Yoshihide- Coronavirus latest: Thailand hits new daily record deaths
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 147,522,046, according to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. The worldwide death toll has hit 3,116,478.
For more information about the spread of COVID-19 and the progress of vaccination around the world, please see our interactive charts and maps.
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— Distribution, duration, safety: challenges emerge in vaccine race
Tuesday, April 27 (Tokyo time)
11:57 p.m. JPMorgan Chase plans to bring its U.S. staff back to the office in July, Reuters reports. The bank will maintain a 50% occupancy cap under current guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with all staff returning on a rotational basis.
10:31 p.m. China offers help in accessing COVID-19 vaccines in a videoconference with Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. India was also invited, the Chinese foreign ministry said, but China’s neighbor and regional rival did not attend.
6:40 p.m. Thailand reports 15 new deaths, setting a daily record for the third time in four days in its worst outbreak so far, as an expert warned of big problems ahead due to insufficient testing. “If we are not screening people who can quietly spread the virus, there will be subsequent outbreaks and mutations, rendering immunization ineffective,” Thiravat Hemachudha, head of the Thai Red Cross Emerging Infectious Diseases Centre, wrote on Facebook. The country has reported more than half of its 59,687 cases this month alone, and 69 of its total 163 fatalities.
6:10 p.m. Maruti Suzuki India reports a 9.7% drop in fourth-quarter profit, as weak demand for vehicles during the COVID-19 pandemic and higher commodity costs hurt India’s largest carmaker. After a steep fall in car sales last year when the pandemic first hit, Maruti’s sales picked up in India over the past two quarters. Still, as rising costs of steel and copper threatened the carmaker’s margins, it has passed on some of those costs to customers.
5:30 p.m. Osaka reports 1,231 new cases, up from 924 a day earlier. New infections in the western Japan prefecture have been higher than in Tokyo recently, despite a new state of emergency having been declared, putting additional stress on area hospitals.
3:15 p.m. Tokyo reports 828 new cases, up from 425 from a day earlier. The capital’s seven-day average is now up 18.7% from a week ago, to 747, as Tokyo moves to battle the latest surge with a new state of emergency.
2:00 p.m. Australia suspends direct flights from India to prevent more virulent coronavirus variants entering the country following a surge in positive COVID-19 cases in the world’s second-most populous nation. The suspension will remain until May 15.
1:30 p.m. India’s new coronavirus cases stay above 300,000 for a sixth consecutive day, while its armed forces pledged urgent medical aid to help battle the staggering spike in infections. Over the past 24 hours, India recorded 323,144 new cases, below Monday’s worldwide peak of 352,991, but hospitals remain overrun and continue to turn away patients due to a shortage of beds and oxygen supplies. Deaths from COVID-19 rose by 2,771 to reach a total of 197,894.
12:07 p.m. The Bank of Japan revises down its inflation projections for the current fiscal year to March 2022, as prices remain subdued after more than eight years of aggressive monetary easing under Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda.
12:00 p.m. Japan will open a mass vaccination center in central Tokyo next month as part of the country’s bid to speed up inoculations as the Olympic Games draw near. Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said the Self-Defense Forces will set up the center by May 24 with plans to operate it for three months. Military medical staff are expected to administer shots.
11:30 a.m. Thailand reports 15 deaths, a new daily high amid a fast-rising third wave that has prompted new shutdowns in Bangkok and other areas. The health ministry also reported 2,179 more cases. Thailand for months had suppressed the virus but a new outbreak emerged several weeks ago.
11:00 a.m. The move toward waiving some intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines is taken up as U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai meets virtually with top executives of drugmakers Pfizer and AstraZeneca. The talks came ahead of a World Trade Organization discussion on the matter set for Friday. The U.S. and a few other big countries have so far blocked such a move, but democratic lawmakers, civil society groups, 60 former heads of state and 100 Nobel Prize winners have urged President Joe Biden to back the waiver.
10:47 a.m. South Korea reports 512 new cases, up from 499 a day ago. Total infections reach 119,898 with 1,820 deaths. Health authorities say so far 2.4 million people, or 4.7% of the population, have received their first vaccine shot, while 127,000 have completed their two-jab course. President Moon Jae-in will meet Novavax CEO Stanley Erck in the Blue House at 3 p.m. to discuss expanding domestic contract production of the company’s COVID-19 vaccine.
10:04 a.m. China reports 11 new cases for Monday, matching the tally from a day earlier. All of the new cases originated overseas. The number of new asymptomatic cases, which China does not classify as confirmed cases, fell to 14 from 18 a day earlier.
8:47 a.m. South Korea’s gross domestic product grew 1.6% in the first quarter as corporate investment rose sharply. The faster-than-expected expansion from the previous quarter was largely due to corporate investment in facilities, private consumption and government spending, according to the Bank of Korea. The median forecast in a Reuters poll of economists was for 1.2% growth.
8:40 a.m. Gilead Sciences says it will give India at least 450,000 vials of its COVID-19 drug remdesivir and donate active pharmaceutical ingredients to boost production, as infections surge in the country. India has an official tally of 17.31 million infections and 195,123 deaths, health ministry data shows, although health experts say the figures likely run higher.
6:30 a.m. The White House announces that it is looking to share American-made AstraZeneca vaccine doses with other countries during the next few months. “Given the strong portfolio of vaccines that the United States has already authorized and available in large quantity … and given AstraZeneca is not authorized for use in the United States, we do not need to use AstraZeneca in our fight against COVID over the next few months,” press secretary Jen Psaki said. “Before any AstraZeneca doses are shipped from the United States, the FDA will confirm any such doses meet its expectations for product quality,” she added.
4:32 a.m. Cooperation between the U.S. and Indo-Pacific partners India, Japan and Australia to supply up to a billion coronavirus vaccine doses across Asia by the end of 2022 was ‘still on track’, say senior U.S. officials, despite a surge of the virus in India. “It’s moving forward expeditiously,” a senior administration official told reporters. In March, a Quad fact sheet said the U.S., through its International Development Finance Corp., would work to finance Indian drugmaker Biological E to produce vaccine doses.
4:20 a.m. France will supply India with “substantial medical aid” to help the country tackle a huge wave of new coronavirus infections that are overwhelming its hospitals, the Elysee presidential palace says. The shipments that will start next weekend will include oxygen generators, respirators and cryogenic containers.
4:13 a.m. Turkey announces a nationwide lockdown beginning Thursday and lasting until May 17 to combat the rapidly rising number of coronavirus infections. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says residents must mostly stay at home except for essential shopping and urgent medical care. All intercity travel will require official approval, and all classrooms will move online. Turkey reports 353 deaths over the past 24 hours, making it one of the worst affected countries by the pandemic.
2:03 a.m. In a call with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, U.S. President Joe Biden committed to working closely together with New Delhi in its fight against the recent surge of COVID-19 cases in the country, pledging “America’s steadfast support” for the people of India, per a White House readout. “The two leaders resolved that the United States and India will continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder in the effort to protect our citizens and the health of our communities,” the readout says.
1:54 a.m. The World Health Organization expects to decide whether to give emergency approval for China’s two main COVID-19 vaccines in the next two weeks, Assistant Director-General Mariangela Batista Galvao Simao tells a briefing. Simao said the WHO could decide on a vaccine made by Sinopharm by the end of this week, and one made by Sinovac Biotech by the end of next week. China has already deployed millions of doses of both vaccines at home and has exported them to many countries, particularly in Latin America, Asia and Africa.
Monday, April 26
11:10 p.m. Switzerland adds India to its list of high-risk countries from which travellers must enter quarantine following the surge of cases in the subcontinent and the discovery in Switzerland of a first case of new variant of COVID-19 first identified in India, reports Reuters.
5:45 p.m. Japan’s death toll from COVID-19 has topped 10,000 amid government efforts to contain the new wave of infections. Tokyo reports 425 cases on Monday, down from 635 a day earlier. The capital, along with Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo, was put under a state of emergency again on Sunday. Osaka reports 924 new infections, down from 1,050 a day earlier, while its neighboring prefecture Hyogo posts 310 new cases, down from 473 a day ago.
5:06 p.m. The Philippines’ COVID cases have hit the 1 million mark. The country’s health department reports 8,929 new infections, bringing the total to 1,006,428. There were another 70 fatalities, putting the death toll at 16,853.
5:00 p.m. Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee President Seiko Hashimoto says that the group will decide on rules around spectator numbers in April. Hashimoto hopes to reach consensus among the parties involved, including the IOC and the Japanese government, so that the committee can take flexible measures depending on changes in the COVID situation then.
3:39 p.m. Indonesia has detected 10 cases of an Indian coronavirus strain, six of which were imported and four local, Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin says. The country will tighten its borders and quarantine measures for tens of thousands of Indonesian migrant workers expected to return to the country in the coming weeks ahead of the Islamic holiday of Idul Fitri. Meanwhile, Indonesia expects to receive a second batch of AstraZeneca vaccine tonight amounting to 3.8 million doses, following a shipment of 1.1 million doses in March.
2:50 p.m. Thailand suspends issuing travel documents from India over concerns of imported cases, as more venues close in Bangkok to contain a third wave of infections. India on Monday set a global record for coronavirus cases for a fifth straight day with 352,991 infections. Hospitals in the country have been short of oxygen, beds and anti-viral drugs. The Thai embassy in Delhi said in a statement that certificates of entry for non-Thai nationals traveling from India will be suspended until further notice.
1:30 p.m. A long-delayed travel bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore — the two Asian financial hubs — will begin on May 26, as they moved to re-establish overseas travel links and lift the hurdle of quarantine for visiting foreigners. The bubble had been slated to begin last November but was suspended after an outbreak of Covid-19 in Hong Kong. The scheme will start with one flight a day into each city, with up to 200 travelers on each flight, Hong Kong’s Commerce Secretary Edward Yau and Singapore’s Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung said at simultaneous press events.
1:10 p.m. India’s infections set a global single-day high for the fifth straight day, while deaths also jumped to a record high over the last 24 hours. With 352,991 new cases, India’s total caseload has topped 17 million, with deaths rising by 2,812 to 195,123.
11:30 a.m. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga says all elderly people in Japan will be able to complete vaccinations with a second shot by the end of July. He called the COVID-19 response a “top priority.” The comments came a day after the ruling Liberal Democratic Party lost all three Diet seats up for grabs in the first elections since Suga took office in September last year.
10:22 a.m. South Korea reports 500 new cases, down from 644 a day ago. Total infections reach 119,387 with 1,817 deaths. Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki says the country has signed a deal to buy an additional 40 million doses of Pfizer‘s vaccine, raising the total number of vaccine doses to 192 million for 99 million people.
10:10 a.m. China reports 11 new cases for Sunday, down from 13 a day earlier, all originating overseas. The number of new asymptomatic cases, which China does not classify as confirmed cases, rose to 18 from 14 cases a day earlier.
3:00 a.m. The Indian government orders Twitter to take down dozens of tweets, including some by local lawmakers, that are critical of its handling of the coronavirus outbreak, as daily infections hit one world worst after another. Twitter began withholding some of the tweets after the demand, a company spokeswoman tells Reuters. The government made an emergency order to censor the tweets, Twitter disclosed on Lumen database, a Harvard University project.
2:00 a.m. The U.S. has administered 228,661,408 doses of COVID-19 vaccines as of Sunday morning, and nearly 94.8 million Americans have been fully vaccinated, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. Top U.S. health regulators have said the country can immediately resume use of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, ending a 10-day pause to investigate its link to extremely rare but potentially deadly blood clots.
1:24 a.m. The U.S. immediately will provide raw materials for coronavirus vaccines as well as medical equipment and protective gear to help India respond to a massive surge in COVID-19 infections, a White House spokeswoman says. The materials will help India manufacture the Covishield vaccine, while the U.S. also will send therapeutics, rapid diagnostic test kits and ventilators. Washington faced pressure to help India, the world’s largest democracy, after Britain, France and Germany pledged aid over the weekend.
Sunday, April 25
11:03 p.m. The European Commission is working to send oxygen and medicine to virus-hit India after receiving a request from New Delhi. India’s recent massive surge in COVID-19 cases has forced hospitals in the capital and nationwide to turn away patients after running out of medical oxygen and beds.
3:40 p.m. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi urges all citizens to receive COVID-19 vaccines and exercise caution, saying a “storm” of infections has shaken the country. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal says the region will remain under a lockdown until May 3, as coronavirus cases rise steeply.
1:26 p.m. India confirms 349,691 new coronavirus infections Sunday, a daily record, lifting the country’s overall tally to 16.96 million infections. The health ministry reports 2,767 deaths, taking total coronavirus fatalities to 192,311.
11:58 a.m. Germany confirms 18,773 new coronavirus cases, raising the national total to 3,287,418, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases shows. The death toll rises by 120 to 81,564.
5:58 a.m. Brazil records 71,137 new coronavirus cases and 3,076 additional COVID-19 deaths, the Health Ministry says Saturday.
12:15 a.m. A total of 33.51 million British residents have received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and over 12 million have been given both doses, official figures released Saturday show.
Saturday, April 24
4:52 p.m. Cambodia closes all markets in the capital, Phnom Penh, to contain a spike in coronavirus infections as thousands of families plead for food during a two-week lockdown. The Southeast Asian country has one of the world’s smallest coronavirus caseloads, but an outbreak that started in late February has seen overall cases spike to 8,848 and 61 deaths.
4:06 p.m. Thailand curbs shop operating hours after the country records another record daily rise in COVID-19 cases and deaths amid a third wave of the pandemic. Malls in 18 high-risk provinces, including in the capital Bangkok, will be restricted to operating between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. for a week from Sunday, the Thai Retailers Association says.
Restaurants in the malls will be allowed to stay open an hour later, while convenience stores will be permitted to operate from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. Schools, bars and massage parlors were shut a week ago and will remain closed until next month, while alcohol sales have been banned in restaurants in an effort to increase social distancing.
To catch up on earlier developments, see the last edition of latest updates.