Ursula von der Leyen – Coronavirus latest: China cases fall to more than 3-week low
Nikkei Asia is tracking the spread of the new coronavirus that originated in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.
Global cases have reached 102,922,990, according to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
The worldwide death toll has hit 2,226,935.
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
— Coronavirus mutations can be classified into 12 types
— Distribution, duration, safety: challenges emerge in vaccine race
Monday, Feb. 1 (Tokyo time)
11:00 a.m. The surge in international container-shipping rates in recent months has left companies reliant on maritime transport facing delays and mounting costs that risk bogging down a post-coronavirus economic recovery.
10:05 a.m. South Korea reports 305 cases, down from 355 a day ago, bringing the country total to 78,508 with 1,425 deaths. The government has extended social distancing rules in greater Seoul for two more weeks to control the outbreak during next week’s Lunar New Year holiday.
9:20 a.m. China reports 42 cases, down from 92 a day earlier and marking the lowest one-day increase since Jan. 8, amid efforts to contain the disease ahead of the holiday season. Of 33 locally transmitted infections reported, 22 were in the northernmost province of Heilongjiang. New cases reported in neighboring Jilin Province fell to 10 from 63 a day earlier.
8:00 a.m. Israel extended a national lockdown on Sunday as coronavirus variants hindered its vaccination drive and officials predicted a delay in a turnaround from the crisis. Highlighting Israel’s challenges in enforcing restrictions, thousands of Orthodox Jews attended the Jerusalem funerals of two prominent rabbis on Sunday, drawing criticism from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition partners. Netanyahu’s cabinet voted to extend the five-week-old lockdown until Friday, with a separate ban on international flights to remain in place until Sunday. Parliament earlier voted to double fines for lockdown violators to 10,000 shekels ($3,051).
5:12 a.m. Ursula Von der Leyen, president of the European Commission tweeted that AstraZeneca will deliver nine million more doses of its vaccine to the EU in the first quarter, making a total of 40 million for the period. Deliveries will start one week earlier than expected. The Anglo-Swedish company unexpectedly announced in January that it would cut supplies to the EU of its vaccine candidate in the first quarter, sparking a row over supplies. AstraZeneca would expand its manufacturing capacity in Europe, she said.
5:00 a.m. France has delivered nearly 1.5 million shots during its vaccination program, reporting just a few thousand more than 24 hours earlier. The country’s faltering vaccine rollout has been bogged down by bureaucracy and recent supply shortages.
Sunday, Jan. 31
9:30 p.m. Indonesia will receive 13.7 million to 23.1 million doses of AstraZeneca‘s vaccine through the COVAX global vaccine sharing scheme, its foreign ministry says. Delivery is expected to be split into two lots.
8:50 p.m. Vietnam reports 50 infections for Sunday, most linked to an outbreak that began on Thursday in the northern province of Hai Duong. The outbreak has spread to at least nine cities and provinces, including the economic hub of Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, with 238 locally transmitted infections.
6:40 p.m. At least 5.6 million doses of two international vaccines are expected to arrive in the Philippines in the first quarter, the chief of the country’s coronavirus task force says. The initial volume is part of the 9.4 million doses of the two vaccines — one developed by Pfizer and BioNTech and the other by AstraZeneca — expected to be shipped in the first half.
1:40 p.m. A World Health Organization-led team of experts investigating the origins of COVID-19 in the central Chinese city of Wuhan was expected to visit a Huanan market later on Sunday. The market is a wholesale seafood center where the coronavirus was initially detected.
1:01 p.m. China’s factory activity grew at the slowest pace in five months in January, hit by a wave of domestic infections but still in line with the ongoing recovery in the world’s second-largest economy. The official manufacturing Purchasing Manager’s Index fell to 51.3 in January from 51.9 in December, the government said in a statement on Sunday.
12:47 p.m. Australia reopened its “travel bubble” with New Zealand on Sunday after its neighbor reported no new locally acquired cases, but added new screening measures as it marked its longest infection-free run since the outbreak began. The decision marks the resumption of the only international arrivals into Australia who do not require 14 days in hotel quarantine. Australia had paused quarantine exemptions for trans-Tasmania arrivals six days earlier after New Zealand reported its first new case in months.
12:40 p.m. Takeda Pharmaceutical and two Japanese universities are developing a drug to treat the clogging and inflammation of blood vessels, both of which are complications of COVID-19. The drug uses a mechanism different from those of existing coronavirus drugs. The developers report that it will likely help prevent the aggravation of symptoms.
12:28 a.m. Pakistan has secured 17 million doses of AstraZeneca‘s COVID-19 vaccine under the COVAX scheme. About 6 million of the doses will arrive in the first quarter and the remainder by the middle of the year, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Health Services Faisal Sultan said on Twitter.
Saturday, Jan. 30
11:15 p.m. Pregnant women with protective coronavirus antibodies are likely to pass those antibodies to their unborn babies, according to a new study from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in the U.S.
The findings, published in the in the Journal of the American Medical Association’s JAMA Pediatrics, show 72 out of 83 infected or previously infected pregnant women transferred the antibodies across the placenta. Researchers say this might suggest pregnant women who get a COVID-19 vaccination could pass that along also.
7:26 p.m. Malaysia reports its biggest daily rise in coronavirus cases for the second straight day, with 5,728 new infections recorded. The new cases took the cumulative total of infections to 209,661. The health ministry also reports 13 new deaths, raising total fatalities from the pandemic to 746.
5:54 p.m. India reports its lowest active number of coronavirus cases in seven months, a year after the virus was first confirmed in the country. The infection rate has slowed significantly since September and 13,083 new cases are reported Saturday, one of the lowest figures on record and down from more than 20,000 each day at the beginning of the month, federal health data showed.
4:32 p.m. The World Health Organization-led team investigating the origins of COVID-19 in China visit a hospital in the central city of Wuhan that treated early coronavirus patients. On its second day after two weeks in quarantine, the team goes to Jinyintan Hospital, where doctors had collected samples from patients suffering from an unidentified pneumonia in late 2019. Team members leaving the hospital did not speak to journalists, who have been kept at a distance since the group left its quarantine hotel on Thursday.
3:57 p.m. Taiwan’s government reports the island’s first death from COVID-19 since May, as it battles a small and unusual outbreak of locally transmitted cases. A woman in her 80s with underlying health conditions died after being infected with the coronavirus as part of a domestic cluster connected to a hospital, says Health Minister Chen Shih-chung.
12:47 p.m. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issues a sweeping order requiring the use of face masks on nearly all forms of public transportation as the country continues to report tens of thousands of daily COVID-19 deaths.
The order, which takes effect at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Monday, requires face masks to be worn by all travelers on airplanes, ships, trains, subways, buses, taxis, and ride-shares and at transportation hubs like airports, bus or ferry terminals, train and subway stations and seaports.
To catch up on earlier developments, see the last edition of latest updates.