Fri. Nov 18th, 2022

Nikkei Asia is tracking the spread of the new coronavirus that originated in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.
Global cases have reached 117,556,326, according to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. The worldwide death toll has hit 2,610,135.
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
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Wednesday, March 10 (Tokyo time)
3:30 p.m. South Korea will exempt people working on vehicle memory chips from two-week COVID-19 quarantine requirements and prioritize vaccinations for persons key to auto chip procurement in order to minimize damage from the chip shortage.
3:05 p.m. Tokyo reports 340 cases, up from 290 a day earlier. The seven-day average of new cases in the capital decreased nearly 5% from a week ago to 265 but was still higher than the threshold of 140 that the Tokyo Metropolitan Government wants before ending the state of emergency.
2:54 p.m. People in Japan who received the Pfizer vaccine may have suffered a higher rate of severe allergic reactions than in the U.S. and Europe. Taro Kono, the minister in charge of the country’s inoculation program, said 17 cases of anaphylaxis — a potentially fatal allergic reaction — have been reported among the 107,558 health care workers inoculated as of Tuesday. The rate compares with five cases in every one million doses administered in the U.S. and 20 cases per million in the U.K.
2:48 p.m. India reports 17,921 cases in the last 24 hours, up from 15,388 the previous day, bringing the country total to 11.26 million. Fatalities rose by 133 to 158,063. More than 24 million vaccine doses have been administered to people nationwide since the country’s inoculation drive was launched on Jan. 16. About 20 million people have received the first jab and over four million their second shot after a gap of 28 days.
1:09 p.m. Qantas Airways’ budget arm Jetstar is flying 90% of its pre-pandemic domestic schedule in March amid a rebound in demand as state borders reopen in Australia, according to Jetstar’s CEO.
1:07 p.m. Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways reports a record annual loss of 21.7 billion Hong Kong dollars ($2.8 billion) due to a sharp downturn in travel associated with the pandemic, restructuring costs and fleet writedowns.
1:06 p.m. The leaders of the Quad countries — the U.S., Japan, India and Australia — will meet online on Friday for their first summit, signaling their commitment to providing COVID-19 vaccines to developing countries.
2:09 p.m. Low-cost carrier AirAsia is ready to furlough more workers unless Malaysia’s domestic coronavirus travel curbs end next month, even as the company speeds expansion of its non-airlines business to fill an earnings hole, top executives told Nikkei Asia.
11:42 a.m. China’s producer price index (PPI) rises 1.7% in February from a year earlier, the fastest pace since November 2018, as manufacturers raced to fill export orders, raising expectations for robust growth in the world’s second-largest economy in 2021. PPI figuare speeds up from a 0.3% pickup in January.
China’s exports in February grow at a record 154.9% in dollar terms from a year earlier, when the country was in virtual shutdown during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
10:25 a.m. South Korea reports 470 cases, up from 446 a day ago, bringing the country total to 93,733 with 1,648 deaths. Health authorities say an additional 60,662 people have been inoculated, bringing the vaccination total to 446,941.
10:12 a.m. Mexico is asking China to fill a vaccine shortage with an order for 22 million doses, the foreign minister said on Tuesday, a week after the U.S. ruled out sharing vaccines with Mexico in the short term.
7:07 a.m. BioNTech could have the capacity next year to make 3 billion doses of the vaccine it developed with Pfizer, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday, citing an interview with the German company’s CEO.
7:00 a.m. Reserve Bank of Australia Gov. Philip Lowe counters rumors of rate hikes, saying 2024 would be the earliest date to reach full employment, even as the economy is now within “striking distance” of its pre-pandemic output.
5:46 a.m. Walt Disney hopes to reopen its California theme parks to limited attendance in late April, CEO Bob Chapek said at the company’s annual shareholder meeting on Tuesday. The parks were closed a year ago due to the pandemic.
4:40 a.m. The Indian state of Rajasthan has begun limiting vaccinations to major hospitals, citing a shortage of doses. The federal government says there is no vaccine shortage in the country or the state.
3:45 a.m. Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine could be produced in western Europe after a deal to make it in Italy was signed by Moscow’s RDIF sovereign wealth fund and Swiss-based pharmaceutical Adienne.
1:33 a.m. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development upgrades its forecast for the U.K. economy, saying the country’s quick rollout of coronavirus vaccines “should help momentum to build.”
The OECD projects 5.1% growth in Britain’s gross domestic product this year and 4.7% in 2022, up from the group’s forecast in December of 4.2% for 2021 and 4.1% the next year. The U.K. says it has inoculated more than 22.5 million Britons.
The OECD also says global economic activity will surpass pre-pandemic levels by midyear.
Tuesday, March 9
7:21 p.m. The Tokyo Olympics organizing committee has decided to close the games to foreign visitors because of the pandemic, Nikkei has learned. The Japanese government had initially hoped to welcome around 1 million spectators from aboard to support local businesses that rely on tourism. However, as the spread of the virus continues globally, the organizing committee made the decision to close the games to overseas fans to ensure safety.
6:00 p.m. Japanese medical equipment maker Terumo in the next 12 months plans to make 20 million syringes that can pull one or two extra doses out of each Pfizer vaccine vial, Nikkei has learned, with the company intent on beginning mass production by the end of this month.
5:30 p.m. Top Glove, the world’s largest latex glove maker, announces a surge in profit and revenue on increases in sales and average prices, saying it sees no signs of a slowdown in demand despite the global rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. Net profit for the Malaysia-based company soared by 24 times in the December-February quarter to 2.87 billion ringgit ($695 million) from a year earlier. Revenue increased 336% to 5.37 billion ringgit.
3:20 p.m. Tokyo confirms 290 new cases, up from 116 a day earlier. The seven-day average of new cases in the capital edged down 0.5% from a week ago to 261 but was still higher than the threshold of 140 that the Tokyo Metropolitan Government is looking at before ending the state of emergency.
2:30 p.m. India vaccinated over 2 million people in the past 24 hours, the most in a single day since it launched its inoculation drive on Jan. 16. The total number of anti-COVID shots administered now stands at more than 23 million. India reports 15,388 new cases for the past 24 hours, down from 18,599 the previous day.
1:30 p.m. Indonesia has approved AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use. More than 1 million doses of the vaccine arrived late on Monday via the COVAX global vaccine program. About 38 million doses of a vaccine produced by China’s Sinovac Biotech also have arrived in the country, some of which have been used in a mass inoculation drive starting in January.
12:20 p.m. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison says he remains optimistic the country’s COVID-19 vaccination drive will finish on time by October despite initial delays. Australia began mass inoculation for its 25 million people on Feb. 22 but missed its targets in the first two weeks as the pace of vaccination slowed after two elderly people were inadvertently given four times the recommended dose. Australia reported zero new local cases for the 11th straight day on Tuesday.
10:39 a.m. South Korea reports 446 new cases, up from 346 a day ago. Total infections reach 93,263, with 1,645 deaths. Health authorities say 64,111 people got COVID-19 vaccines, raising the total number of the vaccinated to 383,346.
9:14 a.m. China launches a vaccine passport for cross-border travel. Called the International Health Certificate and containing data accessed via the WeChat mobile app, the certificate stipulates the vaccine manufacturer and type, as well as other information such as results for nucleic acid and serum antibody tests.
8:55 a.m. Japan lowers its economic growth to 2.8% for the October-December quarter from the preceding three-month period, but still registers a recovery that started in the second half of 2020. The figure translates into an annualized GDP growth rate of 11.7%.
7:30 a.m. Major U.S. aviation, travel and aerospace groups join airline unions in urging the Biden administration to help establish temporary COVID-19 health credentials to boost travel, which has been hit hard by the pandemic. Trade group Airlines for America, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the U.S. Travel Association and 24 other groups urged the administration to work with industry to “quickly develop uniform, targeted federal guidance for temporary COVID-19 health credentials covering both tests and vaccinations.”
7:00 a.m. The COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech was able to neutralize a new variant of the coronavirus spreading in Brazil, according to a laboratory study in the New England Journal of Medicine. Blood taken from people who had been given the vaccine neutralized an engineered version of the virus that contained the same mutations affecting the spike protein of the highly contagious P.1 variant first identified in Brazil, the study found.
3:00 a.m. A decision on whether international spectators will be allowed to attend the Tokyo Olympics this summer will be made this month, the International Olympic Committee says. “In terms of spectators, there will be a decision towards the end of March, at least regarding international spectators,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams told a virtual news conference. “Beyond that it is too difficult to say.”
1:10 a.m. Fully vaccinated people can safely visit with one another indoors without masks or physical distancing, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says in new guidance.
Fully vaccinated people should continue to take precautions against COVID-19 in certain other circumstances, such as through avoiding medium-size and large gatherings, the guidelines say.
More than 90 million COVID-19 shots have been administered across the U.S. so far.
Monday, March 8
9:10 p.m. Syria’s President Bashar Assad and his wife, Asma, have tested positive for COVID-19 after showing minor symptoms, Reuters reports, citing a statement issued by the president’s office.
8:35 p.m. Indonesia receives its first shipment of the AstraZeneca vaccine, amounting to around 1.1 million doses. They are part of the 11.7 million doses of coronavirus vaccines Indonesia expects to receive via the COVAX facility through the end of May.
So far, Indonesia has received 38 million doses of vaccine from China’s Sinovac.
6:43 p.m. British consumer confidence has risen to its highest level since the coronavirus pandemic started, polling firm YouGov says, as its consumer confidence score rose 2 points to 105.4, driven by hopes for a pickup in business activity, higher house prices and better household finances over the next year.
6:14 p.m. Thailand will reduce the mandatory quarantine from 14 to seven days starting April for foreign arrivals who have been vaccinated against the coronavirus, says Health Minister Anutin Charnvirankul.
5:30 p.m. The tiny Southeast Asian nation of East Timor will put the capital on coronavirus lockdown for the first time, the government says, amid fears it could be facing its first local outbreak. A “sanitary fence and mandatory confinement” will be imposed in Dili for seven days, starting midnight Monday, with residents asked not to venture outside unless necessary. East Timor has detected just 122 novel coronavirus cases, most of which were imported. But its porous border with Indonesia, which has recorded close to 1.38 million cases, has raised concern.
4:30 p.m. Malaysia will buy additional doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine, bringing the total secured to 32 million, enough to cover half of its population, the country’s science minister says. “All of the Pfizer vaccines secured so far are expected to be delivered by this year,” he said. Malaysia is also considering dropping negotiations to procure the single-dose vaccine from Johnson & Johnson, in favor of a deal with Chinese company CanSino Biologics, which also requires only one dose, he said. Johnson & Johnson’s supplies are expected to arrive only in the fourth quarter of the year, he added.
4:28 p.m. One of Hong Kong’s major movie theater chains shut down on Monday after 36 years in operation, a victim of the coronavirus pandemic. UA Cinemas was established in 1985 and operated six cinemas across the city. It said the decision was “due to unavoidable and devastating pressure” caused by the pandemic. For the past year, cinemas and live-performance theaters in Hong Kong have faced temporary closures or reduced-seating capacities in an effort to stem the spread of COVID-19.
3:30 p.m. Tokyo confirms 116 new infections, down from 237 a day earlier. The daily number marked the lowest in more than four months, and the seven-day-average of new cases in the capital dropped around 6% from a week ago to 253. The metropolitan government is looking at a threshold of 140 cases per day, on average, before lifting the current state of emergency.
2:40 p.m. Vietnam launches its COVID-19 vaccination program with health care workers first in line, even as the country looks set to contain its fourth outbreak of the coronavirus since the pandemic began. Monday’s shots were part of Vietnam’s first batch of 117,600 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine that arrived late last month.
2:16 p.m. India reports 18,599 new infections for the past 24 hours, slightly lower than the 18,711 of the previous day but marking the third consecutive day with more than 18,000 cases. The country total now stands at 11.23 million. Deaths rose by 97, to 157,853. Western Maharashtra state, which is home to the financial hub of Mumbai, had the highest number of daily new cases, 11,141.
1:30 p.m. New Zealand will buy additional COVID-19 vaccines, developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, sufficient to vaccinate the whole country, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says. The government has signed an agreement to buy an extra 8.5 million doses, enough to vaccinate more than 4 million people, Ardern said, adding the vaccines were expected to reach the country in the second half of the year. The government’s original agreement with Pfizer was for 1.5 million doses.
11:00 a.m. Over 300.19 million vaccine doses have been administered as of March 6, with an average of 6,476,065 injections for each of the past seven days. By country/region, the U.S. and China stand out, accounting for 46.8% of the total. The number of vaccinations is also increasing in India, Brazil and European countries. For details, see our vaccine tracker.
9:57 a.m. South Korea reports 346 new cases, down from 416 a day ago. Total infections reach 92,817 with 1,642 deaths.
9:45 a.m. China reports 19 cases for Sunday, up from 13 a day earlier. All new cases originated overseas. The number of asymptomatic cases, which China does not classify as confirmed cases, rose to 17 from 11 a day earlier.
4:30 a.m. The U.S. has administered over 90.3 million vaccine doses as of Sunday and distributed nearly 116.4 million, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. The doses comprise both Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines, the agency said.
Sunday, March 7
9:30 p.m. Austria has suspended a batch of AstraZeneca’s vaccine while investigating the death of one person and the illness of another after being inoculated, a health agency says. One 49-year-old woman died as a result of severe coagulation disorders, while a 35-year-old woman developed a pulmonary embolism and is recovering. A pulmonary embolism is a lung disease caused by a dislodged blood clot.
4:38 p.m. China looks to discuss procedures for mutual recognition of COVID-19 vaccinations with other nations, says Foreign Minister Wang Yi. He also says Beijing is ready to work with the International Olympic Committee to help provide vaccines to Olympic athletes.
11:57 a.m. Japan’s health ministry could approve a second COVID-19 vaccine as early as May, minister Norihisa Tamura says on a television program.
8:40 a.m. Auckland, New Zealand’s biggest city, emerges from a weeklong lockdown imposed after the detection of a community cluster of the more contagious British coronavirus variant. No new local COVID-19 cases are recorded Sunday, health officials say, marking a full week of no community transmissions nationwide.
7:34 a.m. Moderna has agreed to supply the Philippine government with 13 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine, the U.S. drugmaker says Saturday, with deliveries set to begin in mid-2021. Moderna says it expects to reach a separate deal with the government and private sector to supply an additional 7 million doses.
6:25 a.m. U.S. scientists are skeptical of a one-shot regimen for the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, saying there isn’t enough evidence that a single dose provides long-term protection, The Wall Street Journal reports.
“It is essential that these vaccines be used as authorized by [the Food and Drug Administration] in order to prevent COVID-19 and related hospitalizations and death,” Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, tells the Journal.
3:44 a.m. Ecuador and Paraguay both have received about 20,000 doses of Sinovac Biotech’s coronavirus vaccine from Chile, the recipient countries say Saturday.
3:30 a.m. The U.S. Senate passes President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan, which includes one-time payments of $1,400 to most Americans, extended unemployment benefits and $350 billion in aid to state and local governments.
The legislation, among the largest stimulus packages in U.S. history, returns to the House of Representatives for a vote slated for Tuesday. Biden hopes to sign the bill before enhanced jobless benefits expire on March 14.
12:24 a.m. Japan will maintain tight controls on the entry of foreign nationals following the extension of a state of emergency covering Tokyo and its surrounding prefectures to curb COVID-19.
The emergency extension comes as authorities have been particularly vigilant in guarding against spikes in coronavirus cases as the countdown to hosting the Tokyo Games this summer begins.
Saturday, March 6
9:40 p.m. India’s federal government asks local authorities to prioritize COVID-19 vaccinations in several districts of eight states including New Delhi that have seen a spike in coronavirus cases in recent weeks. The country began vaccinations in mid-January and at least 12 million health and frontline workers have received the shot so far. India aims to vaccinate 300 million of its 1.35 billion people by August.
6:30 p.m. Saudi Arabia will end most coronavirus-related restrictions on Sunday, including resuming indoor dining, reopening cinemas and resuming entertainment activities and events, the state news agency SPA says. However, some activities will remain banned, including weddings and corporate meetings. Social gatherings will continue to be limited to a maximum of 20 people.
3:23 p.m. The Dalai Lama has received a Covid-19 vaccine at a hospital in Dharamshala, a city in India’s north where he resides. In a video message after taking the jab, the 85-year-old Tibetan spiritual leader says his trusted friends, including doctors, suggested that he get vaccinated as a preventive measure. “More people should have [the] courage to take this injection.”
3:10 p.m. Tokyo confirms 293 new infections, down from 301 a day earlier. The seven-day average for daily cases in the capital edged down to 267 from 269 a week ago, but the pace of decline has slowed. The Japanese government has decided to extend the state of emergency for Tokyo and three surrounding prefectures until March 21.

To catch up on earlier developments, see the last edition of latest updates.