Coronavirus latest: Russia overtakes Italy and UK in total cases

Linda J. Dodson

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 3,925,815, according to the World Health Organization.

The worldwide death toll has hit 274,488.

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

(Source photo by AP) 

Here are the latest developments (Tokyo time):

Monday, May 11

6:26 p.m. Japan’s Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group will issue a corporate bond in response to the coronavirus pandemic, a first for the country. The financial services behemoth aims to issue a 60 billion yen ($559 million) bond by early June. Funds raised through the bond will be used to help finance small and medium-sized businesses that are struggling amid the outbreak.

6:10 p.m. Russia overtakes Italy and the U.K. in coronavirus infections as it now has the third-highest total after a record daily increase of 11,656, announced hours before President Vladimir Putin was to review the country’s lockdown regime. The official tally surged to 221,344, meaning Russia now only trails Spain and the United States.

4:50 p.m. China’s monthly auto sales rose for the first time in almost two years as the country eased virus-related curbs and reopened for business. The April sales reached 2.07 million units, up 4.4% from a year earlier, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said.

4:30 p.m. Taiwan marks its 29th consecutive day of zero new local cases. Total confirmed cases stand at 440 with seven deaths. The government today said it will allow banquets of up to 250 people, such as for weddings, as long as each table sits only eight and tables are 1.5 meters apart.

3:50 p.m. China reports 31 new confirmed cases over the weekend, of which 22 people contracted the coronavirus inside the country, raising concerns over a second wave in China. Jilin Province, on the border with North Korea, reported 14 cases, and the city of Wuhan, where the coronavirus was originated, reported five.

China reported 31 new coronavirus infections over the weekend of May 9-10, 22 of which came from inside the country, raising concerns about a possible second outbreak. 

  © Reuters

3:30 p.m. China’s monthly auto sales rose for the first time in almost two years in April, industry data shows, as more customers visited showrooms after authorities loosened coronavirus-related restrictions. April sales hit 2.07 million cars, up 4.4% from a year earlier, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. This follows a 43% drop in March and a 79% plunge in February.

2:15 p.m. New Zealand businesses including malls, cinemas, cafes and gyms will be allowed to reopen from Thursday as tight restrictions put in place to stop the spread of the coronavirus are further eased on Monday. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, “The upshot is that in 10 days’ time we will have reopened most businesses in New Zealand, and sooner than many other countries around the world.”

2:09 p.m. Thailand reports six cases, up from five the previous day, bringing the country total to 3,015 with 56 deaths. As new cases remain low, the government plans to ease restrictions in Bangkok, with department stores expected to reopen May 16 on a restricted basis.

1:32 p.m. India reports its highest single-day increase with 4,213 new cases, compared with 3,277 on Sunday, bringing the country total to 67,152 with 2,206 deaths. Indian Railways will phase in passenger services from Tuesday with trains from New Delhi to 15 major cities.

Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries will cut its budget for its new 70-seat Space Jet by half this fiscal year, citing an uncertain outlook for airlines due to the coronavirus pandemic.

1:08 p.m. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries plans to reduce the development budget for its 70-seat Space Jet aircraft for the fiscal year ending March 2021 to about 60 billion yen, half that of the previous year. The decision was prompted by uncertain demand, as the coronavirus pandemic hammers the earnings of airlines.

1:00 p.m. Tokyo stocks hit a two-month high as the benchmark Nikkei gained 1.6% to 20,500 in early afternoon trading, spurred by optimism that Japan’s lockdown will soon be eased.

12:20 p.m. Japan’s professional baseball league, the NPB, and its professional soccer league, J-League, meet jointly with medical experts but fail to agree on a restart of games suspended since March. The experts say it is hard to say when resuming will be safe, given the risk of new outbreaks.

10:33 a.m. South Korea confirms 35 new cases, up from 34 a day ago. Total infections reach 10,909 and 256 deaths as Seoul’s nightclubs become new hotspots of the epidemic.

10:30 a.m. Walt Disney reopens Shanghai Disneyland after a roughly three-month closure, vastly reducing visitors while screening for the virus and requiring masks and social distancing. The company will keep visitors “far below” 24,000 — or 30% of daily capacity — as requested by the government. Tickets for the reopening sold out quickly. Meanwhile, Tokyo Disney Resort remains closed.

A visitor to Shanghai Disney Resort snaps a selfie as the popular amusement park reopens on May 11.

  © Reuters

9:50 a.m. China reports 17 new cases on May 10, up from a day earlier and the highest daily rise since April 28. Seven of the new cases were so-called imported cases in Inner Mongolia involving overseas travellers. Wuhan reported five new locally transmitted cases, marking the highest increase in the city since March 11. Experts in China warn countries that reopen too early will face a second wave.

6:24 a.m. Japan considers lifting the state of emergency declaration in most prefectures this month, although it will keep urging caution in Tokyo and some other areas.

6:22 a.m. China locks down a northeastern city near the North Korean border as new coronavirus cases are found there, leading to concern that a new wave is coming.

4:56 a.m. Sony looks to enhance next-generation robots from avatarin, a startup launched by Japanese carrier ANA Holdings, as interest grows in remote-control machines that can take the place of humans.

4:00 a.m. The long-awaited sale of Air India is put off again, with the government extending by another two months the deadline for submission of preliminary bids to buy a 100% stake in the loss-making national carrier.

1:51 a.m. Japan hopes to test 400,000 people per week for the novel coronavirus, with the health ministry planning to approve the nation’s first antigen test kit for COVID-19 on Wednesday.

Sunday, May 10

7:31 p.m. South Korea reports 34 new infections, the highest since April 9, after a small outbreak emerged around a slew of nightclubs, prompting the authorities to temporary close all nighttime entertainment facilities around the capital.

5:42 p.m. Indonesia reports 387 new coronavirus infections, taking the total to 14,032. The Southeast Asian country also reports 14 more people have died from COVID-19, raising the total to 973.

5:39 p.m. Malaysian health authorities report 67 new coronavirus cases, bringing the cumulative total to 6,656, and no new deaths.

5:26 p.m. The Philippine Health Department confirms 184 new cases, taking the Southeast Asian nation’s total reported infections to 10,794. Fifteen more deaths related to COVID-19 are reported, bringing the toll to 719.

4:09 p.m. Singapore registers 876 new coronavirus infections, its health ministry says, taking the city-state’s total to 23,336.

3:47 p.m. Malaysia extends movement and business curbs by another four weeks to June 9, amid a gradual reopening of economic activity.

2:18 p.m. China’s National Health Commission reports 14 new cases Saturday — the most since April 28 — including the first infection in more than a month in the city of Wuhan, where the coronavirus outbreak was first detected late last year, Reuters reports.

2:00 p.m. South Korean President Moon Jae-in warns of a second coronavirus wave as infections rebound to a one-month high. Moon’s warning comes during a speech in Seoul marking the third anniversary of his inauguration.

1:29 p.m. More than 4 million people worldwide have been infected with the new coronavirus, a tally by Johns Hopkins University indicates. The spread shows no sign of abating as infections spike in Latin America and the Middle East.

11:54 a.m. Australia’s biggest state, home to Sydney, will allow cafes and restaurants, playgrounds and outdoor pools to reopen Friday after extensive testing shows a sharp slowdown in the spread of the coronavirus, the premier of New South Wales says.

6:13 a.m. Electric-car maker Tesla will leave California and move its headquarters to another state “immediately,” CEO Elon Musk says after local health officials refuse to let the company’s factory reopen amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Saturday, May 9

5:01 p.m. Mazda Motor has requested 300 billion yen ($2.8 billion) in financing from Japan’s three megabanks and other institutions as the automaker braces for further fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

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

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