HKUST banner

China Daily

Asia Pacific> Asia News> Content
Saturday, May 15, 2021, 11:05
India's daily virus deaths near 4,000 as WHO flags concern
By Agencies
Saturday, May 15, 2021, 11:05 By Agencies

People wait for their turn to get a coronavirus vaccine at a COVID-19 treatment center in the city of Kochi, Kerala, India, on May 7, 2021. (ARUNCHANDRA BOSE / AFP)

BEIRUT / MUMBAI / SINGAPORE / TOKYO / DOHA / KUWAIT CITY / JERUSALEM / BAGHDAD / TEHRAN / ANKARA / SEOUL / CANBERRA / HANOI / KATHMANDU / SUVA / BANGKOK / MANILA / ULAN BATOR - India reported a smaller rise in daily coronavirus infections on Saturday, but deaths stayed near the 4,000 mark, with the World Health Organisation warning that the second year of the pandemic could be worse than the first.

Over the past 24 hours, India had 326,098 new coronavirus infections for its lowest rise in nearly three weeks, taking the tally to 24.37 million, along with 3,890 deaths.

But the slow growth may reflect lower test rates, which are at their lowest since May 9.

In Geneva, the World Health Organization’s chief said the second year of the pandemic was set to be more deadly than the first, with India a huge concern.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus's remarks to an online meeting on Friday came after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi sounded the alarm over the rapid spread of the disease through the vast countryside.

Cases have fallen steadily in states hit by an initial surge in infections, such as the richest state of Maharashtra and the northern state of Delhi, after they imposed stringent lockdowns.

But the eastern state of West Bengal, which held elections recently, experienced its biggest single-day spike, suggesting a fall in the overall caseload may take a while.


The first repatriation flight from India has touched down in Australia after the government's controversial travel ban ended.

The Qantas jet carrying approximately 80 Australian returned travelers who were stranded in India touched down at a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) base in Darwin on Saturday morning.

The flight was scheduled to carry about 150 passengers but dozens were blocked from boarding after 40 tested positive for COVID-19 and 30 were deemed close contacts of the positive cases, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

Those that were able to board will quarantine for 14 days at the Howard Springs facility outside of Darwin.

They are the first people to enter Australia from India since the federal government made it a criminal offence to do so at the end of April in response to the surging coronavirus crisis in India.

The travel ban was condemned by human rights groups as racist but Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Saturday said it had effectively prevented the hotel quarantine system from being overwhelmed by positive cases.


The Singapore Tourism Board announced that there will be industrywide changes as the country returns to lockdown-like conditions for four weeks from May 16 to June 13.

The capacity at attractions and cruises will be cut to 25 percent and shows will allow as many as 100 attendees with pre-event testing.

In addition, hotels will only allow two guests per room except when the people are from the same household.

One hotel in the Marina Bay area is asking customers to agree to random checks to make sure there are only two guests in each room. People who breach the safety measures may be fined as much as S$10,000 (US$7,506) or jailed for as long as six months, or both, according to the document given to staycationers at check-in.

Meanwhile, the city-state reported 24 new locally transmitted virus cases on Friday. The number of unlinked infections - the most concerning because they represent undetected spread in the community - has risen to 16 cases in the past week from 9 cases in the week before.

There are currently more than ten clusters in Singapore, including ones that stem from Changi airport and a hospital. The Singapore Prison Service will be testing about 5,000 inmates, staff, vendors and volunteers after a chef at Changi Prison Complex tested positive for Covid-19 on Thursday, the Straits Times newspaper reported.


Subhash Karki has been supervising the cremation of dead bodies for the last three years along the bank of Bagmati River near the holy Lord Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu, Nepal.

As the death toll from COVID-19 has been rising rapidly, he has been overworking all along. He reaches the cremation site as early as 6am and remains busy throughout the day managing dead bodies till 11pm.

Those employed to burn the dead bodies are overworked as well.

"I have hired extra manpower for three months to cremate the dead bodies and they work in shifts. They work there from the early morning of one day to early morning of another day," Karki told Xinhua.

In recent days, more than 90 dead bodies have been sent to the crematorium each day, straining the facilities to their limit.

For more than a week, Nepal has reported over 8,000 new coronavirus cases, while hospitals facing a severe shortage of oxygen and beds are turning away patients, leading to more deaths.


The number of patients designated as having severe symptoms as a result of COVID-19 reached the second-highest ever at 1,209, the health ministry said Friday.

The latest data regarding critically ill patients, who typically require hospitalization and the assistance of ventilators or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machines, have more than tripled over the past month, the ministry said recently.

Friday's figure, which has stayed above the 1,000-mark since April 30, according to the health ministry, is just a fraction below the all-time record high booked on Thursday at 1,214 severely ill patients.

As well as requesting people in the most affected areas to work remotely and avoid making unnecessary trips outside or across prefectural borders, other antiviral measures currently in place include requesting bars, restaurants and karaoke parlors to shutter their operations by 8 pm and not serve alcohol.


Iraq reported on Friday 2,767 new COVID-19 cases, the lowest daily number in three months. 

A total of 2,767 new COVID-19 cases were reported in the last 24 hours, raising the total nationwide infections to 1,134,859, according to the Iraqi Ministry of Health.

It also reported 27 new deaths in Iraq, raising the death toll from the infectious virus to 15,910, while the total recoveries climbed by 5,769 to 1,034,396.


Israel extended the ban on travel to Ukraine, Ethiopia, Brazil, India, South Africa, Mexico and Turkey until May 30, citing high morbidity levels in the seven countries, the health ministry said.

The ministry added that a ban would also be imposed on travel to Argentina unless there is a significant improvement in the COVID-19 morbidity situation in the South American country.

Israel reported 20 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, raising the total number in the country to 839,079.

The death toll from the virus rose by one to 6,380, while the number of patients in serious conditions increased from 67 to 73, out of 130 hospitalized patients.

ALSO READ: Israel's Netanyahu says virus lockdown to last at least a month


Lebanon registered on Friday 213 new COVID-19 cases, raising the total number of infections to 535,181, the Health Ministry reported.

Meanwhile, the death toll from the virus increased by 17 to 7,586.

ALSO READ: Singapore tightens virus rules in India variant cluster fallout


The Qatari health ministry on Friday announced 244 new COVID-19 infections, raising the total number of confirmed cases in the Gulf state to 212,667, the official Qatar News Agency (QNA) reported.

Meanwhile, 590 more recovered from the virus, bringing the overall recoveries to 205,750, while the fatalities increased by two to 524, according to a ministry statement quoted by QNA.


The Kuwaiti Health Ministry reported on Friday 763 new COVID-19 cases, raising the total number in the country to 290,006.

The ministry also announced seven more fatalities, taking the death toll to 1,681.

The Kuwaiti government has lifted the partial curfew, but all commercial activities are still suspended from 8 pm until 5 am local time, except for pharmacies, food marketing outlets, restaurants, and maintenance services.


Iran reported on Friday 10,145 new COVID-19 cases, raising the country's total infections to 2,732,152.

The pandemic has so far claimed 76,433 lives in Iran, up by 202 in the past 24 hours, the Iranian Ministry of Health and Medical Education said in a written briefing published on its official website.

By Friday, 1,713,648 people in the country have received coronavirus vaccines, while 342,950 both doses.


Turkey on Friday confirmed 11,394 new COVID-19 cases, including 1,102 symptomatic patients, raising the total number of cases in the country to 5,095,390, according to its health ministry.

The death toll from the virus in Turkey rose by 242 to 44,301, while the total recoveries climbed to 4,894,024 after 37,261 more people recovered in the last 24 hours

South Korea

South Korea reported 681 more cases of COVID-19 as of midnight Friday compared to 24 hours ago, raising the total number of infections to 131,061.

The daily caseload was down from 747 the prior day, falling below 700 in three days. The daily average caseload for the past week was 617.

Twenty cases were imported from overseas, lifting the combined figure to 8,691.

Three more deaths were confirmed, leaving the death toll at 1,896. The total fatality rate stood at 1.45 percent.


Vietnam reported 20 new COVID-19 cases from 6:00 pm local time Friday to 6:00 am Saturday, all locally transmitted, raising the total confirmed cases in the country to 3,836, according to its Ministry of Health.

They were all detected in lockdown areas in northern and central localities, including 15 in northern Bac Giang province, two in northern Lang Son province and one in Vietnamese capital Hanoi, among others.

All of them are contacts of previously confirmed patients or linked to the clusters of infections in the localities.


Thailand reported 3,095 new COVID-19 infections on Saturday, raising the total caseload to 99,145, as more cases were found in the country's prison system, official data showed.

The Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) said the new cases included 877 infected at prisons, 2,215 domestic transmissions outside the prison system and three imported cases.

The country reported 17 new fatalities, bringing the death toll to 565, CCSA spokesman Taweesin Visanuyothin said at a daily news briefing.


Fiji confirmed on Saturday two new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 168 in the island nation.

According to Fiji's Health Ministry, the first new case is a close contact from the most recent cluster in Suva while the second one is a close contact from the cluster in Nausori, a town about 19 km northeast of capital city of Suva.

The Fiji Center for Disease Control (CDC), which has been closed down after three of its staff tested positive for COVID-19, has been fully decontaminated and will resume processing COVID-19 tests from Saturday night.


The Philippines' Department of Health (DOH) reported on Saturday 6,739 new COVID-19 infections, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the Southeast Asian country to 1,138,187.

The death toll climbed to 19,051 after 93 more patients died from the viral disease, the DOH said.


Mongolia reported 553 new COVID-19 infections over the past 24 hours, along with five more deaths linked to the virus, said  the country's health ministry on Saturday.

As a result, the total number of infected people in the country reached 48,101, and the pandemic death toll rose to 217, the ministry said in a statement.

Share this story

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