The U.S. Food and Drug Administration cleared Gilead Sciences Inc.’s experimental antiviral drug, remdesivir, for emergency use and Japan began a special approval process for the treatment. It’s the first medication backed by early clinical data to be made available to fight the disease.
Singapore will allow some schools and workplaces to resume operations this month. Japan’s economy minister said the government will lay out its plans on Monday for restarting economic activity.
China reported 20 asymptomatic infections while South Korea said it had six new cases, all of which were imported. A small Indonesian village was locked down after 1,200 blood tests showed more than a third of the people may have contracted the virus.
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Japan to Detail Economic Restart Plan (1:37 p.m. HK)
Japan will release details on Monday of its plan to restart economic activity hit by the coronavirus pandemic, Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said Saturday.
The 34 prefectures that aren’t designated as “special alert” will see a partial easing of restriction requests once spread of the virus comes under better control, he said.
Honda Motor Co. said separately it will place 130 workers in the Kumamoto manufacturing plant on temporary leave through the end of August.
Singapore to Ease Some Restrictions (12:13 p.m. HK)
Singapore will allow some schools and workplaces to resume operations in the next couple of weeks, according to a statement from the Ministry of Health. The nation reported 447 new infections on May 2.
Students sitting for national exams and those at some higher-education campuses will be allowed to return to school in small batches from May 19, while businesses including selected manufacturers, home-based food producers, and laundry and hairdressing services may resume operations from May 12.
Japan Starts Gilead Drug Approval Process (11:05 a.m. HK)
Japan’s Health Ministry has begun a special approval process for the antiviral drug remdesivir as a potential treatment for Covid-19, NHK reported. The approval process could be completed in around a week, the public broadcaster said without citing anyone.
Remdesivir would be the first Covid-19 treatment drug available in Japan if it is cleared for use. With limited supplies, it’s likely to only be available at specific hospitals under the ministry’s jurisdiction during early stages, NHK said.
Indonesian Village Locked Down (10:33 a.m. HK)
A small village in Bali has been placed under local lockdown after the island’s provincial government conducted “rapid” blood tests on 1,200 people and found more than 400 of them may have ongoing or recent infections of coronavirus, The Jakarta Post newspaper reported, citing Dewa Made Indra, the chairman of the local Covid-19 taskforce. Medical workers have continued to administer such tests to more than 2,600 residents in the village.
China Reports 20 Asymptomatic Cases (8:38 a.m. HK)
China reported one new coronavirus infection on May 1 and 20 asymptomatic cases, according to numbers released by the National Health Commission. There were no deaths.
South Korea confirmed six more coronavirus cases, bringing the nation’s total to 10,780. All of the new cases were imported from abroad. The death toll rose by two to 250.
U.S. Cases Rise to 1.09 Million (4 p.m. NY)
U.S. cases rose 4.4% from the day before to 1.09 million, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. That was higher than Thursday’s growth rate of 1.2% and above the past week’s average daily increase of 2.9%. Deaths rose 4.8% to 64,069.
Italy Sees Fewer New Deaths (1 p.m. NY)
Italy saw the number of new deaths from the coronavirus decline as it reported 1,965 new cases for the 24-hour period, compared with 1,872 a day earlier, according to civil protection authorities. There were 269 fatalities, down from 285 reported on Thursday. Confirmed cases total 207,428 and 28,236 people have died.
The news came as Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte fought off criticism of his administration. He apologized on Facebook for delays for financial aid and said he was open to a further easing of lockdown measures. Businesses may be able to open earlier than forecast if rules are followed and the contagion curve declines.
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