2022 RT Banner.gif

China Daily

Asia Pacific> Asia News> Content
Monday, September 14, 2020, 23:24
UNICEF: Virus endangers child immunization in Pacific region
By Agencies
Monday, September 14, 2020, 23:24 By Agencies

Maintenance personnel install social distancing signs on the floor at the SM Mall of Asia complex, operated by SM Prime Holdings Inc, in Pasay City, Metro Manila, the Philippines, Sept 8, 2020. (PHOTO / BLOOMBERG)

SEOUL / RIYADH / SYDNEY / BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN / NEW DELHI / JERUSALEM / BEIRUT / ADEN / KUWAIT CITY / KUALA LUMPUR / ULAN BATOR / YANGON / WELLINGTON / MUSCAT / JAKARTA / BAGHDAD / RAMALLAH / DOHA / SINGAPORE / ANKARA / DUBAI / HANOI - The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) warned on Monday that the COVID-19 pandemic is putting routine immunization for children in Fiji and other parts of the Pacific in danger.

According to the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation (FBC), the UNICEF in the Pacific said that it has recorded a decline in child vaccination coverage as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to bring about fear and uncertainty.

The UNICEF is concerned that this could later lead to an increase of disease-susceptible children in the Pacific region.

Fiji's Health Minister Ifereimi Waqainabete said on Monday that Fiji has one of the highest immunization coverage rates globally.

The Philippines

A group of medical frontline workers in the Philippines opposes the government’s decision to ease distancing rules in public transport, saying it will further increase coronavirus infections in the country.

“It’s still too early,” Healthcare Professionals Alliance Against COVID-19 spokesman Antonio Dans said in a virtual briefing Monday, referring to the timing of the government’s decision to allow more passengers in public transport by gradually easing the 1-meter distancing rule. “Our coronavirus cases will most likely increase, and our recovery will slow,” he said.

The Department of Health said in a statement Sunday that people should still opt for transport with at least 1 meter of distancing, and “be extra vigilant” if they’re unable to.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Philippines surged to 265,888 after the Department of Health (DOH) reported 4,699 new daily cases on Monday.

The DOH said that 259 more patients died, bringing the death toll to 4,630. Monday's number of new deaths is the highest daily one in the Philippines since the pandemic outbreak.

The death toll of COVID-19 in Myanmar has increased to 24 after four more deaths were reported on Monday morning, according to a release from the Health and Sports Ministry


Afghanistan's Public Health Ministry reported 56 new COVID-19 positive cases, totaling the patients infected with the disease to 38,772 since the outbreak of the pandemic in February in Afghanistan, said a statement of the ministry released here Monday.

According to the statement, five patients have succumbed to the virus over the period, bringing the number of COVID-19-related deaths to 1,425.


Australia reported its lowest one-day rise in novel coronavirus infections in nearly three months on Monday as authorities began to ease restrictions aimed at slowing its spread.

Thirty-nine people were found to be infected with the virus in the past 24 hours, the lowest one-day increase in new cases since June 26, when 37 infections were detected.

With dwindling numbers of new infections, the epicentre of Australia’s latest outbreak, Victoria state, has begun easing restrictions, allowing people to leave their homes for longer periods for exercise and shortening a curfew at night.

Still, frustrations are high, with hundreds of people taking part in protests on the weekend against the weeks-long coronavirus lockdown. Authorities urged patience.

Australia has recorded a total of 27,000 novel coronavirus infections and 817 deaths.

ALSO READ: New cases in India more than double US, Brazil daily average


Bangladesh reported 1,812 new COVID-19 cases and 26 more deaths on Monday, bring the number of total cases to 339,332 and the number of total deaths to 4,759, the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) said.

The official data showed that 14,216 samples were tested in the last 24 hours across the country.

The total number of recovered patients in the country stood at 243,155 including 2,512 new recoveries on Monday, said the DGHS.


Brunei reported no new cases of COVID-19 on Monday with the national tally of cases standing at 145.

It marked the 11th consecutive day without new cases since Sept. 3.

According to Brunei's Ministry of Health, no more recoveries were recorded, maintaining the total number of recovered cases at 141. There is still one active case being treated at the National Isolation Center.

Meanwhile, there are 405 individuals undergoing mandatory isolation at the monitoring centers provided by the government, as they have arrived in the country after travelling abroad.

There have been three deaths that resulted from COVID-19 in Brunei.

A medical staff wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) takes a nasal swab sample from a resident for a COVID-19 test, in a residential area in Mumbai, on Sept 14, 2020. (PUNIT PARANJPE / AFP)


India's COVID-19 tally rose to 4,846,427 and the death toll surged to 79,722, as 92,071 new cases and 1,136 deaths were reported in the past 24 hours, revealed the latest data released by the health ministry on Monday.

Still there are 986,598 COVID-19 cases across the country, while 3,780,107 people were successfully cured and discharged from hospitals.

A total of 57,239,428 samples tests had been done till Sunday out of which 978,500 tests were conducted on Sunday alone, according to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

India has emerged as the worst hit country globally in terms of new COVID-19 cases discovered every day. Over the past one week the average number of daily infections has been over 90,000.

This average was around 24,000 two months ago, and 58,000 a month ago. India's new cases detected per day are more than double the daily average of the US and Brazil, the other two worst affected countries.

Amid COVID-19 pandemic the Indian Parliament began its monsoon session on Monday, with strict arrangements in place for maintaining social distancing.

Timings of sittings of both the Houses - Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, have been changed and media persons' entry restricted too.


Indonesia’s most-populous province of West Java plans to reimpose some movement restrictions in areas near the capital after Jakarta’s implementation of tighter curbs from Monday.

Local leaders in Bogor, Depok and Bekasi -- cities that share a border with Jakarta -- can decide to impose their own restrictions, depending on the virus situation in their areas, West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil told reporters on Monday. “I hope Jakarta people also obey the rule and not travel to West Java,” Kamil said, adding his observation that many people from the capital visited tourist sites in his province last weekend.

Indonesia reported 3,141 new coronavirus cases on Monday, taking the total number of cases in the Southeast Asian country to 221,523, data from the country’s COVID-19 task force showed.

The data added 118 new deaths, taking the total to 8,841, the highest death toll in Southeast Asia.

A man works at a workshop for coffins next to the Pondok Kelapa cemetery in Jakarta on Sept 13, 2020. (ADEK BERRY / AFP)


Iran recorded its biggest jump in daily coronavirus figures since mid-August, with 156 fatalities and 2,619 new cases in the past 24 hours, the Health Ministry said.

The pandemic is picking up pace in Iran. Over the past week, the country recorded an average of 129 fatalities and 2,262 cases per day, rising from 120 deaths and 1,942 new cases per day in the first week of September.


The Iraqi health ministry on Sunday reported 3,531 new COVID-19, bringing the total nationwide infections to 290,309.

The ministry also reported 73 more deaths, raising the death toll from the infectious virus to 8,014 in the country.

It also said that 3,422 more patients recovered in the day, bringing the total number of recoveries to 224,705.

The new cases were recorded after 19,353 testing kits were used across the country during the day, and a total of 1,902,401 tests have been carried out since the outbreak of the disease, according to the statement.

Meanwhile, Deputy Speaker of the Iraqi parliament Hassan al-Kaabi said in a statement that he has recovered from the coronavirus infection, asserting that the next legislative term is crucial to pass important laws, prepare for the upcoming elections, and face the financial challenges.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gives a briefing on coronavirus developments in Israel at his office in Jerusalem, on Sept 13, 2020. (YOAV DUDKEVITCH / POOL / AFP)


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet approved a second nationwide lockdown starting Friday, brushing aside appeals from business leaders and ultra-Orthodox Jews.

Israeli cabinet ministers voted Sunday to strictly limit movement, gatherings and economic activity for at least three weeks, coinciding with the Jewish new year holiday season.

The lockdown, aiming to slow the rapid rise of coronavirus morbidity, includes a movement ban of more than 500 meters away from home.

Most shops will also be closed, as well as places of culture, leisure and tourism, including swimming pools and gyms.

However, essential service places like supermarkets and pharmacies will remain open, while restaurants will be allowed to operate only delivery services.

Israel's Ministry of Health reported 2,882 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, bringing the total number to 155,604.

The death toll reached 1,119, with 16 new fatalities, while the number of patients in serious condition rose from 495 to 519, out of 1,056 patients currently hospitalized.

The number of recoveries reached 114,998, with 1,502 new ones, while active cases currently stand at 39,479.


Kuwait on Sunday reported 553 new COVID-19 cases and two more deaths, raising the tally of infections to 94,764 and the death toll to 560, the Health Ministry said in a statement.

Currently, 9,209 patients are receiving treatment, including 94 in ICU, according to the statement.

The ministry also announced the recovery of 591 more patients, raising the total recoveries in the country to 84,995.


Lebanon's number of COVID-19 infections increased on Sunday by 641 to 24,310 while the death toll went up by two to 241, the Health Ministry reported.

The ministry said that it had succeeded in containing the virus, but the lack of proper measures adopted by citizens and arrivals from foreign countries led to the spread of the virus in the country.

Moreover, Lebanon's Internal Security Forces announced on Saturday that 22 COVID-19 cases were recorded in Roumieh prison, the largest and most crowded prison in the country.

Lebanon has been fighting against COVID-19 since Feb 21.


Malaysia reported 31 new COVID-19 infections, bringing the national total to 9,946, the Health Ministry said on Monday.

Health Ministry Director-General Noor Hisham Abdullah said in a press statement that three of the new cases are imported and 28 are local transmissions.

Another seven patients have been released after recovery, bringing the total cured and discharged to 9,203, or 92.5 percent of all cases.

Of the remaining 615 active cases, 11 are being held in intensive care and five of those are in need of assisted breathing.

No new deaths have been reported, leaving the total deaths at 128.


The number of deaths caused by COVID-19 in the Maldives has reached 32 while the country's total case count has crossed 9,000, local media reported Monday.

According to the Health Protection Agency (HPA), a 58-year-old Maldivian female patient died on Sunday, raising the country's total death count to 32.

According to official statistics, 25 out of 32 deaths are of Maldivian citizens.


The Mongolian government on Monday decided to extend the country's heightened state of readiness until the end of October amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the period of the heightened state of readiness, Mongolia will not open its borders and not allow in commercial international flights, said Ganzorig.

Mongolia reported that two more people had recovered from COVID-19 in its latest count, taking the total number of recoveries in the country to 300, the country's National Center for Communicable Diseases said in a statement on Monday.

The center said that 11 COVID-19 patients are now being treated in Mongolia, four of them in severe condition.

All the 311 confirmed cases in Mongolia were imported, and no local transmissions or deaths have been reported in the country so far.


The death toll of COVID-19 in Myanmar has increased to 24 after four more deaths were reported on Monday morning, according to a release from the Health and Sports Ministry.

According to the release, a 75-year-old man, a 69-year-old woman, a 51-year-old man and a 76-year-old woman with underlying diseases recently tested positive for COVID-19, passed away on Friday and Sunday.

On Monday morning, 83 more COVID-19 confirmed cases were reported in the country, bringing the number of infections to 3,015 in total, the ministry's figures showed.

According to the ministry's figures, 699 patients have recovered from the disease so far.

Myanmar reported its first two positive cases of COVID-19 on March 23.

Staff board a US Air Force C17 as they prepare to take the season's first flight to McMurdo Station in Antarctica from Christchurch Airport, New Zealand, Sept 14, 2020. (MARK BAKER / AP)

New Zealand

New Zealand will relax its COVID-19 restrictions by moving to Alert Level 1 and decide on whether to lower Auckland's alert level on Sept 21, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday.

Currently, Auckland remains in Alert Level 2.5, with the rest of country in Level 2.

Under COVID-19 Alert Level 2, gathering sizes are restricted to 100 people, while only 10 people in Level 2.5 and Level 3.

At Alert Level 1, everyone can return to work, school, sports and domestic travel, without gathering restrictions. However, border restrictions and good hygiene are required, the ministry said.

New Zealand saw one new community case of COVID-19 on Monday.

With Monday's new case and two additional recovered cases, the country's total number of active cases is 96. Of those, 39 are imported cases in managed isolation facilities, and 57 are community cases, the statement said.

New Zealand's total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 is now 1,447, which is the number reported to the WHO.


The Omani health ministry on Sunday announced 1,409 new COVID-19 infections, raising the total number of confirmed cases in the sultanate to 89,746, the official Oman News Agency (ONA) reported.

Meanwhile, 446 more recovered from the virus during the past few days, taking the overall number of recoveries to 83,771, while 18 more died, raising the death toll to 780, according to a ministry statement quoted by ONA.

The ministry urged everyone to adhere to social distancing instructions issued by the Supreme Committee and the health ministry, and to stay at home and avoid going out if not necessary.


Palestine on Sunday reported 994 new COVID-19 cases in the Palestinian territories, raising the total number to 39,510.

In a press statement, Palestinian Health Minister Mai al-Kaila said that 486 infections were recorded in the West Bank, 408 cases in East Jerusalem, and 100 cases in the Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile, the health ministry reported 12 new fatalities from the COVID-19, bringing the death toll in the Palestinian territories to 250, the minister added.

Ten deaths were recorded in the West Bank, while two deaths were reported in the Gaza Strip, she said.

Palestine currently has 12,008 active cases, the minister noted. 


The Qatari health ministry on Sunday announced 217 new COVID-19 cases, raising the total number in the Gulf state to 121,740, official Qatar News Agency (QNA) reported.

Meanwhile, 207 more recovered from the virus, bringing the total recoveries to 118,682, while the death toll remained at 205 for the seventh consecutive day, according to a ministry statement quoted by QNA.

The ministry reiterated the need for preventive measures including staying at home and observing social distancing.

A total of 691,031 people in Qatar have taken lab tests for COVID-19 so far.

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia will partially lift its suspension of international flights as of Sept 15 to allow "exceptional categories" of citizens and residents to travel, the state news agency SPA said on Sunday.

The kingdom will scrap all travel restrictions on air, land and sea transport for citizens on Jan 1, 2021, it said.

The Interior Ministry in a statement on the Saudi Press Agency attributed the delay in lifting the restrictions to the outbreak of COVID-19 in some countries.

Exceptional categories include public and military sector employees, diplomats and their families, those working for public or non-profit private sector jobs abroad, businessmen, patients who need treatment abroad, those studying abroad as well as people with humanitarian cases, and sports teams.

GCC citizens and non-Saudi residents with valid residency, or visitors' visas will be allowed to enter the kingdom as of Sept 15 conditional on proving they are COVID-19 negative.

Saudi Arabia has been witnessing a decline in daily COVID-19 infections. The Health Ministry confirmed Sunday 601 new cases, raising the tally to 325,651.


Singapore's Ministry of Health (MOH) reported 49 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, bringing the total confirmed cases in the country to 57,406.

Of the new cases, eight are imported cases, one is a community case and the rest are linked with the dormitories of foreign workers.

On Sunday, 65 more cases of COVID-19 infection have been discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities. In all, 56,764 have fully recovered from the infection and have been discharged from hospitals or community care facilities, the ministry said.

There are currently 60 confirmed cases who are still in hospital. Of these, most are stable or improving, and none is in critical condition in the intensive care unit.

Furthermore, 555 people are isolated and cared for at community facilities. These are those who have mild symptoms, or are clinically well but still test positive for COVID-19.

Altogether 27 people have passed away from complications due to COVID-19 infection.

People wearing face masks to help protect against the spread of the coronavirus visit the Gyeongbok Palace in Seoul, South Korea, Sept 13, 2020. (AHN YOUNG-JOON / AP)

South Korea

South Korea added 109 cases in 24 hours, down from 121 a day earlier and the lowest number in a month. The number of confirmed cases remained below 200 for a 12th consecutive day.

South Korea is relaxing social-distancing rules as cases ease after last month’s surge. Distancing requirements for the Seoul metropolitan area will be lowered to level 2 from level 2.5 for two weeks. Level 2 forbids indoor gatherings of 50 or more people, affecting everything from weddings to amusement parks.

The daily caseload was attributed to cluster infections in Seoul and its surrounding Gyeonggi province linked to church services and a massive rally held in central Seoul on Aug 15.

Of the new cases, 41 were Seoul residents and 30 were people residing in Gyeonggi province.

Eleven were imported from overseas, lifting the combined figure to 3,014.

Five more deaths were confirmed, leaving the death toll at 363, and the total fatality rate stood at 1.63 percent.

A total of 263 more patients were discharged from quarantine after making full recovery, pulling up the combined number to 18,489. The total recovery rate was 82.97 percent. 

Eight more US soldiers and their families tested positive for COVID-19 in South Korea amid lingering worry about a recent resurgence in the country, the US Forces Korea (USFK) said Monday.

The USFK said in a statement that eight USFK affiliated individuals were confirmed with the virus after arriving in South Korea between Sept 1 and Sept 10.

Three service members arrived at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, 70 km south of Seoul, on US government-chartered flights from the United States on Sept 1 and Sept 9.

Two service members and three dependents arrived at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, on commercial flights from the United States on Sept 6 and Sept 10.

The confirmed patients have been transferred to designated isolation facilities at Camp Humphreys or the Osan Air Base, both in Pyeongtaek.

The total number of infections among the USFK-affiliated personnel rose to 188, according to Yonhap news agency.


Turkey reported 1,527 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, raising the total diagnosed patients to 291,162, the Turkish Health Ministry announced.

Meanwhile, 57 people died in the past 24 hours, taking the death toll to 7,056, according to the data shared by the ministry.

A total of 1,102 patients recovered in the last 24 hours, raising the total recoveries to 258,833 in Turkey since the outbreak.

The rate of pneumonia in COVID-19 patients is 7.2 percent and the number of seriously ill patients is 1,267.

Turkish health professionals conducted 96,097 tests in the past 24 hours, bringing the overall number of tests to 8,519,560.


The United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Sunday announced 640 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total confirmed cases in the country to 79,489.

And 468 more patients have recovered from the virus, taking the tally of recoveries in the UAE to 69,451, UAE's Ministry of Health and Prevention said.

It has reported no death from COVID-19 during the past 24 hours. The nationwide death toll stands at 399.

The UAE was the first among the Gulf countries to report COVID-19 cases.

READ MORE: India posts another daily global record on new coronavirus cases


Vietnam reported three new cases of COVID-19 infection on Sunday, bringing its total confirmed cases to 1,063, as the number of deaths stood at 35, according to the country's Ministry of Health.

All three patients have recently returned to the country from abroad and were quarantined upon arrival, said the ministry.

Eight more COVID-19 patients have been given all-clear, raising the total cured cases in the country to 918 as of Sunday.

Nearly 36,300 people are being quarantined and monitored in the country, Vietnam News Agency reported on Sunday.


The total number of COVID-19 cases in Yemen's government-controlled provinces increased to 2,011 on Sunday, as two new cases were officially confirmed.

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 rose to 1,212 since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus on April 10.

Also, the government announced that the death toll from the deadly respiratory disease climbed to 583 in different areas under its control, including the southern port city of Aden.

The Yemeni government called on donors and relevant international humanitarian organizations to provide support to help contain the pandemic.

Yemen has been mired in a civil war since late 2014, when the Iran-backed Houthi group seized control of much of the country's north and forced the internationally-recognized government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi out of capital Sanaa. 

Share this story

Please click in the upper right corner to open it in your browser !