In this Sept 24, 2020 file photo, a laboratory technician inspects syringes of a COVID-19 vaccine produced by Sinovac Biotech Ltd at its factory in Beijing. (NG HAN GUAN / AP)
ISTANBUL / MELBOURNE / DUBAI / BANGKOK / SEOUL / MANILA / KUALA LUMPUR / HANOI / BISHKEK / TEHRAN / DHAKA - Malaysia will start a phase-3 clinical trial on a Chinese COVID-19 vaccine next month as part of government-to-government cooperation with China, Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said Friday.
Malaysia's Health Ministry would begin the phase-3 clinical trial on a vaccine candidate developed by China's Institute of Medical Biology Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences (IMBCAMS), said Muhyiddin.
Malaysia's Health Ministry reported 1,109 new COVID-19 infections on Friday, bringing the national total to 61,861.
Health Ministry Director-General Noor Hisham Abdullah said in a press briefing that 10 of the new cases are imported and 1,099 are local transmissions.
Two more deaths have been reported, bringing the death toll to 350.
Victoria has gone 28 days with no new cases of the virus, suggesting Australia will be among a handful of western nations that can look forward to Christmas with limited restrictions on family gatherings. The state reported a daily peak of about 700 cases in early August.
The 28-day run is “an extraordinary achievement psychologically as well as practically, in terms of opening up the economy,” said Sanjaya Senanayake, an infectious diseases physician and associate professor of medicine at the Australian National University in Canberra.
Bangladesh reported 2,273 new COVID-19 cases and 20 more deaths on Friday, making the tally at 458,711 and the death toll at 6,544, the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) said.
The official data showed that 16,378 samples were tested in the last 24 hours across Bangladesh.
The total number of recovered patients in the country stood at 373,676 including 2,223 new recoveries on Friday, said the DGHS.
According to the official data, the COVID-19 fatality rate in Bangladesh is now 1.43 percent and the current recovery rate is 81.46 percent.
Bangladesh recorded the highest daily new cases of 4,019 on July 2 and the highest number of 64 deaths on June 30.
India's COVID-19 tally reached 9,309,787 on Friday as 43,082 new cases were registered during the past 24 hours, said the latest data from the federal health ministry.
According to the data, the death toll mounted to 135,715 as 492 COVID-19 patients died since Thursday morning.
This is the first time in the past few days when the number of deaths per day fell below 500-mark.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit headquarters of three vaccine manufacturers, Serum Institute of India (SII), Bharat BioTech and Zydus Cadila on November 28, local media reports said Friday.
Zydus Cadila’s COVID-19 vaccine is likely to enter phase III trials next month and a launch is expected by March if things go according to the plan, The Economic Times reported.
Indonesia reported 5,828 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, while a vaccine deal has been signed in the Philippines.
The COVID-19 cases in Indonesia rose by 5,828 within one day to 522,581, with the death toll adding by 169 to 16,521, the Health Ministry said. 3,807 more people were discharged from hospitals, bringing the total number of recovered patients to 437,456.
Iran reported on Friday a new record daily figure of 14,051 new COVID-19 infections, raising the total number of infections in the country to 922,397.
Sima Sadat Lari, spokeswoman for the Iranian Ministry of Health and Medical Education, noted at her daily briefing that 2,245 of the newly infected had to be hospitalized.
Between Thursday and Friday, 406 lives were lost to the coronavirus epidemic in Iran, she added, which takes the death toll of the outbreak to 47,095 in the country.
Iraq reported 2,483 new COVID-19 cases and 39 more deaths, bringing the total nationwide infections to 544,670 and the death toll to 12,125.
The Iraqi Health Ministry also announced 2,322 more recovered cases, raising its total recoveries to 474,376.
An empty street in Adelaide during day one of total lockdown across the state on Nov 18, 2020. (BRENTON EDWARDS / AFP)
Israel's Ministry of Health reported 505 new COVID-19 cases and one more death, bringing the total infections in the country to 332,420 and the death toll to 2,827.
The number of recoveries in Israel rose to 320,078, with the addition of 157 new ones, while the number of active cases dropped to 9,515.
On Friday morning, major shopping malls, markets and museums in Israel will reopen for the first time to ease the full lockdown imposed on Sept. 18. Under the Israeli Corona Cabinet's decision, these places will be opened under restrictions, such as preventing gatherings, especially at the entrances.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is likely to push back an election for the lower house of parliament to some time after next summer as the country tackles a third wave of COVID-19 infections, the Nikkei reported on Friday.
Tokyo posted its highest one-day number of coronavirus infections to date, with 570 cases recorded, on the final day before a request for bars and restaurants to close early comes into effect on Saturday.
Some of the increase is likely due to a three-day weekend through Monday, which typically delays testing and recording of cases. The seven-day average of cases stands at 411, still lower than earlier in the week. The city also reported the most tests ever conducted in a single day, at almost 10,000.
Severe COVID -19 cases in the capital, which the local government is tracking closely as its yardstick for requesting restrictions on businesses, rose to 61 from 60 the day before.
Japan’s Imperial Household Agency has cancelled an annual New Year’s event set for Jan. 2, at which Emperor Naruhito and other imperial family members were to greet well-wishers, because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We have decided not to hold (the event) from the viewpoint of preventing the spread of the novel coronavirus,” the agency said on its website on Friday.
As the coronavirus resurges in Japan, politicians and experts are growing more divided on the impact that a subsidy program encouraging people to travel is having on the spread of COVID-19.
The Japanese government said a new round of coronavirus antibody tests on some 15,000 people will be finished by the end of this year, as the government seeks to better grasp the scale of the pandemic's spread in the country.
Jordan reported 5,000 new coronavirus cases and 67 more deaths, raising its tally of infections to 203,021 and its total deaths from the virus to 2,509. Its tally of recoveries rose by 4,469 to 135,650.
Kuwait reported 330 new COVID-19 cases and one more death, raising the tally of infections to 141,547 and the death toll to 872 in the country.
The Kuwaiti Health Ministry also announced the recovery of 717 more patients, taking the total recoveries in the country to 134,750.
Kyrgyzstan reported 377 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, taking the national tally to 71,548.
The new cases were confirmed out of 3,388 COVID-19 medical tests in the country over the past 24 hours, said the Republican Headquarters for Combating COVID-19.
The new cases included 100 in the capital city of Bishkek and 127 in the northern region of Chui Oblast.
The headquarters also reported 402 more recoveries and five more deaths, bringing the total recoveries to 62,946 and the death toll to 1,256.
Currently, 2,875 patients are receiving treatment in hospitals throughout the country and 3,698 patients at home.
ALSO READ: Iran's COVID-19 cases top 900,000
Lebanon reported 1,859 new infections and 24 more deaths, raising its tally of COVID-19 cases to 122,200 and the death toll to 974. Its tally of recoveries increased by 916 to 72,152.
Mongolia reported 26 more COVID-19 cases on Friday, bringing the nationwide count to 738, said the country's National Center for Communicable Diseases (NCCD).
The latest confirmed cases were all locally transmitted, Amarjargal Ambaselmaa, head of the NCCD's surveillance department, said at a daily press conference.
Mongolia has so far reported 311 domestically transmitted cases, notably in the capital city of Ulan Bator and the provinces of Selenge, Darkhan-Uul, Govisumber, Orkhon and Dornogovi.
New Zealand reported seven cases of COVID-19 in managed isolation on Friday. There are no new cases in the community.
Six of the cases are members of the Pakistan men's cricket team who have tested positive for COVID-19 at their managed isolation facility in Christchurch. Fifty-three members of the squad arrived in Christchurch on Nov. 24 and were tested on day one. These cases are the results of those tests, according to the Ministry of Health.
All cases are being moved to quarantine rooms within the facility. Members of the team will be tested a minimum of four times while in managed isolation, said a ministry statement.
Palestine on Thursday reported 1,906 new COVID-19 cases and 18 new deaths, bringing the total infections to 91,464 and the death toll to 767.
Samer al-Asaad, director of preventive medicine at the Palestinian Ministry of Health, told Xinhua that the significant increase in the COVID-19 cases in Palestine was related to the coronavirus situation in the neighboring states.
A medical staff (left) wearing protective gear takes samples for the COVID -19 test from a visitor at a testing station in Seoul on Nov 27, 2020. (PHOTO / AFP)
In Qatar, the health ministry confirmed 215 new COVID-19 infections, raising the total confirmed cases in the Gulf state to 138,066.
It added that the tally of recoveries rose by 248 to 135,198, while its total fatalities remained unchanged at 237 for the second consecutive day.
Samoa reported on Friday one more COVID-19 case, bringing the total number of COVID-19 cases to two in the island nation.
According to Samoa Observer, Samoa's Director General of Health Leausa Take Naseri said on Friday that a 70-year-old Samoan man has tested positive for COVID-19 while in quarantine after arriving in Samoa on a repatriation flight from Auckland and Melbourne two weeks ago.
He tested negative upon his arrival but the result of the second test was positive.
Saudi Arabia reported 322 new COVID-19 infections and 15 more deaths, taking the kingdom's total cases to 356,389 and its death toll to 5,840. The tally of recoveries in the kingdom rose by 428 to 345,215.
Singapore will tighten the border control measures on travelers from Finland and Turkey, requiring them to serve 14-day isolation at dedicated facilities upon arrival in Singapore.
The announcement was made given the increase in cases in Finland and Turkey, according to a press release from the Ministry of Health on Thursday.
Starting from 23:59 local time of Nov. 28, all visitors who have a travel history in the past 14 days to Finland and Turkey will be required to serve a 14-day Stay-Home Notice (SHN) at dedicated SHN facilities, MOH said.
South Korea reported more than 500 new coronavirus cases for the second consecutive day on Friday, a level not seen in nearly nine months, as a third wave of infections spreads nationwide and authorities scrambled to provide more hospital beds.
The daily tally of 569 came a day after the numbers hit the highest level since March 6.
Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun warned that daily infections could swell to 1,000 and bring a greater crisis including hospital bed shortages if social distancing measures and other restrictions failed to stop the contagion.
“The situation is extremely serious and acute, as all of the 17 metropolitan cities and provinces and especially all the 25 districts in Seoul are reporting new cases,” Chung told a meeting on COVID-19 responses.
South Korea will decide soon whether further tightening of social distancing rules is needed, a health ministry official said.
Up to 90 percent of the massage and spa parlors across Thailand's beach resort city of Pattaya remain closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, said Pattaya Spa Club President Chairat Ratanophata on Friday.
He said that an estimated 400 massage and spa parlors in Pattaya have been closed since the peak of the coronavirus epidemic earlier this year, with only some 50 others opening daily for customers, mostly Thais.
Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Thursday emphasized on the urgency of purchasing COVID-19 vaccines, on the eve of inking a contract between Thailand's National Vaccine Institute and vaccine developer AstraZeneca Plc.
"Thailand managed to prevent a resurgence of COVID-19 infections, and that was the result of cooperation from all state and private agencies," said Prayut via state television.
"If we had lax effort in containing the virus, it would have taken a huge toll on Thailand's national health system and a grim economy that was already suffering from serious drought and a slow global economy in the pre-pandemic era," he said.
This photo taken on Nov 7, 2020 shows a shopper watching the lighting ceremony of a 18.29 meter tall Christmas tree at the Mall of Asia in Manila. (TED ALJIBE / AFP)
The Philippines signed a deal with AstraZeneca Plc to buy 2.6 million coronavirus vaccine doses, amid questions about the vaccine’s trial results.
Philippine companies will buy the vaccine doses, and donate half to government, presidential adviser on entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion said during the virtual signing. The vaccines may arrive in the Southeast Asian nation by May or June and help about 1.5 million people, he added.
The private sector is in talks with AstraZeneca to buy 1 million more doses, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez said at the same event.
The Department of Health (DOH) of the Philippines on Friday reported 1,631 new confirmed cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infection, bringing the total number in the country to 425,918.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) reported 1,305 new coronavirus infections and one more death, bringing its total COVID-19 cases to 163,967 and its death toll to 564. The tally of recoveries in the UAE rose by 826 to 151,870.
Turkey’s daily number of coronavirus deaths hit a record high for a fourth consecutive day with 174 in the past 24 hours, data from the Health Ministry showed on Thursday, and it also reported the highest number of new daily infections yet.
Data showed that Turkey recorded 29,132 COVID-19 cases, including asymptomatic ones, on Thursday. From July until Wednesday, Ankara had only reported symptomatic cases, of which there were 6,876 on Thursday, raising the total number to 474,606. The total number of deaths stood at 13,014.
Thursday’s new case tally was also the highest daily number reported since the beginning of the pandemic but historical data and the cumulative number of all cases is still not available.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that Turkey is obliged to take new measures to curb the sharp rise in COVID-19 cases and fatalities.
Speaking to reporters after Friday prayers in Istanbul, Erdogan noted that Turkey's Coronavirus Scientific Advisory Board has been carrying out all kinds of preparations and works to restrain the pandemic.
Vietnam reported eight new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing its total tally to 1,339 with 35 deaths from the coronavirus epidemic.
The Ministry of Health said that the new cases were a Japanese, two Russian and five Vietnamese nationals, who recently entered the country from abroad and were quarantined upon arrival.
Meanwhile, it announced that four more patients have been given all-clear, raising the total number of recoveries to 1,170.
Nearly 16,000 people are being quarantined and monitored, the ministry added.
Vietnam has gone through 86 straight days without any new confirmed COVID-19 cases reported in the community, according to the ministry.
HONG KONG NEWS