A medical worker guides people as they wait to get coronavirus testing at a makeshift testing site in Seoul, South Korea, Sept 25, 2021. (AHN YOUNG-JOON/AP)
SEOUL/WASHINGTON/MELBOURNE/ ULAN BATOR - South Korea's daily COVID-19 cases topped 3,000 for the first time on Saturday as an outbreak fuelled by a three-day holiday this week continued to grow.
The country reported 3,273 COVID-19 cases for Friday, a day after hitting the previous high, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said on Saturday.
Of the new cases, 3,245 were locally transmitted and 28 were imported, bringing South Korea's total to 298,402 infections with 2,441 deaths.
More than 77 percent of the domestically transmitted cases were in Seoul and areas neighboring the capital, where about half the nation’s 52 million people live
Authorities have advised people returning from this week's three-day holiday to be tested even for the mildest COVID-19-type symptoms, especially before going back to work.
Australia's Victoria state notched up a daily record of 847 locally acquired cases of COVID-19 and one death, government figures showed on Saturday as health officials warned the public to stay home ahead of a major national sporting final.
Authorities expect case numbers in the state to keep rising until mid-November as it races to raise vaccination rates above the 70 percent double dose threshold, up from around 46 percent currently.
With the Australian rules football grand final, a major national sporting event, due to take place on Saturday evening, Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton warned fans to stay home to avoid putting "you, your friends and your households at risk."
The match, between two Melbourne teams, would usually be played in the city but has been moved to coronavirus-free Western Australia. However, authorities are still worried fans in Melbourne could gather in households to watch the broadcast game, breaching lockdown rules.
Anti-vaccination protests that hit state capital Melbourne this week spilled into the suburbs on Friday, with police arresting more than 30 people in the city's inner north.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi told fellow leaders of the Quad partnership on Friday India will allow the export of 8 million COVID-19 vaccines by end of October in line with a deal reached by the grouping of Australia, India, Japan and the United States in March, India's foreign secretary said on Friday.
A plan reached by the Quad earlier this year to supply a billion COVID-19 shots across Asia by the end of 2022 stalled after India, the world's largest vaccine producer, banned exports in April amid a massive COVID outbreak at home.
Mongolia recorded 18 more COVID-19 related deaths in the last 24 hours, the highest daily death toll since March 2020, pushing the tally to 1,089, the health ministry said Saturday.
Meanwhile, Mongolia logged 2,662 new locally transmitted COVID-19 cases, bringing the national tally to 292,591.
Singapore made work-from-home the default and tightened other rules as it again broke a daily record for infections.
The city-state announced 1,650 new infections, almost all locally transmitted cases among residents. Almost 1,100 people were hospitalized, and among those who have fallen very ill, 151 are seniors above 60 years.
In addition to the renewed work-from-home order, Singapore tightened rules to allow a maximum of two people to meet in restaurants or other social settings, as it seeks to rein in mostly mild cases that could otherwise quadruple in two weeks and overburden hospitals.
Singapore will spend S$650 million ($480 million) to provide additional support measures and cushion the impact of its renewed virus-related restrictions on workers and businesses.
HONG KONG NEWS