than two months after the governor and Mayor Bill de Blasio halted a previous plan to reopen indoor dining at restaurants.

2:20 a.m. Nippon Paper Industries, one of Japan's industry leaders, will begin sales Tuesday of printing paper the company says fights viruses with metal ions. The company expects demand for the paper for use in restaurant menus and at hospitals.

2:00 a.m. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announces new restrictions on social gatherings in the U.K., saying there was a clear need to act after a spike in COVID-19 infections.

Johnson says groups of more than six people will be banned from meeting, in what he calla a "rule of six."

1:45 a.m. Pope Francis, appearing in a mask in public for the first time, warns against "the emergence of partisan interests" in the fight against the coronavirus and profit seeking in the race for a vaccine, Reuters reports.

12:30 a.m. British drugmaker AstraZeneca could resume trials for its experimental coronavirus vaccine next week, the Financial Times reports, citing people associated with the trials.

The London-listed firm paused global trials of its potential vaccine for COVID-19 after an unexplained illness in a participant, which sent its shares lower as the move was seen as dimming prospects for an early roll-out.

Jakarta's Jatinegara market: The return of large-scale social restrictions will hit businesses in the Indonesian capital.   © Reuters

Wednesday, September 9

10:55 p.m. Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan says the Indonesian capital will impose large-scale social restrictions again as it continues to see a rise in COVID-19 cases. The decision, which comes three months after Jakarta eased restrictions and moved to a so-called new normal, deals another blow to an Indonesian economy that has been hammered by the pandemic.

Starting Monday, non-essential workers will have to work from home, entertainment venues and schools will close again, and restaurants and cafes will open only for take-away and delivery.

As of Wednesday, Jakarta had a total of 49,397 confirmed cases, the worst in the country. "If there are no restrictions... by Sept. 17, all the beds prepared for COVID-19 will be fully occupied," the governor says.

Singapore's contact-tracing TraceTogether token. (Photo courtesy of the government)

10:10 p.m. Singapore will distribute contact-tracing tokens nationwide starting next Monday in an effort to better track the spread of COVID-19, according to Vivian Balakrishnan, the minister-in-charge of the Smart Nation Initiative.

The TraceTogether tokens are the size of a large key fob and are geared for people who have trouble using the government-backed contact-tracing app of the same name. A pilot program will be started to require people to use either the token or the app to log their entry into some venues.

9:10 p.m. The University of Hong Kong says a coronavirus vaccine candidate developed by its lab and two partners has been approved for clinical trials in humans. The two partners are Xiamen University in China's Fujian Province and Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy, a company controlled by China's third-richest man, Zhong Shanshan.

9:00 p.m. The organizer of China's International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition says the event is still on for November for now, backtracking on a statement this afternoon that it had been canceled due to the pandemic, Reuters reports. "If there is any change, please refer to the official news and website," a spokesman says, clarifying that the earlier statement was his "prediction."

8:30 p.m. Concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reached a record this year, a United Nations report says, showing that economic slowdowns due to the pandemic have had little long-term effect, according to Reuters.

7:45 p.m. Phase 3 trials on a COVID-19 vaccine from China's CanSino Biologics could start on Sept. 20 or within this month "at the latest," an official of CanSino's local partner tells Reuters. Pakistan's daily infections have fallen sharply, into the hundreds versus thousands in June, but the official says this does not mean the virus is no longer present. The Ad5-nCoV vaccine and placebo injections are to arrive next week.

Temperature checks in Karachi: A coronavirus vaccine from China's CanSino Biologics is due to enter Phase 3 trials in Pakistan soon.   © Reuters

3:31 p.m. Britain's Health Secretary Matt Hancock says that AstraZeneca's decision to pause coronavirus vaccine trials was a challenge but would not hinder efforts to develop a vaccine, according to Reuters.

3:09 p.m. China's CanSino Biologics says that expert opinion on its vaccine candidate should not be "blindly" followed before sufficient data from clinical trials is available.

2:25 p.m. The organizer of China's biggest airshow has canceled the November event due to the pandemic. The biennial China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition, which usually attracts major companies such as Airbus, Boeing and Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China, has been postponed until 2022, the organizer says.

2:04 p.m. India reports 89,706 cases in the last 24 hours, up from 75,809 the previous day, bringing the country total to 4.37 million while the death toll jumped by 1,115 to 73,890. Bars in hotels, restaurants and clubs can reopen in New Delhi on a trial basis until Sept. 30 under strict safety rules.

Meanwhile, a partial reopening of schools for students grades nine to 12 would be allowed "on a voluntary basis" from Sept. 21, as long as preventive measures such as physical distancing and mandatory face masks are followed.

1:02 p.m. Maruti Suzuki, India's top automaker, is leading the recovery of new car sales, despite the country having the world's second-highest number of cases. It announced on Sept. 1 that passenger vehicle sales jumped 21% on year amid other signs that car demand is picking up ahead of India's festive season.

12:20 p.m. Indian education technology unicorn Byju's raised $500 million in a fresh funding round led by Silver Lake. The latest round pushed the valuation of the Bengaluru-based online education company to $10.8 billion.

Labor-intensive palm oil companies in Malaysia may recruit drug addicts and prisoners to solve a severe shortage of foreign workers.   © Reuters

11:50 a.m. Malaysia's labor-intensive palm oil industry may recruit recovering drug addicts and prisoners to solve a shortage of foreign workers. Planters in the world's second-largest producer have started rare recruitment drives to hire locals, but the response has been lukewarm. "We are even reaching out to the Drug Prevention Association of Malaysia, as well as the Prisons Department, in search of locals," according to a Tuesday statement by the Malaysian Palm Oil Association.

11:32 a.m. South Korea confirms 156 new cases, up from 136 a day ago. The country's total infections have reached 21,588, with 344 deaths. The government plans to draw up a fourth special budget worth 7 trillion won ($5.8 billion) to help small business owners hit by the pandemic.

11:09 a.m. China's factory gate prices fell for the seventh straight month in August, but at the slowest pace since March, suggesting the world's second-largest economy is continuing to recover from the coronavirus-induced downturn. The producer price index fell 2.0% from a year earlier in August. That was in line with expectations in a Reuters poll, but the decline was more modest than the 2.4% fall in July.

10:30 a.m. Foreign ministers from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations started their annual meeting Wednesday with the coronavirus pandemic, territorial disputes in the South China Sea and Rohingya refugees high on the agenda.

10:15 a.m. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Tuesday proposed administering a Russian coronavirus vaccine to nearly 15,000 political candidates in upcoming legislative elections so that they can campaign safely.

9:06 a.m. AstraZeneca pauses a late-stage trial of one of the leading COVID-19 vaccine candidates after a suspected serious adverse reaction in a study participant, health news website Stat News reports, quoting an AstraZeneca spokesperson.

7:41 a.m. Slack Technologies says its billing growth, a key indicator of future revenue, slowed in the second quarter. The workplace messaging app operator also says it took an $11 million hit in the first half due to pandemic-related concessions. The company offered credits, installment payments and shorter billing duration to help users tide over the economic downturn. The news sends its shares down 18% after the closing bell.

6:11 a.m. Thailand spruces up its capital in hopes of drawing tourists back to the Southeast Asian nation, turning a 30-year-old failed railway project into a tree-lined pedestrian walkway over a Bangkok stretch of the Chao Phraya River.

6:10 a.m Nine top U.S. and European vaccine developers pledge to uphold the scientific standards in their trial immunizations. Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca, release what they called a "historic pledge" to address concerns that safety will not be adequately considered in the race to find a vaccine.

Nine top U.S. and European vaccine developers, including Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca, have pledged to uphold scientific standards in their clinical trials.    © Reuters

Johnson & Johnson, Merck & Co, Moderna, Novavax, Sanofi and BioNTech also sign on.

5:30 a.m. U.S. crude oil futures close lower for the fourth straight session, with benchmark West Texas Intermediate touching a roughly three-month low. With the summer driving season over, demand for the rest of the year looks set to fall.

4:40 a.m. Tokyo Gas has bought a stake in a U.S. shale gas project, part of a spending spree by the Japanese energy supplier to take advantage of a buyer's market during the pandemic-induced commodities slump.

2:40 a.m. Sweden, which drew attention for stopping short of a lockdown earlier in the pandemic, reports its lowest rate of positive coronavirus test results thus far. Only 1.2% of tests last week came back positive despite a record number of tests carried out, authorities say, according to media reports.

12:30 a.m. Air travel in the U.S. is recovering yet remains well below pre-pandemic levels. The U.S. Transportation Department says that airlines carried 21.4 million passengers in July, up from 16.5 million in June, but down 73% compared with July 2019, according to a Reuters report.

Tuesday, September 8

10:20 p.m. A Japanese government panel of health experts will soon meet to decide whether to ease coronavirus-related restrictions on audience sizes at events, says Yasutoshi Nishimura, minister for economic and fiscal policy. The meeting will take place as early Friday.

The government had initially planned to scrap a 5,000-person limit at the end of August but has delayed lifting the cap until the end of September.

8:46 p.m. India has received an offer from Russia to conduct a trial and manufacture its "Sputnik-V" COVID-19 vaccine, with several Indian companies currently studying the proposal, an Indian government official said.

Malaysian shoppers wear protective masks in Kuala Lumpur's Chinatown on Aug. 18.   © Reuters

8:03 p.m. Malaysian authorities remind the public to avoid physical contact, including 'fist bumps' as a form of greeting, as the number of new coronavirus cases in the country climbed to a three-month high. The fist bump, where two people briefly press their closed fists together, has replaced the traditional handshake.

7:14 p.m. South Africa's economic output shrank by 51% in the second quarter of 2020, its fourth quarterly contraction in a row, as a strict lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19 shut down economic activity.

6:20 p.m. South Korea's Celltrion will begin commercial production of its experimental treatment for COVID-19 this month, as it pushes ahead with clinical trials of the antibody drug. The company said it planned to make a request soon to regulators for emergency use of the drug, and that it would start mass production -- likely to amount to around 1 million doses -- before receiving that approval.

5:30 p.m. Japan's Olympics minister Seiko Hashimoto says the postponed Tokyo Games should be held next year "at any cost." Hashimoto said: "Everyone involved with the Games is working together to prepare, and the athletes are also making considerable efforts towards next year. I think we have to hold the games at any cost."

Boats tow giant Olympic rings away for maintenance in Tokyo's waterfront area on Aug. 6. Japan says the Olympics, which have been postponed to next year, must be held 'at any cost.'   © Reuters

5:20 p.m. The Philippines reports 3,281 new infections, up from 1,383 recorded a day earlier, bringing the country's total to 241,987. The country also records 26 more deaths, taking total fatalities to 3,916.

5:10 p.m. Indonesia reports 3,046 new infections, higher than the 2,880 recorded a day earlier and bringing the national total to 200,035. There were also 100 new deaths overnight, taking the total to 8,230, the highest coronavirus death toll in Southeast Asia.

4:11 p.m. The Hong Kong government is to further relax social distancing measures on Friday. Up to four people are to be allowed to gather in public, and a number of closed premises are to reopen, including museums, mahjong parlors, ice-skating rinks as well as most indoor and outdoor athletic facilities.

3:30 p.m. Tokyo reports 170 new infections, up from 75 a day earlier. But the number of patients in critical condition is down by three from Monday to 21.

Pedestrians walk past a giant screen showing news footage of Chinese President Xi Jinping wearing a face mask, at a shopping area in Beijing on July 31, 2020.   © Reuters

2:30 p.m. Japan's professional baseball and soccer leagues ask the government to ease the 5,000-spectator cap at games amid signs that infections are decreasing. The heads of Nippon Professional Baseball and J-League want to raise maximum attendance to 20,000 or 50% of venue capacity, whichever is less.

1:55 p.m. India reports 75,809 new infections for the past 24 hours, down from its biggest single-day tally of 90,802 the previous day and bringing the country total to 4.28 million. It also confirmed 1,133 fatalities, the most in a day, which took the death toll to 72,775.

12:50 p.m. Chinese President Xi Jinping says China acted in an open and transparent manner in regard to the breakout of the coronavirus and that it took concrete efforts that helped save tens of millions of lives around the world, Reuters reports. He also said that China, in becoming the first major economy to return to growth during the pandemic, has demonstrated its strong abilities and vitality.

10:45 a.m. The Japanese government approves spending 671.4 billion yen ($6.32 billion) from emergency budget reserves to secure coronavirus vaccines. The government has said it hopes to secure enough vaccine treatments for every citizen by the middle of next year.

9:30 a.m. China reports 10 new cases for Monday, down from 12 a day earlier. All of the cases were imported, involving travelers from overseas. China thus marks the 23nd consecutive day of no local transmissions.

Employees at the Kawasaki factory of Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus. Japan's GDP shrank 28.1% in April-June, more than the preliminary reading of a 27.8% contraction.   © Reuters

8:55 a.m. Japan's economy contracted by a revised 7.9% in the April-June period compared with the preceding quarter, producing an annualized rate of decline of 28.1%, the Cabinet Office says. A preliminary estimate of a 7.8% contraction had suggested an annualized pace of decline of 27.8%.

8:40 a.m. Japan's household spending fell 7.6% in July from a year earlier for the 10th straight month of decline, government data shows. The decline was sharper than the 1.2% drop in June as the outbreak resurged in July. Average spending by households with two or more people in real terms was 266,897 yen ($2,510).

6:33 a.m. Major Asian tech companies have thrived in recent months despite the coronavirus pandemic, as stay-at-home demand reshuffles the ranks of the region's top earners in favor of companies such as e-tailers and chipmakers.

4:20 a.m. As Japan's ruling party prepares to elect a new leader all but certain to become the next prime minister, the coronavirus pandemic means no nationwide speaking tours and a smaller debate audience for the lawmakers allowed to vote.

3:10 a.m. China's Sinovac Biotech says preliminary results of trials of its coronavirus vaccine candidate appear to show it is safe for older people, although it produces a slightly weaker immune response in them than in younger subjects, Reuters reports.

1:20 a.m. Spain becomes the first country in Western Europe to log 500,000 total coronavirus infections on Monday, Reuters reports, citing health ministry data. The country has experienced a resurgence of infections since schools reopened.

1:00 a.m. The World Health Organization is working with China on requirements for international approval of any Chinese COVID-19 vaccine, assistant director-general Mariangela Simao says in Geneva. "We have been sharing information and the requirements for international approval of vaccines," she said.

Monday, September 7

Passengers travel on a Delhi metro train on Sept. 7, the first day of the restart of their operations.   © Reuters

11:50 p.m. India has begun to gradually resume metro rail services in cities across the country after a five-month shutdown meant to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

11:30 p.m. The Tokyo Olympics will go ahead next year whether the coronavirus pandemic ends or not, a senior International Olympic Committee official, John Coates, is quoted as saying by Japanese media, citing an AFP interview.

8:55 p.m. Russia will begin offering its COVID-19 vaccine to volunteers this week as part of a trial following the vaccine's registration, the TASS news agency cited Health Minister Mikhail Murashko as saying.

8:24 p.m. Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways will cover medical and quarantine costs for passengers if they contract the coronavirus on one of its flights, Reuters reported.

8:05 p.m. Vietnam is set to lower this year's economic growth target to 2-2.5%, after the global slowdown from the pandemic hit exports, tourism and foreign direct investment.

7:25 p.m. Malaysian health authorities report 62 new cases, the sharpest spike since early June, just as the government began barring holders of long-term immigration passes from countries with high infection numbers, Reuters reported.

Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways will pay the medical and quarantine costs of any passengers who contract the new coronavirus on one of its flights.   © Reuters

7:17 p.m. Iran reports 2,152 new cases, the highest daily increase in 10 days, bringing the nationwide tally of infections to 388,810.

5:40 p.m. Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi pulls out of the first event of her election campaign, citing the worsening of the coronavirus situation. The country reports 45 new cases following 100 on Sunday, the biggest daily increase since its first reported infection in March.

5:20 p.m. Indonesia reports 2,880 cases and 105 deaths, bringing the country total to 196,989 infections and 8,130 fatalities. The figures released today mark the lowest daily rise in infections in six days.

5:10 p.m. The Philippines reports 1,383 cases, its lowest daily rise in nearly eight weeks. There were 15 new deaths, bringing the country total to 3,890.

4:56 p.m. Chinese drugmaker Sinovac Biotech begins to give thousands of its staff members an experimental vaccine to prevent an outbreak at the company as the race for a commercial vaccine enters advanced clinical trials.

3:15 p.m. Tokyo reports 75 new infections, marking the lowest daily tally since July 8 and highlighting the continuation of a downward trend since mid-August.

1:25 p.m. India reports the highest-ever daily increase, hitting 90,802 cases in the last 24 hours, slightly up from 90,632 the previous day and bringing the country total to over 4.2 million. India has now surpassed Brazil as the second-worst-hit nation. The death toll in the country has jumped by 1,016 to reach 71,642.

 An Indian shopkeeper waits for customers inside his store, protected by a plastic sheet in Mumbai.   © Reuters

1:00 p.m. China's exports in August rose a solid 9.5% from a year earlier, customs data shows, their strongest gain since March 2019. The third straight monthly rise comes as more of the country's trading partners relax coronavirus lockdowns. Imports, however, slumped 2.1%, extending a 1.4% fall in July, suggesting softer domestic demand.

12:20 p.m. Australian banks say they have begun asking borrowers to start paying back loans after a six-month hiatus due to the coronavirus. The Australian Banking Association says its members have started contacting holders of 260,000 mortgages and 105,000 business loans to check if they could resume payments once deferrals expire this month and next. Australian lenders have deferred A$274 billion ($200 billion) worth of loans.

11:27 a.m. The Japanese government guaranteed a state-backed lender's crisis loans to Nissan Motor, Nikkei learns, a move that could potentially leave taxpayers on the hook for future losses at the troubled automaker. In May, the Development Bank of Japan provided 180 billion yen ($1.7 billion) in loans to the automaker. Of this, 130 billion yen is guaranteed by the government.

11:00 a.m. South Korea reports 119 new infections, its lowest daily increase in more than three weeks, taking the country's total to 21,296 cases with 336 deaths.

China's exports rose at their fastest pace since March last year, as more of the country's trading partners relaxed their coronavirsus restrictions.   © Reuters

9:10 a.m. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the first batches of a potential COVID-19 vaccine will come in January 2021. The government has struck a manufacturing deal with CSL to produce an AstraZeneca and Oxford University vaccine, with 3.8 million doses to be delivered in January and February, Morrison said. Australia's Victoria state reports 41 new cases, down from 63 a day earlier and the lowest one-day rise since June 26.

8:50 a.m. China reports 12 new infections for Sunday, up from 10 a day earlier. All of the cases were imported, involving travelers from overseas, marking the 22nd consecutive day of no local transmissions.

3:00 a.m. Coronavirus cases are rising in 22 of the 50 U.S. states in a worrisome trend on a Labor Day holiday weekend traditionally filled with family gatherings and parties to mark the end of summer, according to a Reuters analysis. Most of the 22 states where cases are now rising are in the less-populated parts of the Midwest and South.

1:00 a.m. Britain records 2,988 new daily cases, up from 1,813 a day earlier and the highest total since May 23. The number of fatalities, however, remains low, with two reported deaths within 28 days of a positive COVID-19 test in the previous 24 hours.

Sunday, Sept. 6

11:30 p.m. The central Vietnamese city of Da Nang says it will resume flights and all other transportation services Monday after its move to ease social distancing rules. Instead of a nationwide lockdown, Vietnam is taking a more targeted approach focusing on regions seeing outbreaks.

A healthcare worker wearing protective suit walks past as local residents, who have returned after travelling to Da Nang, wait at a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing center in Hanoi, Vietnam August 10.   © Reuters

6:47 p.m. South Korea reports the smallest rise in coronavirus infections in three weeks, remaining under 200 for a fourth consecutive day as tighter restrictions cap a second wave. The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 167 cases of the new coronavirus for the 24 hours through midnight on Saturday, down from 168 the previous day.

5:52 p.m. Indonesia reports 3,444 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total to 194,109, data from the health ministry website shows. The Southeast Asian country also reports 85 new deaths, taking the total to 8,025, the highest coronavirus death toll in Southeast Asia.

3:35 p.m. Australia's coronavirus hot-spot state of Victoria extends a hard lockdown in its capital Melbourne until Sept. 28 as the infection rate has declined more slowly than hoped. The hard lockdown was ordered on Aug. 2. Australia's second-most-populous state has been the epicenter, now accounting for about 75% of the country's 26,282 cases and 90% of its 753 deaths.

3:24 p.m. India has added more than 90,000 cases of the novel coronavirus, a global daily record, according to data from the federal health ministry. There were 90,632 new cases in the 24 hours to Sunday, while the number of deaths rose by 1,065 to 70,626. The country is set to pass Brazil on Monday as the second-most-affected country by total infections and will be behind only the U.S.

11:14 a.m. South Korea reports the smallest rise in coronavirus infections in three weeks, remaining under 200 for a fourth consecutive day as tighter restrictions cap a second wave. The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 167 cases of the new coronavirus for the 24 hours through midnight Saturday, down from 168 the previous day.

10:32 a.m. Mainland China reported 10 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, unchanged from a day earlier, according to the national health authority. The National Health Commission said in a statement that all the new cases were imported, marking the 21th consecutive day with no locally transmitted infections.

9:37 a.m. Mexico has recorded an extra 122,765 deaths above expectations during the pandemic up to August, the health ministry said on Saturday in a report about excess mortality rates, suggesting that the true coronavirus toll could be much higher. Mexico has recorded 67,326 confirmed deaths from COVID-19.

7:21 a.m. Brazil has recorded 30,168 additional confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours, as well as 682 deaths from the disease, the Health Ministry said on Saturday. The country has registered 4.1 million cases of the virus since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to 126,203, according to ministry data.

1:29 a.m. Portugal reports 486 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, its biggest daily increase since the week its lockdown was lifted in May. The increase brought the cumulative total to 59,943, the health authority DGS said. Portugal has reported just 1,838 deaths so far, a much lower rate per capita than many other European countries.

Saturday, Sept. 5

10:05 p.m. Drugmaker Sanofi expects its future vaccine to cost below 10 euros ($11.88) per shot, the company's chief in France, Olivier Bogillot, says. "The price is not totally set ... We are assessing production costs for the coming months ... We will be below 10 euros," Bogillot tells France Inter radio. Asked about rival AstraZeneca, which is expected to price its shot at about 2.50 euros, Bogillot responds: "The price gap for us can be that we use all our internal resources, our own researchers, our own research centers. AstraZeneca outsources part of its production."

8:22 p.m. Protests against measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus in Melbourne, Australia, turn violent after hundreds defy lockdown orders and march in the streets. Protesters, reportedly not wearing masks, clash with police, resulting in at least 15 arrests. Melbourne, the capital of Victoria state, has been in lockdown for six weeks.

6:23 p.m. Pope Francis will visit the Italian town of Assisi next month, his first trip out of Rome since the pandemic hit the country in February, and will sign a new encyclical, a Catholic Church spokesperson says. The encyclical, which is the highest form of papal writing, is expected to focus on what the pope believes the post-pandemic world should look like. "The visit will take place in private, without the participation of the faithful," the spokesperson says.

4:45 p.m. Four more countries agree to run late-stage clinical tests for China National Biotec Group and Sinovac Biotech's vaccine candidates. Serbia and Pakistan are among the new countries agreeing to Phase 3 trials, as the two companies seek more data overseas amid dwindling new cases in China. CNBG's Phase 3 trials are expected to involve 50,000 people in about 10 countries. Sinovac's vaccine candidate, being tested in Brazil and Indonesia, also obtains approvals from two other countries for Phase 3 trials, although the company will not name the countries as the information is still confidential.

4:22 p.m. Rival drugmakers are planning a joint statement pledging not to seek government approval for vaccines until they have been proven safe and effective, The Wall Street Journal reports. The statement comes as the race for a vaccine is heating up. A draft of statement being finalized by companies, including Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson, vows to make public safety and well-being top priorities and seeks to ensure public trust, the draft says.

4:01 p.m. India's total coronavirus cases surged beyond 4 million with a record rise on Saturday, making it the third country in the world to surpass that mark, following the United States and Brazil. India added 86,432 cases of the new virus on Saturday, a global daily record, according to data from the federal health ministry. Infections rose across the country, including in the capital New Delhi and the large states of Maharashtra and Karnataka.

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

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