India reported 9,971 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, another single-day high for the country that comes a day before it reopens shopping malls, hotels and religious venues after a 10-week lockdown.
India has now surpassed Spain as the fifth hardest-hit country, with more than 247,000 confirmed cases of the virus, including nearly 7,000 deaths.
New Delhi, Mumbai and Ahmedabad are among India’s worst-hit cities. Six of the country’s 28 states account for 73% of the total cases.
India has already partially restored train services and domestic flights and allowed shops and manufacturing to reopen. E-commerce companies have started to deliver goods, including those considered nonessential, to places outside containment zones.
In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:
— CHINA HAS FIRST LOCAL INFECTION IN WEEKS: China on Sunday reported its first non-imported case of the new coronavirus in two weeks, a 37-year-old woman who tested positive after arriving on the island of Hainan off the southern coast. The National Health Commission said there were also five imported cases in the previous 24-hour period, bringing the nation’s total case count to 83,036. The woman came from Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak in China, and had tested negative two days before leaving for Hainan. China has largely stopped the spread of the virus at home, though it continues to have occasional localized outbreaks. It is on guard against imported cases as it begins to ease restrictions on flights and people arriving from abroad. China’s official death toll from the virus is 4,634.
— 57 NEW CASES IN SOUTH KOREA: South Korea reported 57 new cases of the coronavirus on Sunday, its second straight day with over 50 new infections. The country has now confirmed 11,776 cases, including 273 deaths. South Korea’s caseload peaked in late February and early March when it recorded hundreds of new cases each day. But the outbreak has significantly eased amid aggressive tracing, testing and treatment, prompting authorities to loosen strict social distancing rules. The new cases in recent weeks have been linked to nightclubs, an e-commerce warehouse, church gatherings and door-to-door sellers in the Seoul metropolitan area.
— MALAYSIA TO LIFT MORE RESTRICTIONS: Malaysians will be allowed to travel interstate, get their hair cut at salons and visit street markets beginning Wednesday, when more coronavirus lockdown restrictions are lifted. Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said Sunday that more economic sectors will reopen, schools and religious activities will gradually resume, and people can travel for domestic holidays after nearly three months of lockdown. But he said certain prohibitions will remain as the country enters a “recovery” phase until the end of August.Malaysia has confirmed just over 8,000 cases of the virus, including 117 deaths.
— AUSTRALIA HOPES NO INFECTION FROM RALLIES: Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt said he hopes the Black Lives Matter rallies across the country on Saturday that broke COVID-19 social distancing rules will not lead to a new wave of infections. More than 20,000 people marched in Sydney and crowds rallied in Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and some regional cities and towns despite public health warnings. “We don’t know whether people will be infected,” Hunt told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio. “But if there is someone who is infectious in the midst of a crowd like that, that can have a catastrophic impact.” Australia has had over 7,250 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 102 deaths.
— CHINESE PLAYERS SUSPENDED: The Chinese Football Association says six members of the national under-19 squad have been suspended for six months for violating coronavirus control measures by leaving training camp at midnight to go drinking. “It was a severe violation of the team’s epidemic control regulations, and caused negative impacts on the whole team,” the CFA was quoted as saying by the official Xinhua News Agency. The six players will have to sit out all matches through Nov. 30. They also face further punishment from their respective clubs. Players in China have no official organization to represent their interests and it wasn’t clear if there was any way to appeal the ban.