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Saturday, May 16, 2020, 17:51
India's virus infections surpass China, but contagion slowing
By Agencies
Saturday, May 16, 2020, 17:51 By Agencies

In this May 13, 2020 photo, migrant workers from other India states desperate to return to their homes wait for transportation to a train station in Ahmedabad, India. (AJIT SOLANKI / AP)

MELBOURNE / HANOI / NEW DELHI / ANKARA / DAMASCUS / MUSCAT / RAMALLAH / BISHKEK / SEOUL / ULAN BATOR / BANGKOK / JAKARTA / KUALA LUMPUR / MANILA / KABUL — India’s total novel coronavirus cases rose to 85,940 on Saturday, taking it past China, though a strict lockdown enforced since late March has reduced the rate of contagion.

So far the death rate in India appears far better, according to health ministry data, with 2,752 fatalities reported

State leaders, businesses and working class Indians have called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi to reopen the battered economy, but the government is expected to extend the lockdown, which would otherwise expire on Sunday, though with fewer restrictions.

So far the death rate in India appears far better, according to health ministry data, with 2,752 fatalities reported. The toll in the United States, United Kingdom and Italy is much higher.

Health Minister Harsh Vardhan was also encouraged by the slowing rate of infection, as it now takes 11 days for the number of cases to double, whereas before the lockdown cases were doubling every 3 1/2 days. One area of concern has been India’s low testing in relation to its large population, public health officials say. The country has ramped up testing since the beginning of April to 100,000 this week, but with 1.3 billion people on a per capita basis it is trailing far behind other major countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom and Italy.

ALSO READ: India to provide free food grains to millions of migrant workers


Struggling to curb the spread of the coronavirus while the rest of Australia has begun relaxing a two-month lockdown, Victoria state on Saturday reported 11 new cases, including some linked to known clusters at a meat factory and a McDonald’s restaurant.

The nationwide tally of new cases had still to be compiled for Saturday, but on Friday the southeastern state had accounted for 20 of the 31 new cases reported across the country.

New South Wales, the most populous state, has been hardest hit by COVID-19, but new cases there have subsided, with just three reported on Saturday.

A woman wearing face mask walks through the Queen Victoria building in Sydney on May 15, 2020. (SAEED KHAN / AFP)

For the first weekend since mid-March, restaurants, cafes and bars were re-opening in most parts of Australia, including New South Wales, but Victoria retained most of its lockdown measures.

The northeast state of Queensland, where just one case was reported on Saturday, also eased its restrictions over the weekend, allowing restaurants, cafes and beauty salons to reopen, and groups of 10 people to meet for recreational purposes in parks, at playgrounds or for barbecues.

Australia has recorded just over 7,000 COVID-19 cases, including 98 deaths, significantly below levels reported in North America and Europe, but health officials continued to urge vigilance and encouraged people to stay home.

ALSO READ: Australia's biggest states hold off relaxing COVID-19 lockdowns


Cambodia’s last patient with the new coronavirus has recovered and left hospital, leaving the Southeast Asian country with zero cases, the health ministry said on Saturday, while urging continued vigilance.

No easing of restrictions related to the virus - including school closures and border entry checks and quarantines - were included in the Ministry of Health statement.

Cambodia has reported 122 cases of the virus that causes COVID-19 and no deaths from the disease since it emerged in China and started spreading around the world, infecting more than 4.5 million and killing about 300,000 since January.

Cambodia’s last reported new case was on April 12. A total of 14,684 tests have been done since January, the ministry said.


Malaysian reported 17 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, bringing the cumulative total to 6,872.

Health authorities there reported one new death, with total fatalities at 113.


Singapore registered 465 new coronavirus infections, its health ministry said on Saturday, taking the city-state’s total to 27,356 cases.

The vast majority of the newly infected people are migrant workers living in dormitories, the health ministry said in a statement. Four are permanent residents.

Visitors wearing face masks walk through trees in Seoul, South Korea, May 15, 2020. (LEE JIN-MAN / AP)

South Korea

South Korea reported 19 more cases of the COVID-19 compared to 24 hours ago as of 0:00 am Saturday local time, raising the total number of infections to 11,037.

The daily caseload fell below 20 in seven days since May 9. Of the new cases, 10 were imported from overseas, lifting the combined figure to 1,160.

Two more deaths were confirmed, leaving the death toll at 262. The total fatality rate stood at 2.37 percent.

READ MORE: South Korea’s virus strategy is tested by outbreak linked to gay club

A total of 30 more patients were discharged from quarantine after making full recovery, pulling up the combined number to 9,851. The total recovery rate was 89.3 percent.

Since Jan 3, the country has tested more than 740,000 people, among whom 711,265 tested negative for the virus and 18,343 are being checked.


Indonesia reported 529 new coronavirus infections on Saturday, taking the total number of cases to 17,025.

Indonesia also reported 13 new deaths, taking the total number of COVID-19 deaths to 1,089, health ministry official Achmad Yurianto told an online news conference.

The Southeast Asian country has tested 135,726 people, Yurianto said.

Yurianto said 35,069 patients with suspected acute respiratory illnesses were being treated across the country.

The Philippines

The Philippines’ health ministry on Saturday reported 11 more coronavirus deaths and 214 additional infections.

In a bulletin, the ministry said total confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus have risen to 12,305, most of which are in the capital, while deaths reached 817. But 101 more patients have recovered, bringing total recoveries to 2,561.

The Philippines on Saturday started loosening its lockdown in the capital and other major cities to slowly restart an economy weighed down by quarantine measures.


Vietnam on Saturday morning confirmed a new case of COVID-19 infection, bringing the total in the country to 314 with no deaths reported.

The new case is a Vietnamese woman aged 62 who returned to the country from Russia on Wednesday, Vietnam News Agency cited the country's National Steering Committee on COVID-19 Prevention and Control as reporting.

Vietnam has recorded no local transmission for 30 straight days, the news agency reported.

It has over 12,000 being monitored and quarantined while 260 have totally recovered from COVID-19 as of Saturday, according to the report.  


Syria recorded two new COVID-19 infections on Friday, bringing the total number in the country to 50, the health ministry said in a statement.

Syria has so far recorded 36 recoveries and three deaths from COVID-19, according to the ministry statement.

On Thursday, the health ministry said 6,781 Syrians have been put in quarantine for COVID-19 inspection since February, with 2,557 now in quarantine for further tests.

Syria reported the the first COVID-19 infection on March 22 and the first death on March 29.


The Omani health ministry announced on Friday 284 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number in the country to 4,625.

All new cases, including 80 Omanis, are related to community contact, according to a ministry statement

All new cases, including 80 Omanis, are related to community contact, according to a ministry statement.

Meanwhile, 47 more patients have recovered from the virus, bringing the total recoveries to 1,350, while the death toll rose by two to 20, the statement said.

The ministry called on people to observe the procedures for quarantine, avoid public places or places of worship, and ensure public hygiene. 

READ MORE: Virus hits biggest Arab economies with record declines in Gulf


Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca on Friday reported 1,708 new COVID-19 cases and 48 more deaths in Turkey.

The total number of confirmed cases in the country has climbed to 146,457 while the death toll surged to 4,055, Koca tweeted.

Turkey conducted 38,565 tests for the coronavirus in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of tests carried out to 1,547,389, he stated.

In addition, 106,133 patients have recovered from COVID-19, while 944 are being treated at intensive care units and 490 intubated, according to the minister.

Some 2,103 patients recovered in the last 24 hours, Koca said.


Afghan Public Health Ministry, on Saturday, confirmed a rise of COVID-19 cases to 6,402 at total, after it tested 349 cases positive over the last 24 hours, the ministry confirmed.

The ministry said in a statement that 15 patients have died of the pandemic, bringing the total number to 168 since the illness broke out in February in the country.

According to the statement, the capital Kabul with 126 of the totally confirmed new cases and six new deaths is still on the top.

Up to 33 patients have also recovered over the last 24 hours, taking the tally to 778 up to date, said the statement. 


Palestinian Health Minister Mai al-Kaila announced that six new COVID-19 cases were recorded on Friday in East Jerusalem, raising the total infections in the Palestinian territories to 554.

Meanwhile, five more have recovered from the virus, with four in East Jerusalem and one in Ramallah, bringing the total recoveries to 431, al-Kaila said in an emailed press statement, adding no new coronavirus cases were recorded in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip over the past eight days.


Kyrgyzstan reported on Saturday six new confirmed COVID-19 cases, raising its total tally to 1,117, with 14 deaths.

Deputy Health Minister Nurbolot Usenbaev said that among the newly infected cases, three are long-haul truckers, and the rest are contacts of the confirmed cases.

He noted that 38 patients have recovered and were discharged from hospitals after recovering in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of recoveries to 783, including 200 medical workers.

Currently, 2,146 people who had contact with infected patients are under medical observation.


Mongolia has reported 37 new cases of COVID-19, taking its total to 135, the country's National Center for Communicable Disease (NCCD) said Saturday.

All the confirmed new cases are Mongolian nationals who returned home from Russia on Thursday, Dulmaa Nyamkhuu, head of the NCCD, said at a daily press conference.

All the 135 cases are imported, including four non-nationals, two of whom are pregnant women and one is a cancer patient, Nyamkhuu said, adding that no local transmissions or deaths have been reported in Mongolia so far.

Among the patients being treated at the NCCD, 17 are in critical condition, said the official.

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