Coronavirus latest: New York City restaurants about to lose indoor dining


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

Global cases have reached 67,440,864, according to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. The worldwide death toll has hit 1,541,661.

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

Tuesday, Dec. 8 (Tokyo time)

5:30 a.m. The Brazilian state of Sao Paulo plans to start inoculating its residents with a Chinese-made vaccine from Jan. 25, Gov. Joao Doria says.

Though the vaccine, developed by China’s Sinovac, is still being tested and has not received Brazilian government approval, the state is eager to start a vaccination drive as the pandemic shows no signs of subsiding.

3:30 a.m. California has put into effect widespread restrictions on social and business activity for over 30 million people, including a ban on private gatherings of any size.

Separately, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the disease expert whom President-elect Joe Biden has chosen to be his chief medical adviser on the coronavirus, says the pandemic will become worse in the coming weeks as a result of infectious during the holiday season.

“Mid-January is probably going to be a bad time,” said Fauci is quoted as saying at a news conference with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Cuomo warned that more restrictions are possible in his state.

2:00 a.m. Japanese advertising firm Dentsu Group plans to cut 6,000 employees from its international operations in response to shrinking revenue from cash-strapped corporate clients worldwide.

The job cuts announced Monday will take place through the end of next year at Dentsu International, the subsidiary overseeing offshore businesses. The reductions represent 12.5% of the unit’s workforce.

The annual cost savings from the restructuring are expected to exceed $530 million from the end of 2021.

1:50 a.m. The World Health Organization has so far not had contacts with the incoming administration of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden, according to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

“The U.S. is in transition and the team is not formed in full so there can be no formal or organized discussions when they are in transition,” Tedros is quoted as saying at a news conference.

12:40 a.m. Looking to make up lost revenue, the Louvre will host a special auction that lets the highest bidder watch the annual the annual examination of Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” outside of its glass case.

Other prizes include a walk along the rooftop of the museum palace with French street artist JR, Reuters reports.

“The Louvre is suffering like all big museums around the world,” and it will lose up to 90 million euros ($109 million) in revenue this year, museum official Yann Le Touher is quoted as saying.

Monday, Dec. 7

11:15 p.m. U.S. President-elect Joe Biden has announced his incoming administration’s health team.

Among the picks is Vivek Murthy, an American of Indian descent, who will return as surgeon-general — a position he held under Barack Obama.

Murthy is a physician, research scientist, and former vice admiral in the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, according to his bio.

9:45 p.m. SoftBank Group has opened a COVID-19 testing site in the northern Japanese city of Sapporo where people can having saliva samples tested for coronavirus.

The site is able to handle about 500 tests a day, with plans to increase capacity to 1,000 tests by February.

This marks the Japanese technology group’s second such site in Japan. The first is in Chiba Prefecture, near Tokyo.

Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and U.S. President Donald Trump in the virtual G-20 meeting hosted by Saudi Arabia in November.

  © Reuters

8:28 p.m. Italy will hold a health summit in Rome next May during its presidency of the Group of 20 major economies and hopes world leaders will attend, according to Reuters.

If heads of state accept the invitation, it would be the first such in-person meeting for global chiefs since 2019, after the coronavirus pandemic reduced the main G-20 and Group of Seven summits this year to virtual meetings. The global health summit is scheduled for May 21 in Rome and will focus on the handling of the pandemic.

7:23 p.m. Next year’s Paris Airshow has been canceled as the aerospace industry continues to weather the coronavirus crisis, a spokesperson for the French organizers said on Monday.

6:06 p.m. Taiwan’s exports have risen 12% in November from a year ago for the fifth consecutive month and at a stronger-than-expected pace, boosted by surging global demand for electronic goods as people work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic and amid new phone launches.

Exports jumped to $31.99 billion in November, the second highest on record for any month, the Ministry of Finance said on Monday.

5:29 p.m. Russia has granted approval for clinical trials to be held for the Chinese COVID-19 vaccine Ad5-Ncov involving 8,000 volunteers, the Interfax news agency reported on Monday. Ad5-nCoV is a vaccine candidate co-developed by CanSino Biologics and a Chinese military-backed research unit.

4:50 p.m. Russia confirms 28,142 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours on Monday, including 7,279 in Moscow, pushing the national tally to 2,488,912 since the pandemic began. Authorities say 456 people died overnight, taking the official death toll to 43,597.

4:39 p.m. South Korean President Moon Jae-in calls on Monday for expanded coronavirus testing and more thorough tracing as the country is struggling to control its latest and largest wave of infections. Moon says testing sites should stay open for longer to allow people to get tested after work and that more drive-through testing facilities should be set up. Starting next week, testing centers will begin using a test kit designed to more easily gather samples from saliva. The centers will also start using antigen tests as a stopgap.

3:30 p.m. Tokyo reports 299 new infections, down from 327 a day earlier, with the number of patients in serious condition increasing by one to 55.

3:00 p.m. Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine producer by volume, has sought emergency use authorization in the country for AstraZeneca’s vaccine candidate, its CEO says. The experimental vaccine can be stored at 2 to 8 C and can be distributed relatively easily in India. Serum’s move follows Pfizer’s application for similar authorization of its vaccine candidate on Saturday.

2:31 p.m. China’s Clover Biopharmaceuticals has cleared the hurdle of initial evaluation by Philippine vaccine experts. It now moves to a final review by the country’s food and drug administration before its COVID-19 vaccine can go to clinical trials, according to Health Undersecretary Rosario Vergeire.

2:04 p.m. India reports 32,981 cases in the last 24 hours, down from 36,011 the previous day, bringing the country total to 9.68 million. Deaths jumped by 391 to 140,573.

1:00 p.m. A Thai re-entering the country illegally from COVID-hit Myanmar has alarmed Chiang Mai, a northern province that was particularly popular with Chinese visitors before the pandemic. The woman, in her late 20s, returned with two female friends on Nov. 24 after working at the 1G1 hotel and casino in Tachilek, Myanmar. The entertainment complex is 1.5 km from an official border crossing to Mae Sai in Thailand, but the trio used an irregular crossing point in order to avoid the mandatory 14-day quarantine. After visiting a number of crowded places in the north, she fell ill, and she and her friends tested positive for COVID-19. Subsequently a 32-year-old Thai DJ working at 1G1 also tested positive.

12:30 p.m. Osaka Gov. Hirofumi Yoshimura tells reporters he has asked the central government to send nurses from the Self Defense Forces to help operate the prefecture’s new COVID-19 treatment facility for seriously ill patients, opening on Dec. 15. Chief government spokesman Katsunobu Kato had said Monday morning that Japan was prepared to send SDF nurses to Osaka and Hokkaido, Japan’s main northern island, upon request to help treat the two prefectures’ surges in infections. Hokkaido has seen infection clusters at two hospitals and is set to ask the government to send nurses.

11:30 a.m. Japanese ad agency Dentsu says it will slash nearly 6,000 employees who engage in foreign markets — a 12.5% cut in that part of its workforce — as companies cut their spending on advertisements amid the pandemic. The Tokyo-based company said Monday that it expects to register consolidated loss of about 23.7 billion yen ($227 million) for the year ending December.

10:04 a.m. South Korea confirms 615 cases, down from 631 a day ago, bringing the country’s total to 38,161 with 549 deaths. The government will tighten social distancing rules in greater Seoul from Tuesday, closing karaoke bars, gyms and indoor sports centers. Discount stores, hair shops and movie theaters must close by 9 p.m.

Sinovac Biotech aims to complete construction of a second production facility by the end of the year, giving it an annual vaccine capacity of 600 million doses.

  © Reuters

9:40 a.m. China’s Sinovac Biotech has secured $515 million in funding from a domestic company, Sino Biopharmaceutical, to double the production capacity of its coronavirus vaccine, the companies say. Sinovac expects efficacy data on its experimental shot this month. Sino Biopharmaceutical said on Monday a business unit will invest $515 million in Sinovac Life Sciences, a subsidiary of Sinovac, to help in the development and production of the vaccine, CoronaVac. In a separate statement, Sinovac said it will be able to manufacture 300 million vaccine doses annually and aims to complete construction of a second production facility by the end of the year to increase the annual vaccine capacity to 600 million doses.

7:30 a.m. U.S. President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani has tested positive for COVID-19, Trump says. The 76-year-old Giuliani is the latest in a string of people close to the White House, including Trump himself, sickened in the pandemic. “@RudyGiuliani, by far the greatest mayor in the history of NYC, and who has been working tirelessly exposing the most corrupt election (by far!) in the history of the USA, has tested positive for the China Virus,” Trump said, using a term for the disease that has drawn criticism.

4:30 a.m. Britain is preparing to become the first country to roll out the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine this week, initially making the shot available at hospitals before distributing stocks to clinics, the government said on Sunday. Footage posted by the National Health Service showed boxes containing doses of the vaccine being delivered to Croydon University Hospital in London and being stored in a special, securely locked fridge.

A health worker collects a swab sample from a woman amid the spread of COVID-19 in Mumbai on Dec. 1.

  © Reuters

2:10 a.m. Pfizer has applied for emergency authorization for its coronavirus vaccine in India, a senior government health adviser says. The U.S. drugmaker approached Indian authorities on Saturday, according to V.K. Paul. India’s drug regulator usually takes up to 90 days to decide on such applications, but a decision on Pfizer’s vaccine could come much faster, he said.

12:57 a.m. Indonesia has received its first shipment of coronavirus vaccine from China, President Joko Widodo says. Indonesia has been testing the vaccine from China’s Sinovac Biotech since August. The initial 1.2 million doses are expected to be followed by an additional 1.8 million doses in early January.

Sunday, Dec. 6

3:04 p.m. South Korea will impose heightened social distancing rules for capital Seoul and surrounding areas, health officials say. The decision comes after the government implemented unprecedented measures on Saturday in a country that had seen initial success through aggressive contact tracing and other steps. The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency has reported 631 new cases as of midnight Saturday — the largest daily tally since a peak in February and early March — bringing the country’s total to 37,546, with 545 deaths.

10:25 a.m. Australia’s Victoria state eased COVID-19 restrictions after the country’s pandemic hot spot recorded 37 days without any new coronavirus infections, moving toward a “COVID-safe” holiday season. From midnight on Sunday, up to 100 people will be able to attend such public gatherings as weddings, with density rules of one person per 2 sq. meters staying in place, while 50% of office workers will be able to return to workplaces by Jan. 11, up from 25% now, the state’s premier said.

8:09 a.m. California’s two most densely inhabited regions and its agricultural breadbasket will be under stay-at-home orders by Sunday night as the COVID-19 pandemic strains hospitals in the most populous U.S. state, officials say. The order affecting Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley will close bars, hair salons and barbershops, and allows restaurants to remain open only for takeout and deliveries.

2:52 a.m. Turkey has entered its first full weekend lockdown since May as deaths from coronavirus more than doubled in less than three weeks to hit record highs, with daily infections now among the highest numbers recorded globally. The daily death toll rose to a record high of 196 on Saturday, bringing the total since the beginning of the pandemic to 14,705. Official daily deaths were in the 70s at the end of October.

Saturday, Dec. 5

7:44 p.m. Iran’s total death toll from coronavirus surpasses 50,000 with 321 new fatalities recorded in the past 24 hours, the health ministry says, as cases in the Middle East’s worst-affected country reach 1,028,986.

5:29 p.m. Moscow begins distributing the Sputnik V COVID-19 shot via 70 clinics, marking Russia’s first mass vaccination against the disease, the city’s coronavirus task force says. The task force says the Russian-made vaccine will first be made available to doctors and other medical workers, teachers and social workers because they run the highest risk of exposure to the disease.

3:04 p.m. Tokyo records 584 daily infections, the highest level on record. The tally exceeds the 570 logged on Nov. 27. The number of people with serious coronavirus symptoms totals 55, up two from Friday, according to the metropolitan government.

9:34 a.m. South Korea reports 583 new cases, slightly down from the previous day’s 629, the highest in nine months. This brings the country’s total tally to 36,915, with 540 deaths, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency reports.

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

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