A police officer stops communters at a checkpoint during a nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Amritsar, India on May 4, 2020. (NARINDER NANU / AFP)
JERUSALEM / TOKYO / SEOUL / ISLAMABAD / RIYADH / MUSCAT / DOHA / RAMALLAH / ISTANBUL / YANGON / WELLINGTON / BANGKOK — Indian police fired tear gas at a crowd of protesting migrant workers in Gujarat and launched baton charges against hundreds of people queuing at liquor stores in New Delhi, even as the first steps were being taken to relax a coronavirus lockdown.
About 1,000 stranded workers seeking help to return to homes in states across India gathered on the outskirts of Gujarat’s city of Surat and threw stones at police who ordered them to disperse, an official said.
Meanwwhile, the shutdown has endangered the economic survival of many, including an estimated 140 million migrant labourers banned from going home.
The world’s largest lockdown, in force since March 25, is slowly being eased in some areas with fewer infections as hundreds of people queued outside liquor stores in New Delhi on Monday while some offices resumed work with fewer staff and traffic trickled into the streets, although it will stay in place at least until May 17.
India's federal health ministry on Monday morning reported 67 more COVID-19 deaths and 2,270 new positive cases since Sunday evening in the country, taking the number of deaths to 1,373 and total cases to 42,533.
On Sunday evening, the number of COVID-19 cases in the country was 40,263 and the death toll was 1,306.
Singapore’s battle with the Covid-19 pandemic has not yet reached the half-way point, according to a key government minister, even as the country mulls how to lift its partial lockdown measures.
“Remember the fight is far from over,” Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong, who also co-chairs a ministerial task force to tackle the virus, told parliament on Monday. “This battle against the virus is not a sprint; it’s a marathon, and we are not even at the half-way mark.”
While the city-state has and will continue to allow some gradual easing of its partial lockdown measures, key restrictions will remain in place until June 1, Wong said.
Singapore would consider lifting its so-called “circuit breaker” measures if certain criteria are fulfilled, including reduced transmissions of the virus in the wider community as well as among migrant workers living in dormitories, Minister of Health Gan Kim Yong said on Monday.
The Ministry of Health confirmed an additional 573 virus cases as of noon local time Monday, the majority of whom are work permit holders residing in foreign worker dormitories. Five cases are Singaporeans or permanent residents. The virus has infected more than 18,000 people in the tiny island nation, though just 18 have died.
“We need to be assured that community transmission locally is stemmed, or very low,” Gan said in remarks delivered in parliament. “Community cases should ideally fall to zero or single-digits daily, with very low numbers of unlinked cases, not just for one day, but sustained over a period of time.”
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Monday he had decided to extend the country’s national state of emergency to May 31.
Abe will consider lifting the state of emergency without waiting for its May 31 expiration if expert advisors decide that is possible based on detailed analysis of regional infection trends, he said at a meeting of the government’s coronavirus task force.
He said his advisors said that Japan had not seen the explosive surge in infections seen in some countries overseas, but the number of new infection cases had not fallen enough and there were regions where the medical system was facing strains.
“Based on that view, I will extend the state of emergency that was announced on April 7 until May 31,” Abe said, adding that it would remain nationwide.
For the 13 prefectures including Tokyo and Osaka that have been hardest hit, a target of reducing person-to-person contacts by 80% would remain in place, Abe said.
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wearing a face mask answers questions during a upper house budget committee session at the parliament in Tokyo on April 30, 2020. (PHOTO / AFP)
Israel's Ministry of Health reported 23 new cases of coronavirus on Sunday, the lowest daily number since March 15, in which 20 new cases were detected.
The total number of coronavirus cases in Israel reached 16,208, while the number of victims increased to 232, with three new deaths, the ministry said.
The number of patients in serious condition dropped from 105 to 94, out of 294 patients currently hospitalized.
Also, the number of recoveries increased to 9,749, with 156 new recoveries, while the number of active cases decreased to 6,227, the lowest number of active cases since April 1.
Due to the recent reassuring figures, Israel is expected to gradually lift more restrictions, after schools were partially opened on Sunday.
Thus, the Israeli government is scheduled to discuss Monday granting permission to visit elderly family members, hold weddings and funerals with dozens of participants, reopen shopping malls, markets and restaurants, and resume sports leagues.
Australia reported 26 new cases of the coronavirus, including a seven-year-old boy, across three states on Monday in the biggest daily jump in two weeks.
The number of new infections could rise still higher as more states and territories report case numbers throughout the day.
Authorities in New South Wales, the country’s most populous state, closed the primary school attended by the infected boy for intensive cleaning as they attempt to trace the source of the infection.
In neighbouring Victoria state, a testing blitz returned 22 new cases, 19 of which were connected to a meat processing plant, authorities said. The northern state of Queensland reported three new cases, two of whom had been travelling overseas and one on a cruise ship.
The Sydney school infection draws attention to the contentious question of whether children should attend school during the outbreak, even though the daily infection rate has slowed to a crawl.
Australia has so far escaped the high numbers of casualties seen in other countries, with about 6,800 infections and 95 deaths.
Jordan said on Sunday it had lifted all restrictions on economic activity in the latest easing of coronavirus lockdown rules to help jump-start the cash-strapped economy.
Jordan has in the last two weeks been lifting restrictions to allow businesses back to work, but with lower levels of staff and strict social distancing and hygiene guidelines.
Minister of Industry and Trade Tariq Hammouri said businesses and industries would now be able to resume production.
Public transport will be allowed to return to full normal service with safety guidelines following the outbreak, but universities and schools will remain closed and a night curfew will continue.
Jordan has reported 460 confirmed coronavirus cases and nine deaths but says it has now contained the outbreak.
The government of Prime Minister Omar al Razzaz won widespread praise for quick moves to curb the spread of the coronavirus. But as the economic impact deepened, the government faced criticism from business groups and there were fears of social unrest.
South Korea reported eight more cases of the COVID-19 compared to 24 hours ago as of 0:00 am Monday local time, raising the total number of infections to 10,801.
The daily caseload hovered below 20 for 17 straight days. All the new cases were imported from overseas, lifting the combined number to 1,099.
Two more deaths were confirmed, leaving the death toll at 252. The total fatality rate stood at 2.33 percent.
A total of 34 more patients were discharged from quarantine after making full recovery, pulling up the combined number to 9,217. The total recovery rate was 85.3 percent.
South Korea announced plans Monday to gradually allow students to attend offline classes from next week amid the slowing number of COVID-19 confirmed cases in recent weeks.
According to the education ministry, high school seniors will go to school from May 13 as they are required to prepare for annual college entrance exam and college admission counseling.
High school second graders and junior high school third graders as well as first and second graders of elementary school will go to school from May 20, while high school first graders and junior high school second graders along with third and fourth graders of primary school will be allowed to attend offline classes from May 27.
Junior high school first graders and the fifth and sixth graders of primary school will go to school from June 1.
Barrier tapes is wrapped around tables and chairs at a food court during a partial lockdown imposed due to the coronavirus in Singapore, on April 20, 2020. (PHOTO / BLOOMBERG)
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said Monday that the government has decided to gradually ease the COVID-19 related lockdown in the coming days as laborers and daily wagers are suffering due to economic hardship.
The total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 has soared to 20,084 including 457 deaths in Pakistan, according to the data updated by the country's health ministry on Sunday evening.
As per the statistics, 7,494 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the country's eastern Punjab province, 7,465 in southern Sindh province, 3,129 in northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 1,172 in southwest Balochistan, and 393 in capital Islamabad.
The virus has claimed 17 lives over the last 24 hours, and 981 new cases were reported during the same period, said the ministry.
Saudi Arabia announced on Sunday that it would co-lead the Coronavirus Global Response Pledging event to raise US$8 million.
The Saudi G20 Arabia Presidency welcomed in a statement the global call to fund a universally available and affordable COVID-19 vaccination, treatment and diagnostics.
Meanwhile, Saudi Health Ministry announced on Sunday the registering of 1,552 new coronavirus, raising the cases to 27,011. It also reported 8 deaths to increase to fatalities to 184.
The Omani Ministry of Health announced on Sunday 85 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 2,568.
According to a statement issued by the ministry, out of the 85 new cases, there are 21 Omanis, and all the new cases are related to community contact.
The statement pointed out that there are 750 recovered cases, and 12 deaths.
The ministry called on people to observe the procedures for quarantine, avoid public places or places of worship, and ensure public hygiene.
Qatar's Health Ministry on Sunday announced 679 new infections of COVID-19, increasing the total number of confirmed cases in the Gulf state to 15,551.
"One-hundred and thirty people recovered, bringing the total number of recoveries to 1,664, while the fatalities remain 12," the official Qatar News Agency reported, quoting a ministry statement.
A total of 104,435 persons have undergone lab tests for COVID-19 so far.
Palestine on Sunday said two new cases were confirmed, raising the total infected cases to 522.
Palestinian Minister of Health Mai al-Kaila told reporters that the new cases are from al-Tour neighborhood in East Jerusalem.
Overall, nearly 15,000 Palestinians are currently in home quarantine and over 31,500 tests have been made since the outbreak of the pandemic in Palestine in early March.
Turkey's biggest city Istanbul with a population of 16 million spent Sunday under lockdown in line with the government's measures to curb the COVID-19 pandemic.
Several on-duty officials, press members, and police forces were seen patrolling the city's usually most crowded spots, while avenues, streets, and district centers were all deserted.
Taking advantage of the curfew, city workers carried out several asphalt paving works on some streets and highways, the Istanbul municipality said at a written statement.
Numerous teams were in the field during the lockdown by following the social distancing rule and wearing facial masks, the statement added.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan earlier said the government would continue to impose curfews on 31 provinces on weekends until the end of May.
Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca on Sunday said at a tweet that Turkey has reported 1,670 new COVID-19 cases and 61 more deaths during the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 126,045 and the death toll to 3,397.
Israelis wearing protective masks amid the COVID-19 pandemic take part in a protest against Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in front of his residence in Jerusalem on May 3, 2020. (PHOTO / AFP)
The Iraqi health ministry on Sunday confirmed 77 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number to 2,296 in the country.
The 77 new cases during the past 24 hours were 55 in the capital Baghdad, eight in Basra and Muthanna each, five in Kirkuk and one in Anbar, the ministry said in a statement.
So far, 97 have died from the disease while 1,490 recovered, according to the statement.
Nepal's Ministry of Health and Population on Sunday reported 16 new cases of the COVID-19 disease, the largest single day spike, increasing the count of cases to 75.
As many as 15 samples were tested positive for coronavirus at Bheri Zonal Hospital in mid-western Nepalgunj town of Banke district while a sample of a resident of southern Parsa district was also tested positive at the National Public Health Laboratory in Kathmandu, officials at the ministry and the District Public Health Office in Nepalgunj confirmed.
The total number of COVID-19 infections in Myanmar has risen to 155, with four more confirmed cases reported on Sunday, according to the Ministry of Health and Sports.
Of the newly confirmed cases, all patients are from Yangon region with no travel history in the past 14 days, but three of them were in close contact with previously confirmed patients.
According to the ministry, 43 patients have recovered from the disease and 29 patients of them have been discharged from the hospital so far.
Lebanon's number of COVID-19 cases increased on Monday by three to 740, while the death toll remained at 25, the National News Agency reported.
Restaurants, cafes, clothing shops and others reopened on Monday following a decision by the cabinet to relax general mobilization amid deteriorating economic conditions and the need for shops to generate revenues to survive.
Kyrgyzstan reported on Monday 35 new cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number to 830.
Ainura Akmatova, head of the public health department of the country's Health Ministry, told a news briefing that the newly infected people include nine medical workers.
A total of 216 coronavirus cases have been registered among medical workers, with 139 recoveries, said Akmatova.
In addition, 908 people who have contact with infected patients are still under medical observation, while 11 others recovered in the past day.
A total of 575 patients have recovered and discharged from hospitals throughout the country, while 10 have died.
The United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Sunday announced 564 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number in the country to 14,163.
UAE's Ministry of Health and Prevention said in a statement that the new cases of many nationalities are all in stable condition and receiving medical treatment.
Meanwhile, 99 more patients have fully recovered from the deadly virus, taking the tally of the recoveries to 2,763, according to the ministry.
The ministry also confirmed seven more fatalities, pushing up the death toll to 126.
Kuwait on Monday reported 295 new cases of COVID-19 and two more deaths, bringing the total infections in the country to 5,278 and the death toll to 40, the Health Ministry said in a statement.
The new cases included two Kuwaiti citizens who returned from Britain and France, the statement said.
Currently, 3,291 patients are receiving treatment, including 79 in ICU, according to the statement.
Meanwhile, Kuwaiti Minister of Health Bassel Al-Sabah announced the recovery of 171 patients from the coronavirus, raising the total number of recoveries in the country to 1,947.
Afghanistan's Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) on Monday reported 190 new COVID-19 cases within the past 24 hours, taking the total cases to 2,894.
The ministry said in a statement that 52 COVID-19 patients were discharged from hospitals across the country during the period.
Five COVID patients died since early Sunday, bringing the death toll to 90.
Vietnam's Ministry of Health said on Sunday that a British expert who recently entered the country had tested positive for COVID-19, bringing its total confirmed cases in the country to 271.
The Briton entered Vietnam among a group of experts via plane and had been put under quarantine upon arrival, Vietnam News Agency reported Sunday.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern asked citizens to stay the course on social restrictions still in place to contain the coronavirus, and said no decision had been taken yet on whether the measures would be further eased.
New Zealand on Monday reported no new cases of COVID-19 for the first time since March 16.
Ardern also said she has accepted an invitation from Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison to attend Australia’s emergency coronavirus cabinet on Tuesday, where she would discuss creation of a “travel bubble” between the two countries.
Fiji's Health Ministry said on Monday that Fijians cannot afford to become complacent given that many countries are reporting a resurgence of coronavirus cases.
Fiji's Health Minister Ifereimi Waqainabete said lifting of COVID-19 restrictions will not mean that life will totally return to what it was before the pandemic, and for the time-being limitations will remain in some situations.
Waqainabete said local authorities will only remove restrictions when Fiji is free of the disease.
"What we have seen is that some countries had lifted its restrictions and the virus re-emerged. In Fiji, so far by lifting certain restrictions, we haven't had the reemergence of the disease and we hope we would be like that."
Fiji had recorded 18 cases of COVID-19, of which 14 have recovered.
Businesses reopening in Bangkok on Monday after weeks of near lockdown were taking intense precautions to prevent new outbreaks of the coronavirus.
Thailand’s new coronavirus cases rose to 18 on Monday, after falling to single-digits for the past week, but the country reported no new deaths.
Monday’s report brought the total number of cases to 2,987 since the new virus was detected in Thailand in January, with a total of 54 deaths.
The new cases were migrants who were entering Thailand through an immigration checkpoint in the southern province of Songkhla, which shares a border with Malaysia, said Taweesin Wisanuyothin, a spokesman of the government’s Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration.
They were all being quarantined in an immigration detention centre, along with 42 cases found previously on April 25, Taweesin said.
Malaysia’s exports fell 4.7 percent from a year earlier in March amid a global slowdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, government data showed on Monday.
Malaysia, which has reported nearly 6,300 coronavirus infections, partially lifted six-week-long curbs imposed to stem the outbreak on Monday, with most businesses allowed to resume operations.
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Philippines rose by 262 on Monday, to a total of 9,485, the country's health authorities said.
The Department of Health (DOH) said 101 more patients recovered from the virus, raising the country's total number of recoveries to 1,315.
According to DOH, 16 new deaths were recorded in the last 24 hours. The country's death toll now has reached 623.
The DOH said 122, or 47 percent of the daily cases, were reported in Metro Manila, 88 cases, or 33 percent, from the Central Visayas region in the central Philippines, while 52 or 20 percent from other parts of the country.
Cambodia received 1.15 million international visitors during the first quarter (Q1) of 2020, down 38.5 percent due to the impact of COVID-19, according to the latest report released by the Ministry of Tourism on Monday.
Cambodia has so far recorded a total of 122 confirmed cases of the COVID-19, with 120 patients cured, Health Minister Mam Bunheng said in a press conference here on Monday.
received 1.15 million international visitors during the first quarter (Q1) of 2020, down 38.5 percent due to the impact of COVID-19, according to the latest report released by the Ministry of Tourism on Monday.
Cambodia has so far recorded a total of 122 confirmed cases of the COVID-19, with 120 patients cured, Health Minister Mam Bunheng said in a press conference here on Monday.
Laos confirmed no new COVID-19 cases for 22 consecutive days, with the total number of confirmed cases remaining at 19, Lao Deputy Minister of Health Phouthone Meaungpak told a press conference on Monday.
The National Taskforce Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control on Monday announced that it had been monitoring 617 people at 137 accommodation centers across the country, with 358 people self-isolating at home.
As of Monday, Laos has tested 2,223 suspected cases with 19 cases tested positive, and nine patients have recovered.
Indonesia has reported 395 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 11,587, the government's spokesperson for the COVID-19-related matters Achmad Yurianto said at a press conference on Monday afternoon.
A total of 864 deaths have been recorded in the country, an increase by 19 over the previous day.
Around 1,954 people are considered to have recovered, 78 more than the number in the previous day, according to data provided by Health Ministry official Yurianto.
Bangladesh on Monday reported a record daily jump of 688 new COVID-19 cases, taking its total to over 10,000.
Nasima Sultana, a senior Health Ministry official, told at a press conference on Monday that "688 new COVID-19 positive cases and 5 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours across Bangladesh."
"The total number of positive cases is now 10,143 and death toll stands currently at 182," she added.
The coronavirus death toll in Iran, one of the hardest hit countries in the Middle East, rose by 74 in the past 24 hours to 6,277, the Health Ministry said on Monday, as mosques were due to reopen in many cities.
The total number of diagnosed cases of new coronavirus in Iran, one of the countries hardest hit by the outbreak in the Middle East, has reached 98,647, he said.
Mongolia's National Center for Communicable Disease (NCCD) confirmed on Monday one more case of COVID-19, raising the total number of the confirmed cases to 40 in the country.
The latest case is one of more than 260 Mongolian nationals who returned to their homeland on a chartered flight from COVID-19-hit European countries on Sunday morning, NCCD Chief Dulmaa Nyamkhuu said at a daily press conference.
In addition, two people have recovered from the disease, bringing the total number of recoveries to 12, according to the official.
HONG KONG NEWS