Kazakhstan Extends Coronavirus Lockdown Until Mid August

The Nikkei Asian Review is tracking the spread of the new coronavirus that originated in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.

Global cases have reached 31,183,470, according to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

The worldwide death toll has hit 962,176.

To see how the disease has spread, view our virus tracker charts:

(Source photo by AP) 

Here are the latest developments (Tokyo time):

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Tuesday, September 22

6:30 p.m. The Philippine health ministry has reported 1,635 new coronavirus cases, the lowest daily increase in infections in two weeks, and 50 additional deaths. The total confirmed infections have increased to 291,789, still the highest in Southeast Asia

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6:08 p.m. Indonesia reports its deadliest day of the pandemic so far, with 160 new deaths in the past 24 hours and 4,071 new infections. Fatalities have topped 100 every day over the past week, with East Java Province reporting the most deaths, followed by Jakarta and Central Java. Indonesia’s total cases have now reached 252,923, with 9,837 deaths.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani forecasts a deeper economic contraction in the third quarter of between 1% and 2.9%, which would put the country in a technical recession after the economy shrank 5.32% in the second quarter. She also forecast a sharper fall for all of 2020 of between 0.6% and 1.7%. The previous forecast was for -1.1% to 0.2% growth.

5:31 p.m. Hong Kong's Disneyland said it will reopen on Friday to a reduced number of visitors and only for five days a week initially. It will also implement social distancing measures and visitors will be expected to wear face masks. Indoor live performances will still be suspended.

The resort is reopening after the latest wave of coronavirus infections forced it to close for two months.

4:30 p.m. Russia reports 6,215 new coronavirus cases, the most recorded over 24 hours since July 18, pushing its national tally to 1,115,810, the fourth-highest in the world. Authorities also reported 160 deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing the official death toll to 19,649.

3:13 p.m. India confirms 75,083 coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, its lowest daily increase in three weeks, bringing the its infection tally to 5.56 million. The death toll rose to 88,935, up 1,053 since Monday morning.

The country also reported a daily record of 101,468 recoveries, taking its recovery rate to 80.86%. Its active COVID-19 cases account for 17.54% of total confirmed infections, while the mortality rate stands at 1.6%, according to health ministry data.

Visitors pose with a performer on the reopening day at the Ocean Park theme park in Hong Kong on Sept. 18.    © Reuters

11:29 a.m. Hong Kong will extend social distancing measures until Oct. 1, China's National Day, when anti-government protests might attract many people again. Gatherings of more than four people will continue to be banned, while restaurants and bars must close by midnight.

11:20 a.m. South Korea's health authorities are asking people to stay home during Chuseok holidays, or the Korean autumn harvest festival, next week to prevent another outbreak of the coronavirus. The country confirmed on Tuesday 61 new cases, down from 70 a day ago. Total infections reached 23,106 with 388 deaths.

5:35 a.m. Wall Street's main indexes closed lower on Monday as the death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg appeared to make the passage of another stimulus package in Congress less likely before the Nov. 3 presidential election, sparking large declines in the healthcare sector.

The Dow shed as much as 900 points and the CBOE Market Volatility index, Wall Street's fear gauge, shot up to its highest level in nearly two weeks. The S&P 500 ended down less than 9% from its record high on Sept. 2 after paring losses that had pushed the benchmark almost into corrective territory.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed just over 500 points, or 1.8%, while the S&P 500 dropped 1.1%.

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in January. Wall Street's main indexes tumbled to their lowest in nearly seven weeks on Monday as worries about fresh coronavirus-driven lockdowns spilled over from Europe.   © Reuters

4:03 a.m. Six tennis players in the men's and women's qualifying draw for the French Open have been withdrawn due to COVID-19 concerns, organizers have said.

"The Roland Garros tournament directors can confirm that two players competing in the qualifying tournament have tested positive for COVID-19 and three others have confirmed close contact with a coach who has tested positive for COVID-19," the French Tennis Federation (FFT) had said in a statement.

Organisers did not reveal the names of those who had been pulled out but Bosnia's Damir Dzumhur said he had been withdrawn because his coach Petar Popovic had returned a positive test.

The French Open will be held from Sept. 27-Oct. 11 after being moved from its usual late May-June slot.

3:50 a.m. London Mayor Sadiq Khan said Monday he had agreed with local council leaders and public health experts on new COVID-19 restrictions to be put to central government in an attempt to stem the outbreak in the capital.

The measures include reduced opening hours for pubs and bars and extending the wearing of face masks on public transport and in shops to other public areas.

Khan said he will be asking the government to implement the plan as soon as possible and would discuss it with Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday.

"Without adequate testing or contact tracing in London we have no choice but to look at other measures to slow the spread of the virus," he said in a statement.

"I firmly believe that acting early, rather than having to impose more stringent measures later, is the right thing to do both for public health and the economy."

3:40 a.m. The weekly number of new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. rose last week for the first time after falling for eight straight weeks.

Experts attributed the increase to schools reopening and parties over the Labor Day holiday.

New cases rose 17% to about 287,000 for the week ended Sept. 20, while deaths rose 5.5% to about 5,400 people after falling for the previous four weeks, Reuters reported.

The country set a record of testing over 1 million people on Saturday.

3:00 a.m. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday took down its guidance warning on possible airborne transmission of the novel coronavirus, saying that the draft recommendation was posted in error.

The now-withdrawn guidance, posted on the agency's website on Friday, recommended that people use air purifiers to reduce airborne germs indoors to avoid the disease from spreading.

12:38 a.m. A total of 156 countries have joined the global COVAX scheme intended to ensure fair distribution of supplies of future vaccines against COVID-19, an alliance led by the World Health Organization says.

Monday, September 21

11:35 p.m. Wall Street's main indexes hit their lowest in nearly seven weeks on Monday as concerns about fresh coronavirus-driven lockdowns and the inability of Congress to agree on more fiscal stimulus raised fears about another hit to the domestic economy. The Dow's fall extends to 800 points or 3%.

10:50 p.m. The Dow's decline widens to 2%, American Express and UnitedHealth, as investors watch rising cases of coronavirus in Europe.

10:30 p.m. U.S. stocks tumble at the open, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling more than 460 points, or 1.7%.

10:05 p.m. Tokyo reports 98 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday and one new death. People in their 20s made up the largest group of new cases, at 29.

Osaka reports 39 new cases and one death.

8:00 p.m. Myanmar intends to go ahead with its Nov. 8 general election, rejecting opposition calls for a postponement due to rising coronavirus cases, Reuters reports. An election commission official says precautious will be taken, including increasing polling stations. The daily case count of 671 on Sunday was the country's highest yet.

6:50 p.m. The U.K. is reportedly considering another lockdown, according to Reuters, as the trend in new infections heads in the wrong direction. The country's health secretary says the restrictions would be likely to focus on socializing, rather than schools and workplaces. Total cases are nearing 400,000, with over 41,000 deaths.

5:55 p.m. Indonesia hits a fresh daily record with 4,176 new cases, along with 124 deaths. These numbers bring the country's totals to 248,852 infections and 9,677 dead.

2:50 p.m. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has eased a ban on overseas travel by Filipino nurses and other medical workers, allowing more to take jobs abroad, his spokesman said, as the government believes it has the coronavirus outbreak under control.

2:34 p.m. India reports 86,961 coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, the lowest figure in six days, bringing the country's total infections to nearly 5.5 million. The death toll jumped to 87,882, an increase of 1,130 since Sunday morning.

Also in India, the Taj Mahal, in the northern city of Agra, reopens with strict COVID-19 safety guidelines, such as mandatory wearing of masks and social distancing, six months after the 17th century-architectural marvel was closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. A maximum 5,000 tourists are allowed per day.

India's famed Taj Mahal, in the northern city of Agra, reopened on Sept. 21 with strict COVID-19 safety protocols. The number of visitors is limited to 5,000 per day.   © Reuters

1:38 p.m. China keeps its benchmark lending rate for corporate and household loans steady for the fifth straight month at its September fixing, as expected. The one-year loan prime rate (LPR) was kept unchanged at 3.85%, while the five-year LPR remained at 4.65%.

12:37 p.m. Asian countries were some of the most aggressive in closing their borders to fight COVID-19 and are among the slowest to reopen to tourists, recently compiled data shows, underscoring the prolonged pressure on economies that rely heavily on international visitors.

12:06 p.m. Five players have been pulled from qualifying for the French Open tennis tournament after two players and a coach tested positive for COVID-19, organizers said. The qualifiers will begin later Monday, with the main draw set to begin Sept. 27.

12:04 p.m. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday lifted all coronavirus restrictions across the country, except in Auckland, as the number of new infections slowed to a trickle. Some restrictions were also eased in Auckland to allow gatherings of up to 100 people, but the country's biggest city needs more time before all curbs can be lifted, Ardern said.

11:24 a.m. South Korea confirms 70 new coronavirus cases, down from 82 a day ago. The total number of infections has reached 23,045, with 385 deaths. One-third of students in Greater Seoul return to the classroom starting Monday, even as new cases reach double digits for two straight days.

10:25 a.m. South Korea's exports for the first 20 days of September rose for the first time since March, helped by higher microchip and car sales, in a boost to recovery hopes in the trade-dependent economy. Exports climbed 3.6% from a year earlier, while imports fell 6.8% on the year, Korea Customs Service data show.

A truck moves a shipping container at the port of Pyeongtaek in South Korea: The country's exports rose, year over year, for the first time since March, helped by higher auto and chip shipments.   © Reuters

8:59 a.m. Mainland China reports 12 new COVID-19 cases on Sept. 20, up from 10 cases a day earlier, the country's national health authorities said.

8:46 a.m. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison's approval rating has risen slightly, a poll shows, as measures taken by the conservative government to tackle the pandemic helped to maintain his popularity. A Newspoll survey conducted for The Australian newspaper showed Morrison's performance rating rose a percentage point to 65% from a month earlier, just short of its highs of 68% in June and July.

7:12 a.m. Australia's coronavirus hot spot of Victoria on Monday reported two deaths from COVID-19 and 11 cases, continuing a steady downward trend in daily cases and putting the state on course to ease more restrictions.

7:06 a.m. Brazil recorded 16,389 additional confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours, and 363 deaths from the disease, the Health Ministry said on Sunday.

6:00 a.m. Britain is at a critical point in the COVID-19 pandemic and faces a very challenging winter, one of the government's top medical advisers will warn at a public briefing on Monday. Cases in Britain are on the increase in what Prime Minister Boris Johnson has labelled a second wave of the virus, with large areas of the country subject to restrictions on social freedom and London expected to be next in line.

2:37 a.m. Fujifilm Holdings will soon apply to produce and sell its Avigan antiviral drug as a treatment for the new coronavirus in Japan, Nikkei learned Sunday.

Men construct a barricade blocking off their street to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Yangon, Myanmar, September 12.   © Reuters

Sunday, September 20

11:34 p.m. Myanmar announces a stay-home order for its biggest city Yangon, starting Monday, forcing all employees to work from home. The health ministry said on Sunday that it had recorded 671 new coronavirus cases.

4:18 p.m. Indonesia has suspended exports from local seafood company Putri Indah into China after its frozen fish products tested positive for the coronavirus, the country's fisheries ministry says. An investigation is underway, and the suspension will only apply to Putri Indah. The virus was detected on the outside of the packaging.

1:44 p.m. India's coronavirus case tally surged to 5.4 million as it added 92,605 new infections in the last 24 hours, according to data from the health ministry. The country has posted the highest single-day caseload in the world since early August and lags behind only the United States, which has 6.7 million cases in terms of cumulative infections. A total of 1,113 people died of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, the health ministry said, taking mortalities to 86,752 -- a relatively low 1.6% of all cases.

11:21 a.m. AstraZeneca says its COVID-19 vaccine trial in the U.S. is still on hold.

10:11 a.m. Mainland China reported 10 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, down from the 14 cases reported a day earlier, according to the national health authority. The National Health Commission says all new cases were imported infections involving travelers from overseas.

9:48 a.m. South Korea reports 82 new coronavirus cases as of midnight Saturday, the lowest daily count of infections since mid-August, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of the total, 72 were locally transmitted, bringing the total tally to 22,975, with 383 deaths.

Saturday, September 19

5:11 p.m. Indonesia reports its biggest daily rise in coronavirus infections, with 4,168 new cases, taking the total to 240,687, according to data from the health ministry. The data adds 112 new deaths to take the total to 9,448, the highest in Southeast Asia.

5:09 p.m. The Philippines' health ministry reports 3,962 new coronavirus infections and 100 additional deaths, with both numbers the highest in five days. In a bulletin, the ministry says total confirmed cases have risen to 283,460, the highest in Southeast Asia, while deaths have reached 4,930.

2:33 p.m. As more people work at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, consumption of instant coffee is perking up in Japan. Rising demand for robusta beans, used mainly for instant coffee, has made Vietnam, the world's biggest producer of robusta, Japan's top coffee bean supplier and relegated Brazil to second place.

10:30 a.m. Japanese brewers are trying to adjust to the coronavirus-ravaged landscape by developing healthier drinks and supporting the restaurant industry through e-commerce in hopes of boosting earnings. Kirin Holdings says its new focus on health drinks arose after sales jumped for products containing a particular strain of lactic acid bacteria. Kirin also plans to launch Japan's first sugar-free beer under its Ichiban Shibori brand as consumers become more health-conscious.

10:20 a.m. China reports 14 new infections for Friday, down from 32 a day earlier. All new cases were imported infections involving travelers from overseas. It also reports 24 new asymptomatic cases, up from 20 a day earlier.

9:30 a.m. Australia's state of Victoria, the center of the country's coronavirus outbreak, reports its lowest daily increase of infections in three months, putting it on course to relax a hard lockdown in the state capital of Melbourne by the end of the month. Victoria recorded 21 new cases in the prior 24 hours, less than half the previous day's number and its lowest since June 24.

5:20 a.m. U.S. President Donald Trump says he thought the U.S.-Canada border would open before the end of the year, reports Reuters. The restrictions on non-essential travel at land borders between the two countries were first imposed in March and do not cover trade or travel by air. They have been extended several times, including on Friday to Oct. 21, as the U.S. has struggled to contain its coronavirus outbreak.

2:13 a.m. India ordered its states not to hoard oxygen supplies and allow free movement amidst reports of shortages, as novel coronavirus infections hit 5.2 million on Friday, edging the country's tally closer to the United States, which is the worst-hit globally, according to Reuters.

12:04 a.m. The European Union agrees to buy a potential COVID-19 vaccine from Sanofi and GSK in its second such deal to secure supplies, as a deadline for joining the World Health Organization's purchase program looms, reports Reuters. The deal will see the French and British drugmakers, which have teamed up to manufacture a recombinant protein-based vaccine they hope to get approved next year, provide the EU with up to 300 million doses in exchange for a down payment of 324 million euros ($384 million).

To catch up on earlier developments, see last week's latest updates.

Source : https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Coronavirus/Coronavirus-Free-to-read/Coronavirus-latest-Hong-Kong-extends-social-distancing-measures

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