Asia Today: cases in India exceed 500,000; China, Korea also up

  Asia Today: cases in India exceed 500,000;  China, Korea also up

NEW DELHI (AP) – Confirmed coronavirus cases in India exceeded half a million on Saturday with a record 24.5 hours on 18,552 infections.

The Department of Health also reported 384 new deaths, bringing the total to 15,685.

The wave movement prompted authorities in the northeastern state of Assam to lock up the state capital of Gauhati for two weeks. There, about 700 new cases were reported in just four days.

Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said the rest of Assam will be put under a curfew and weekend closures.

He urged people to store essential goods and signaled a stricter closure where even supermarkets would be closed.

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In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:

– China has reported an increase in new cases of coronavirus a day after the country’s CDC said it expects an outbreak in Beijing to be brought under control soon. The National Health Commission said on Saturday that 21 cases had been confirmed nationwide in the past 24 hours, including 17 in the country’s capital. City officials have temporarily shut down a huge wholesale food market where the virus spread widely, re-closed schools and closed off a number of neighborhoods. According to the CDC of China, tests have found only a few infected people without a link to the market and that the measures taken minimize the risk of further spread, according to the official Xinhua News Agency. Anyone leaving Beijing must have a negative result from a nucleic acid test within the past seven days. Many Chinese travel during a four-day holiday weekend that ends on Sunday. China has reported 83,483 confirmed cases and 4,634 pandemic deaths. People who test positive but show no symptoms are not counted in the official number of cases.

– South Korea has reported 51 recently confirmed cases of the coronavirus, as new clusters are still emerging in the densely populated Seoul area. They bring the national workload to 12,653, including 282 deaths. Thirty-five of the new cases came from Seoul and the nearby towns and villages, which have been at the center of a revival of COVID-19 since late May. Twelve others were linked to international arrivals. Health authorities are struggling to track contacts and predict routes of infection with new clusters emerging from almost everywhere. Hundreds of infections have been linked to entertainment venues, church gatherings, restaurants and low-income workers, such as door-to-door sellers and warehouse workers. Officials have so far opposed calls to reintroduce the guidelines for stronger social distances after they relaxed in mid-April, citing concerns about a fragile economy.

Australian health officials expect more cases of COVID-19 as hundreds of foreign nationals return to begin mandatory quarantine. About 300 people will arrive in Adelaide from Mumbai, India this weekend, while hundreds are expected to follow from South America and Indonesia. People in hotel quarantine are tested for coronavirus at the beginning and end of their 14-day isolation. South Australia’s health minister, Stephen Wade, says he is preparing about 5% to 10% returnees to get the virus, as was the case when people returned from Indonesia in other states. Melbourne registered 30 new cases on Friday and continued a series of double-digit increases that more than tripled the active affairs of the state of Victoria to 183 in just over a week. In an effort to reduce the likelihood of new flares over a two-week school break size, nearly 5,000 infrared thermometers are shipped to popular vacation spots in the state. The thermometers will be used in test clinics set up on the Great Ocean Road tourist trail and in the Victorian Alps ski resort. Australia has had 104 COVID-19 deaths and nearly 7,600 confirmed cases.

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