Coronavirus latest: Trump says ‘China-centric’ WHO ‘really blew it’

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 1,279,722, according to the World Health Organization.

The worldwide death toll has hit 72,616.

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

Here are the latest developments (Tokyo time):

Wednesday, April 8

5:36 a.m. The acting U.S. Navy secretary, Thomas Modly, resigns to take responsibility for his bungled response to a virus outbreak aboard an aircraft carrier. 

5:00 a.m. U.S. stocks give up all their early gains to close slightly to the negative. The Dow Jones Industrial Average falls 0.12%, while the S&P 500 loses 0.16%.

4:00 a.m. As the pandemic’s front line advances from country to country, the experience of doctors and nurses who have worked through the first wave is a lifeline for their colleagues in countries like Australia, for whom the worst could be yet to come. Read more in this week’s cover story.

3:50 a.m. The Trump administration seeks an additional $250 billion in emergency economic aid for small U.S. businesses hit by the pandemic, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin tweets.

3:00 a.m. China fully reopens Wuhan from its coronavirus lockdown dating back to January.

The Chinese national flag flies at half-mast behind a statue of late Chinese chairman Mao Zedong in Wuhan as China holds a national mourning for those who died of COVID-19.

  © Reuters

1:30 a.m. U.S. President Donald Trump criticizes the “very China centric” World Health Organization. “Fortunately I rejected their advice on keeping our borders open to China early on. Why did they give us such a faulty recommendation,” Trump tweets

1:00 a.m. New York suffers the most COVID-19 deaths in a 24-hour period, reporting 731 more victims. New York overtakes Italy in terms of confirmed cases of the diseases, with 138,836 versus the European nation’s 135,586.

12:23 a.m. The Chinese official who had said the U.S. military may have brought the novel coronavirus to Wuhan returns for his first news conference in about a month. 

Tuesday, April 7

11:50 p.m. For years, Japan’s medical establishment has been reluctant to embrace telemedicine. The coronavirus outbreak is changing that.

11:00 p.m. Nissan and Honda plan thousands of U.S. layoffs and furloughs as America continues to hunker down.

10:30 p.m. U.S. stocks open higher, extending the previous day’s gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 both climb more than 3% at the opening bell.

8:40 p.m. Thailand’s cabinet approves a 1.9 trillion baht ($58 billion) stimulus package — the third batch of measures to support Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy.

8:00 p.m. The Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy, a private think tank, says the country’s unemployment rate jumped to 23.4% as of Sunday, from 8.8% on March 22, just before Prime Minister Narendra Modi imposed a nationwide three-week lockdown. The think tank says the number of employed workers plunged to 396 million at the end of March, from 411 million in January, meaning 15 million people lost their jobs.

7:50 p.m. Taiwan’s Executive Yuan bans government agencies from using video conferencing tools deemed potential security threats, such as Zoom. Vice Premier Chen Chi-mai says all agencies should use Taiwan-made software if possible, and if not, they should opt for tools from Microsoft or Google.

6:15 p.m. Indonesia reports 247 new cases, bringing the total to 2,738 with 221 deaths. The health ministry, meanwhile, approves a “large-scale social distancing” policy for Jakarta, which will allow Gov. Anies Baswedan to impose tougher measures to restrict the public’s movements. Other provinces are preparing to impose 14-day quarantines on arrivals to their jurisdictions ahead of the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan.

6:04 p.m. The Philippines reports 104 new infections, bringing the total to 3,764, with 177 deaths and 84 recoveries.

3:12 p.m. Thailand reports 38 new COVID-19 cases, the smallest daily increase since March 18. Its total confirmed cases now stand at 2,258.

2:01 p.m. Hun Sen postpones the Cambodian New Year holiday. According to the Phnom Penh Post, the prime minister said the holiday, from April 13 to April 16, will be pushed back and urged citizens to not travel during the period, when Cambodians traditionally visit family in the provinces. Cambodia has reported 115 cases.

1:54 p.m. India confirms 354 more cases, taking the total to 4,421, with 114 deaths, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Workers disinfect a passenger train converted into a coronavirus isolation facility near Kolkata. Millions of Indian workers have lost their jobs amid the country’s lockdown. 

  © Reuters

1:09 p.m. The Singapore government tables a bill in parliament that sought to ensure a general election could be held safely if called during the pandemic.

11:29 a.m. South Korea confirms 47 more cases, raising its total to 10,331, with 192 deaths. In addition, the country extends its “strengthened social distancing” policy for two more weeks, to April 19.

11:19 a.m. The Philippines will extend the lockdown of Luzon Island until April 30, says Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, the spokesperson of the interagency task force fighting the virus.

10:57 a.m. Mainland China reports a decline in imported coronavirus cases, after having closed its borders to virtually all foreigners and increasing its vigilance of infected people who show no symptoms. Mainland China had 32 new confirmed cases on Monday, down from 39 a day earlier, the National Health Commission says.

10:30 a.m. Australian job advertisements in March suffered their largest drop in more than a decade as strict social distancing rules and business closures took effect. Tuesday’s figures from the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group show total job ads fell 10.3% in March, erasing a 1.2% gain the month before. It was the steepest decline since January 2009, when the global financial crisis was raging.

09:47 a.m. Oil rose on Tuesday amid hopes that big producers will cut production, as slowing economic activity reduces demand for crude.

09:39 a.m. Mexico records 296 new cases, bringing the country total to 2,439 confirmed cases and 125 deaths.

09:11 a.m. India lifts restrictions on the export of 24 pharmaceutical ingredients and medicines made from them, excluding the pain reliever paracetamol and its formulations.


Workers disinfect a passenger train converted into a coronavirus isolation facility near Kolkata. Millions of Indian workers have lost their jobs amid the country’s lockdown. 

  © Reuters

08:56 a.m. Panama records 112 new cases, bringing the country total to 2,100 confirmed cases and 55 deaths.

07:45 a.m. U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House’s daily briefing Monday said the country had completed nearly 1.8 million tests by Sunday, adding that he got tested again a couple of days ago.

5:00 a.m. U.S. stocks close sharply higher, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average rising over 1,600 points, or 7.7%. The S&P 500 gains 7%. Markets appear to welcome New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s comments on a possible peak in NY cases of COVID-19.

4:41 a.m. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been taken into intensive care in hospital after his COVID-19 worsened.

3:44 a.m. Japan’s proposed $1 trillion stimulus package offers $18,000 to mom and pop businesses struggling with a plunge in demand.

3:00 a.m. U.S. deaths from COVID-19 top 10,000, led by New York City, which has more than 3,000 victims, according to Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center.

A U.S. flag hangs on the front of the New York Stock Exchange.

  © Reuters

2:22 a.m. After declaring victory on stemming the coronavirus outbreak, China aims to stimulate depressed consumer spending with subsidies for auto purchases and looser caps on car ownership.

2:00 a.m. Yoshio Tateishi, a member of the founding family of Japanese electronics maker Omron, has been diagnosed with COVID-19. The 80-year-old is a former head of the Kyoto Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

1:41 a.m. U.K. shares gain as new infections slow in some European countries, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index closing 3.1% higher.

1:15 a.m. New York is potentially nearing an apex in coronavirus infections, Gov. Andrew Cuomo says.

12:30 a.m. Singapore and Thailand are at risk of falling into economic contraction this year, while other Asian economies face sharply slower growth, a survey finds.

12:07 a.m. Confirmed coronavirus cases in Japan as of 10 p.m. Monday rise by 220 to 3,986.

Monday, April 6

10:30 a.m. U.S. stocks open higher on hopes the worst of the pandemic is over, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average rising over 800 points, or nearly 4%. The S&P 500 climbs about 4%.

9:45 p.m. Wall Street bank JPMorgan Chase may put its dividend on hold for the first time, CEO Jamie Dimon says in a letter to shareholders.

9:00 p.m. Spain says there were 637 coronavirus-related deaths Sunday, the lowest daily toll there since March 24, local newspaper El Pais reports, citing the Spanish Health Ministry. It also marks the fourth day of declines after daily fatalities peaked April 2 at 950.

8:56 p.m. Germany draws up a list of steps — including mandatory wearing of masks in public, limits on gatherings and the rapid tracing of infection chains — to help enable a phased return to normal life after its coronavirus lockdown is set to end on April 19, Reuters reports.

8:00 p.m. India’s union cabinet approves cutting the salaries of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other ministers by 30% for one year, as the country combats the coronavirus and its negative economic impact, local media report, citing one of the ministers.

7:45 p.m. The English-language Viet Nam News reports that the justice department in Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital city, is strengthening coronavirus-fighting measures by imposing fines, including those worth a maximum $12.74 on people who fail to wear face masks in public and $212 on those who litter places with used masks.

7:33 p.m. Thailand extends a landing ban on international passenger flights. The measure was originally set to end April 6, but will now last until April 18. All flight permits granted for the period are canceled.

6:52 p.m. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says he plans to declare a state of emergency in seven prefectures — Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba, Osaka, Hyogo and Fukuoka — but adds, “we will not lock cities down.” The advance notice pushes companies and their employees to prepare for an extended period of teleworking.

5:54 p.m. The Philippines reports 414 new coronavirus infections, bringing its total to 3,660 cases, with 163 deaths.

Hospital workers wearing face masks prepare to sleep on cushions placed on pews at a funeral chapel temporarily sheltering health workers from a nearby hospital taking in coronavirus patients, in Makati City, Metro Manila.

  © Reuters

5:46 p.m. Indonesia reports 218 new cases on Monday, bringing the total to 2,491 with 209 deaths and 192 people who have recovered. Jakarta’s manpower agency over the weekend reported that more than 30,000 workers have been laid off and 132,000 put on unpaid leave in the Indonesian capital due to the coronavirus crisis.

5:30 p.m. Tokyo confirms 83 new infections, sources say, as the Japanese government moves closer to declaring a state of emergency that would likely be applied to the capital and Osaka areas.

4 p.m. Singapore unveils S$5.1 billion ($3.55 billion) in additional economic spending measures such as wage support, a waiver on levies and one-off payments to combat the coronavirus pandemic. The steps will increase total spending on coronavirus relief to S$59.9 billion, or 12% of gross domestic product. Singapore has reported a total of 1,309 coronavirus infections and six deaths.

2:58 p.m. India confirms 693 more coronavirus cases, taking its total to 4,067, according to a Health and Family Welfare Ministry report. The number of deaths jumps to 109, up 32 from Sunday morning and marking the country’s largest 24-hour increase.

1:10 p.m. Indonesia paroled over 30,000 prisoners on Sunday after officials worried that overcrowded prisons could accelerate spread of the virus among inmates.

A man salutes during a national day of mourning for COVID-19 victims in Beijing on April 4.

  © Reuters

12:10 p.m. China reports 78 new asymptomatic infections on the mainland as of Sunday, compared with 47 the day before. It also confirms 39 new cases on the same day, up from 30 on Saturday.

10:22 a.m. South Korea confirms 47 more cases, raising the total number to 10,284 with 186 deaths. It is the first time South Korea reported fewer than 50 new cases since the Feb. 29 peak.

9:34 a.m. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has decided to declare a coronavirus emergency, Nikkei learns, as new cases in Tokyo increase at a record pace. Tokyo and surrounding areas, as well as Osaka, are expected to be affected by the declaration.

5:18 a.m. U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been admitted to a hospital with persistent coronavirus symptoms, British media reports.

4:00 a.m. Britain’s Queen Elizabeth addresses the nation about the crisis: “Better days will return, we will be with our friends again, we will be with our families again, we will meet again.”

Sunday, April 5

8:30 p.m. Singapore reports 120 new coronavirus cases in record daily jump.

7:00 p.m. Tokyo Governor Koike confirms record 143 new coronavirus infections.

3:59 p.m. Iran’s president said on Sunday “low-risk” economic activities would resume from April 11 in the Middle Eastern country worst-affected by the new coronavirus, Reuters reported.

2:00 p.m. A majority of people in Thailand are not confident whether the government would be able to contain the Covid-19 spread and most are not satisfied with its handling of the situation, according to an opinion survey by Suan Dusit Rajabhat University, the English-language daily Bangkok Post reported. Thailand also reported 102 new coronavirus cases and three more deaths, the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration said on Sunday.

8:00 a.m. U.S. President Donald Trump told reporters at a briefing that “there’s going to be a lot of death,” and asked Americans to brace for a big spike in coronavirus fatalities in the coming days, as the country faces what he called the toughest two weeks of the pandemic.

3:00 a.m. Dubai imposed a two-week lockdown Saturday night. It had been under an overnight curfew along with the rest of United Arab Emirates since March 26, but its Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management said the lockdown would now run around the clock for two weeks, the state news agency WAM said.

Saturday, April 4

6:00 p.m. Malaysia has recorded 150 new cases today, bringing to a total of 3,483 cases to-date. Four new deaths were also recorded, making it 57 death to-date.

4:10 p.m. Tokyo Metropolitan Government confirms 118 more infections, the first time the daily increase has topped 100.

2:48 p.m. India’s confirmed coronavirus cases hit 2,902 in the morning, an increase of 601 since Friday morning, according to the latest Health and Family Welfare Ministry data. The ministry has also recorded 68 deaths, up 12 over the same period.

11:34 a.m. Far fewer people are on the streets of shopping areas in Tokyo and other cities in Japan on Saturday, after authorities issued stay-at-home requests to combat the spread of the new coronavirus.

10:41 a.m. South Korea says it will extend its intensive social distancing campaign, which had been scheduled to end Monday, as concerns about imported coronavirus cases and new outbreaks in small clusters persist, reports Reuters.

10:14 a.m. Mexico’s health ministry says the number of people who have died of coronavirus in the country has risen to 60, up from 50 a day earlier. It has registered a total of 1,688 coronavirus cases, up from 1,510, reports Reuters.

5:00 a.m. The Dow finishes down 1.7% while the S&P 500 dips 1.5% as the stock market closes in New York.

4:29 a.m. Spain overtakes Italy for the first time in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases, but the overnight death toll fell from the previous day, reports Reuters.

3:58 a.m. Anyone expected to be near President Donald Trump or Vice President Mike Pence will be given a rapid COVID-19 test, the White House says.

3:51 a.m. Turkey imposed a partial curfew on citizens under the age of 20 effective midnight on Friday, says President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. It also decides to shut down the borders of 31 cities, including Istanbul, for all vehicles, excluding transit passage and essential supplies.

3:00 a.m. The volume of internet data used in Japan jumps 40% in roughly a month, prompting concerns about overwhelming the network.

1:35 a.m. The parent of All Nippon Airways seeks $2.79 billion in financing from a program run by the government-backed Development Bank of Japan.

1:00 a.m. New York reports the state’s biggest 24-hour death toll, with 562 succumbing to COVID-19 since a day earlier. New York City ranks seventh in the world in total COVID-19 deaths, just ahead of the Netherlands, according to Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center.

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