Passengers wait to board their flight at the Kamaraj domestic airport in Chennai, India on May 25, 2020. (PHOTO /AFP)
TOKYO / SYDNEY / MUMBAI / NEW DELHI / SEOUL / WELLINGTON — India on Monday posted its biggest single-day jump in cases of COVID-19, overtaking Iran to become one of the 10 worst-hit nations, even as the government allowed domestic air travel to restart.
India reported another 6,977 cases, taking its total to 138,845, according to government data, despite the world’s longest lockdown imposed in March by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Total deaths have passed 4,000.
The rise in new cases came as some businesses and travel resumed under a new phase of the national coronavirus lockdown.
Some passengers and crew members scheduled to board a flight on Monday at New Delhi airport said the mood at the terminal was somber as security forces implemented strict social distancing norms and passengers donned masks.
While the federal government has not insisted that passengers be quarantined after their flights, some states have implemented their own quarantine measures, creating confusion among travelers.
“Flying to meet my family almost feels like I am entering a war zone, it’s the mask and gloves that add to the stress,” said Subham Dey, an engineer travelling to the north-eastern state of Assam.
Indian Railways also said it would run an additional 2,600 special trains in the next 10 days to help nearly 3.5 million stranded migrant workers get to their homes.
People wearing face masks amid concerns over spread of coronavirus ride a train in Tokyo on March 24, 2020. (PHOTO / AFP)
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Monday that Japan will lift a state of emergency for Tokyo and four remaining areas later in the day but that it could be reimposed if the pace of infections picked up.
Social distancing curbs were loosened for most of the country on May 14 as new infections fell, but the government had kept Tokyo and four other prefectures under watch.
Japan's economy minister told reporters on Monday the government had received approval from key advisers to remove the state of emergency for all remaining regions. It would be the first time the country has been completely free from the state of emergency since it was first declared a month and a half ago.
While the world’s third-largest economy has escaped an explosive outbreak with some 17,000 infections and 825 deaths so far, the epidemic has tipped it into a recession and plunged Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s popularity to multi-year lows.
To support an economy on track for its deepest slump in postwar history, the government is considering fresh stimulus worth 100 trillion yen (US$930 billion), mostly comprising financial aid for companies, the Nikkei newspaper said.
Mosques, churches and businesses in the occupied West Bank will reopen on Tuesday in an easing of coronavirus restrictions, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said on Monday.
The Palestinian Authority declared a health emergency in March and imposed lockdowns after the first cases of the novel coronavirus were confirmed in the West Bank town of Bethlehem.
The health crisis has led to a 50% fall in commercial revenues in the West Bank, in a blow to an already ailing economy in which unemployment is at 17.6%, local officials said.
In the Gaza Strip, which is run by the Palestinian Authority’s rival, the Islamist group Hamas, 54 coronavirus cases and one death have been recorded.
The Nepali government on Monday confirmed the fourth death from the COVID-19 in the country after a 70-year-old man who died on May 17 was confirmed positive for the novel coronavirus.
On Monday, Nepal confirmed 79 new COVID-19 cases, one of the largest single day spikes in the country. With the additional cases, the total number of COVID-19 cases in Nepal has reached 682, according to the Ministry of Health and Population.
Three more people returning to Bhutan from the Middle East have tested positive for COVID-19, taking the total cases in Bhutan to 27, said the Health Ministry.
Australia’s most populous state on Monday deployed hundreds of crowd control staff to enforce social distancing on public transport amid an expected commuter surge as schools and offices reopened and coronavirus cases fell.
Australia has reported just over 7,100 COVID-19 infections, including 102 deaths, well below figures reported by other developed countries.
With fewer than 20 new COVID-19 cases most days, Australian states are pressing ahead with a three-stage plan to remove most social restrictions imposed by July.
In New South Wales, which includes the city of Sydney, children returned to full-time face-to-face learning on Monday, allowing many parents to return to offices.
But officials warned locals to expect travel delays, with buses and trains operating at significantly reduced capacity due to distancing requirements.
Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said the reopening of schools is essential for revive Australia’s economy.
The Australian government announced the third stage of mental health funding to COVID-19 on Monday.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said on Monday that the government is providing more than 20 million Australian dollars (about US$13 million) additional funding for research to improve mental health care and reduce suicide rates in Australia.
South Korea reported 16 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 11,206.
The daily caseload fell below 20 in four days. Of the new cases, three were imported from overseas, lifting the combined figure to 1,215.
One more death was confirmed, leaving the death toll at 267. The total fatality rate stood at 2.38 percent.
A total of 13 more patients were discharged from quarantine after making full recovery, pulling up the combined number to 10,226. The total recovery rate was 91.3 percent.
Since Jan 3, the country has tested more than 826,000 people, among whom 796,142 tested negative for the virus and 19,089 are being checked.
Turkey’s health minister on Sunday announced 32 new deaths from COVID-19, bringing the death toll in the country to 4,340.
Fahrettin Koca also tweeted there were 1,141 new infections confirmed in the past 24 hours. The total number of infections has reached 156,827.
Turkey ranks ninth in a global tally by Johns Hopkins University but experts believe the number of infections could be much higher than reported. More than 118,000 people have recovered, according to the health ministry statistics.
The Iranian health ministry on Monday reported 2,023 new cases of the novel coronavirus, bringing the total number in the country to 137,724 since the outbreak in late February, state TV reported.
Kianush Jahanpur, head of Public Relations and Information Center of the Ministry of Health and Medical Education, said 34 patients died over the past 24 hours, taking the death toll to 7,451.
Jahanpur updated the number of recovered people to 107,713, adding that 2,585 are still under intense care in hospitals.
The number of lab tests administered across the country stands at 818,917 as of Monday.
Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia registered on Sunday 2,399 new coronavirus cases, increasing the total number of infections to 72,560.
The death toll increased to 390 with 11 new fatalities, the health ministry tweeted.
The overall recovered cases increased to 43,520 with 2,284 new recoveries, it said.
Qatar's health ministry on Sunday announced 1,501 new infections of COVID-19, increasing the total number of confirmed cases in the Gulf state to 43,714.
"A total of 657 people recovered, bringing the total number of recoveries to 9,170, while two died, raising the fatalities to 23," according to a ministry's statement quoted by the official Qatar News Agency.
A total of 188,143 persons have undergone lab tests for COVID-19 so far.
The United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced 781 new COVID-19 cases and one more death, raising the tally of infections to 29,485 and the death toll to 245.
The total number of recoveries from the virus in the UAE rose to 15,056 after 561 more patients fully recovered.
Kuwait on Sunday reported 838 new cases of COVID-19 and eight more deaths, raising the tally of infections to 21,302 and the death toll to 156, the health ministry said in a statement.
Currently, 15,029 patients are receiving treatment, including 177 in ICU, according to the statement.
Israel reported five new COVID-19 cases, the lowest single-day rise in the country since March 7, bringing the tally of coronavirus infections to 16,717.
The number of recoveries in the country increased by 63 to 14,153.
It is worth noting that the death toll from COVID-19 in Israel remained 297 as no new death case has been recorded for four consecutive days.
Oman's Ministry of Health announced 513 new cases of infections, bringing the total number of COVID-19 cases in the country to 7,770, including 36 deaths and 1,933 recoveries.
Iraq confirmed 197 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of infections to 4,469, of whom 160 have died and 2,738 recovered.
In the mean time, the Iraqi Health Ministry said that further health preventive measures will be taken next week after the holiday of Eid al-Fitr, including maintaining the partial curfew to help curbing the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Iraq has received batches of medical aid from China and the support from a team of Chinese medical experts during their 50-day stay.
Lebanon's number of COVID-19 infections increased on Monday by five to 1,119 while death toll remained unchanged at 26, the National News Agency reported.
The ministry is still conducting PCR tests all over the country in a bid to isolate the areas that are highly infected.
Lebanon has finished its third phase of repatriating the Lebanese stranded in foreign countries.
Jordan's Health Minister Saad Jaber said Tuesday that 20 new COVID-19 cases were registered in Jordan, bringing the total number of cases to 649.
The minister said the current pandemic situation is under control and that the more economic sectors are opening up.
He added that four more patients recovered from the novel coronavirus, while 142 people are currently receiving treatment.
The total number of COVID-19 cases in Yemen's government-controlled provinces increased to 222 on Sunday, as 10 new cases were confirmed.
The Yemeni Health Ministry said in a brief statement that "during the past 24 hours, 10 cases of COVID-19 were detected in four provinces controlled by the government."
The ministry said that the number of recoveries in the government-controlled areas increased to 10 since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus on April 10.
Also, the government announced that the death toll from the virus climbed to 42 in different areas under its control, including the southern port city of Aden.
The Yemeni government has taken several measures to contain the outbreak of COVID-19, including imposing a partial overnight curfew in Aden and other major cities under its control.
The government called on donors and relevant international humanitarian organizations to provide support to help contain the pandemic.
Syria reported 20 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Monday, the largest single-day increase to date, the health ministry said.
The war-torn country has recorded 106 infections and four deaths so far, and new cases have increased in recent days with the return of Syrians from abroad, the ministry said.
Syria has kept an overnight curfew in place but has begun to open some of its economy after a lockdown. Doctors and relief groups worry that medical infrastructure ravaged by nine years of conflict would make a more serious outbreak deadly and difficult to fend off.
New Zealand is easing back curbs on the size of gatherings to 100 people from 10, as it relaxes measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday.
Authorities will reconsider the nation’s alert setting, now at level 2, on June 8, with a move to level 1 to be considered no later than June 22, Ardern told a news conference following a cabinet meeting.
Kyrgyzstan on Monday confirmed 30 new COVID-19 cases and two new deaths, raising its total number of infections to 1,433 and the death toll to 16.
Among the newly infected are five medical workers, bringing the number of infected medical workers to 280, including 231 recoveries, Deputy Health Minister Nurbolot Usenbaev, said during his daily online news briefing.
The number of recoveries increased to 992, with 12 new recoveries in the last 24 hours, Usenbaev noted.
He added that currently 425 patients are in hospitals with confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis, 348 of whom are in a satisfactory condition without any particular symptoms, while four are in the intensive care unit.
A total of 2,307 people who have had contact with infected patients are under medical observation, and another 6,841 people are in home quarantine under the supervision of doctors for the same reason.
Singapore’s health ministry on Monday confirmed 344 more coronavirus cases, taking its tally of infections to 31,960.
The lower number of cases on Monday is partly due to fewer tests being conducted, the ministry said in a statement.
The vast majority of the newly infected people are migrant workers living in dormitories, the ministry said, adding that four were Singaporeans or permanent residents.
The Philippines on Monday reported 284 new cases of the COVID-19, pushing the total number of the cases to 14,319 since the highly infectious disease emerged in the country in January.
The Department of Health (DOH) said in a daily bulletin that the number of recoveries now has climbed to 3,323 after 74 more patients have survived the disease. The total death toll has increased to 873 after 5 more patients succumbed to the viral disease, the DOH added.
According to the DOH, 171 cases or 60 percent of the daily cases were reported in Metro Manila, 70 cases or 25 percent in the Central Visayas region in the central Philippines and 43 cases or 15 percent in other parts of the country.
Laos reported no new case of COVID-19 for 43 consecutive days, with the total number of confirmed cases unchanged at 19.
Lao Deputy Minister of Health Phouthone Meaungpak told a press conference on Monday, the total number of COVID-19 confirmed cases in the country remained at 19, as no new case was confirmed for 43 consecutive days.
Malaysia reported the highest daily increase in new coronavirus cases since April 11 just three weeks since it relaxed lockdown measures.
The country confirmed 172 new cases on Monday, of which 112 are from immigration depots, according to the health ministry. That brings the total to 7,417 infections and 115 deaths.
The government allowed nearly all sectors to reopen starting on May 4 as each day of the lockdown had cost 2.4 billion ringgit (US$550 million) of losses to the economy, even as it cautioned people to refrain from leaving their homes unless necessary. The health ministry had warned that any rebound in infections from the relaxed restrictions would only be seen about two weeks after.
Malaysia has taken a strong stance against migrant workers and undocumented people after neighboring Singapore saw a surge of new cases in dormitories for foreign workers. Malaysia has moved to detain hundreds of people without proper permits to stay in the country and imposed enhanced lockdowns on buildings home to mostly foreigners.
Indonesia reported 479 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Monday, taking the total in the Southeast Asian nation to 22,750, Health Ministry official Achmad Yurianto said.
Yurianto reported 19 more coronavirus deaths, taking the total to 1,391. Indonesia has the highest COVID-19 death toll in East Asia after China.
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Bangladesh reached 35,585, including 1,975 new cases confirmed in the last 24 hours, the biggest daily jump since March 8, a senior health ministry official told a media briefing on television on Monday.
With 21 new deaths, the toll due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the country reached 501 on Monday, said Professor Nasima Sultana, additional director general of Directorate General of Health Services under the Ministry of Health.
She said 9,451 samples were tested in the last 24 hours across Bangladesh, which used to record the highest daily increase of 1,873 cases on May 23.
During the last 24 hours, she said 433 more patients were released from hospitals and clinics, bringing the number of recovered patients in the country to 7,334.
HONG KONG NEWS