Nikkei Asia is tracking the spread of the new coronavirus that originated in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.
Global cases have reached 116,966,556, according to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. The worldwide death toll has hit 2,595,573.
For more information about the spread of COVID-19 and the progress of vaccination around the world, please see our interactive charts and maps.
— Coronavirus mutations can be classified into 12 types
Tuesday, March 9 (Tokyo Time)
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-sized 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 al-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 two 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.