Migrant laborers returning to the city for work queue up to register for COVID-19 test in New Delhi, India, Aug 18, 2020. (MANISH SWARUP / AP)
TOKYO / PHNOM PENH - India reported 81,466 new COVID-19 infections on Friday, the highest daily number in six months, as several states were hit by a second wave of the coronavirus.
Health ministry data showed the total number of cases surged to 12.3 million, making India the third-most hit country from the virus after the United States and Brazil. The number of those dead rose by 469 to 163,396.
Vaccination drives have been intensified amid the recent surge of cases, and many states are considering imposing fresh curbs on movement of people.
Maharashtra, the western state that has been worst-hit from COVID-19 so far, reported as many as 43,183 new cases on Friday - its highest since the pandemic spread to India in March 2020. Officials in the state imposed a night curfew over the weekend but are considering stricter control measures, including shutting down religious places and restricting train travel.
Malaysia has granted conditional registration to the AstraZeneca vaccine supplied through the Covax facility by manufacturer SK Bioscience Co Ltd, Health Director-General Noor Hisham Abdullah said in a statement Friday.
Malaysia’s government is considering allowing interstate travel for those who have completed their COVID-19 vaccinations, Star reports, citing Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin. International travel could soon be possible for those who had been vaccinated, he said.
Malaysia has detected nine cases of a highly contagious coronavirus variant first identified in South Africa, a senior health official said on Thursday.
The variant, also known as B.1.351, was found among locally transmitted cases between January and March, Director-General of Health Noor Hisham Abdullah said in a statement.
Two of the cases involved workers from a firm based at Kuala Lumpur International airport, he said.
Japan will receive bigger shipments of Pfizer Inc’s COVID-19 vaccines to immunise the elderly faster, the government said on Friday after negotiating the increase in supplies.
There would be enough vaccines distributed during the two weeks from May 10 to give a first shot to half of Japan’s 36 million elderly people, it said.
Japan’s immunisation campaign began in February, later than most major economies, and the Pfizer vaccine is the only one on offer.
Health workers have been prioritised, and as of Thursday more than 890,000 people had received at least the first of two shots.
Japan's central government on Thursday granted the requests of Osaka and two other prefectures to take stronger measures to tackle a resurgence of COVID-19 infections under a revised law that does not require declaring a state of emergency.
"This designation is designed to take intensive measures in limited areas for a limited period of time, in order to stop the spread of infection and prevent the situation from becoming so bad that we have to declare a state of emergency," Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said.
Cambodia on Thursday started to inoculate its citizens with the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine developed by the Chinese biopharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech.
Health Ministry secretary of state Or Vandine, chairwoman of the Ad-hoc Committee for COVID-19 Vaccination, said the vaccine, along with other health measures, is crucial to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to protect people's lives.
"We aim to inoculate around 745,000 people with the Sinovac jabs during this vaccination drive," she told reporters while visiting an inoculation site.
Vandine said the priority groups for the jabs include frontline doctors and health workers, government, senate and parliament members and officials, local authorities, civil servants, teachers, armed forces, journalists, garbage collectors and garment factory workers, among others.
Turkey set a new record of daily spike in COVID-19 cases with 40,806 new infections confirmed on Thursday. Meanwhile, Yemen reported a sudden spike in its COVID-19 cases.
The total number of COVID-19 cases in Turkey surged to 3,357,988 on Thursday, while its death toll climbed by 176 to 31,713, according to Turkish Health Ministry.
The tally of recoveries from the infectious disease rose by 20,817 to 3,035,043 in Turkey, the ministry said.
Health authorities in Yemen on Thursday reported a sudden surge in the daily confirmed coronavirus cases in the war-torn country.
Around 174 new infections were reported during the last 24 hours in the provinces controlled by the government, raising the caseload to 4,531, Yemeni Health Ministry said.
The ministry also reported 18 new deaths from the coronavirus, raising the COVID-19 death toll in Yemen to 906, while the total recoveries remained at 1,682.
Yemen received its first shipment of 360,000 doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine shipped through the COVAX. This is part of 1.9 million doses of vaccines that Yemen will receive in 2021.
Iran reported 11,750 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, raising its nationwide caseload to 1,897,314.
The pandemic has so far claimed 62,759 lives in Iran, up by 94 in the past 24 hours, while a total of 1,626,144 people have recovered from the disease and 3,989 remained in intensive care units.
Israel's Ministry of Health reported 367 new COVID-19 cases, raising the total confirmed tally in the country to 833,407. The death toll from the virus rose by 15 to 6,218, while the total recoveries in Israel soared by 1,080 to 820,644.
The number of people vaccinated against COVID-19 in Israel has surpassed 5.25 million, or 56.5 percent of its total population, since the vaccination campaign began on Dec. 20, 2020.
Lebanon recorded 3,562 new COVID-19 cases, taking its total number of infections to 471,962, the Lebanese Health Ministry reported.
The number of deaths from the virus increased by 52 to 6,286 in Lebanon, which announced a 3-day total lockdown for the Easter holiday starting Saturday to prevent further increase in COVID-19 infections.
The World Bank on Thursday donated 1 million US dollars' worth of personal protective equipment (PPE) to Mongolia in the fight against COVID-19.
The PPE, purchased under the World Bank's Pandemic Emergency Response Facility Grant, will be used by public officers at high-risk screening points and health care providers in selected areas, the bank's office in Mongolia said in a statement.
The supplies include disposable gloves and masks, protective clothing, N95 masks and face shields.
Eight new coronavirus cases have been recorded in the past 24 hours in the Australian state of Queensland. Its capital Brisbane entered a snap three-day lockdown on Monday due to an outbreak of the UK strain of the virus. None of the infections was locally acquired, state Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said in a briefing Friday. Seven cases emerged in hotel quarantine and one is a historical infection contracted by a nurse who experienced no symptoms.
The Qatari health ministry on Thursday announced 840 new COVID-19 infections, raising the total confirmed number in the Gulf state to 180,804, the official Qatar News Agency (QNA) reported.
Meanwhile, 423 more recovered from the virus, bringing the overall recoveries to 164,544, while the death toll increased by four to 295, according to a ministry statement quoted by QNA.
The Kuwaiti Health Ministry reported on Thursday 1,418 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total infections in the country to 233,521.
The ministry also announced six more fatalities, taking the death toll to 1,319, while the tally of recoveries rose by 1,293 to 217,873. A total of 14,329 coronavirus patients are receiving treatment, including 252 in the intensive care units.
The Iraqi Ministry of Health reported on Thursday 6,015 new coronavirus cases, raising the total nationwide infections to 856,939.
The new cases included 2,151 in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, 825 in Basra, 392 in Wasit, 389 in Maysan, and 322 in Duhok, while the other cases were detected in other provinces, the ministry said in a statement.
It also reported 37 new deaths, raising the death toll from the infectious virus to 14,360, while the total recoveries in Iraq climbed by 4,536 to 764,096.
A total of 8,078,977 tests have been carried out across the country since the outbreak of the disease in February 2020, with 43,089 done during the day.
South Korea reported 558 more cases of COVID-19 as of midnight Thursday compared to 24 hours ago, raising the total number of infections to 104,194.
The daily caseload was slightly up from 551 in the previous day, staying above 500 for three straight days.
The daily number of infections hovered above 100 since Nov. 8 owing to small cluster infections in Seoul and its surrounding Gyeonggi province as well as imported cases.
Of the new cases, 165 were Seoul residents and 156 were people residing in Gyeonggi province.
The Philippines' Department of Health (DOH) reported on Friday 15,310 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, the highest ever daily tally since the pandemic hit the Southeast Asian country in January last year.
The new infections raised the country's total tally to 771,497.
The number of active cases in the country has risen to 153,809, and the COVID-19 related death toll to 13,320 after 17 more patients died from the coronavirus epidemic, the DOH added.
HONG KONG NEWS