Published: 09:34, November 23, 2020 | Updated: 10:32, June 5, 2023
Indonesia's virus cases surpass 500,000, deaths over 16,000
By Agencies

Students wearing face masks sit spaced apart during a trial run of a class with COVID-19 protocol at the Nurul Amal Islamic school in Tangerang, Indonesia, Nov 23, 2020. (TATAN SYUFLANA / AP)

DBUAI / SEOUL / ANKARA / TEHRAN / NEW DELHI / SYDNEY / KUALA LUMPUR / HANOI / DHAKA / KABUL / VIENTIANE - The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has  surpassed the 500,000-mark in Indonesia, the world's fourth-most populous nation, showed the latest data from the Health Ministry on Monday.

The ministry reported 4,442 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Monday, bringing the national tally to 502,110 with 16,002 deaths including 118 newly reported ones from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The coronavirus has spread to all the Southeast Asian country's 34 provinces. Indonesia reported its first two confirmed infections on March 2.

Jakarta, the national capital, is the worst hit with a total tally of 128,173 cases with 2,542 deaths, followed by East Java with 59,044 cases and 4,184 deaths, and West Java with 48,666 cases and 868 deaths.


Afghanistan on Monday reported 282 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases after health authorities conducted 1,323 tests within a day, bringing the number of total cases to 44,988, the country's Ministry of Public Health said.

Up to 1,695 deaths have been recorded since the outbreak of the pandemic in February, an increase of eight within the past 24 hours.

Out of the total infected people, 35,976 patients have recovered, including 42 who showed improvement and were discharged from hospitals since early Sunday.

Laboratories across Afghanistan have completed 140,435 tests since February. 


Australia’s two biggest states reunited in emotional scenes on Monday as the border - shut for only the second time in 101 years due to the coronavirus pandemic - reopened and the first flights since July landed in Sydney from Melbourne.

New South Wales and Victoria closed their borders in early July, the first time in more than a century, to contain a COVID-19 outbreak in Melbourne, Victoria’s capital city. The borders were last shut in 1919 during the Spanish flu pandemic.

Lifting of the border ban at midnight triggered joyful scenes and celebrations across the border towns with most drivers crossing the border honking their car horns to cheers from border residents, television footages showed.

Reopening of the borders should see a surge in air traffic between Melbourne and Sydney, one of the busiest routes in the world before the pandemic, with Sydney airport expecting nearly 4,000 passengers across 26 flights from Victoria on Monday.

Besides providing relief to businesses that straddle both sides of the border, lifting of the border ban will also put more people back on jobs in several hard-hit sectors during the pandemic, including airlines.

Meanwhile, tThe premier of South Australia (SA) said on Monday that the state avoided a second wave of COVID-19 by acting on an outbreak early.


Bangladesh reported 2,419 new COVID-19 cases and 28 new deaths on Monday, making the tally at 449,760 and death toll at 6,416, the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) said.

The official data showed that 16,059 samples were tested in the last 24 hours across Bangladesh.

According to the official data, the COVID-19 fatality rate in Bangladesh is now 1.43 percent and the current recovery rate is 81.07 percent.

Bangladesh recorded the highest daily new cases of 4,019 on July 2 and the highest number of deaths of 64 on June 30. 

Medical staff talk to people at a walk in station at Parafield Airport in Adelaide during day one of total lockdown across the state to fight the novel coronavirus on Nov 18, 2020. (BRENTON EDWARDS / AFP)


India's health minister said on Sunday a locally-developed COVID-19 vaccine candidate could complete its final trials in a month or two, raising hopes for a rapid roll-out in a country with the world's second highest number of infections.

The state-run Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and privately-held Bharat Biotech this month started third-stage trials of COVAXIN, in a process that would involve 26,000 volunteers. It is the most advanced Indian experimental vaccine.

“We are in the process of developing our indigenous vaccines, in the process of completing our third-phase trials in the next one or two months,” Harsh Vardhan told a web conference on the pandemic.

He reiterated the government’s plan was to immunise 200 million to 250 million Indians by July.

India has recorded 44,059 new cases of the novel coronavirus, taking its total to 9.14 million, data from the health ministry showed on Monday. 

India has the second-highest number of infections in the world, after the United States, but the rate of increase in India has dipped since it hit a peak in September.

Meanwhile, governor of the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand Baby Rani Maurya and health minister of Rajasthan state Raghu Sharma have tested positive for COVID-19 while the health condition of former chief minister of India's northeastern state of Assam Tarun Gogoi is extremely critical, health officials said Monday.


Iran reported 13,053 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, raising the total nationwide infections to 854,361. 

Iran's health ministry said that the coronavirus pandemic has so far claimed 44,802 lives in the country, up by 475 on Sunday.

A total of 603,445 people have recovered from the disease and been discharged from hospitals, while 5,796 remain in intensive care units, the ministry said.


In Iraq, the country's number of total infections now stands at 535,321 as its health ministry reported 1,766 new cases on Sunday.

Iraq also reported 33 new deaths and 2,412 recovered cases in the country, raising the death toll from the infectious virus to 11,958 and the total recoveries to 465,452.

Iraq's health ministry said the numbers of the new cases on Sunday and Saturday are the lowest since July. 

Also in the day, Iraqi Health Minister Hassan al-Tamimi said in a press release that "the health situation is under control so far, as the ministry has mobilized its efforts for months."

However, the minister said that the ministry needs the cooperation of citizens by strictly adhering to the health ministry's health instructions.

READ MORE: Malaysian PM calls for APEC unity against COVID-19


Israel added 521 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, bringing the total to 328,918. The number of death cases rose to 2,799, with 42 new fatalities, while the number of patients in serious condition decreased from 315 to 299, out of 545 patients currently hospitalized.

The number of recoveries rose to 317,887, with 716 new ones, while active cases dropped to 8,232.


Japan is set to temporarily remove the Hokkaido capital of Sapporo from a domestic travel promotion campaign, the Yomiuri newspaper said on Monday, as the worst-yet wave of coronavirus cases spread across the country.

The move follows a request from the Hokkaido prefectural government, the paper said, citing a senior official from the region. The halt could start as soon as Nov. 26.


Kuwait reported 322 new COVID-19 cases and three more deaths, raising the tally of infections to 140,056 and the death toll to 866 in the country.


Lao Ministry of Health on Monday reported 14 new confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country, with its total number rising to 39.

The National Taskforce Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control confirmed 14 new COVID-19 cases, including one Lao national, Lao Deputy Minister of Health Phouthone Meuangpak told a press conference in Vientiane on Monday.

A 12-year-old patient became the nation's youngest COVID-19 case, according to the report.


Malaysia reported 1,884 new COVID-19 infections, bringing the national total to 56,659, the Health Ministry said on Monday.

Health Ministry Director-General Noor Hisham Abdullah said in a press statement that two of the new cases are imported and the rest 1,882 are  local transmissions.

The majority of the new cases are from Selangor state, with 1,203 of the new cases reported in the state.

Two more deaths have been reported, bringing the death toll to 337.


The total number of COVID-19 cases in Myanmar has increased to 79,246 as of Sunday, according to a release from the Ministry of Health and Sports.

A total of 1,398 more COVID-19 confirmed cases were reported in the country.

The death toll of COVID-19 reached 1,739 with 17 newly reported deaths on Sunday in the country, the release said.

According to the ministry's figures, 58,758 patients have been discharged from the hospitals so far.


Mongolia registered 11 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, bringing the national caseload to 640, according to the country's National Center for Communicable Diseases (NCCD).

The latest confirmed cases are locally transmitted or people who had close contact with previously confirmed cases in the country's capital Ulan Bator, Amarjargal Ambaselmaa, head of the NCCD's Surveillance Department, said at a press conference.

New Zealand

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday she offered Joe Biden assistance with tackling the rampant outbreak of COVID-19 in the United States.

During the first talks between the two since the 2020 US presidential election, Ardern said she offered access to New Zealand’s most senior health officials.

“I offered to him and his team access to New Zealand health officials in order to share their experience on things we’ve learnt on our COVID-19 journey,” Ardern told reporters in Wellington.

New Zealand is widely heralded as one of most successful countries in suppressing COVID-19. It has recorded just over 2,000 cases and 25 deaths, a feat achieved through strict lockdowns.


Oman added 721 new COVID-19 infections, raising the total number of confirmed cases in the Sultanate to 122,081. Meanwhile, 863 people recovered during the past 72 hours, taking the overall recoveries to 113,269, while 15 others reportedly died, pushing the tally up to 1,380.

ALSO READ: South Korea to close bars, limit church services amid virus spike

A man sprays disinfectant to sanitize a bus after a curfew was imposed as a preventive measure against the novel coronavirus, in Ahmedabad on Nov 21, 2020, as India's coronavirus caseload passed nine million. (SAM PANTHAKY / AFP)


Pakistan on Monday decided to close educational institutions nationwide from Nov 26 to Jan 10 next year and halt all academic exams during the period following a surge in the cases of COVID-19.

Addressing a press briefing here after a meeting with provincial education ministers, federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood said that the decision was made in the best interest of the country.

Local media reported that the COVID-19 infection ratio in schools has surged to over 3 percent from 1 percent previously during the second wave of the coronavirus outbreak in the country.

It is the second time for Pakistan to close schools in order to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. The nationwide educational institutions had been closed from March 13 to Sept 15, during the first wave of the virus outbreak.

The total cases in Pakistan increased by 2,756 in the past day to 376,929, official data showed.


A sharp rise in coronavirus infections in the Gaza Strip could overwhelm the Palestinian enclave's meagre medical system by next week, public health advisers said on Sunday. 

Gaza, where the dense and poor population of 2 million is vulnerable to contagions, has logged 14,000 coronavirus cases and 65 deaths, mostly since August. 

Seventy-nine of 100 ventilators for COVID-19 patients have been taken up, said Abdelraouf Elmanama, a member of Gaza's pandemic task force.


Qatar reported 167 new COVID-19 infections on Sunday, raising the total number of confirmed cases in the kingdom to 137,229. Meanwhile, 182 more recovered from the virus, bringing the overall recoveries to 134,282, while the fatalities increased by one to 236.


Singapore's Ministry of Health (MOH) reported 12 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, bringing the total confirmed cases in the country to 58,160.

All of the new cases are imported cases.

On Sunday, three more cases of COVID-19 infection have been discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities. In all, 58,067 have fully recovered from the infection and have been discharged from hospitals or community care facilities, the ministry said.

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka on Monday saw its total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases surpass the 20,000-mark with the newly reported about 400 new cases.

The Health Ministry statistics showed the national tally rose to 20,171 with 87 deaths and 14,069 recoveries from the COVID-19 pandemic.

There were four more deaths registered on Sunday, official data showed.

Health authorities on Monday lifted the isolation status in certain areas in the capital Colombo, citing a decline in cases detected locally.

South Korea

South Korea reported 271 more cases of the COVID-19 as of midnight Sunday compared to 24 hours ago, raising the total number of infections to 31,004.

The daily caseload fell below 300 in six days, but it grew in triple digits for 16 days due to the continued small cluster infections in Seoul and its surrounding Gyeonggi province as well as imported cases.

Officials have said the numbers tend to drop during the weekends due to less testing. 

The government further strengthened distancing rules for the capital Seoul and nearby regions on Sunday, three days after re-imposing curbs ahead of an annual national college entrance exam scheduled for Dec. 3.

The latest measure will close bars and nightclubs, limit religious gatherings and restrict on-site dining at restaurants and cafes from Tuesday.

Eighteen more US soldiers and four other individuals in South Korea have tested positive for COVID-19, the US Forces Korea (USFK) said Monday.

The USFK said in a statement that 22 USFK-affiliated individuals were confirmed with COVID-19 after arriving in South Korea between Nov 5 and 20.



Thailand has extended the emergency rule against the COVID-19 pandemic from early December until mid-January next year.

The cabinet of ministers on Monday approved a proposal from the government-run Center for the COVID-19 Situation Administration for the extension of the emergency decree to be enforced nationwide for a one-month-and-a-half period, beginning from Dec 1 until Jan 15, 2021, according to officials attached to Government House.

It will be the eighth time Thailand's emergency rule has been extended on monthly basis to contain the pandemic throughout the country.

The Philippines

The Department of Health (DOH) of the Philippines on Monday reported 1,799 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the country's total tally to 420,614.

The DOH said that 135 more patients recovered, raising the total number of recoveries to 386,604. The death toll rose to 8,173 after 50 more patients died from the coronavirus epidemic.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire warned Filipinos once again to avoid crowds as the holiday season draws near, noting that people in the crowded area have a higher potential risk of getting infected.


Turkey's daily cases have surpassed the 6,000-mark for the first time since the outbreak of the pandemic.

The Turkish Health Ministry said the country reported 6,017 new COVID-19 patients on Sunday, raising the total number of infections in the country to 446,822.

Meanwhile, 139 people died in the past 24 hours, taking the death toll to 12,358. A total of 3,812 patients recovered in the last 24 hours, raising the total recoveries to 374,637.

Turkey has reintroduced several restrictions to curb the rapid rise of coronavirus cases, including a partial curfew from 8 p.m. to 10 a.m. imposed nationwide on weekends. Schools will remain closed till the end of the year, with students switching to online education.


Vietnam reported five new cases of COVID-19 infection on Monday, bringing its total confirmed cases to 1,312 with 35 deaths from the disease so far, according to its Ministry of Health.

The new cases, including an Indian, a Filipino and three Vietnamese citizens, have recently entered the country from abroad and were quarantined upon arrival, said the ministry.

It announced that nine more patients have been given all-clear, raising the total cured cases in the country to 1,151 as of Monday.

Meanwhile, nearly 15,900 people are being quarantined and monitored, the ministry said.

Vietnam has gone through 82 straight days without any new COVID-19 cases in the community, according to the ministry.