Asia Today: India’s virus cases jump with another daily high

India recorded a new daily record of almost 20,000 new infections, as several Indian states reposition partial or total blockages to contain the spread of the coronavirus

NEW DELHI – India recorded a new daily record of almost 20,000 new infections, as several Indian states reposition partial or total blocks to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

The Indian Ministry of Health registered 548,318 cases in total COVID-19 as of Monday, a jump of almost 100,000 cases in one week in the fourth most affected country in the world, after the United States, Brazil and Russia. The death toll in India reached 16,475, while 321,723 patients recovered from the disease.

The capital district of the state of Assam, in the northeast of the country, on the border with Bangladesh, reinstated the total blockade until July 12, after an increase in cases. Another border state, West Bengal, extended its blockade until July 31.

However, in India’s most affected states, Maharashtra, which includes the financial capital of India, Mumbai and Delhi, home to the federal capital of New Delhi, most of the country’s blocking restrictions have been eased, with the reopening of restaurants, shopping malls and parks, and public buses and shared transport services back on the roads.

In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:

  • South Korean fans of professional sports may be forced to wear masks and discourage themselves from shouting or eating food when they are likely to return to newsstands in the coming weeks. Jung Eun-kyeong, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in South Korea, said these measures are being discussed as health officials and the sports ministry outline plans for spectators to return to sport. The plans can be announced as early as this week. Jeong said it will be crucial for the leagues to bridge the gap between fans. Participation limits can be reduced as the country’s anti-virus efforts progress. South Korea’s professional baseball and football leagues returned to action in May without spectators. Discussions about the return of fans take place despite the resurgence of the virus in the Seoul region. On Monday, South Korea registered 42 new infections and officials consider stronger social restrictions if the epidemic continues to grow.
  • Philippine officials say authorities in a central village may face criminal or administrative complaints for allowing a street parade and dancing, despite a strict coronavirus blockade. Mayor Edgar Labella of the city of Cebu said officials in the village of Basak had been ordered to explain why the religious celebration in honor of St. John the Baptist was held on Saturday despite the ban on public meetings. Artists in native costumes and 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 is under strict blockade after an increase in infections. The Philippines has more than 35,000 cases of the virus, including 1,244 deaths.
  • Health officials are using a saliva test while working against a coronavirus outbreak in Australia’s second largest city. The test appears to be less accurate than the nasal swab, but it is a more comfortable option. Victoria State Health Director Brett Sutton said the situation in Melbourne is “a genuine challenge now”, partly because the better situation elsewhere in Australia made it difficult to tell people to remain 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 saliva test was first used at a Melbourne suburban hot spot on Sunday. Research saliva tests were only 87% as accurate as the nasal smear, because the saliva contained less virus than the throat, said Sharon Lewin, director of the Doherty Institute in Melbourne, who developed the saliva test in use.
  • China has seen a further decline in new cases, with just 12. Seven of them have been spread locally in Beijing, where nearly 8.3 million people have been tested in recent weeks. The number of new cases in the city has dropped by half compared to the previous day, the National Health Commission said. Beijing temporarily closed a huge wholesale food market, where the virus spread widely earlier this month, rewired schools and closed some neighborhoods . Anyone leaving Beijing should have a negative virus test result in the previous seven days.

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