Coronavirus latest: G7 heads to hold videoconference about crisis

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 1,848,439, according to the World Health Organization.

The worldwide death toll has hit 117,217.

To see how the disease has spread, click this interactive virus tracker:

Here are the latest developments (Tokyo time):

Wednesday, April 15

1:38 p.m. Fujifilm says it will significantly boost production capacity for its flu drug Avigan as a treatment for COVID-19.

1:10 p.m. Japan’s cluster response team warns that 850,000 people could become seriously ill due to the coronavirus, with half of them possibly dying, if human-to-human contact is not reduced.

12: 59 p.m. Sony considers partnering with other Japanese companies to produce ventilators, utilizing its existing know-how in the medical device business.

12:44 p.m. Thailand extends a ban on incoming passenger flights until the end of April. The ban was introduced on April 4, and has already been extended once.

11:57 a.m. Procter & Gamble Japan announces it will begin producing masks in early June to help resolve a shortage due to the pandemic.

11:43 a.m. Subaru extends the suspension of its U.S. plant to May 8. The Japanese automaker had planned to halt operations for 19 days from March 23.

11:17 a.m. U.S. President Trump and French President Macron agree to hold a videoconference with other G7 leaders on April 16 to discuss responses to the pandemic, as world leaders face questions over their handling of the crisis, according to Reuters.

10:30 a.m. New Zealand ministers, including Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, and public service chief executives will take a 20% pay cut for the next six months due to the economic impact of the pandemic. “This is where we can take action,” said Ardern.

9:28 a.m. U.S. airlines agree on a support measure with the U.S. government. The largest carrier, American Airlines, will receive $5.8 billion for employee salaries. The Department of Treasury has indicated that 10 airlines will apply for assistance.

9:15 a.m. Japanese textile maker Teijin will start producing medical gowns this month to help resolve a shortage due to the pandemic, Nikkei learned. It plans to supply 9 million pieces to the government by the end of June.

8:04 a.m. South Koreans begin voting in parliamentarian elections in what is seen as a midterm evaluation of President Moon Jae-in’s administration amid the fight against the coronavirus.

7:18 a.m. Trump says he is instructing his administration to halt funding to the World Health Organization.

6:57 a.m. General Motors says it is producing ventilators in the volume needed to treat severely ill coronavirus patients and will deliver the first batch to the U.S. government this month.

5:00 a.m. U.S. stocks close higher, lifting the Dow Jones Industrial over 2% and the S&P 500 3%. Amazon.com shares hit a record high.

4:45 a.m. U.S. President Donald Trump will convene a videoconference of Group of Seven leaders on Thursday to discuss their countries’ responses to the pandemic, the White House says.


A member of a ground crew walks past American Airlines planes parked at the gate during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak at Ronald Reagan National Airport in Washington, U.S., April 5.

  © Reuters

4:08 a.m. As N95 masks run out, Japan is turning to a handful of domestic suppliers.

2:50 a.m. Apple releases mobile app data to help track how populations are moving amid the coronavirus pandemic.

1:45 a.m. The U.S. lacks the widespread COVID-19 testing and tracking capabilities to restart the economy right away, says the government’s top infectious disease export, Anthony Fauci, in an Associated Press interview.

1:10 a.m. Nintendo restarts shipments of the Switch gaming device in Japan after a roughly weeklong stoppage.

Tuesday, April 14

11:19 p.m. Japan reports 475 new cases of COVID-19 as of 10 p.m., bringing the total to 8,025.

10:30 p.m. U.S. stocks open higher on better-than-expected earnings reports, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 both rising almost 2%.

9:30 p.m. The world economy is forecast to shrink 3% in 2020, erasing last year’s growth of 2.9%, according to a new IMF report.

8:28 p.m. Malaysia reports 170 new cases, bringing the total to 4,987. The death toll rises by five, to 82.

6:35 p.m. After three straight days of 300 new cases, Indonesia reports 282, for a total of 4,839. But the number of additional deaths — 60 — sets a new high. The death toll stands at 459.

Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati says the crisis could plunge 1.1 million people into poverty and cost 2.9 million their jobs, with economic growth falling to 2.3% in the second quarter. That is the best-case scenario. In the worst case, she says the economy could contract 2.6%, potentially doubling the number of newly unemployed and tripling the new poor.


A man hangs homemade face masks to dry before distributing them in his neighborhood in Tangerang, near Jakarta.

  © Reuters

5:17 p.m. The Philippines reports 291 new infections, bringing the total to 5,223, the highest in Southeast Asia. The country, which launched expanded testing today, has logged 335 COVID-19-related deaths.

5:00 p.m. Tokyo has confirmed more than 160 new cases, sources tell Nikkei, up from 91 reported a day earlier.

4:33 p.m. Nomura Holdings says it will postpone its earnings announcement for the year ending March 31 until May 8. The Japanese securities company had planned to publish its earnings April 24, but with many employees forced to work at home it has become difficult to compile the necessary figures in time, it said.

3:55 p.m. Thailand reports 34 new confirmed cases, up from 28 on Monday and pushing the cumulative total to 2,613. One fatality was added bringing the death toll to 41.

1:50 p.m. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi extends the nationwide lockdown to May 3. The lockdown was set to end at midnight tonight.

1:10 p.m. Customs data released today shows China’s exports fell 6.6% in March from a year earlier, while imports shrank 0.9%, a better than expected outcome as factories restarted production. Yet, the country’s trade outlook remains grim as the pandemic looks set to keep trade under pressure.

12:59 p.m. India confirms 10,363 total cases, up 1,211 in the biggest 24-hour rise. The total includes 339 deaths and 1,035 recoveries. The country reported 796 cases on Monday and 909 on Sunday.

12:50 p.m. China has approved early-stage human tests for two experimental vaccines to combat the new coronavirus, state media Xinhua reports. The vaccines are being developed by a Beijing-based unit of Nasdaq-listed Sinovac Biotech, and by the Wuhan Institute of Biological Products, an affiliate of state-owned China National Pharmaceutical Group.

12:30 p.m. A total of 111 Africans in the Chinese city of Guangzhou have tested positive for coronavirus as of Monday, state media Xinhua reports. Of these, 19 cases were imported, said the executive vice mayor, adding that 4,553 Africans have been tested since April 4.

11:24 a.m. Sony decides to extend its suspension of two factories in Malaysia that make TVs and audio products until May 28. The Japanese company had planned to restart operations today but was asked by the Malaysian government to hold off, according to Sony.

10:30 a.m. South Korea confirms 27 new cases, keeping the number under 40 for six consecutive days. Its total cases reach 10,564, with 222 deaths.

9:50 a.m. China reports 89 new coronavirus cases, down from 108 the previous day, the National Health Commission says. All but three cases were imported. China’s state broadcaster says 79 of the day’s imported cases were in the northeast province of Heilongjiang, which shares a border with Russia.

8:40 a.m. It is unclear whether patients who have recovered from COVID-19 are immune to further infection, the World Health Organization says on Monday, as they may not develop sufficient antibodies to resist the virus the next time it enters their body.


A child receiving a measles vaccination in the Democratic Republic of Congo on March 3, 2020. The coronavirus pandemic has overwhelmed health service providers.

  © Reuters

8:30 a.m. More than 117 million children could miss out on their measles shots as the coronavirus pandemic forces social distancing and pressures health services, the United Nations says. Twenty-four countries have already delayed measles immunization campaigns and more nations will follow suit. As a result, children in 37 countries could be at risk.

6:45 a.m. French President Emmanuel Macron extends a virtual lockdown to curb the coronavirus outbreak until May 11, saying that progress has been made but the battle not yet won.

5:00 a.m. U.S. stocks close lower, with both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 falling 1%.

4:25 a.m. Health ministers from the Group of 20 countries will hold a virtual meeting on April 19 to discuss the international response to the coronavirus pandemic.

3:51 a.m. Ford says it will make reusable medical gowns out of air bag material in cooperation with supplier Joyson Safety Systems, which acquired bankrupt Japanese air bag maker Takata.

3:27 a.m. Nearly one-quarter of the world’s big companies will run out of cash if sales drop 30% year-on-year for six months, Nikkei research shows.

3:10 a.m. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he is coordinating with the governors of New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Rhode Island to reopen after the coronavirus shutdown.


New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Monday, local time, that he believed “the worst is over.”

  © Reuters

3:08 a.m. Thailand will deploy targeted tax cuts to encourage and other crucial items that are in short supply.

2:54 a.m. President Donald Trump was not firing U.S. infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci despite his retweet of a supporter’s #FireFauci message, the White House says.

1:12 a.m. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says that he believed “the worst is over” for his state as hospitalizations appeared to be reaching a plateau and the daily increase in deaths came to 671, the lowest total in about a week. U.S. stocks rise.

12:55 a.m. Singapore confirms 386 more cases on Monday in the city-state’s biggest daily jump, taking its total to 2,918. It also reported its ninth death from COVID-19.

12:31 a.m. Vietnam Airlines looks to sell its 49% interest in state-run Cambodia Angkor Air as service cuts spurred by the coronavirus outbreak create a cash crunch.

Monday, April 13

10:30 p.m. U.S. stocks open slightly lower, with the Dow down 20 points and the S&P 500 dipping 7 points.

9:45 p.m. India’s domestic automobile sales during March plunged by 61% on the year to 156,041 units, including cars and trucks, the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers announces. The country entered a 21-day lockdown on March 25, meaning manufacturers and dealers were still open for about two-thirds of the month’s working days. The lockdown is due to end on Tuesday but is expected to be extended for two weeks, meaning April is likely to be even tougher.

8:55 p.m. South Korea says it will send kits for up to 600,000 coronavirus tests to the U.S. on Tuesday, Reuters reports. The shipment comes in response to an appeal U.S. President Donald Trump made to his South Korean counterpart, Moon Jae-in, in late March.

6:13 p.m. Indonesia reports 316 new cases, lower than the daily counts over the weekend, which reached a new high. This brings the total number of infections to 4,557, including 399 deaths.

5:31 p.m. The Philippines reports 284 new coronavirus infections, bringing the total to 4,932 cases, with 315 deaths.

5:02 p.m. Samsung Display Vietnam, one of the South Korean electronics company’s main units, is forced to close some areas at its facility in the Yen Phong Industrial Park in Bacninh Province. It was quarantined by local authorities on Monday after an employee tested positive for the coronavirus.

The closures may put the unit out of action for days, as the area must be disinfected, and other who came into contact with the infected person are checked. Vietnam has confirmed 262 infections as of April 13, but no deaths have been reported.

4:30 p.m. Tokyo confirms 91 new cases, sources tell Nikkei, marking the first time for the capital’s daily total to come in under 100 since April 7.

3:56 p.m. Thailand reports 28 new COVID-19 cases, down from 33 on Sunday and a lower increase for the fifth straight day. The kingdom now has 2,579 total confirmed cases. It also added two fatalities, taking that total to 40.

1:30 p.m. India confirms 796 more coronavirus cases, compared to 909 it reported on Sunday morning, taking its total to 9,152, including 308 deaths, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

12:30 p.m. South Korea has confirmed that 111 patients who had been thought cleared of the new coronavirus have again tested positive. The World Health Organization is investigating such reports.

10:20 a.m. South Korea confirms 25 new cases, down from 32 on Sunday, raising the total to 10,537 with 217 deaths. The country is considering looser social distancing instructions now that it has the outbreak under relative control.

10:10 a.m. China reports the highest number of new daily coronavirus cases in nearly six weeks as it confirms 108 new cases for Sunday, all but 10 being imported infections. Separately, it counts 61 new asymptomatic patients. The number of new cases is the highest tally since March 5. Confirmed total cases in mainland China stand at 82,160, while the death toll rose by two to 3,341.

5:03 a.m. OPEC+ agrees to reduce output by 9.7 million barrels per day in May and June. The scale of the reduction is equivalent to 10% of global supply, making this the largest-ever cooperative effort among oil-producing countries.

1:00 a.m. New York state Gov. Andrew Cuomo announces another 758 coronavirus deaths, the sixth consecutive day for the state to suffer over 700 deaths.

Sunday, April 12

11:00 p.m. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says, “It is hard to find the words to express my debt to the NHS (National Health Service) for saving my life,” in a video message posted on Twitter after he was discharged from hospital.

5:30 p.m. The Philippines reports 50 additional COVID-19 deaths, the highest daily tally, bringing the country’s total number of corona fatalities to 297. Meanwhile, there are now 4,648 cases after 220 new infections were recorded.

5:11 p.m. China’s northeastern city of Harbin will implement a 28-day quarantine measure for all arrivals from abroad, its government says in a statement posted online. People entering the capital of Heilongjiang Province, bordering Russia, will first be held at a quarantine center for 14 days, then must stay home for another 14 days.

4:30 p.m. Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has extended a nationwide curfew until further notice due to the spread of the new coronavirus, the interior ministry says. Last week Saudi Arabia placed the capital Riyadh and other big cities under a 24-hour curfew, locking down much of the population. The kingdom has reported more than 300 new infections on each of the last four days.

2 p.m. India has confirmed 909 more coronavirus cases, compared to 1,035 it reported on Saturday morning, taking its total to 8,356, including 273 deaths, according to the Health and Family Welfare Ministry.

11:00 a.m. North Korea calls for tougher and more thorough countermeasures to keep citizens safe from the rapidly spreading coronavirus, state media reports.

1:43 a.m. U.S. coronavirus deaths surpass 19,600, the highest reported number in the world, according to a Reuters tally. Italy has the second most, 19,468. The U.S. has five times the population of Italy.

Saturday, April 11

10:49 p.m. SoftBank Group will provide Japan with 300 million protective masks a month at cost, starting next month, President Masayoshi Son announces on Twitter. The masks will be produced by Chinese automaker BYD, which says it has quickly geared up to become one of the world’s largest protective gear producers.

6:08 p.m. Malaysian health authorities report 184 additional confirmed coronavirus cases, raising the country’s cumulative tally to 4,530, the highest number in Southeast Asia.

6:02 p.m. The Philippines reports 26 new coronavirus-related deaths, taking its total to 247. It also confirms 233 new infections for a tally of 4,428.

5:41 p.m. Indonesia confirms 330 new coronavirus infections, taking its count to 3,842. It also confirms 21 virus-related deaths, taking the total to 327.

5:11 p.m. Tokyo counts more than 190 new coronavirus cases, a record daily increase for the fourth straight day, a metropolitan government official says.

5:08 p.m. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe calls for citizens across Japan to avoid evening spots like bars and restaurants.

3:10 p.m. India’s confirmed coronavirus cases reach 7,447, up 1,035 from Friday morning and the biggest 24-hour increase. The death toll is at 239, up 40 since Friday morning, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

1:50 p.m. Thailand reports 45 new coronavirus infections and two more deaths. The country has registered a total of 2,518 cases and 35 deaths since its outbreak emerged in January.

10:30 a.m. Mainland China reports 46 new coronavirus cases, including 42 involving overseas travelers, up from 42 a day earlier. Also, 34 new asymptomatic cases were reported, down from 47 the previous day. Mainland China’s infections tally stands at 81,953 and the death toll, up three, at 3,339.

4:25 a.m. Turkey is imposing a lockdown on 31 provinces for two days starting Friday midnight, according to the Interior Ministry. The curfew covers Istanbul, Ankara and other major cities.

3:18 a.m. The global death toll from the virus surpasses 100,000, according to Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center.

2:28 a.m. Turkey’s death toll reaches 1,006, including 98 in the prior 24 hours, the health minister says Friday evening. The number of confirmed cases totals 47,029.

1:53 a.m. India reports 896 newly confirmed cases on Friday, topping the previous single-day record of 704 on April 6. The daily death toll climbs to a record 37, with the cumulative total reaching 206.

1:30 a.m. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on the phone and thanks him for his help in repatriating Japanese nationals stranded in India. As of Tuesday, 2,139 Japanese had returned to Japan from India via chartered flights.

1:00 a.m. Major League Baseball is considering a plan that would have all 30 teams play regular-season games at their spring training sites in Florida and Arizona without fans, USA Today reports.

12:36 a.m. Taiwanese authorities say operatives in mainland China attempted to paint Taiwan as the source of online abuse against the World Health Organization.

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