Yoshihide- Coronavirus latest: Thai PM says 35m more jabs sought this year
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 142,972,108, according to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. The worldwide death toll has hit 3,044,801.
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
Wednesday, April 21 (Tokyo time)
2:47 p.m. Thailand is trying to secure 35 million more vaccine doses this year on top of existing orders for around 65 million, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said on Wednesday. Of the new doses, the private sector will help source some 10 to 15 million. Prayuth did not name the brands or specify whether the 35 million included the five to 10 million doses of Pfizer and BioNTech‘s vaccine that he announced were being sought on Tuesday.
2:05 p.m. The United Arab Emirates warns it could impose restrictions on people who have not been vaccinated, as the region’s business and tourism hub pushes its immunization campaign. The country of 9 million people has widened the campaign to those aged 16 and above and has vaccinated about 65% of the eligible population. The nation recorded 1,903 cases on Tuesday, bringing the country total to 500,860 with 1,559 deaths.
1:06 p.m. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has called off a planned visit to India and the Philippines, apparently due to a resurgence of coronavirus infections in Japan. The trip, which had been scheduled from late April to early May, was intended to reaffirm Japan’s cooperation with the two countries in achieving a free and open Indo-Pacific, as the nations look to counter China’s military buildup and growing assertiveness in the region.
12:35 p.m. Australia’s Victoria State unveils plans to develop an onshore messenger-RNA (mRNA) vaccine plant and opened three mass coronavirus immunization centers to speed up the national inoculation program. Victoria will spend 50 million Australian dollars ($39 million) initially to set up the mRNA facility in the state, which authorities said could become the first such center in the Southern Hemisphere. The mRNA technology is used in COVID-19 vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna.
9:19 a.m. Japan’s equity benchmark Nikkei Stock Average is off to a rough start on Wednesday morning, at one point falling over 500 points, or 1.7%, as investors continued to fret over the country’s rising coronavirus infections. The decline in U.S. equities on Tuesday also weighed on market sentiment.
9:00 a.m. Osaka’s prefectural government officially asks the central government to impose a COVID-19 state of emergency for the third time in roughly a year, as the metropolis battles a surge in infections that is straining its health system. The measures, for the first time, could include asking some entertainment and commercial facilities not to open. The list of venues could include restaurants, bars, department stores, theme parks, shopping malls and underground arcades. The central government will make the final decision.
4:27 a.m. Johnson & Johnson says it will resume rolling out its COVID-19 vaccine in Europe after the region’s medical regulator said the benefits of the shot outweigh the risk of rare, potentially lethal blood clots. Europe’s health regulator, the European Medicines Agency, on Tuesday recommended adding a warning about the clots for patients with low blood platelet count to the vaccine’s product label and said the benefits of the one-dose shot outweigh its risks. J&J shares rose more than 2%.
1:30 a.m. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi urges the nation to stay indoors but stops short of announcing a national lockdown in a televised address.
Amid massive shortage of medical oxygen in India, which has been battered by a deadly new wave of coronavirus, Modi says authorities are responding as best they can.
“The demand for oxygen has increased majorly in many parts of the country,” Modi tells the nation. “The central government, state governments [and] private sector are trying their best to make oxygen available to all those who need it.”
The nation is fighting “a big battle against” the pandemic, he said, while asking state governments to use lockdown as the last resort and focus on micro containment zones to control outbreaks.
Modi also mentions his government’s decision to make all citizens above 18 eligible for vaccination from May 1, and adds that half of all vaccine doses being manufactured in the country can now be procured directly by state governments and hospitals.
He says the poor along with those older than 45 will continue to receive free vaccine at government hospitals.
Tuesday, April 20
6:00 p.m. Egypt has agreed to purchase 20 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine produced by China’s Sinopharm and expects to receive a batch of 500,000 shots this month, its health ministry says. The agreement boosts vaccination efforts in Egypt, which has a population of 100 million and has so far received a total of just over 1.5 million doses of Sinopharm and AstraZeneca shots.
5:07 p.m. Japan’s Osaka reports 1,153 new cases, up from 719 a day earlier. Osaka will ask the central government to reimpose a state of emergency in the prefecture as the recent wave of COVID infections is straining hospitals. Osaka intends to take tougher measures including asking restaurants and bars to close temporarily.
4:31 p.m. Bank Indonesia keeps its benchmark policy rate on hold for the second straight monetary policy meeting. The central bank’s seven-day reverse repo rate of 3.5% is its lowest since at least 2016 when it began using the rate as its benchmark.
3:15 p.m. Tokyo reports 711 new cases, up from 405 a day earlier, raising the capital’s seven-day average 27.9%, to 629, from a week ago.
2:30 p.m. The Philippines will begin clinical trials of several drugs, including the anti-parasite medication ivermectin, to determine their efficacy in combatting the coronavirus, a senior government official says. Some politicians have started promoting ivermectin and given out free doses, although the country’s food and drugs regulator has cautioned against its use because of a lack of evidence. The clinical trial for ivermectin could last for six months.
2:00 p.m. Thailand reports 1,443 new cases and four more deaths as a third wave of infections races across the country. Total cases now stand at 45,185, and 108 have died. A third of all cases have been reported this month alone.
1:21 p.m. India reports 259,170 cases for the past 24 hours, fewer than the record 273,810 infections of the previous day but the sixth straight day with over 200,000 cases. The country total now stands at 15.32 million. Fatalities rose by a record 1,761, to 180,530.
12:10 p.m. A worker at New Zealand’s Auckland airport has tested positive for COVID-19, authorities say, a day after the country opened its border to Australian residents for the first time in more than a year. The worker, who was fully vaccinated for the virus, had been cleaning airplanes coming from countries with known outbreaks, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. The worker tested negative on April 12 but tested positive on Monday as part of routine testing.
10:21 a.m. South Korea reports 549 cases, up from 532 a day ago, bringing the country total to 115,195 with 1,802 deaths. The government said it will increase the number of vaccine centers to 264 by the end of the month to speed inoculations. So far 1.6 million people — about 3% of the population — have received their first vaccine shot.
9:25 a.m. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei Stock Average tumbles in early morning trade, at one point falling over 500 points, or 1.8%, as cases soar in parts of the country, including Osaka Prefecture. Investors are fearing that possible lockdowns could hurt the economy.
7:15 a.m. The U.S. State Department will expand its “Do Not Travel” list to about 80% of countries worldwide, citing “unprecedented risk” from the pandemic.
Thirty-four out of about 200 countries are already listed as “Level 4: Do Not Travel.” Expanding the list to 80% would imply adding nearly 130 countries.
12:11 a.m. India’s government says everyone above the age of 18 will be eligible for coronavirus vaccination from May 1 as part of a “liberalized” inoculation drive that would allow state governments, private hospitals and industrial establishments to directly procure doses from the manufacturers.
At present, people aged 45 and above are eligible for vaccination in the country, which is in the grip of a deadly second wave of the pandemic.
12:07 a.m. A World Health Organization panel recommends that proof of vaccination should not be required as a condition of international travel.
The WHO’s Emergency Committee cites the limited evidence on the extent to which vaccinations limit transmissibility and the unequal distribution of vaccines around the world.
Monday, April 19
11:56 p.m. The UK. will add India to its travel red-list this week, says health minister Matt Hancock.
“This means anyone who is not a UK. or Irish resident or a British citizen cannot enter the UK. if they’ve been in India in the previous 10 days,” he said. Residents and British citizens will need to complete a hotel quarantine for 10 days. The rules go into effect on Friday.
6:20 p.m. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has cancelled a trip to India, scheduled to take place next week, due to surging coronavirus infections in the South Asian country. Johnson had already postponed the trip in January, when infections were high in Britain. “In the light of the current coronavirus situation, Prime Minister Boris Johnson will not be able to travel to India next week,” a joint statement from the British and Indian governments said.
4:50 p.m. The Philippines will resume administering AstraZeneca‘s COVID-19 vaccine to people below 60 years of age, health officials say, ending a suspension over reports of rare blood clots in younger recipients overseas. “The benefit outweighs the risk. Only a small percentage of the population had these adverse effects for AstraZeneca,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said, referring to countries where blood clots were reported.
4:04 p.m. India’s capital of Delhi is being placed under lockdown from 10 p.m. local time tonight until April 26, says Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, as the city’s health system is under extreme stress owing to rapidly rising infections.
2:00 p.m. Thailand reports 1,390 cases and three deaths, as daily case totals ease after six days of record highs amid a third wave of infections. The new cases brought the country total to 43,742 with 104 deaths.
1:22 p.m. India reports another record number of new daily infections, 273,810, and a fifth consecutive day with over 200,000 cases, pushing the country total to 15.06 million. Fatalities jumped by 1,619 – a daily record — to 178,769.
12:00 p.m. Osaka Gov. Hirofumi Yoshimura says he plans to ask the central government to reimpose the state of emergency in Osaka Prefecture due to surging COVID-19 cases. Osaka is seeking tougher measures, such as requesting restaurants and bars to temporarily halt business. The prefecture has enforced quasi-emergency measures but has failed to contain the infections, logging a single-day high of 1,220 new cases on Sunday.
11:00 a.m. Hundreds of passengers from Australia start arriving in New Zealand airports after authorities reopened the border, a pandemic milestone that allows quarantine-free travel between the two countries for the first time in over a year. Though most Australian states have allowed quarantine-free visits from New Zealand residents since late last year, New Zealand had enforced isolation for arrivals from its neighbor, citing concerns about sporadic virus outbreaks.
10:35 a.m. South Korea reports 532 cases, down from 671 a day ago, bringing the country total to 114,646 with 1,801 deaths. Health authorities say that 1.5 million people have received their first vaccine shot, while 60,600 have had their second shot.
10:14 a.m. Philippine tycoon Lucio Tan has been hospitalized after testing positive for COVID-19, his daughter Vivienne Tan says. The billionaire, whose businesses span airlines, banking, tobacco and liquor, “is in stable condition, responding well, and recovering,” Vivienne said in an Instagram post on Sunday.
10:05 a.m. China reports 11 new cases for Sunday, down from 16 cases a day earlier. All of the new cases originated from overseas. The number of new asymptomatic cases, which China does not classify as confirmed cases, rose to 16 from 15 a day earlier.
9:40 a.m. Japan’s exports surged 16.1% in March from a year earlier, marking the steepest rise since a 16.2% gain in November 2017, led by a surge in China-bound shipments, government data shows. However, the jump was partly attributed to the weakness in exports in March 2020 due to the initial effects of the COVID-19 outbreak.
9:30 a.m. Hong Kong will suspend flights from India, Pakistan and the Philippines from April 20 for two weeks after the N501Y strain of COVID-19 was detected in the Asian financial hub for the first time. The three countries would be classified as “extremely high risk” after there had been multiple imported cases carrying the strain into Hong Kong in the past 14 days. The city reported 30 cases on Sunday, 29 of which were imported, marking the highest daily count since March 15.
6:30 a.m. Just over half of U.S. adults have received at least one vaccine dose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The tally tops 131.2 million people as of Sunday, or 50.4% of the adult population.
Sunday, April 18
10:35 p.m. Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike considers asking the central government to issue a new COVID-19 state of emergency for the capital.
With a recent spike in cases, Koike has told senior officials in the metropolitan government to study countermeasures, including the option of requesting a new emergency order.
Tokyo’s first state of emergency was in place between April and May of 2020, with the second between January and March this year.
5:35 p.m. Japan’s Osaka Prefecture on Sunday reports 1,220 new cases, the highest level on record. It marks the sixth straight day that the western prefecture’s daily tally has topped 1,000. Given the sharp rise, Osaka Gov. Hirofumi Yoshimura is expected to decide possibly this week on whether to ask the central government to redeclare a COVID-19 state of emergency.
3:18 a.m. More than 62,000 new cases are recorded in Turkey in the space of 24 hours, close to its highest daily tally, and 288 deaths, data from the Health Ministry shows.
Turkey currently ranks fourth globally in the number of daily cases based on a seven-day average, according to a Reuters tally.
President Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday announced several new restrictions and a partial lockdown for the first two weeks of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan to curb the surge in cases.
Turkey’s overall death toll from COVID-19 stands at 35,608, from 4,212,645 confirmed cases
Saturday, April 17
2:15 p.m. Australia will continue its review of coronavirus vaccines after a 48-year-old woman’s death was likely linked to the inoculation, Health Minister Greg Hunt says.
On Friday, Australia reported its first fatality from blood clots in a recipient of AstraZeneca‘s shot. It was the third case of the rare blood clots appearing in people who have been administered the vaccine in the country.
“The government will ask ATAGI (Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunization) to ensure continuous review of all of the vaccines in terms of their safety and their efficacy,” Hunt says.
1:12 p.m. India records a record daily increase of 234,692 infections over the past 24 hours, health ministry data shows. It is the eighth record daily increase in the past nine days. Total cases reach nearly 14.5 million, second only to the United States, which has reported more than 32 million infections.
11:00 a.m. China reports 15 new cases for Friday, up from 11 cases a day earlier. One of the new cases was a local infection reported in southwestern Yunnan province, which discovered a new cluster in late March in a city on the border with Myanmar. The number of new asymptomatic cases, which China does not classify as confirmed cases, fell to 19 from 31 cases a day earlier.
To catch up on earlier developments, see the last edition of latest updates.