A migrant worker is tested by security at a factory in Singapore. Photo: Ore Huiying/Getty Images

Japan and Singapore were glimmers of hope throughout the coronavirus pandemic, but now both countries are struggling to control the breakout as new waves of infections hit the two countries.

Why it matters: The new wave of outbreaks highlights holes in their health systems and response strategies.

In Singapore: The country reported a high of 942 new cases on Saturday, bringing the total number of cases to almost 6,000, AP reports.

  • Foreign workers live in crowded factory dormitories, with 12-20 people sharing a room, and make up about 60% of Singapore's cases.
  • Migrant labor rights groups have warned for years that these conditions would eventually cause widespread problems, The Washington Post writes.
  • Tens of thousands of workers are quarantined to their rooms with some moving to safer places due to crowding.

In Japan: The country's often-praised hospital system is near its breaking point as hospitals are being forced to turn away patients and struggle with staff and equipment shortages, AP writes.

  • Japan's initial plan to close spaces like clubs and gyms initially worked, but the virus still spread with many new cases being untraceable.
  • Some Japanese emergency rooms are even turning away patients suffering from strokes, heart attacks or external injuries.
  • Experts blame the government for not embracing social distancing, a shortage of medical gear and equipment for the worsening situation, per AP.
  • There are fears that Japan's outbreak could worsen.


  • South Korea has had success controlling the outbreak through mass testing and quickly flattened the curve of outbreaks. However, more than 160 patients tested positive for the virus after initially recovering from it — suggesting the virus lasts longer than initially anticipated, The Wall Street Journal notes.
  • In China, Axios' Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian said China's numbers changes show that Beijing is likely responding to both domestic and international pressure regarding how it evaluates the number of dead in Wuhan.

Go deeper... Map: World coronavirus updates

Go deeper

Updated 21 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 a.m. ET: 19,655,445 — Total deaths: 727,353 — Total recoveries — 11,950,845Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 a.m. ET: 4,998,802 — Total deaths: 162,425 — Total recoveries: 1,643,118 — Total tests: 61,080,587Map.
  3. Politics: Trump signs 4 executive actions on coronavirus aid — Democrats, and some Republicans, criticize the move.
  4. Public health: Fauci says chances are "not great" that COVID-19 vaccine will be 98% effective — 1 in 3 Americans would decline COVID-19 vaccine.
  5. Science: Indoor air is the next coronavirus frontline.
  6. Schools: How back-to-school is playing out in the South as coronavirus rages on — Princeton, Johns Hopkins, Howard to hold fall classes online.

Elevator anxiety will stifle reopenings

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Will you step back into an elevator any time soon?

Why it matters: Tens of billions of dollars — and the future of cities around the country — rest on the answer to that question. So long as workers remain unwilling to take elevators, hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of office real estate will continue to go largely unused.

Updated 6 hours ago - World

Brazil coronavirus death toll tops 100,000 and case numbers surpass 3 million

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro posted a photo of himself to Facebook congratulating his soccer team, Palmeiras, for winning the state title Saturday, moments after the health ministry confirmed the national COVID-19 death toll had surpassed 100,000.

Why it matters: Brazil is only the second country to confirm more than 100,000 deaths from the coronavirus. On Sunday morning, it became the second country to surpass 3 million cases, per Johns Hopkins. Only the U.S. has reported more. Bolsonaro has yet to address the milestones. He has previously tested positive for COVID-19 three times, but he's downplayed the impact of the virus, which has crippled Brazil's economy.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with the latest coronavirus case numbers and more context.