Latest coronavirus: Thailand authorizes reopening of spas and cinemas

Nikkei Asia is following the spread of the coronavirus which was first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.

Cumulative global cases have reached 231,851,347, according to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. The worldwide death toll has reached 4,748,389.

For more information on the spread of COVID-19 and the progress of immunization around the world, please see our interactive charts and maps.

Global Coronavirus Tracking Charts

State of vaccinations in the world

Global map of the spread of mutated strains

Distribution, duration, safety: challenges emerge in the vaccine race


Tuesday, September 28 (Tokyo time)

1h46 U.S. President Joe Biden will receive a COVID-19 booster injection on Monday local time, the White House announced days after his administration gave the green light for a third injection of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine in some populations.

Monday September 27

5.30 p.m. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is launching a national digital health mission that leverages technology to improve access to health care. Every citizen will get a unique digital health identifier that will contain and protect their medical records and reduce paperwork for doctors and hospitals. Modi praised the mission’s “potential for revolutionary change”. He also praised the role of the country’s Co-Win digital vaccination platform where Indians register to receive COVID-19 vaccines, saying it has so far helped India administer by 900 million doses of vaccine.

4:00 p.m. Thailand will further ease its restrictions on coronaviruses later this week, according to the country’s COVID-19 task force. From October 1, other businesses, including spas and cinemas, will be allowed to reopen in 29 “dark red” provinces currently under maximum control, including the capital Bangkok.

2:00 p.m. Malaysia is targeting 4.5% to 5.5% annual economic growth between 2021 and 2025 as it recovers from the pandemic, Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said. Launching Malaysia’s five-year economic plan to 2025, he said the government will spend 400 billion ringgits ($ 95.5 billion) on existing and new development projects through 2025, up from 260 billion ringgits. in the previous plan.

1:54 p.m. India recorded 26,041 cases in the past 24 hours, up from 28,326 the previous day, bringing the country’s total to 33.7 million. Deaths jumped from 276 to 447,194. Meanwhile, the country has administered 3.82 million vaccines since Sunday morning, bringing the total number of doses given to people nationwide to more than 860 million. With that, 67% of its adult population of over 940 million received at least one dose while 24% were fully immunized with two doses.

People sit in social distancing circles in a Sydney park on September 22. © Reuters

1:30 p.m. Australia announces plans to gradually reopen locked Sydney, unveiling a two-tier system that will give vaccinated citizens more freedoms than unvaccinated people for several weeks. Restrictions on movement through New South Wales – the country’s most populous state and seat of Sydney – will gradually be lifted between October 11 and December 1 as vaccination rates rise to 70%, 80% and 90%. However, people who are not fully immunized will not be allowed to participate in certain activities, such as community sports, dining and shopping, until the final date.

12h00 South Korea is reporting 2,383 new cases for Sunday, up from 2,770 a day earlier. The daily count was still the fourth highest so far, and a record for a Sunday, as the country tries to contain an outbreak fueled by a three-day holiday last week, during which large numbers of people have traveled across the country.

10:45 a.m. China is reporting 35 cases for Sunday, up from 29 a day earlier. Among the new infections, 13 were transmitted locally, compared to nine local cases the day before. Among the new local cases, 11 were in Harbin, the capital of northeast Heilongjiang Province, while two were in Xiamen City, southeastern Fujian Province. China also reported 20 asymptomatic cases, which it does not classify as confirmed infections, up from 14 a day earlier.

10:30 The Australian state of New South Wales, the epicenter of the country’s worst coronavirus outbreak, reports its smallest increase in cases in more than a month as it begins to ease some restrictions amid the backdrop of higher vaccinations. A total of 787 locally acquired cases were reported – the majority in the state capital, Sydney – up from 961 a day earlier.

A Los Angeles cemetery worker collects the remains of a cremation oven during the COVID-19 outbreak on March 3. © Reuters

8:30 The pandemic has reduced life expectancy in 2020 by the largest amount since World War II, according to a study from the University of Oxford, with the life expectancy of American men declining by more than two years. Life expectancy fell by more than six months from 2019 in 22 of 29 countries analyzed in the study, which covered Europe, the United States and Chile. There have been reductions in life expectancy in 27 of the 29 countries in total. The university said most of the reductions in life expectancy in different countries could be linked to official deaths from COVID-19. So far, more than 4.7 million deaths from the novel coronavirus have been reported.

1:30 a.m. New York Governor Kathy Hochul plans to use National Guard and out-of-state medical workers to fill hospital staff shortages, as tens of thousands of workers may lose their jobs for not having met Monday’s deadline for mandatory vaccinations. The plan would allow it to declare a state of emergency to increase the supply of healthcare workers to include licensed professionals from other states and countries as well as retired nurses. The state is also considering using National Guard officers with medical training to maintain the facilities staffed. Some 16% of the 450,000 state hospital staff – about 72,000 workers – have not been fully immunized.

Sunday September 26

11:18 am The Australian state of New South Wales records 961 locally acquired cases and nine deaths, while the state of Victoria reports 779 infections and two deaths, according to Reuters. The country’s two most populous states are struggling to contain a highly infectious variant while increasing vaccinations to 80% of the population, a threshold that will allow authorities to ease strict lockdown measures.

9:30 a.m. Japanese Health Minister Norihisa Tamura suggests the country’s state of emergency will end on September 30. Speaking on television, Tamura said, “I think we can achieve it given the current situation.” But he added that restrictions on people’s lives will be lifted step by step, rather than immediately.

12:08 am Singapore reports 1,443 cases, down from the previous day’s total of 1,650 infections. The city-state has tightened restrictions to limit social gatherings to two people and has made working from home a default, to try to contain a spike in infections and reduce strain on the healthcare system.

Saturday September 25

11:15 p.m. Cuba is exporting its three-shot Abdala coronavirus vaccine for the first time, sending a first shipment to Vietnam under a contract to deliver 5 million doses to the Southeast Asian country.

Scientists on the communist-ruled island have developed three local COVID-19 vaccines, all of which are awaiting official recognition from the World Health Organization.

10:01 p.m. South Korea is seeing its daily COVID-19 infections surpass 3,000 for the first time due to an outbreak fueled by this week’s three-day vacation, authorities say. Friday’s 3,273 coronavirus cases broke the previous record a day earlier, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency, bringing the country’s total to 298,402 infections and 2,441 deaths.

8:45 am Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi told other leaders of the Quad partnership on Friday that India will allow the export of 8 million COVID-19 vaccines by the end of October, in accordance with an agreement reached by the grouping of the Australia, India, Japan and the United States in March, India’s foreign minister said.

A plan reached by the Quad this year to deliver one billion COVID-19 vaccines across Asia by the end of 2022 was blocked after India, the world’s largest vaccine producer, banned the exports in April amid a massive COVID outbreak at his home.

To keep up with past developments, check out the latest edition of the latest updates.

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