Coronavirus latest: Tokyo Tower cautiously reopens obsevation deck

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 5,653,821 according to Johns Hopkins University.

The worldwide death toll has hit 353,414.

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


(Source photo by AP) 

Here are the latest developments (Tokyo time):

Thursday, May 28

12:00 p.m. The Tokyo metropolitan board of education shortens public high school students’ summer vacation to 16 days, less than half the usual length, as it strives to make up class hours cut by coronavirus-forced closures. Winter holidays will also be cut.

11:30 a.m. Tokyo Tower reopens its observation deck, which had been closed since April 8. Elevators are limited to carrying four passengers at a time, down from 32. Another option to getting up to the deck is the 600 outside stairs, give or take. The operator guarantees 12 to 13 minutes of exercise by taking this route.

10:30 a.m. South Korea confirms 79 new cases as of midnight, marking the largest one-day increase since April 5. At least 68 of the cases are domestic infections and come as health authorities battle a growing outbreak linked to an e-commerce company’s logistics facility. The country’s totals now stand at 11,344 cases and 269 deaths.

10:00 a.m. The Bank of Korea cuts the base rate by 25 basis points to 0.5%, the lowest since the current policy system was adopted in 1999. It was the central bank’s second easing this year.

9:50 a.m. Nissan Motor will begin restarting operations at its U.S. plants on Monday, a move that comes three weeks after Japanese rivals Toyota Motor and Honda Motor resumed North American production.

9:30 a.m. China reports two new confirmed cases in the mainland, up from one a day earlier. Both were imported. It also confirms 23 new asymptomatic cases, compared to 28 the day before.

8:14 a.m. In April, a record 37,500 New Zealanders lost their jobs as COVID-19 and the country’s reactions to the disease took a toll, Statistics New Zealand reports. The tumble is the largest since the current series of statistics began more than 20 years ago.

7:39 a.m. Brazil’s death toll pushes past the 25,000 marker to stand at 25,598 as 1,086 fatalities are recorded for the previous 24 hours, the Health Ministry says. The number of cases rose by 20,599 to reach 411,821.


The Empire State Building towers behind Calvary Cemetery in Woodside, Queens, New York. The U.S. has suffered more than 100,000 COVID-19 deaths, far more than any other country.

  © Reuters

7:04 a.m. U.S. deaths from the coronavirus reach 100,000, according to Johns Hopkins University. Confirmed cases in the country total nearly 1.7 million, with some southern states reporting an increase in new cases in the past week.

6:03 a.m. Nissan Motor announces plans to begin restarting its shuttered U.S. manufacturing operations on Monday.

5:10 a.m. U.S. stocks extend their gains on hopes for reopening the American economy. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbs the highest in roughly two and a half months, regaining the 25,000 level.

3:45 a.m. The coronavirus pandemic has laid bare the need for operational changes in the world’s navies, as infections in the crowded, small quarters of ships have surged. For evidence, witness the situation that befell U.S. aircraft carriers.

1:54 a.m. Walt Disney Co. says Disney World in the U.S. state of Florida will reopen on July 11, but visitors will wear masks and not be allowed to high-five Mickey Mouse and other characters.

1:34 a.m. Boeing announces around 6,800 layoffs as part of a broad restructuring effort.

Wednesday, May 27

9:06 p.m. Japan’s government has sent a team of coronavirus specialists to Fukuoka Prefecture in response to a cluster of infections in the city of Kitakyushu, Economic and Fiscal Policy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura says. Sixteen new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in the city in the four days through Tuesday, most of which have an unknown route of transmission.

6:33 p.m. The Philippines reports 380 new infections, up from 350 yesterday and the highest daily tally since the first week of April. This brings the total to 15,049 with 904 deaths.

6:16 p.m. Indonesia reports 686 new infections on Wednesday, a surge from 415 yesterday, and 55 new deaths. This brings the total to 23,851 with 1,473 deaths.


Indonesians walk after prayers to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim festival marking the end the holy fasting month of Ramadan, at a residential area on the outskirts of Jakarta on May 24.

  © Reuters

6:09 p.m. Malaysian health authorities reports 15 new coronavirus cases, raising the cumulative total to 7,619 cases. No new deaths were reported, keeping total fatalities at 115.

3:24 p.m. The Philippines’ Okada Manila resort and casino will lay off more than 1,000 employees next month, citing severe losses triggered by the ongoing coronavirus lockdown.

2:40 p.m. As Thai retailers reopen, consumers are awakening to a service industry transformed by strict preventive measures meant to lower the infection risk.

1:46 p.m. Thailand reports nine new infections, bringing its cumulative total to 3,054 confirmed cases. No new deaths were reported. The country to this point has recorded 57 deaths.

1:17 p.m. India’s coronavirus tally tops 150,000 with 6,387 new infections and 170 deaths reported over the past 24 hours. The total now stands at 151,767 recorded infections and 4,337 deaths.

1:00 p.m. Global energy investment is expected to plunge by around 20% or $400 billion, this year, the biggest fall on record, due to the new coronavirus outbreak, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said Wednesday.

12:10 p.m. Governments are impatient to restart economic activity but experts say that will trigger a second wave of coronavirus infections. Read the Nikkei Asian Review’s latest Cover Story to see how Seoul, Hong Kong, Tokyo and other cities are dealing with life after lockdown.

11:20 a.m. China reports one new confirmed coronavirus case as of Tuesday, up from seven a day earlier. The total number of cases to date on the mainland stands at 82,993. The death toll remains unchanged at 4,634.

10:24 a.m. South Korea confirms 40 new cases, up from 19 a day ago. Total infections reached 11,265 and 269 deaths. The country’s kindergartens, primary and middle schools reopen today.

9:21 a.m. Mexico registers 501 new deaths from the coronavirus, its biggest single-day increase in fatalities, which came as the number of new cases also set a record. The country’s totals now stand at 74,560 infections and 8,134 deaths.

8:05 a.m. Brazil surpasses Russia in total infections and now has the second most in the world, after U.S. Brazil’s case count stands at 391,222, with 16,324 new cases on Tuesday. Its death toll has risen to 24,512, with 1,039 new deaths recorded over the last 24 hours.

7:00 a.m. U.S. President Donald Trump tells reporters the U.S. is working on a strong response to China’s planned national security legislation for Hong Kong and it would be announced before the end of the week.


A woman leans on the door of an ambulance carrying the body of a man who died from the coronavirus in Mexico City.

  © Reuters

5:00 a.m. U.S. stocks close higher as investors cheer signs of economic reopening, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average rising 530 points, or 2.2%, while the S&P 500 adds 1.2%.

4:30 a.m. President Donald Trump believes there would be “no greater example of reopening” than holding a summit of Group of Seven leaders in the United States near the end of June, the White House says.

3:30 a.m. The Americas have emerged as the new epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, the WHO says, as a U.S. study forecasts deaths surging in Brazil and other Latin American countries through August.

3:00 a.m. The World Health Organization pledges a swift review of data on hydroxychloroquine, probably by mid-June, amid safety concerns over the use of the malaria drug on COVID-19 patients.

2:50 a.m. Apple says it plans to reopen about 100 stores in the United States, most with curbside pickup but some with walk-in service.

2:20 a.m. Hitachi looks to review its work policies to enable employees come to the office just two to three days a week, even after the coronavirus pandemic ends.

12:10 a.m. Nissan Motor plans to scrap a production line at one of its two U.S. auto assembly plants as part of an effort to cut 300 billion yen in annual costs as the coronavirus pandemic weigh on global sales.

Tuesday, May 26

10:30 a.m. U.S. stocks open higher on optimism about economic reopening and vaccine development, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average rising almost 600 points and the S&P 500 gaining 2%.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, wearing a face mask, rings the opening bell as the New York Stock Exchange trading floor opened for the first time in two months. The NYSE’s iconic trading floor had been shuttered since March 23.

8:30 p.m. Chinese President Xi Jinping says that China’s gross domestic product growth target for 2020 would have been set at about 6% if the new coronavirus outbreak had not occurred, Kyodo reports, citing a website of the People’s Daily. In 2019, the nation’s economy grew at its slowest pace in 29 years, expanding 6.1% from a year earlier.

7:42 p.m. The Thai government has decided to keep the kingdom under a state of emergency until June 30. It had been scheduled to end on May 31. This is an expected move by Bangkok, which is currently in the middle of gradually easing its soft lockdown measures.

7:05 p.m. The Philippines reports 350 new infections, the highest daily tally in seven weeks, bringing the total to 14,669, with 886 deaths.

6:05 p.m. Indonesia is dispatching 340,000 military and police personnel to four provinces — Jakarta, West Java, West Sumatra and Gorontalo — as well as to 25 cities and regencies in other provinces that have applied partial lockdowns to educate the public on physical distancing measures. The country reported 415 new infections on Tuesday, marking the third consecutive daily decline after two daily spikes of near 1,000 last week.

5:25 p.m. Ride-hailing platform Uber Technologies says it is laying off 600 full-time employees in India due to “the impact of COVID-19 and the unpredictable nature of the recovery.” The move follows an announcement last week by the company’s local competitor Ola that it was cutting 1,400 jobs.


An Indian police officer guards migrant workers and their families in the western city of Amedabad as they wait to board a bus for home on May 24.

  © Reuters

5:00 p.m. Singapore unveils its fourth multibillion-dollar economic stimulus package in as many months to cushion the blow from the coronavirus pandemic. The latest package, focused on preserving jobs, is worth 33 billion Singapore dollars ($23.22 billion). “We are dedicating close to S$100 billion to support our people in this battle, which is almost 20% of our GDP,” the country’s finance minister said.

3:15 p.m. Japanese precision instrument maker Shimadzu will add saliva to the sample of PCR reagents to test for the new coronavirus, after the company confirmed such methods were as accurate as conventional ones of collecting samples from the throat or nose.

3:00 p.m. Tokyo stocks rose on hopes of an economic recovery after Japan lifts the state of emergency nationwide. The benchmark Nikkei average closed above 21,000 for the first time since March 5.

2:30 p.m. India’s Glenmark Pharmaceuticals will begin a clinical trial to test a combination of two anti-viral drugs — favipiravir and umifenovir — as a COVID-19 treatment. The study hopes to enlist 158 moderately infected patients currently hospitalized in India with the disease.

2:00 p.m. India reports 6,535 new cases, bringing the country total to 145,380 with 4,167 deaths. This is the fifth consecutive day that India records more than 6,000 cases.

12:30 p.m. Japan gives up on obtaining approval this month for Fujifilm Holdings’ flu drug Avigan to treat coronavirus patients. “We will continue clinical studies and clinical tests in June and onward. There is no change in our policy of approving the drug swiftly, if its efficacy is confirmed,” the country’s health minister says.

11:50 a.m. Vietnam received $6.7 billion in foreign direct investment in the first five months of 2020, down 8.2% from a year earlier, the Ministry of Planning and Investment says. As the pandemic has slowed the global economy, FDI pledges — which indicate the size of future FDI disbursements — fell 17% in the January-May period from a year earlier to $13.89 billion.

11:23 a.m. Karaoke bars, nightclubs, party rooms and public baths in Hong Kong will reopen on Friday as the city has largely stamped out local infections, with no new cases in the past 11 days. Hong Kong International Airport will resume transit services on Monday.

10:23 a.m. South Korea confirms 19 new cases, up from 16 a day ago. Total infections reach 11,225 with 269 deaths. Transportation operators today can start declining to board passengers with no masks.

9:50 a.m. China reports seven new coronavirus cases as of the end of Monday, down from 11 a day earlier. All of the new infections are among overseas travelers. Authorities also report 29 new asymptomatic cases versus 40 a day earlier.

9:20 a.m. Singapore downgrades its growth projection for this year to a range of -7% to -4%, from the previous -4% to -1%, suggesting prolonged economic damage from the pandemic despite the phased resumption of business starting next week.

6:00 a.m. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe came down on the side of the economy when the government decided to lift the state of emergency for Tokyo and four other areas on Monday, sources say. Care was taken to avoid giving appearances of an arbitrary decision.

4:21 a.m. Brazil has surpassed the U.S. in daily coronavirus death toll, logging 653 victims compared with 633 in America.

3:04 a.m. Dominic Cummings, a senior adviser to U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, says he will not resign and does not regret driving over 400 km in Britain during the country’s coronavirus lockdown. Cummings, whose trip to a family home has put Johnson under fire, says he was doing what was best for his children.


WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says the organization is halting studies of hydroxychloroquine as a COVID-19 treatment due to safety concerns.

  © Reuters

1:55 a.m. The World Health Organization has halted tests of the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine — which U.S. President Donald Trump says he has taken to prevent COVID-19 — on patients with the coronavirus disease, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says, citing safety concerns.

1:20 a.m. German airline Lufthansa has announced 9 billion euros ($9.8 billion) in aid to ride out the coronavirus pandemic. The lifeline will leave the German government with a 20% stake in the carrier.

12:08 a.m. Spain has made Nissan Motor a proposal designed to prevent the closure of the automaker’s plant near Barcelona, the government says.

Monday, May 25

11:27 p.m. McDonald’s will from Tuesday gradually restart in-store dining at around 1,000 restaurants in Tokyo and other parts of Japan following the government’s decision to lift a coronavirus state of emergency nationwide.

10:27 p.m. China’s manufacturing slowdown presidents an opportunity “for more investment to arrive” in Mexico, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador says, according to media reports.

8:40 p.m. Hong Kong-listed Meituan Dianping reports a revenue decrease of 12.6% on the year for the January-March quarter, as the pandemic wreaked havoc on its food delivery and ticketing businesses. In a financial filing, China’s third-largest internet company by market cap — after only Alibaba Group Holding and Tencent Holdings — also logs a 1.7 billion yuan ($240 million) operating loss for the first quarter, versus a 1.3 billion yuan loss for the same period last year.

8:37 p.m. Japan’s professional baseball season will start June 19, with no fans in the stands for the foreseeable future, officials say.

7:25 p.m. Kazakhstan tightens lockdown measures at its largest gas condensate field, Karachaganak, where a worker was found to be infected with the virus late last week, according to Reuters.

6:16 p.m. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lifts the coronavirus state of emergency in Tokyo and four other prefectures, ending seven weeks of economic restrictions and ushering in an uncertain “new normal.”

6:00 p.m. Japanese biotech venture AnGes is set to begin a clinical trial of a coronavirus vaccine in July, Nikkei learns, raising hopes that the medication could secure government approval by the end of the year. Unlike standard vaccines, which use live or inactivated pathogens to generate an immune response, DNA vaccines use a genetic sequence that causes cells within the body to produce an antigen for the virus.

5:56 p.m. Philippines reports 284 new infections, the highest daily tally in two weeks, bringing the total to 14,319 with 874 deaths.

4:50 p.m. Russia reports 8,946 new cases and 92 deaths, bringing the country total to 353,427 cases and 3,633 deaths.


A traveler walks through Indira Gandhi International airport in New Delhi after the government allowed domestic flight services to resume on May 25.

  © Reuters

4:40 p.m. India reports 6,977 new cases, bringing the country total to 138,845 and overtaking Iran to become one of the 10 worst-hit nations. The figure represents the biggest single-day jump in new cases, despite the world’s longest lockdown imposed in March, even as the government allows domestic air travel to restart.

3:00 p.m. Tokyo stocks advance as the government prepares to end the state of emergency in Tokyo and all other areas, raising hopes that the economy may soon start recovering. The benchmark Nikkei average rose 1.7% to 20,741.65, its best finish since March 6, with air and land transport shares leading the rally.

2:45 p.m. Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries will close two of its three offices for SpaceJet aircraft subsidiary Mitsubishi Aircraft in North America, plans that are likely to affect a few hundred jobs, Nikkei has learned. Mitsubishi’s SpaceJet program was hit by demand uncertainties as the novel coronavirus swept the world.

2:30 p.m. Japan’s annual Ceatec electronics expo will be held online this autumn due to virus concerns, the organizer announces. The four-day trade fair begins Oct. 20. Last year, more than 700 companies participated, attracting about 150,000 visitors.

2:00 p.m. Thailand reports two new cases and one death, bringing the country total to 3,042 cases and to 57 deaths since the outbreak began in January.

12:30 a.m. China’s central bank lowers the midpoint on its trading range for the yuan to 7.1209 to the dollar, its lowest point since the 2008 global financial crisis, reflecting losses in the spot yuan market on Friday after Beijing proposed a new national security law for Hong Kong. The confrontation between the U.S. and China over Beijing’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak has added uncertainty.


Security personnel wearing face masks following the coronavirus outbreak stand guard outside the Great Hall of the People after the opening session of the National People’s Congress in Beijing.

  © Reuters

11:30 a.m. Yasutoshi Nishimura, the minister in charge of Japan’s coronavirus response, says an expert panel on COVID-19 has accepted a government proposal to lift the state of emergency in Japan’s five remaining prefectures, including Tokyo, Kanagawa and Hokkaido. A government task force will finalize the decision later in the day.

10:30 a.m. South Korea confirms 16 new cases, down from 25 a day ago. Total infections reach 11,206 with 267 deaths.

10:00 a.m. China reports 11 new confirmed cases as of the end of May 24, up from three a day earlier. All are imported cases involving travelers from overseas, including 10 detected in the Inner Mongolia region. The report also notes 40 new asymptomatic cases — patients who are infected but do not show symptoms — compared with 36 a day earlier.

9:35 a.m. Japan is set to lift the coronavirus state of emergency in Tokyo and four other prefectures still on alert, ending seven weeks of economic restrictions and ushering in an uncertain “new normal” on Monday.

7:00 a.m. The White House announces it is prohibiting foreigners from entering the U.S. if they have been in Brazil anytime during the two weeks before their intended arrival. Brazil on Friday surpassed Russia as the world’s No. 2 coronavirus hot spot, trailing only the U.S. It now has over 347,000 cases.

6:39 a.m. The Japanese capital may have suffered more than 200 excess fatalities from pneumonia and other causes early in the outbreak, possibly dwarfing the period’s official coronavirus death count of 16.

2:25 a.m. The Japanese government is preparing a coronavirus relief package of more than $900 billion, aiming to strengthen the corporate safety net in following up on last month’s $1 trillion stimulus.

Sunday, May 24

5:55 p.m. Indonesia confirms 526 new coronavirus infections, taking the total to 22,271 cases, and reports 21 new deaths, taking the total to 1,372.

5:35 p.m. Malaysia reports 60 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of known infections to 7,245. The number of fatalities remains unchanged at 115.

4:11 p.m. Singapore’s health ministry says it had confirmed 548 more coronavirus cases, taking its tally of infections to 31,616.

1:57 p.m. Thailand on Sunday reports no new coronavirus cases and no new deaths, maintaining the total to 3,040 confirmed cases and 56 fatalities since the outbreak began in January. This is the fourth time in this month that there were no new daily cases.

1:00 p.m. The coronavirus outbreak has forced digital-savvy South Korean companies and citizens to rethink many aspects of their interaction with technology — finding new business models but also acknowledging some of the downsides.

9:04 a.m. Oil demand in China, the second-largest market in the world, is returning to pre-pandemic levels, with prices on the rise, even as the global outlook for the commodity remains bleak.

8:29 a.m. Brazil registers 965 new coronavirus deaths on Saturday, taking the total number of fatalities to 22,013. The country now has 347,398 confirmed cases, according to the ministry, up 16,508 from Friday, when it surpassed Russia to become the world’s virus hot spot behind the U.S.

1:21 a.m. Thailand on Saturday begins testing a vaccine against the coronavirus on monkeys after positive trials in mice, an official said. They hope to have a “clearer outcome” of its effectiveness by September.

Saturday, May 23

6:02 p.m. Indonesia confirms 949 new coronavirus infections, taking the total in the Southeast Asian country to 21,745, and 25 new deaths, taking the total to 1,351.

5:40 p.m. Malaysia reports 48 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 7,185. The health ministry also says no new deaths were recorded, with the number of fatalities remaining at 115.

4:35 p.m. Russia says that 9,434 new cases of the novel coronavirus had been reported in the last 24 hours, pushing its nationwide tally to 335,882. The country’s coronavirus crisis response center reports 139 new fatalities after a record of 150 deaths the day before, bringing the death toll to 3,388.

4:07 p.m. Singapore’s health ministry says it had confirmed 642 more coronavirus cases, taking its tally of infections to 31,068.

11:50 a.m. China’s National Health Commission says the country reported no new cases of the new coronavirus on Friday, marking the first day of zero confirmed cases since the outbreak started late last year. But the commission said that there were two new suspected cases in Shanghai and Jilin.

11:42 a.m. Car rental firm Hertz Global Holdings Inc. files for bankruptcy protection after its business all but vanished during the coronavirus pandemic and talks with creditors failed to result in needed relief, according to Reuters.

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

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