Health workers wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) suits take shelter while conducting a COVID-19 coronavirus screening under heavy rain in Mumbai on August 12, 2020. (INDRANIL MUKHERJEE / AFP)
WELLINGTON / SYDNEY／SINGAPORE / DUBAI - India’s COVID-19 death toll grew to the fourth largest globally as the disease’s spread continues to accelerate through the world’s second most populous country.
India added 942 deaths from the novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours, topping the UK with a total of 47,033 fatalities. Now India is only behind the US, Brazil and Mexico in the overall number of deaths. Its total number of confirmed cases, almost 2.4 million, is the third largest in the world.
Meanwhile, India reported another record daily rise in novel coronavirus infections on Thursday as infections grew by 66,999 on Thursday from a day earlier to reach a total of nearly 2.4 million to date, India’s health ministry said.
The country, with the world’s biggest case load behind the United States and Brazil, has now reported a jump of 50,000 cases or more each day for 15 straight days.
Five ministers including Modi’s key aide and minister for internal security, Amit Shah, have contracted the virus.
Australia's Deputy Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd has urged people to remain cautious though the number of new COVID-19 cases has started to decline.
Kidd said on Thursday that Australia needs to "wait and see" if strict COVID-19 restrictions across Victoria were having the desired effect.
As of Thursday afternoon there had been 22,358 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia, and the number of new cases in last 24 hours is 292, according to the latest figures from the Department of Health.
Of the new cases, Victoria confirmed 278, the state's fewest since July 20 while New South Wales confirmed 12 new cases.
Cambodia on Thursday confirmed four new imported COVID-19 cases, raising the total number of infections in the country to 272, said a statement from the Health Ministry.
Three new cases were Cambodian men, aged between 26 and 30 years old, who arrived in the country last month from Russia via a connecting flight in Malaysia, the statement said.
Fiji reported on Thursday one new border quarantine case of COVID-19, bringing the total number of such virus in the island nation to 10 since July 6.
Fiji's Ministry of Health Acting Permanent Secretary James Fong confirmed the new COVID-19 case on Thursday, saying that the patient is a 61-year-old male Fijian citizen who had travelled from Sacramento in the United State, transiting through Auckland, a city in New Zealand, and arriving in Nadi, Fiji's third largest city, on a flight on August 6 this year.
Iran's confirmed novel coronavirus cases rose to 336,324 on Thursday after an overnight registration of 2,625 new infections, official IRNA news agency reported.
At her daily briefing, Sima Sadat Lari, the spokeswoman for Iran's Ministry of Health and Medical Education, said out of the new cases in the past 24 hours, 1,246 patients needed to be hospitalized.
The COVID-19 pandemic has so far claimed the lives of 19,162 Iranians, up by 174 in the past 24 hours, she said.
Besides, 292,058 have recovered and been discharged from hospitals while 3,971 remain in critical condition.
Israel reported the rise of 1,558 COVID-19 cases, raising the total infections in the state to 88,151.
The virus claimed 17 more lives, leading the death toll to 639 in Israel, while the total number of recoveries surged to 62,109 after 2,029 more patients recovered.
A vehicle steers it's way into Syria through the recently reopened Nassib border post in the Deraa province,at the Syrian-Jordanian border south of Damascus on November 7, 2018. (LOUAI BESHARA / AFP)
Jordan will close its land trade border crossing with Syria for a week after a rise in COVID-19 cases coming from its northern neighbour, officials said on Wednesday.
The interior minister’s decision to close the Jaber crossing, a main gateway of goods from Lebanon and Syria to the Gulf, will come into effect on Thursday morning.
The move, which also puts officials working at the crossing under quarantine, comes after 12 cases were reported on Wednesday in addition to 13 on Tuesday in the first such surge for several weeks.
Jordan’s other land crossings, with Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Palestinian territories, are only open for commercial goods since the lockdown in March to stem the pandemic.
Prime Minister Omar al Razzaz said on Wednesday the rise was a “source of concern” and officials have said most cases came from truck drivers arriving from Syria, where NGOs say a significant rise in cases has been recorded by humanitarian workers.
Jordan has recorded 1,308 cases with eleven deaths.
Lebanon's number of COVID-19 infections increased by 292 to 7,413 while the death toll went up by two to 89, the Lebanese Health Ministry said.
The health sector in Lebanon has been operating at a capacity rate of 50 percent due to the explosions that rocked Beirut on Aug. 4 and destroyed a big part of the city.
Firas Abiad, director at Rafic Hariri University Hospital, said on Wednesday that hospitals were already suffering from a low inventory in supplies and medications due to the financial crisis, but those supplies and medications were mostly depleted on the night of the explosions.
Mongolia reported four new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, taking its total tally to 297, the country's National Center for Communicable Diseases (NCCD) said Thursday.
"A total of 487 tests for COVID-19 were conducted across the country yesterday and four of them were positive," said Amarjargal Ambaselmaa, head of the NCCD's Surveillance Department, at a daily press conference.
New Zealand said it will transfer anyone infected into quarantine facilities as the government attempts to stamp out the nation’s first outbreak in more than three months.
New Zealand officials were scrambling to trace the source of an outbreak of the coronavirus, reporting 13 new community cases and one imported case on Thursday, as long queues of people formed to escape a renewed lockdown in the country’s biggest city or be tested for the virus.
Health Director-General Ashley Bloomfield told reporters in Wellington that he expects the COVID-19 cluster to increase.
The nation now has 36 active cases. The latest outbreak has thrown the largest city, Auckland, back into lockdown and threatens to dent the economic recovery.
Palestine registered 499 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total confirmed cases to 20,093, including 114 deaths and 11,514 recoveries.
The Qatari Health Ministry announced 292 new COVID-19 infections, raising the total number of confirmed cases in the Gulf state to 113,938.
Meanwhile, 303 more recovered from the virus, bringing the total recoveries to 110,627, while the death toll increased by two to 190.
A face mask-clad pedestrian walks in Wellington's central business district in on August 12, 2020. (MARTY MELVILLE / AFP)
Saudi Arabia reported 1,569 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total infections to 293,037.
The death toll climbed by 36 to 3,269, while the total recoveries in the kingdom soared to 257,269 after 2,151 new recoveries were added.
About 800 migrant workers have been quarantined after a case of COVID-19 was discovered in a dormitory that had been cleared, Singapore’s Ministry of Health said in a statement.
Singapore earlier this week said it was “actively monitoring the dormitories to manage the risk of new outbreaks,” as there had been instances where new cases were discovered at previously cleared dorms.
Singapore's Ministry of Health (MOH) reported 42 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, the lowest daily figure in more than four months.
Of the new cases, 11 are imported cases, one is community case and the rest are linked with the dormitories of foreign workers. The new increase brings the total confirmed cases in the country to 55,395.
South Korea reported 56 more cases of the COVID-19 as of 0:00 a.m. Thursday local time compared to 24 hours ago, raising the total number of infections to 14,770.
Seven more U.S. soldiers and one civilian contract worker tested positive for COVID-19 amid the lingering worry here about imported cases, the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) said Thursday.
Thailand confirmed three new cases on Thursday, all in state quarantine after arriving from Singapore and India, according to the COVID-19 center. They reported that 132 people are currently hospitalized and 3,169 have recovered.
The Philippines’ health ministry on Thursday reported 4,002 more novel coronavirus infections and 23 additional deaths in the country.
In a bulletin, the ministry said total number of confirmed cases in the Philippines had risen to 147,526, the highest in Southeast Asia, while confirmed deaths had reached 2,426.
The Philippines plans to launch clinical trials for a Russian coronavirus vaccine in October after Russia became the first country to grant regulatory approval for a COVID-19 vaccine, drawing safety concerns over the frantic pace of its development.
Meanwhile, the transport and labor departments have issued guidelines on the mandatory use of face shields in public transport and work areas starting August 15.
Turkey confirmed 1,212 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, raising the total diagnosed cases to 244,392, Koca later tweeted.
Meanwhile, 18 people died in the past 24 hours, taking the death toll to 5,891, he said.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced 246 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total confirmed cases in the country to 63,212.
And 232 more patients have recovered from the virus, taking the tally of recoveries in the UAE to 57,193.
Laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 are decreasing significantly in Kyrgyzstan, indicating a downward trend, the country's Deputy Health Minister Mademin Karataev told an online briefing on Thursday.
In line with a decrease in patients with COVID-19, the number of observations are decreasing and makeshift hospitals are being closed, and some hospitals have been resuming operations as formerly, said Karataev.
A total of 310 new COVID-19 cases have been registered over the past day, 291 patients have recovered, and three people have died, he said.
Kuwait on Thursday reported 701 new COVID-19 cases, raising the tally of infections to 74,486, the Health Ministry said in a statement.
Currently, 7,898 patients are receiving treatment, including 118 in ICU, the statement added.
No new deaths were reported, leaving the total deaths at 489, it noted.
The ministry also announced the recovery of 648 more patients, raising the total recoveries in the country to 66,099.
Kuwait started the third-phase plan of restoring normal life on July 28. During this phase, labor capacity will increase to no more than 50 percent and visits to social care homes will be allowed.
The COVID-19-related deaths in Bangladesh has continued unabated as the relevant authorities reporting 44 more fatalities on Thursday, bringing the total number of deaths to 3,557.
The country reported 2,617 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, making the total tally at 269,115, the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) said.
The official data showed that 13,162 samples were tested in the last 24 hours across Bangladesh.
The total number of recovered patients in the country stood at 154,871 including 1,782 new recoveries on Thursday, said the DGHS.
According to the official data, the COVID-19 fatality rate in Bangladesh is now 1.32 percent and the current recovery rate is 57.55 percent in the country.
Sri Lanka will expedite the repatriation of its nationals stranded overseas amid the COVID-19 pandemic as nearly 50,000 citizens are awaiting to return home, Additional Secretary to the President for Foreign Relations Admiral Jayanath Colombage was quoted by local media as saying on Thursday.
Colombage said the program to repatriate stranded Sri Lankans overseas is progressing well and over 20,000 Sri Lankans from 94 countries had already returned to date.
Sri Lanka shut its international airports in March after the outbreak of COVID-19 but said flights would operate for repatriations.
To date, the country has detected over 2,800 COVID-19 cases, out of which 2,646 patients have recovered and been discharged. A total of 11 deaths have been reported from the virus.
The COVID-19 death toll in Maldives has risen to 21 after two new deaths were reported within 24 hours, local media reported Thursday.
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Maldives stands at 5,366, according to the Health Protection Agency (HPA).
The HPA said there are 2,471 active COVID-19 cases spread across 13 islands.
Malaysia reported 15 new COVID-19 infections, bringing the national total to 9,129, the Health Ministry said on Thursday.
Health Ministry Director-General Noor Hisham Abdullah said in a press briefing that four cases are imported and 11 more are local transmissions.
Health officials also detected one new case cluster in Kedah state involving a group which had gathered for a religious event, with nine testing positive for the disease so far.
Another four cases have been released, bringing the total cured and discharged to 8,821 or 96.6 percent of all cases.
The lockdown in Bhutan is likely to extend as another 12 people, who were close contacts of a COVID-19 patient in Phuentsholing town, a commercial hub in southern Bhutan, tested positive for the virus on Thursday.
All 12 people were men as per the ministry of health. They were working with the 25-year-old man who tested positive for the virus on Aug. 12 with no known history of recent travel.
All of the 12 men were detected from the mini dry port quarantine facility.
The ministry stated that with several cases reported outside the quarantine facilities, there is now a heightened risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus.
The Iraqi Health Ministry on Thursday recorded 3,841 new COVID-19 cases, the highest daily increase since the outbreak of the disease, as the health officials warned of a higher number of infections in the coming days.
The 3,841 cases brought the total nationwide infections to 164,277, as the ministry's health teams and institutions have used 21,026 testing kits across the country during the day, raising the total testing kits used to 1,224,909, the statement said.
It also reported 53 fatalities during the day, raising the death toll from the virus to 5,641, while 2,667 more patients recovered in the day, bringing the total number of recoveries to 117,208.
Myanmar reported eight more laboratory confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, bringing the number of infection in the country to 369 in total, according to a release from the Health and Sports Ministry.
The newly confirmed cases are returnees who were under quarantine after their recent arrivals from Japan and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the release said.
According to the ministry's figures, a total of 130,539 samples were tested for COVID-19 at the country's laboratories as of Thursday.
Critical COVID-19 cases in Nepal are rising rapidly as the pandemic spread among the elderly and people with existing health conditions, Nepal's Ministry of Health and Population said.
According to the ministry, the number of people held at intensive care units (ICUs) and those who were on ventilators reached 96 on Thursday, a sharp rise from just 22 on July 29.
As a result, the number of deaths is also rising rapidly in the Himalayan country. Nepal's health ministry said on Thursday total death toll in Nepal reached 95 with four more deaths in the last 24 hours.
Vietnam reported 25 new cases of COVID-19 infection on Thursday, bringing its total confirmed cases to 905, along with three more deaths from the disease, according to the country's Ministry of Health.
The ministry also confirmed that three more COVID-19 patients had died, bringing the death toll in the country to 20 as of Thursday, noting that all the three patients, aged from 52 to 87, had underlying medical conditions.
Meanwhile, 21 more COVID-19 patients have been given all-clear, raising the total cured cases in the country to 421 as of Thursday, while there are over 133,300 people being quarantined and monitored in the country, according to the health ministry.
Armenia reported 229 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, bringing its total to 41,023, according to the country's National Center for Disease Control.
Data from the center showed that 405 more patients have recovered in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of recoveries to 33,897.
Meanwhile, three people died in the period, raising the death toll to 809.
The center said over 180,497 people have been tested for COVID-19 since the country reported its first case on March 1.
HONG KONG NEWS