Sinovac – Coronavirus latest: Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccine data show efficacy, WHO says
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 128,255,068, according to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. The worldwide death toll has hit 2,804,877.
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
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— World map of spreading mutated strains
— Distribution, duration, safety: challenges emerge in vaccine race
Wednesday, March 31 (Tokyo time)
7:55 p.m. Chinese vaccine makers Sinopharm and Sinovac have presented data on their COVID-19 vaccines indicating levels of efficacy that would be compatible with those required by the World Health Organization, the chair of a WHO advisory panel said on Wednesday. The WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) hopes to issue recommendations on those vaccines by the end of April, its chair Alejandro Cravioto, told a news briefing. The vaccines would first require WHO emergency use listing.
7:45 p.m. Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE said on Wednesday their COVID-19 vaccine was safe and effective and produced robust antibody responses in 12- to 15-year olds, paving the way for them to seek U.S. emergency use authorization in weeks. Pfizer hopes that vaccinations of the group could begin before the next school year, Albert Bourla, Pfizer‘s chairman and chief executive, said in a statement. Pfizer‘s vaccine is already authorized for use in people starting at age 16. The new study offers the first evidence of how the vaccine will also work in school-age adolescents.
6:19 p.m. A health-tech startup developed by Japan’s University of Tsukuba will begin to analyze up to 6,000 COVID-19 samples from Thursday to help detect and curb the spread of more contagious variants. Named iLAC, the startup’s processing capacity is one of the biggest in the country. It is hoped that the company will be able to find variants of the coronavirus that may be more resistant to vaccines that will allow authorities to contain any spread of such.
3:20 p.m. The Malaysian economy is expected to grow between 6% and 7.5% this year, the central bank said on Wednesday, with COVID-19 vaccinations and stronger external demand driving a recovery from the 5.6% contraction for 2020.
3:11 p.m. Russia has registered the world’s first vaccine against COVID-19 for animals, the country’s agriculture safety watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor says. Russia already has three coronavirus vaccines for humans, the most well known of which is Sputnik V. Moscow has also given emergency approval to two others, EpiVacCorona and CoviVac. The vaccine for animals, developed by a unit of Rosselkhoznadzor, is named Carnivac-Cov, the watchdog says.
1:45 p.m. India reports 53,480 COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, down from 56,211 the previous day, bringing the country’s total to 12.15 million. There were 354 additional deaths — the highest number of daily fatalities in over three months — bringing the death toll to 162,468.
1:03 p.m. Australia is confident all of its athletes will be vaccinated against COVID-19 before they head off to the Tokyo Olympics, Ian Chesterman, the Australian Olympic Team’s chef de mission, said at the unveiling of the team’s uniforms for the games on Wednesday, Reuters reports. Vaccination is not a prerequisite for athletes competing in the delayed games, but Chesterman said it was “common sense” to add a “layer of safety” around the delegation and ensure they do not bring the virus home with them.
11:26 a.m. China’s manufacturing expanded at the quickest pace in three months in March as factories cranked up production after the Lunar New Year holidays. The manufacturing Purchasing Manager’s Index rose to 51.9 from 50.6 in February, remaining above the 50-point mark that separates growth from contraction for the 13th straight month. Analysts had expected a rise to 51.0.
11:17 a.m. Japan’s industrial output in February fell 2.1% from the previous month after a strong earthquake in northeastern Japan disrupted parts supply for major automakers, reducing production.
11:08 a.m. The Chinese city of Ruili bordering Myanmar orders a one-week home quarantine for residents due to new locally transmitted cases. The city also ordered mass testing and will crackdown on illegal border crossings, according to a statement from the city government.
10:14 a.m. South Korea reports 506 cases, up from 447 a day ago, bringing the country total to 103,088 with 1,731 deaths. Health authorities say 852,202 people have received their first shots of the vaccine, while 8,185 completed the two-shot innoculation.
9:58 a.m. Australia reports a decrease in locally acquired cases in the state of Queensland, fueling optimism that a three-day lockdown in the state capital of Brisbane will be lifted ahead of Easter holidays. More than two million residents of Australia’s third-largest city have been asked to stay home until Thursday evening as authorities rush to contain two virus clusters.
9:31 a.m. China reports 11 cases for March 30, up from eight a day earlier. Six of the new cases were local infections in Yunnan Province, the most since six cases were reported on Feb. 5.
7:35 a.m. A critical component of the immune system known as T cells, which respond to infection from the original version of the coronavirus, appear to also protect against three of the new variants, according to a U.S. laboratory study. Several studies have shown that certain variants of the coronavirus can hinder protection from antibodies and vaccines.
5:28 a.m. Spain confirmed it would use the AstraZeneca vaccine for people aged 55 to 65, and said it could give Johnson & Johnson’s version to older people when it becomes available in the country. Meanwhile, Germany limits use of AstraZeneca‘s jab to people aged 60 and above as well as high-priority groups following additional reports of a rare brain blood disorder.
4:55 a.m. The head of the World Trade Organization, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said on Tuesday that she plans to convene an event in mid-April on ramping up vaccine production amid what she called “a very serious scarcity in supply.” The event will bring together WTO regional groups, vaccine manufacturers from developing and developed countries and civil society, among others, the WTO said in a statement posted on its website.
Tuesday, March 30
11:58 p.m. The novel coronavirus that has killed around 2.8 million people worldwide most likely first spread to humans from animals, a World Health Organization report on the origins of the pandemic has found.
Tuesday’s report almost totally rules out the laboratory leak hypothesis, which alleges that the virus escaped or was released from a research facility. This scenario, one of four considered by investigators during a joint WHO-China study from January to February, is called “extremely unlikely.”
The report comes a little over a year after the coronavirus pandemic was declared and conforms with Chinese arguments that the virus causing COVID-19 did not come from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. But the findings are not without controversy.
5:07 p.m. Japan’s city of Osaka reports 432 new cases, up from 213 a day earlier and marking the highest daily tally since Jan. 24. Osaka has seen the number of infections rising again after a state of emergency was lifted in the prefecture in early March.
3:20 p.m. A court in Vietnam hands a two-year suspended jail term to a Vietnam Airlines flight attendant after finding him guilty of breaking quarantine rules and spreading the virus. The man breached the country’s 14-day quarantine and met 46 other people following his flight from Japan in November, according to the indictment posted on a police website.
3:03 p.m. Tokyo reports 364 cases, up from 234 a day earlier, bringing the capital’s seven-day-average of new cases to 361 — 17.4% higher than a week ago.
2:40 p.m. India reports 56,211 new cases in the last 24 hours, down from this year’s biggest daily spike of 68,020 the previous day, bringing the country’s total to about 12.1 million. Fatalities rose by 271 to 162,114.
11:20 a.m. Japan’s health minister apologizes for ministry employees’ gathering at a restaurant in violation of the government’s COVID-19 protocols. Norihisa Tamura said 23 ministry employees ate dinner together in Tokyo on March 24. The capital had just emerged from a state of emergency on March 21, but the government has continued to ask restaurants to close early at 9 p.m. and for the public to limit gatherings.
10:37 a.m. South Korea reports 447 cases, up from 378 a day ago, bringing the country total to 102,582 with 1,729 deaths. Authorities say 822,448 people have had their first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine, while 6,151 completed the two-shot regimen.
10:30 a.m. Australia reports eight locally acquired cases in Queensland as the state scrambles to stop an outbreak linked to the UK. variant. The new cases bring the total in the latest outbreak to 15, a day after the state announced a snap three-day lockdown in Brisbane, Australia’s third-most-populous city.
9:50 a.m. China reports eight cases for Monday, down from 15 a day earlier. All new cases originated overseas. The number of new asymptomatic cases, which China does not classify as confirmed cases, fell to six from 18 a day earlier.
9:30 a.m. Japanese retail sales fell for the third straight month in February as households kept a lid on spending amid the coronavirus emergency, underscoring the fragile nature of the economic recovery. Retail sales dipped 1.5% in February from a year earlier, according to the government.
9:20 a.m. Air New Zealand says domestic business travel has returned to 90% of pre-pandemic levels, bucking a downward trend in many other countries with more severe COVID-19 outbreaks. The airline was “blown away” by the new data, noting it had initially hoped to return to 70% of pre-pandemic levels in 2022.
8:35 a.m. Japan’s jobless rate stood at 2.9% in February, unchanged from January, amid a state of emergency that lasted 10 weeks through March 21.
8:00 a.m. Canada will stop offering AstraZeneca‘s vaccine to people under age 55 and require a new study of the shot’s risks and benefits based on age and gender. The moves follow reports from Europe of rare but serious blood clots, bleeding and in some cases death, mainly in young women.
3:50 a.m. U.S. President Joe Biden says 90% of adults in the United States will be eligible for vaccinations by April 19. Biden called on local leaders to reinstate mask mandates as he warned about the potential for an upsurge in infections.
1:00 a.m. The Pfizer–BioNTech and Moderna vaccines against COVID-19 are highly effective at preventing symptomatic and asymptomatic infections under real-world conditions, according to a federal study. In a study of about 4,000 essential workers, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the vaccines reduced the risk of infection by 80% after one shot. Protection increased to 90% following the second dose. The findings are consistent with clinical trial results.
0:30 a.m. Palestinians receive 100,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccine donated by China to help broaden an initial campaign to vaccinate medical staff, the elderly and the chronically ill. Palestinian health authorities have been mounting a limited vaccination drive among the 5.2 million people living in the Israel-occupied West Bank and Gaza, using vaccines provided by Israel, Russia, the United Arab Emirates and the global COVAX vaccine-sharing initiative. So far, more than 69,000 Palestinians have received their first dose of the vaccine, and around 7,600 people have had both shots.
Monday, March 29
7:00 p.m. The Philippines receives 1 million doses of vaccines purchased from Sinovac Biotech, the first batch to be delivered under a procurement deal covering 25 million shots. The Chinese government earlier donated 1 million shots of Sinovac jabs, bringing the Philippines’ supply to around 2.5 million doses, including 525,600 AstraZeneca jabs courtesy of the COVAX facility.
6:50 p.m. Johnson & Johnson has agreed to supply up to 400 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine to the African Union from the third quarter of 2021, the drugmaker says. J&J unit Janssen Pharmaceutica has entered into a deal with the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust to deliver 220 million doses of its single-dose shot. AVAT could order an additional 180 million doses through 2022. The deal comes after months of negotiations with the AU, which announced a provisional agreement in January to buy 270 million doses of vaccines from three drugmakers: J&J, AstraZeneca and Pfizer.
5:34 p.m. Social distancing restrictions in Hong Kong will be relaxed as daily new infections dropped to single digit in recent days. An increased number of people will be allowed in cinemas and theme parks. Swimming pools, public beaches, and churches can also reopen.
5:17 p.m. The Philippines reports 10,016 new infections, a record high, as Metro Manila and four neighboring provinces enter a weeklong lockdown to fight the surge of cases which has overwhelmed hospitals. The latest count brings the total number of cases to 731,894, of which 115,495 are classified as “active.” The death toll stands at 13,186, including 16 new fatalities.
4:35 p.m. All Nippon Airways has carried out a trial of a digital “health passport,” the first test in Japan of a certification that some hope will breathe new life into international travel and airlines battered by the pandemic. ANA tested the CommonPass digital health app on two passengers for a flight to New York that departed from Tokyo’s Haneda Airport. The app enables users to upload their negative test results, and proof of vaccination status, before boarding international flights.
3:40 p.m. Osaka Gov. Hirofumi Yoshimura says he plans to ask the central government to designate the prefecture as an area requiring stronger measures against the pandemic that are legally binding, saying that the region has already entered the “fourth wave” of infections. Osaka is the first in the country to seek binding measures to stop the spread of the virus, based on a revised law that took effect in February, which include fines for businesses that do not comply with restrictions on operating hours. On Sunday, Osaka reported 323 new infections, higher than Tokyo’s 313.
3:30 p.m. Tokyo reports 234 new cases, down from 313 a day earlier. Still, the seven-day average of new cases for the capital rose 18.1% from a week ago to 357.
1:00 p.m. A new factory in Abu Dhabi will start manufacturing a COVID-19 vaccine from Chinese pharmaceutical giant Sinopharm later this year under a joint venture between Sinopharm and Abu Dhabi-based technology company Group 42 (G42). The project is an expansion of Chinese diplomacy in the Gulf region and helps the United Arab Emirates’ quest to diversify its economy away from hydrocarbon production.
11:50 a.m. Vietnam’s GDP grew 4.48% in the first quarter of 2021 from the same period a year earlier, government data shows. The expansion compared with 3.8% growth in the first quarter of 2020 and 4.48% in the fourth quarter. The industrial and construction sector in the January-March period grew 6.3% from a year earlier, while the services sector rose 3.34%. The first quarter growth, however, fell below the 5.12% expected by the government.
11:30 a.m. A panel of South Korean advisers determined that a coronavirus vaccine from Johnson & Johnson was safe and effective, moving the single-dose shot a step closer to regulatory approval. When approved, the J&J vaccine will be the third COVID-19 jab authorized in South Korea, following ones from AstraZeneca and Pfizer/BioNTech. South Korea has an agreement to receive 6 million doses of the J&J vaccine and has said it will be ready for inoculation from the second quarter.
11:00 a.m. China reports 15 new cases for Sunday, up from eight a day earlier. All the new cases originated from overseas. The number of new asymptomatic cases, which China does not classify as confirmed cases, fell to 18 from 19 a day earlier.
10:25 a.m. South Korea reports 384 cases, down from 482 a day ago, bringing the country total to 102,141 with 1,726 deaths. The government will pay the fourth “disaster subsidy” to small business owners and self-employed people starting from Monday.
9:30 a.m. Australia announces a snap three-day lockdown in Brisbane from Monday afternoon as authorities try to halt an outbreak of the UK. variant. About 2 million people in the country’s third-largest city must stay home from 5 p.m. local time except for essential work, health care, grocery shopping or exercise.
Sunday, March 28
11:55 p.m. A total of 30,151,287 people in Britain have received the first dose of a vaccine — about 57% of all adults — while 3,527,481 have been given their second dose. “The vaccine is saving lives and is our route out of this pandemic,” said health minister Matt Hancock.
8:30 p.m. Russian President Vladimir Putin said he expected his country to reach herd immunity and lift pandemic-related restrictions by the end of summer, the Interfax news agency reports, citing the president’s televised comments. Putin, who was vaccinated this week with a Russian vaccine, also said the only side effects were slight muscle pains and discomfort at the point of the injection.
2:23 p.m. India’s western state of Maharashtra imposes night curfews to tackle a record surge in COVID-19 cases, with financial capital Mumbai reporting 6,123 new cases — the highest single-day spike since last March.
India logs 62,714 cases of the coronavirus in the last 24 hours, the health ministry says, the highest single-day tally since mid-October. With 312 deaths, single-day mortality figures were also at their highest since Christmas.
3:24 a.m. A World Health Organization-backed program to supply coronavirus vaccines to poorer countries expects the Serum Institute of India to resume full deliveries of the AstraZeneca shot to it in May, UNICEF says. “Deliveries of SII/AZ vaccine are expected to begin fully again by May, with catch-up deliveries to reach every participant’s full allocation up to May, accelerating thereafter,” a UNICEF spokeswoman tells Reuters via email.
Saturday, March 27
11:32 p.m. Indonesia expects a slowdown in COVID-19 inoculations next month as India delays shipments of AstraZeneca vaccines, its health minister says. India has put a temporary hold on all major exports of the AstraZeneca coronavirus shot made by the Serum Institute of India, prioritizing domestic demand as cases rise.
India’s move will affect supplies to the GAVI/WHO-backed global COVAX vaccine-sharing facility, through which 64 lower-income countries, including Indonesia, are supposed to get doses from SII.
8:11 p.m. The Serum Institute of India now hopes to launch by September a vaccine developed with U.S.-based biotech firm Novavax, according to SII CEO Adar Poonawalla. Clinical trials of Corovax have kicked off in India, Poonawalla tweets, without explaining why the vaccine launch was delayed from June.
7:30 p.m. The Philippines will reimpose stricter quarantine measures in capital Manila and nearby provinces as the country battles to contain a surge in COVID-19 cases that put a bigger strain on hospitals. Presidential spokesman Harry Roque says the measures, which will be in place until April 4, will ban nonessential movement, mass gatherings and in-restaurant dining. They represent a further tightening of curbs imposed March 22.
The health ministry reports 9,595 new coronavirus cases, marking the second straight day that the daily increase exceeds 9,000. The country has posted a record rise in three of the past five days.
3:26 a.m. The World Health Organization urges countries to donate COVID-19 vaccine doses to inoculate the most vulnerable in 20 poorer nations after India, a key supplier to the agency’s COVAX vaccine-sharing program, says it is prioritizing local needs.
2:46 a.m. The AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is still recommended for use while studies continue to look for any potential link to “very rare” side effects, including blood clots, a senior World Health Organization official says.
To catch up on earlier developments, see the last edition of latest updates.
Sinovac – Coronavirus latest: Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccine data show efficacy, WHO says