Yoshihide- Coronavirus latest: Pfizer and Astra shots effective against delta variant: study
Nikkei Asia is tracking the spread of the coronavirus that was first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.
Cumulative global cases have reached 176,191,385, according to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. The worldwide death toll has hit 3,808,775.
For more information about the spread of COVID-19 and the progress of vaccination around the world, please see our interactive charts and maps.
— Global coronavirus tracker charts
— Status of vaccinations around the world
— World map of spreading mutated strains
— Distribution, duration, safety: challenges emerge in vaccine race
Tuesday, June 15 (Tokyo time)
11:30 a.m. Japan will donate one million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines to Vietnam on Wednesday, Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi says. Tokyo is also considering donating vaccines to Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Malaysia in July. Earlier in June, Japan donated 1.24 million vaccine doses to Taiwan.
11:00 a.m. The Japanese government will begin accepting appointments on Wednesday for people aged 64 and younger at large-scale vaccination centers in Tokyo and Osaka run by the Self-Defense Forces. Japan is trying to speed up its shot drive ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, scheduled to start on July 23, but seniors aged 65 and over have been slow to make appointments and there are still some slots available at the venues. Vaccines will be administered between June 17 and June 27.
10:35 a.m. Senior Olympics official John Coates arrives in Tokyo as organizers prepare to unveil their latest rules to control COVID-19 infections and the government ponders whether to extend the latest state of emergency. Coates, a vice-president of the International Olympic Committee and its point-man for the event, sparked a backlash last month when he said the games would go ahead even if Tokyo were under a state of emergency due to the pandemic.
9:55 a.m. China reports 20 new cases for Monday, down from 23 a day earlier. Of the new cases, two were local transmissions, down from four a day ago. All the new local cases were in southern Guangdong Province. China also reports 25 new asymptomatic infections, compared with 24 a day earlier. China does not classify symptomless infections as confirmed cases.
9:36 a.m. Japanese opposition parties submit a vote of no confidence against Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga as headwinds grow over his handling of the pandemic and the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
4:00 a.m. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson delays his plans to lift most remaining COVID-19 restrictions by a month, warning that thousands more people might die if he does nothing because of the rapid spread of the more infectious delta variant. Now the full reopening of pubs, restaurants, nightclubs and other establishments has been pushed back to July 19.
“I think it is sensible to wait just a little longer,” Johnson tells a news conference. “As things stand, and on the evidence that I can see right now, I am confident that we will not need more than four weeks and we won’t need to go beyond July the 19th,” he says.
2:30 a.m. COVID-19 vaccines made by Pfizer and AstraZeneca offer high protection of more than 90% against hospitalization from the delta coronavirus variant, first identified in India, a new analysis by Public Health England shows. An analysis of more than 14,000 delta cases by England’s public health agency found a double dose of the shot developed by Pfizer and BioNTech reduces the risk of hospitalization after infection with delta by 96%. Two doses of the vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca reduces the risk by 92%.
1:00 a.m. Novavax, a Maryland-based biotechnology company, says a clinical trial of its coronavirus vaccine in the U.S. and Mexico shows that its two-shot inoculation provided potent protection against the coronavirus.
In the 29,960-person trial, the vaccine demonstrated an overall efficacy of 90.4%, on par with the vaccines made by Pfizer–BioNTech and Moderna and higher than the one-shot vaccine from Johnson & Johnson.
Despite these results, Novavax says it may not seek emergency authorization from the Food and Drug Administration until the end of September. The company is also applying in Britain, the European Union, India and South Korea.
12:06 a.m. Vietnam’s domestically developed coronavirus vaccine candidate begins Phase 3 clinical trials, with the country hoping to package doses for market by the end of the year.
Nanocovax started the final trials with 13,000 people participating, said vaccine developer Nanogen Pharmaceutical Biotechnology. The company is preparing to mass-produce the vaccine, with the capacity to turn out roughly 100 million doses a year at facilities in Ho Chi Minh City.
Monday, June 14
9:24 p.m. Indonesia expects the latest wave of coronavirus infections to peak in July as the highly transmissible delta variant takes hold in Jakarta and elsewhere.
The delta variant — first detected in India — has become “more dominant” in areas like Jakarta and other parts of Java, according to health minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin.
The country recorded nearly 10,000 new cases on Sunday, the highest number since February. Cases have been on the rise in recent weeks, following the holidays at the end of the Muslim fasting month.
6:00 p.m. South Korea has begun easing restrictions on large concerts and sports events after announcing last week it would loosen a series of coronavirus curbs as the country pushes ahead with its vaccination drive. Up to 4,000 people will be allowed to attend K-Pop concerts and other cultural shows from Monday, up massively from a capacity limit of below 100 people since late last year.
5:00 p.m. Ho Chi Minh City on Tuesday will extend social distancing measures for another 15 days. Vietnam’s business hub has seen a spike in cases related to several clusters, including at a factory, a residential building, hospitals and a religious mission. The current social distancing order was to expire on Monday. However, the city has decided to maintain the curbs as “sources of some new infection chains have not yet been identified.”
4:00 p.m. Thailand’s recently launched vaccination campaign has been hit by confusion after at least 20 hospitals in Bangkok postponed inoculation appointments set for this week, citing delays in vaccine deliveries. The hospital announcements were made on their Facebook pages, while Bangkok’s vaccine booking app also sent messages saying appointments after Tuesday would be delayed, as officials sought to reassure the public over vaccine supplies.
“There may have been confusion because private hospitals did not check with the Bangkok administration,” Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul told reporters on Monday, adding that more doses were being delivered to Bangkok.
3:30 p.m. Taiwan reports 185 new infections, slightly up from the previous day’s 174.
3:00 p.m. Japan Airlines begins vaccinating employees, a day after All Nippon Airways became the first Japanese company reported to have started offering a workplace inoculation program. JAL, which aims to inoculate about 36,000 group employees, is initially targeting crew on international routes. The government has set the starting date of June 21 for companies and universities to start launching their own jab initiatives.
2:30 p.m. The former head of Myanmar’s COVID-19 immunization program has been arrested and faces charges of high treason for colluding with opponents of military authorities, state media reports. Myanmar’s health care system and coronavirus prevention measures have collapsed since the army seized power on Feb. 1. On Sunday, reported cases surged to their highest since shortly after the coup.
1:30 p.m. India reports 70,421 new infections over the past 24 hours, the lowest since March 31, data from the health ministry shows. The country’s total caseload stands at 29.51 million, while total fatalities are at 374,305. India added 3,921 deaths overnight.
12:00 p.m. Japan’s Defense Ministry says it will start administering COVID-19 vaccines to civil servants such as officers in the Self-Defense Force and police officers at the state-run vaccination center in Tokyo, as there are vacancies in appointments for people aged 65 or over. There is room for about 1,650 people on Tuesday at the Tokyo venue, which is run by the Self-Defense Forces.
11:00 a.m. South Korean drugmaker Celltrion announces positive results for its experimental antibody COVID-19 treatment that it says is safe and reduces the treatment period by nearly five days in Phase 3 global clinical trials. The treatment slowed severe symptoms in more than 70% of patients, including a high-risk group with underlying conditions. It also cut the recovery period by 4.9 days, the company says. The trials, which involved 1,315 participants, have taken place since January in 13 countries, including South Korea, the U.S., Spain and Romania.
9:30 a.m. Australia’s Victoria state, which was a coronavirus hotspot until last week, reported two new locally acquired COVID-19 cases. The new infections follow low single-digit numbers over the weekend and pose little threat to the community as the people were already in isolation, according to health authorities.
1:00 a.m. Group of Seven leaders call for a transparent, expert-led Phase 2 COVID-19 Origins study including in China, to be convened by the World Health Organization. U.S. President Joe Biden says China must provide access to investigators trying to determine whether the coronavirus outbreak occurred in nature or resulted from “an experiment gone awry in a lab,” at a news conference after the G-7 summit in Cornwall, UK.
Sunday, June 13
10:15 p.m. G-7 joint communique says nations will provide 1 billion vaccine doses over the next year and improve early-warning systems to prepare for future pandemics.
5:58 p.m. South Korea will exempt some travelers who have received their COVID-19 vaccination overseas from its mandatory two-week quarantine starting July 1, health authorities say on Sunday. As of May 5, the quarantine exemption was only applicable to people fully vaccinated in South Korea.
The new policy will apply only to certain people, such as citizens and foreign residents, as well as those coming to visit family or for the purpose of business, academics or public interest, says Son Young-rae, an official with the country’s Central Disaster Management Headquarters.
Exempt travelers will need to fill out an application, and still need to be tested before and after arriving in South Korea. Some travelers from countries with major outbreaks or variants will not be allowed to skip the quarantine, Son adds.
3:05 p.m. Taiwan reports 174 new domestic COVID-19 infections on Sunday, down from the previous day’s figure of 250.
12:18 p.m. Japan’s All Nippon Airways on Sunday begins its COVID-19 vaccination program for its employees at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport. The major airline is believed to be the first among Japanese firms to have started workplace vaccinations for staff since the government unveiled a plan allowing companies and universities to administer COVID-19 shots on site from June 21.
12:17 p.m. Australia’s Victoria state expects to announce further easing of COVID-19 restrictions this week, acting Premier James Merlino says on Sunday, as the state reports one new locally acquired infection for a second straight day.
The nation’s second-most-populous state has recorded 92 cases in its latest wave of COVID-19 infections, which triggered a two-week lockdown late last month. Victoria emerged from the lockdown on Friday as new cases declined, but some physical distancing rules remain.
10:30 a.m. China reports 34 new COVID-19 cases on June 12, down from 35 cases a day earlier, the country’s national health authority says on Sunday.
5:00 a.m. U.S. President Joe Biden on Saturday reiterates his support for Japan’s plan to hold a “safe and secure” Tokyo Olympics next month amid the coronavirus pandemic, as he briefly confers with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. The discussion was held on the sidelines of the Group of Seven summit meeting taking place in southwestern England.
Saturday, June 12
11:28 p.m. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson expresses “serious concern” about rising infections of the delta variant of coronavirus, reinforcing suggestions that he is set to delay lifting England’s last remaining lockdown curbs.
Johnson is considering whether the planned lifting of restrictions, which would see an end to limits on social contact, can go ahead on June 21 as set out under a planned roadmap.
The government had hoped that the success of one of the world’s fastest rollouts of the vaccines would end the limits on indoor gatherings and the requirement of pubs and restaurants to provide only table service. But the rapid spread of the delta variant, first discovered in India, has thrown those plans into jeopardy.
9:39 p.m. Saudi Arabia restricts the annual hajj pilgrimage to its own citizens and residents for the second year running in response to the pandemic.
Only people between 18 and 65 who have been vaccinated or immunized against the virus, and are free of chronic diseases, will be able to take part, the ministry that manages the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca said in a statement carried by the state Saudi Press Agency. It also set a maximum of 60,000 participants.
8:48 p.m. Vietnam approves the vaccine jointly made by Pfizer and BioNTech for domestic emergency use, making it the fourth vaccine to be endorsed in the Southeast Asian country that is tackling a new outbreak, the government says. Vietnam has previously approved the AstraZeneca vaccine, Russia’s Sputnik V and China’s Sinopharm vaccine.
3:04 p.m. Taiwan reports 250 new domestic infections, down from the previous Friday’s figure of 286.
10:12 a.m. China reports 35 new cases for Friday, up from 22 a day earlier. Of the new cases, eight were local transmissions, compared with nine the previous day, the National Health Commission says. All of the local cases were in Guangdong Province.
8:28 a.m. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration says Johnson & Johnson must throw away millions of doses of its COVID-19 vaccine that were manufactured at a problem-plagued Baltimore factory. The FDA also cleared about 10 million doses, two sources familiar with the situation told Reuters. The New York Times says the batches being discarded amount to around 60 million doses, citing people familiar with the matter.
To catch up on earlier developments, see the last edition of latest updates.