A woman pushing a pram wearing a mask in a Melbourne park as as Army and police are on patrol as Melbourne goes into Stage 4 Lockdown due to the continuing spread of COVID-19, Aug 5, 2020. (PHOTO / AP)
WELLINGTON / SYDNEY/ DUBAI - Australia recorded its deadliest day of the coronavirus pandemic on Wednesday and the biggest daily rise in infections in three days, denting hopes that a second wave gripping the state of Victoria may be stabilising.
Victoria reported 21 deaths - two more than the previous deadliest days earlier this week - and 410 new cases in the past 24 hours, ending a run of three consecutive days with new infections below 400.
A cluster of infections in Melbourne, the Victorian capital and Australia’s second-largest city, forced authorities last week to impose a night curfew, tighten restrictions on people’s daily movements and order large parts of state economy to close.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said that while the number of cases were trending down, the impact of the strict new lockdown measures was yet to show up in the case numbers.
“We all know that a week is not the life cycle of this virus ... and our experts remain firm in the view that this will drive the numbers down,” he told reporters.
Only Victoria and the country’s most populous state, New South Wales (NSW), reported fresh COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, with a total of 428 infections detected in the past 24 hours.
The virus has been effectively eliminated outside of Victoria and NSW.
Authorities in NSW are scrambling to trace infections linked to a new cluster at a school in Sydney, which has raised fears of more widespread community transmission than previously known in the country’s biggest city.
Australia has reported just over 22,000 infections and 352 deaths from the virus, far fewer on a per capita basis than many other developed countries.
A health worker conducts a test at a COVID-19 coronavirus testing centre in the suburb of Northcote in Auckland on August 12, 2020. (DAVID ROWLAND / AFP)
New Zealand officials are investigating the possibility that its first COVID-19 cases in more than three months were imported by freight, as the country plunged back into lockdown on Wednesday.
The discovery of four infected family members in Auckland led Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to swiftly reimpose tight restrictions as Auckland shifted to level 3 restrictions at midday on Wednesday, requiring people to stay at home unless for essential trips. The rest of the country was placed back into slightly looser level 2 restrictions. The restrictions will initially remain in place until Friday.
The source of the outbreak has baffled health officials, who said they were confident there were was no local transmission of the virus in New Zealand for 102 days and that the family had not travelled overseas.
Ardern also delayed a key step toward a Sept. 19 general election, suspending the dissolution of parliament until Monday. No decision had yet been made on delaying the actual poll, she added, noting there was a window to defer until Nov. 21.
Meanwhile, New Zealand reported one new case of COVID-19 on Wednesday in managed isolation and quarantine facilities.
Afghanistan on Wednesday reported 76 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases, taking the country's total to 37,345, the country's Ministry of Public Health said.
Within the past 24 hours, 418 tests were conducted, and 76 were positive COVID-19 cases in 10 provinces of Afghanistan's 34 provinces, the ministry said in a statement.
Up to 1,345 deaths have been recorded since the outbreak of the pandemic in the country in February, an increase of 10 within the past 24 hours.
The total number of COVID-19 cases in India rose to 2,329,638 on Wednesday as the deaths crossed the 46,000 mark, reaching 46,091, said the data released by the federal health ministry.
Over the past 24 hours, as many as 60,963 new cases were recorded across the country, while 834 deaths due to the virus were registered.
There are a total of 643,948 active cases in India presently, and 1,639,599 people have been cured and discharged from hospitals.
Wednesday is the 13th consecutive day when over 50,000 COVID-19 cases have been recorded in India.
India's federal junior minister for indigenous alternative medicine systems Shripad Y Naik on Wednesday tested positive for COVID-19.
The announcement was made by Naik himself with a request to people who were in close contact with him to undergo a test for COVID-19 and take precautions.
The COVID-19 cases in Indonesia rose by 1,942 within one day to 130,718, with the death toll adding by 79 to 5,903, the health ministry said on Wednesday.
According to the ministry, 2,088 more people were discharged from hospitals, bringing the total number of recovered patients to 85,798.
The Indonesian government has prepared five trillion rupiahs (some US$339 million) for this year's production of the COVID-19 vaccine which is now still under a clinical test, a senior minister said.
"The government has set a budget of 5 trillion rupiahs for the production of 30-40 million dosages of the vaccine at state-owned pharmaceutical company PT Bio Farma," Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto said here Wednesday.
Iran recorded 2,510 new COVID-19 cases during the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of infections to 333,699 on Wednesday.
The death toll from the virus in the country rose to 18,988 after 188 new deaths were added overnight, Sima Sadat Lari, spokeswoman for the health ministry, announced during her daily update.
Out of the new patients, 1,089 were hospitalized, she said, adding that there have been 290,244 recoveries, while 3,940 still remain in critical condition.
The health spokeswoman noted that 2,763,225 lab tests for COVID-19 have been carried out in Iran.
She said that out of 31 provinces, 26 are either in high-risk or alert condition over the disease.
A very quiet Bourke Street is seen on August 11, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. Metropolitan Melbourne is under stage 4 lockdown restrictions, with people only allowed to leave home to give or receive care, shopping for food and essential items, daily exercise and work, while an overnight curfew from 8pm to 5am is also in place. (PHOTO / BLOOMBERG)
Israel reported the rise of 1,871 COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, raising the total infections in the state to 86,593.
The virus claimed nine more lives, leading to 622 the death toll in Israel, while the total number of recoveries surged to 60,080 after 1,082 more patients recovered.
Japan reported 700 new daily COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, bringing the nation's cumulative total to 50,448 infections as concerns remain high about the virus' resurgence in large urban areas including Tokyo and Osaka.
The Tokyo metropolitan government on Wednesday reported 222 new daily COVID-19 cases, jumping from 188 cases confirmed in the previous day, 197 on Monday although down from Sunday's surge of 331 new infections.
Tokyo, the epicenter of the outbreak of the virus in Japan, has now seen its cumulative total of COVID-19 infections increase to 16,474, the highest among all of Japan's 47 prefectures.
Of the total new cases, 135 people were aged in their 20s and 30s, accounting for around 61 percent of the total, the Tokyo metropolitan government said.
Concerns are continuing to rise about the virus' resurgence in the capital and other major urban areas in Japan including Osaka and Tokyo's neighboring prefecture of Kanagawa since the government completely lifted a state of emergency at the end of May.
Kyrgyzstan added 304 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, raising the total to 40,759.
Ainura Akmatova, head of the public health care department of the country's Health Ministry, told reporters that 263 COVID-19 patients have recovered over the past day, bringing total recoveries to 33,027.
The virus-related death tally climbed to 1,484, with six more recorded in the previous 24 hours.
Akmatova added that the total number of contracted medical workers was 2,981, with 14 new cases in the past day and 2,242 recoveries.
Lebanon's number of COVID-19 infections increased by 309 to 7,121 while the death toll went up by seven to 87, the Lebanese Health Ministry said.
Lebanese Health Minister Hamad Hassan announced that 26 teams from the health ministry have been deployed in 23 districts to follow up on COVID-19 cases.
He also underscored the need to equip a field hospital within maximum 10 days in order to receive more COVID-19 patients.
Malaysia reported 11 new COVID-19 infections, the health ministry said on Wednesday, bringing the national total to 9,114.
Health Ministry Director-General Noor Hisham Abdullah said in a press statement that eight cases are imported and three more are local transmissions.
Another eight cases have been released, bringing the total cured and discharged to 8,817 or 96.7 percent of all cases.
Palestine registered 476 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total confirmed cases to 19,594, including 114 deaths and 11,168 recoveries.
Palestinian Health Minister Mai al-Kaila held a meeting with Guo Wei, director of the Office of the People's Republic of China to Palestine in the West Bank city of Ramallah, over enhancing bilateral cooperation in the health sector, including combating the COVID-19 pandemic.
The capital of Papua New Guinea (PNG), Port Moresby concluded a two week COVID-19 lockdown on Wednesday, despite recently recording a surge of new cases.
As of Wednesday, PNG had a total of 214 confirmed COVID-19 cases and three virus-related deaths, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Prime Minister James Marape signaled earlier in the week that the lockdown measures would not be extended, in accordance with the advice from the National COVID-19 Health & Research Advisory Committee (NCHRAC).
Police officers instruct a driver as they implement stricter quarantine measures to curb the spread of COVID19 at the border of the Bulacan province and Caloocan city, Philippines, on Monday Aug. 10, 2020. (AARON FAVILA / AP)
Qatari Health Ministry on Tuesday announced 384 new COVID-19 infections, raising the total confirmed cases in the Gulf state to 113,646, including 188 deaths and 110,324 recoveries.
Saudi Arabia reported 1,521 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, bringing the total infections to 291,469.
The death toll climbed by 34 to 3,233, while the total recoveries in the kingdom soared to 255,118 after 1,640 new recoveries were added.
Singapore's Ministry of Health (MOH) reported 61 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, bringing the total confirmed cases in the country to 55,353.
Of the new cases, three are imported, two are community cases and the rest are linked with the dormitories of foreign workers.
South Korea reported 54 more cases of the COVID-19 as of midnight Wednesday compared to 24 hours ago, raising the total number of infections to 14,714.
The daily caseload stayed above 50 for 17 days since July 26 due to the continued small cluster infections and imported cases.
Of the new cases, 19 were imported from overseas, lifting the combined figure to 2,591.
The domestic infections grew in double digits owing to infections relevant to church services.
Syria reported 72 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the overall number of infections in the government-controlled areas to 1,327, including 53 deaths and 385 recoveries.
The Philippines will turn state-funded schools into quarantine facilities as it postponed physical classes to January next year amid the region’s worst coronavirus outbreak.
Half of public school rooms in the capital will be used to isolate COIVD-19 patients, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said in a statement.
The Philippines will begin clinical trials on August 17 for the Japanese antiviral Avigan as part of its efforts to contain the worst outbreak in Southeast Asia.
The trials will cover 100 patients aged 18 to 74 years across four hospitals in metropolitan Manila, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a virtual briefing on Wednesday.
The number of confirmed coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the Philippines surged to 143,749 after the Department of Health (DOH) reported 4,444 new daily cases on Wednesday.
Turkey confirmed 1,183 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, raising the total diagnosed cases to 243,180, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said.
Meanwhile, 15 people died in the past 24 hours, taking the death toll to 5,873, while 1,185 patients recovered, raising the total recoveries to 226,155, he noted.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) confirmed 262 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the tally of confirmed cases to 62,966.
The UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention said that 195 more patients recovered from the virus, taking the tally of recoveries to 56,961, while the death toll rose by one to 358.
Vietnam’s Prime Minister said on Wednesday that the next 10 days would be critical in the Southeast Asian country’s fight against a new coronavirus outbreak, which resurfaced late last month after three months of no domestic cases.
Vietnam was lauded for suppressing an earlier contagion through aggressive testing, contact-tracing and quarantining, but it is now racing to control infections in multiple locations linked to the popular holiday city of Danang, where a new outbreak was detected on July 25.
“Note that the period from this week to the middle of next week is critical,” Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said on Wednesday, according to a government statement.
“Which measures should we continue to implement to win against the virus? Which lessons have we learnt from this current outbreak?”, said Phuc.
Vietnam reported 17 new coronavirus infections on Wednesday, taking its total cases to 880, with 17 deaths. All fatalities stemmed from the new outbreak.
The total number of COVID-19 cases in Yemen's government-controlled areas increased to 1,831 on Tuesday, as five new cases were officially reported.
The Yemeni Health Ministry said in a brief press statement that during the past 24 hours, the number of recoveries in the government-controlled areas increased to 919 since the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country on April 10.
Bangladesh reported nearly 3,000 new COVID-19 cases and 42 new deaths on Wednesday, making the total tally at 266,498 and total deaths at 3,513 respectively, the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) said.
According to the figure reported by the DGHS under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country reached 266,498, including 2,995 new cases on Wednesday.
Myanmar has reported 361 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 318 recoveries from the virus in the country so far, according to a release from the Ministry of Health and Sports on Wednesday.
According to the release, there are a total of 310 patients who have been discharged from the hospital after recovery as of Wednesday.
"The infected patients are tested for COVID-19 at least twice for the recovery confirmation. If there is no sign of positive after testing, we name the patients as recovered ones but those patients have to stay at the hospital for at least one week," Than Naing Soe, director of the Health Literacy Promotion Unit, Public Health Department under the Health and Sports Ministry, told Xinhua.
After staying for at least one week at the hospital, the patients are moved to and kept under watch to ensure they are totally recovered at the respective COVID-19 treatment centers in the country, he said.
"The recovered patients will also have to stay home quarantine for two weeks after staying at the respective COVID-19 treatment centers in the country and are asked to contact us anytime if there are urgent health matters during home quarantine," he added.
As of Wednesday, a total of 127,726 samples were tested for COVID-19 and 6,969 patients are under investigation at present, the ministry's figures said.
Myanmar reported its first two positive cases of COVID-19 on March 23 and six deaths have been reported so far.
The Nepali government on Wednesday confirmed the record-high single day fatality of eight deaths due to COVID-19 , bringing the death toll to 91.
Eight people, aged between 32 to 78 died from COVID-19, Jageshwor Gautam, spokesperson at the Ministry of Health and Population, said at a regular press briefing on Wednesday. "Among them, six are males and two are females."
Meanwhile, the Nepali government reported 484 new COVID-19 cases, taking the total cases to 24,432.
Nepal has been witnessing a sudden rise of daily deaths and new cases in recent days. last week, 26 people lost their lives from pandemic, according to the ministry.
Kuwait on Wednesday reported 717 new COVID-19 cases and three more deaths, raising the tally of infections to 73,785 and the death toll to 489, the Health Ministry said in a statement.
Currently, 7,845 patients are receiving treatment, including 117 in ICU, the statement added.
The ministry also announced the recovery of 692 more patients, raising the total recoveries in the country to 65,451.
Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev has instructed the government to ease COVID-19 lockdown measures step-by-step from mid-August, the country's presidential press service said Wednesday.
The Central Asian nation, which introduced a second lockdown in July to curb a resurgence of the virus, will from Aug 15 restore domestic air and rail traffic and reopen hotels, cafes and restaurants, as well as sports centers and museums.
Members of the public will be allowed to hold family gatherings of up to 30 people, according to a report from the service.
The Iraqi Health Ministry on Wednesday said it is ready to face a new wave of COVID-19 as it is increasing the capacity of hospitals, while the ministry reported 3,441 new cases in the day, bringing the total nationwide infections to 160,436.
"The work is underway to add more than 2,000 beds in hospitals, and now we have wards equipped with all the necessary devices to receive COVID-19 patients," the Deputy Health Minister Hazim al-Jumaili told the official Iraqi News Agency (INA).
Iraq is still within the first wave of the virus due to the early measures taken by the ministry, al-Jumaili said, adding that the noncompliance by the citizens during the holidays of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha caused the recent increase of infections.
Al-Jumaili concluded that the ministry of health is ready to face the second wave of the disease due to its experience gained by the previous period of work against the pandemic.
Meanwhile, a ministry statement said that its health teams and institutions have used 19,933 testing kits across the country during the day, raising the total testing kits used so far to 1,203,883.
It also reported 57 fatalities during the day, raising the death toll to 5,588, while 2,439 more patients recovered, bringing the total number of recoveries to 114,541.
HONG KONG NEWS