(Bloomberg) —

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.

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.

Hubei province, the epicenter of China’s outbreak, will lower its emergency response, while Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he would probably extend the emergency by about a month. Singapore will allow some schools and workplaces to resume operations this month.

Key Developments

Virus Tracker: global cases top 3.4 million; deaths 238,000Europe begins wary reopening economies with apologiesTrump escalates efforts to blame China; hints at retaliationVirus survivors fall sick again, raising immunity questionsBusiness isn’t as usual as large swaths of U.S. reopen

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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.

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{c34e2c9cd63a11c97fab811dbaaefe0cfbb1edd2527888e1a44d36f3491ee811} 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{c34e2c9cd63a11c97fab811dbaaefe0cfbb1edd2527888e1a44d36f3491ee811} and above the past week’s average daily increase of 2.9{c34e2c9cd63a11c97fab811dbaaefe0cfbb1edd2527888e1a44d36f3491ee811}. Deaths rose 4.8{c34e2c9cd63a11c97fab811dbaaefe0cfbb1edd2527888e1a44d36f3491ee811} 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.

Gilead Explores Outpatient Version of Drug (10:30 a.m. NY)

Gilead is exploring ways to make its experimental Covid-19 medicine more broadly available, potentially treating patients in the outpatient setting, the company’s chief executive officer said Friday.

Preliminary data released this week by the National Institutes of Health showed promising signs that remdesivir can speed up the recovery time for Covid-19 patients. But that study only tested the drug on the patients with a severe form of the disease, who received a daily infusion over 10 days. Daniel O’Day, Gilead’s CEO, said the company is looking at different ways of administering the medicine to make it available to more patients.

“We’re all focused on making sure we make this accessible and affordable to patients around the globe. That’s what’s going to drive us, and we take our responsibility very seriously,” O’Day said on NBC’s Today Show. Gilead has gone from 5,000 remdesivir treatment courses to 100,000 and expects to have millions available by the end of the year, he said.

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