India’s daily virus cases surge by nearly 10,000

NEW DELHI (AP) — India’s Health Ministry yesterday reported another record spike in new coronavirus cases — more than 9,800 in the past 24 hours.

India’s total number of confirmed cases now stands at 226,770 with 6,348 deaths, 273 of them in the past 24 hours, the ministry said. The ministry said the overall rate of recovery for coronavirus patients is around 48 per cent.

There has been a surge in infections in rural areas following the return of hundreds of thousands of migrant workers who left cities and towns after they lost their jobs due to a nationwide lockdown.

The more than two-month-old lockdown is now largely being enforced only in high-risk areas, known as containment zones.

The government has partially restored train service and domestic flights and allowed the reopening of shops and manufacturing.

E-commerce companies have started to deliver goods, including those considered non-essential, to places outside containment zones. Metro service and schools and colleges, however, remain shuttered nationwide.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, meanwhile, announced India was contributing USD15 million to an international vaccine alliance.

South Korea yesterday reported 39 new cases of the coronavirus as infections continued to spike after rigid social distancing rules were relaxed. The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 34 of the new cases were reported in the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area, where about half of South Korea’s 51 million people live.

Fiji has declared itself free of the coronavirus – at least for now – after all 18 people who tested positive have recovered. Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama said yesterday that the South Pacific island nation had just cleared the last of its active patients.

“And even with our testing numbers climbing by the day, it’s now been 45 days since we recorded our last case. With no deaths, our recovery rate is 100 per cent,” Bainimarama wrote on Twitter.

Fiji, which has a population of 900,000, instituted a lockdown in certain areas in April and put in place ongoing border restrictions.

China yesterday reported five new confirmed coronavirus cases, all of them brought by Chinese citizens from outside the country.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Thursday that Beijing was committed to providing support to the World Health Organization (WHO), GAVI Alliance and other international organisations to ensure that vaccines are accessible and affordable in developing countries.

The GAVI Alliance seeks to provide children in the world’s poorest countries with improved access to new and underused vaccines. Also on Thursday, Premier Li Keqiang urged members of an anti-virus task force to redouble efforts to develop a vaccine and effective medications for COVID-19.