Japan will waive pre-departure COVID-19 tests for vaccinated travelers to the country, but daily caps on entrants will remain in place, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Wednesday. DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
* Eikon users, click on COVID-19: MacroVitals for a case tracker and summary of the news. cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?navid=1592404098 ASIA-PACIFIC
* Singapore will do away with requirements to wear masks indoors starting Aug. 29, as the country sees its COVID-19 situation stabilize further, the health minister said on Wednesday. * China reported 1,744 new COVID-19 infections on Aug. 23, of which 413 were symptomatic and 1,331 were asymptomatic, the National Health Commission said on Wednesday.
* Shanghai reported no new domestically transmitted asymptomatic coronavirus cases for Aug. 23, down from three a day earlier, while zero local symptomatic cases were reported, down from one a day earlier, the city government said on Wednesday. EUROPE
* AstraZeneca may not stay in the vaccine business in the long run, its CEO told Reuters on Tuesday, showing how quickly fortunes have changed for the drugmaker that produced one of the first COVID-19 shots but has since lost out to rivals. * China is willing to increase direct flights with the Netherlands while it is doing a good job in controlling COVID-19, state media CCTV quoted China’s premier Li Keqiang as saying.
AMERICAS * The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Tuesday the Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 accounted for 4.3% and 88.9% of the total COVID-19 cases in the United States, as of the week ended Aug. 20.
* The United Nations-backed COVAX vaccine program has offered Mexico 10 million doses of Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 shots for children after the country’s president vowed to complain to the U.N. over delays, a senior Mexican official said on Tuesday. MEDICAL DEVELOPMENTS
* The European Medicines Agency will hold an extraordinary meeting on Sept. 1 to discuss applications from Moderna and Pfizer for vaccine boosters modified to target the Omicron variant, the regulator said on Tuesday. * Pfizer Inc and BioNTech’s vaccine was 73.2% effective in preventing COVID-19 among children aged 6 months through 4 years, new data from the companies showed on Tuesday, two months after the U.S. rollout of the shots began for that age group.
* Moderna Inc on Tuesday sought U.S. authorization for its COVID-19 booster shot tailored against the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of Omicron and said if cleared it would be ready to deliver the doses in September. * Valneva on Tuesday confirmed recommendations by the World Health Organization for its inactivated COVID-19 vaccine.
ECONOMIC IMPACT * Asian stock markets slipped for an eighth straight session on Wednesday, and the dollar loomed large as fresh hawkish comments from a Federal Reserve official kept investors cautious ahead of this week’s Jackson Hole symposium.
* China is inadvertently helping ease tightness in the crude oil market through declining imports, and by favoring cargoes from exporters being shunned by much of the rest of the world. * U.S. President Joe Biden is expected to announce a decision to forgive student loan debt as early as Wednesday, a source with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
* Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com Inc beat Wall Street estimates for quarterly revenue on Tuesday as lockdowns in China to control the coronavirus boosted online shopping and the company’s “618” shopping event. * Juneyao Group, the parent of Chinese carrier Juneyao Airlines, plans to start making electric vehicles, two people with knowledge of the matter said, as it seeks to diversify from businesses that have been hit hard by COVID.
* The White House on Tuesday revised down its projected fiscal 2022 deficit to $1.032 trillion, a $383 billion reduction from its budget forecast in March, reflecting stronger-than-expected revenues offset by new spending and technical re-estimates of healthcare and other outlays.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)