NEW DELHI (AP) – India has reported a daily record of nearly 20,000 new infections, as several Indian states reset partial or full lockdowns to counteract the spread of the coronavirus.
The Indian Ministry of Health registered a total of 548,318 COVID-19 cases on Monday, a jump of nearly 100,000 in a week in the fourth most affected country in the world, after the United States, Brazil and Russia. The death toll in India has reached 16,475 while 321,723 patients have recovered from the disease.
The capital district of the northeastern state of Assam on the Bangladesh border has been completely shut down again until July 12 after a spike in business. Another border state, West Bengal, has extended the closure to July 31.
In the hardest-hit states of India, Maharashtra, which includes the financial capital of India, Mumbai and Delhi, home to the federal capital of New Delhi, most of the restrictions on locking have been eased: restaurants, malls and parks have reopened and public buses and shared ride services back on the road.
In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:
– Fans of South Korea’s pro sports may need to wear a mask and will be discouraged from yelling or eating when they may return to the stands in the coming weeks. Jung Eun-kyeong, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in South Korea, said such measures are being discussed as health authorities and the Ministry of Sports plan plans for spectators to return to sports. The plans could already be announced this week. Jeong said it is crucial for the leagues to strengthen the distance between the fans. The presence limits can be relaxed as the country’s antivirus efforts increase. South Korea’s professional baseball and soccer leagues returned to action in May with no spectators. The discussions about the return of fans come despite a resurgence of the virus in the Seoul region. South Korea reported 42 new infections on Monday, and authorities are considering more severe social restrictions as the epidemic continues to grow.
– Philippine officials say that authorities in a central village may face criminal or administrative complaints for allowing street parade and dancing despite a strict coronavirus shutdown. Cebu City Mayor Edgar Labella said officials of the village of Basak have been ordered to explain why the religious festival in honor of Saint John the Baptist was held on Saturday despite a ban on public gatherings. Performers in native clothes and face masks danced during the night procession, which attracted a large crowd. While the Philippines has eased quarantine restrictions in most regions, the city of Cebu has been severely shut down following a spike in infections. The Philippines has more than 35,000 virus cases, including 1,244 deaths.
– Health authorities use a saliva test while they are working on a coronavirus outbreak in Australia’s second largest city. The test appears to be less accurate than the nasal swab, but is a more comfortable option. Brett Sutton, Victoria State Chief Health Officer, said the situation in Melbourne is “a real challenge now” in part because the better situation elsewhere in Australia makes it harder to tell people to stay vigilant. Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said on Monday that 75 people had tested positive in the state in the past 24 hours. She said the Sunday saliva test was first used in a hotspot in suburban Melbourne. The saliva tests in study were only 87% as accurate as the nasal smear because saliva contains fewer viruses than the throat, said Sharon Lewin, director of the Doherty Institute in Melbourne, who developed the saliva test used.
– China reported a further decline in new cases, with only 12. Seven of them were locally distributed in Beijing, where nearly 8.3 million people have been tested in recent weeks. The number of new cases in the city was half as low as the day before, the National Health Commission reported. Beijing temporarily closed a huge food wholesale market where the virus spread widely earlier this month, closed schools and closed a number of neighborhoods. Anyone leaving Beijing has to undergo a negative virus test for the past seven days.
– The Japanese capital reported 58 new cases of coronavirus on Monday, as the number is still near recent highs and a top official said the trend is not looking good. Sixty new cases were reported on Sunday, the highest since early May and nearly twice the 31 five days ago. About half of the recently confirmed cases involved staff or customers from Tokyo’s entertainment districts. “We are closely following the latest development,” said Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura. “Frankly, this makes me feel pretty bad.” He said he plans to meet Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike to discuss the situation. Nishimura said on Sunday that the upward trend was due in part to extensive testing of nightclub staff and that there was no immediate plan to reissue requests for company closings. The new cases bring the total number of infections in Tokyo to 6,172 with 325 deaths – about a third of the national total.
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