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Tuesday, July 14, 2020, 22:26
Philippines to use police in house-to-house searches for virus
By Agencies
Tuesday, July 14, 2020, 22:26 By Agencies

A train passenger has her body temperature taken before boarding a bus at a train station in Manila on July 7, 2020, after authorities suspended operation of one of the train lines after some of its staff tested positive of COVID -19 disease. (PHOTO / AFP)

SEOUL / KATHMANDU / JERUSALEM / MANILA — Philippine authorities and police will carry out house-to-house searches for COVID-19 patients to prevent wider transmission, a minister said on Tuesday, amid soaring death and infection numbers and some areas returning to a stricter lockdown.

Interior Minister Eduardo Año urged the public to report cases in their neighbourhoods, warning that anyone infected who refused to cooperate faced imprisonment.

The tough approach comes during a week where the Philippines recorded Southeast Asia biggest daily jump in coronavirus deaths and saw hospital occupancy grow sharply, after a tripling of infections since a tough lockdown was eased on June 1 to allow more movement and commerce.

At least three hospitals in the Philippine capital region said they could no longer accept coronavirus patients as they’ve reached the bed capacity of their COVID-19 wards.

In the Philippines, the number of positive cases surged to 57,545 after the Department of Health (DOH) reported 634 new infections on Tuesday.

The DOH said the number of recoveries rose to 20,459 after 88 more patients survived the disease.

The death toll also increased to 1,603 after six more patients died, the DOH said.

New Zealand

New Zealand reported one new case of COVID-19 on Tuesday, with the number of active cases in the country remaining at 25, according to the Ministry of Health.

It has been 74 days since the last case of COVID-19 was acquired locally from an unknown source, said a ministry statement.

Qatar

Qatar's health ministry on Tuesday announced 517 new infections of COVID-19, increasing the total number of confirmed cases in the Gulf state to 104,533.

Indonesia

The World Health Organization (WHO) has urged Indonesia to conduct more polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests on those suspected of contracting COVID-19 following the high number of deaths among patients under surveillance and people under observation.

The organization has appreciated Indonesia for increasing the number of tests, but said the tests were only conducted on positive COVID-19 patients, Detik.com website reported on Tuesday quoting the WHO.

"Indonesia has a very high number of deaths of patients under surveillance and people under observation. Therefore, PCR tests should be prioritized for them rather than follow-up tests for those who would be discharged (from hospitals)," the WHO wrote in its latest report for Indonesia.

Earlier, the WHO updated the clinical management guidelines for the COVID-19 on May 27, revising the criteria for patients recovering from the disease.

If these guidelines are adopted throughout the country, the PCR tests were expected to improve diagnosis on suspected COVID-19 cases, according to the WHO.

As of Monday, 1,074,467 specimens had been examined in Indonesia, while 33,504 patients under surveillance and 13,439 people under observation had been monitored.

On Monday, the government reported that COVID-19 cases in Indonesia rose by 1,282 within one day to 76,981, with the death toll adding by 50 to 3,656.  

Iran

Iran recorded on Tuesday 2,521 new coronavirus cases and 179 deaths within the past 24 hours, according to the Ministry of Health and Medical Education.

The total infection number and death toll rose to 262,173 and 13,211 respectively since the outbreak of disease in the country in February, said Sima Sadat Lari, the spokeswoman for the health ministry, during her daily briefing.

Authorities in Tehran closed schools, universities, Shia seminaries, mosques and other sites of religious gatherings for a week, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported. Schools and universities had been partially reopened while communal Friday prayers remain suspended in the capital since late February.

Bangladesh 

Bangladesh reported 3,163 new cases, taking the total to 190,057, with over half of the patients having recovered.

Nasima Sultana, a senior Health Ministry official, said in a briefing in Dhaka that 33 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours across Bangladesh, bringing the death toll to 2,424.

Kuwait

Kuwait on Tuesday reported 666 new COVID-19 cases and three more deaths, raising the tally of infections to 56,174 and the death toll to 396, the Health Ministry said in a statement.

Currently, 9,617 patients are receiving treatment, including 156 in ICU, the statement added.

The ministry also announced the recovery of 805 more patients, raising the total recoveries in the country to 46,161.

Vietnam

Vietnam reported a new case of COVID-19 infection on Tuesday, bringing its total confirmed cases to 373 with zero deaths so far, according to its Ministry of Health.

The latest case was a 53-year-old Vietnamese man recently returning to the country from Russia, said the ministry, noting that he was quarantined upon arrival.

Medical workers are seen at a COVID-19 testing station at the Crossroads Hotel in Sydney on July 13, 2020. (PHOTO / AFP)

Australia

Areas of Sydney have been declared coronavirus outbreak hotspots by a state government, as health authorities fear the second wave of infections in Melbourne has now spread to Australia’s largest city.

The declaration by the Queensland state government means that anyone who has been to the areas of Liverpool and Campbelltown in Sydney’s southwest will need to quarantine in a hotel should they enter Queensland.

The second wave of infections, which has pushed Australia’s total case tally throughout the pandemic to more than 10,000, is dashing Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s hopes that he would be able to help revive a crippled economy by easing most social-distancing restrictions by end-July, after it tumbled into recession in the first half of the year.

The outbreak in Sydney has caused the New South Wales state government to announce on Tuesday it would reverse some easing of social-distancing restrictions, with pubs allowed a maximum of 300 patrons regardless of their size and group bookings halved to 10.

Victoria state, which accounts for one-quarter of the nation’s economic output, has more than 1,800 active cases. On Tuesday, Premier Daniel Andrews said he had reached out to the federal government to request more military personal to help control and contain the outbreak.

An additional 1,000 defense force personnel will be sent to Victoria over the next three to four weeks to free up the state’s emergency services workers and allow them to self-isolate if they’re exposed to the coronavirus.

“Further restrictions need to be considered,” Victoria Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said Tuesday. “We can’t rule anything out if there aren’t sufficient mechanisms to drive down transmission.”

Workers check the body temperature of visitors as they enter the Toshimaen amusement park in Tokyo on July 13, 2020. (PHOTO / AFP)

Japan 

Tokyo health officials appealed on Tuesday for more than 800 theatregoers to get tested for the novel coronavirus after a production starring Japanese boy-band members was found to be the source of at least 20 cases.

The Tokyo government said it was focussing on a 190-seat theatre in Shinjuku, a busy entertainment area and home to one of Asia’s biggest red-light districts which has been the centre of a recent spike in infections.

Japan is pushing ahead with opening up parts of the country, with plans to reopen a runway at one of the country’s biggest airports, even as infections persist in the capital as well as some rural areas and US military bases.

Japan could declare a state of emergency again if coronavirus infections increase further, though the government wants to avoid doing that if possible, Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura says at a briefing in Tokyo.

Nishimura urged bars and restaurants to follow the government’s guidelines for preventing the spread of infections and warned that establishments could be asked to close if they don’t comply.

Japan is considering allowing corporate executives from Europe and the US to enter the country, NHK reported without specifying where it got the information.

The plan is to allow short stays for groups of limited numbers of people and will require the visitors to be tested for COVID-19 before gaining entry, NHK said.

Japan will start to draft guidelines determining who will receive priority in being vaccinated for coronavirus when a treatment becomes available, Jiji reported, without attribution.

Prioritizing elderly people, those with pre-existing conditions and medical workers are among suggestions being considered with local government to pay for vaccine costs, Jiji said.

South Korea

South Korea reported 33 more cases of the COVID-19 as of 0:00 am Tuesday local time compared to 24 hours ago, raising the total number of infections to 13,512.

The daily caseload fell below 40 in three days, but it kept rising in double digits due to the continued small cluster infections and imported cases.

Of the new cases, 19 were imported, lifting the combined figure to 1,891. It continued to increase in double digits for 19 straight days.

Small cluster infections were found linked to religious gatherings and door-to-door sales businesses.

No more death was confirmed, leaving the death toll at 289. The total fatality rate stood at 2.14 percent.

A total of 78 more patients were discharged from quarantine after making full recovery, pulling up the combined number to 12,282. The total recovery rate was 90.9 percent.

Since Jan 3, the country has tested more than 1.42 million people, among whom 1,382,815 tested negative for the virus and 24,289 are being checked.  

A member of a university laboratory, left, wearing protective gear collects a swab sample from a resident to test for the COVID-19 at a community health centre in Banda Aceh on June 17, 2020. (PHOTO / AFP)

India 

India’s high-tech hub of Bengaluru will go back into a coronavirus lockdown for a week on Tuesday after a surge of infections, threatening to derail government efforts to revive a stuttering economy.

Places of worship, public transport, government offices and most shops will close again from the evening, and people will be confined to their homes, only allowed out for essential needs.

Schools, colleges and restaurants will remain shut, authorities said.

The total number of COVID-19 cases in India surpassed the 900,000-mark on Tuesday, reaching 906,752, and the total deaths stood at 23,727, according to the latest data issued by the federal health ministry.

The ministry said 553 new deaths due to COVID-19, besides 28,498 fresh positive cases, were reported during the past 24 hours across the country, taking the number of deaths to 23,727 and total cases to 906,752.

"As on 8:00 am (local time) Tuesday, 23,727 deaths related to novel coronavirus have been recorded in the country," reads information released by the ministry.

On Monday morning, the number of COVID-19 cases in the country was 878,254, and the death toll 23,174.

According to ministry officials, so far 571,460 people have been discharged from hospitals after showing improvement.

"The number of active cases in the country right now is 311,565," reads the information.

Presently the country has entered Unlock 2.0 phase, though restrictions remain in full force inside the COVID-19 Containment Zones. Commercial international flights to and from India are suspended until July 31.

Nepal

Over 60 percent of the COVID-19 patients in Nepal recovered from the disease as the country appears to be making marked improvement in controlling new cases, statistics of Nepal's Ministry of the Health and Population show.

"As many as 10,294 people out of total 16,945 COVID-19 patients, returned home after recovering from the deadly disease so far," said Jageshwor Gautam, spokesperson of the ministry at a regular press briefing on Monday.

The recovery rate is 60.7 percent, which is slightly better than the global average of 58.2 percent, according to the ministry.

Israel

Israel's parliamentary special committee on the novel coronavirus has decided to reverse the government's decision to close public swimming pools and gyms across the country, said a statement issued by the parliament on Monday.

On July 6, Israeli cabinet reimposed several restrictions to combat a rapid surge of coronavirus cases, deciding to immediately close gyms and public pools, as well as bars, night clubs, and event halls.

The decision concerning the pools was controversial, as it did not include hotel swimming pools, which have remained open and become more crowded.

Israeli Deputy Health Minister Yoav Kisch, who opposed the reopening of pools and gyms, said at the committee's meeting that "the purpose of the restriction is to prevent actions that endanger public health, and to prevent a full closure. In pools, hundreds of people gather in one place."

He added that the ministry planned to close hotel pools as well, but the finance ministry claimed that it would be the end of the hotel industry in the country.

Israel's Ministry of Health has reported 1,962 new coronavirus cases on Monday, bringing the total cases to 40,632.

This is the highest daily figure since the outbreak of the pandemic in Israel in late February, as the previous record was 1,473, registered on July 7.

The number of death cases increased from 362 to 365, while the number of patients in serious condition increased from 151 to 183, out of 514 patients currently hospitalized.

The number of recoveries rose to 19,395, with 387 new recoveries, while the number of active cases reached a record high of 20,872.

Oman

The Omani Ministry of Health announced on Monday 2,164 new COVID-19 cases, the highest single-day surge so far, raising the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 58,179.

The new cases included 592 non-Omanis, the ministry said in a statement.

Meanwhile, two new fatalities were reported, bringing the death toll to 259, while the tally of recovered cases rose by 1,159 to 37,257, it added.

The statement said that in the past 24 hours, the overall number of tests in Oman has increased to 244,787.

The jump in the number of daily new cases came as a result of the health ministry's implementation of a national survey of the COVID-19 infection, which increased the number of daily examinations, Saif bin Salem Al Abri, director general of disease surveillance and control at the Ministry of Health, told Xinhua.

The United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Monday announced 344 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total confirmed cases in the country to 55,198.

UAE's Ministry of Health and Prevention said in a statement that the new cases of many nationalities are all in a stable condition and receiving medical treatment.

The ministry added that 373 more patients have recovered from the virus, taking the tally of recoveries in the UAE to 45,513.

It also confirmed one more death, pushing the country's death toll to 334.

Palestine

Palestine recorded on Monday two new COVID-19 deaths in the West Bank, bringing the toll to 42 since March 5, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said.

The ministry said in an emailed press statement that a 51-year-old man and a 60-year-old woman from the southern West Bank district of Hebron died from the deadly coronavirus.

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus in the Palestinian territories on March 5, Palestine recorded 42 deaths, according to the statement.

It added that the ministry recorded on Monday 404 new COVID-19 cases in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the Palestinian territories to 7,441, including 1,258 recoveries.

Turkey

Turkey's largest city Istanbul and capital Ankara have the most COVID-19 cases of the country, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Monday.

The two cities are followed by the southeastern cities of Gaziantep, Sanliurfa and Diyarbakir in the number of coronavirus cases, the minister tweeted. 

The number of intensive care patients are also increasing in these five cities, he added.

Turkey's confirmed COVID-19 cases increased by 1,008 in the past 24 hours, and the country's total confirmed cases of coronavirus climbed to 214,001.

Meanwhile, 19 more people died, taking the death toll to 5,382, according to Koca.

Turkish health professionals conducted 46,492 tests in the past 24 hours, bringing the overall number of tests to 4,021,947, he said.

Qatar

Qatar's health ministry on Monday announced 418 new infections of COVID-19, increasing the total number of confirmed cases in the Gulf state to 104,016.

Some 884 people recovered, bringing the total number of recoveries to 100,627, while two others died, raising the fatalities to 149, the official Qatar News Agency reported, quoting a statement by the ministry.

A total of 416,327 persons in Qatar have undergone lab tests for COVID-19 so far, it added.

ALSO READ: Thailand tightens borders over fears of 2nd wave of coronavirus

Yemen

The total number of COVID-19 cases in Yemen's government-controlled provinces increased to 1,498 on Monday, as 33 new cases were confirmed.

The Yemeni Health Ministry said in a brief press statement that during the past 24 hours, the number of recoveries in the government-controlled areas increased to 675 since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus on April 10.

Also, the government announced that the death toll from the deadly respiratory disease climbed to 424 in different areas under its control, including the southern port city of Aden.

Kazakhstan

Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev tweeted on Monday that the country will extend the coronavirus lockdown by two weeks until the end of July.

There are first signs that the situation begins to improve and the next two weeks are essential to stabilize the epidemiological situation, Tokayev wrote.

The president noted that the government will offer financial aid of 42,500 tenge (about 103 US dollars) to those who have lost their source of income in July due to the lockdown.

Kazakhstan began a 14-day lockdown on July 5. Public transport in major cities has been limited, and passenger rail and bus services within the country are restricted. Beauty salons, gyms, spas, museums, indoor markets as well as other places have suspended operations. Over 80 percent of civil servants and state-owned company employees are required to work from home.

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia registered on Monday 2,852 new coronavirus cases, increasing the total infections to 235,111.

The recoveries rose to 169,842 with the reporting of 2,704 new recovered cases, the health ministry tweeted.

The death toll reached 2,243 with the reporting of 20 new fatalities.

Saudi Arabia and China have supported each other in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

Singapore

Singapore's Ministry of Health (MOH) reported 322 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, bringing the total confirmed cases in the country to 46,283.

Of the new cases, five are imported cases, 11 are community cases and the rest are linked with the dormitories of foreign workers.

Of the new cases, 97 percent are linked to known clusters, while the rest are pending contact tracing.

On Monday, 256 more cases of COVID-19 infection have been discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities. In all, 42,541 have fully recovered from the infection and have been discharged from hospitals or community care facilities, the ministry said.

There are currently 166 confirmed cases who are still in hospital. Of these, most are stable or improving, and one is in critical condition in the intensive care unit.

Furthermore, 3,550 are isolated and cared for at community facilities, who have mild symptoms, or are clinically well but still test positive for COVID-19. Altogether 26 people have passed away from complications due to COVID-19 infection.

Lebanon

Lebanon's number of COVID-19 infections increased on Monday by 85 cases to 2,419, while the number of deaths remained 36, the National News Agency reported.

The syndicate of nurses in Lebanon warned against a further increase in the number of infections which would impose threats to citizens, urging people to take necessary precautionary measures by wearing masks and washing their hands.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Hamad Hassan urged Lebanese expats who have returned to the country to commit to quarantine measures and avoid participating in public events to stop the spread of the virus.

READ MORE: Japan, US discuss jump in virus cases at US military bases

Myanmar

Myanmar's national-level Central Committee on Prevention, Control and Treatment on COVID-19 announced late Monday extension of effective period for preventive measures against COVID-19 until July 31 to contain the spread of the pandemic.

According to the announcement, the extension will not reinstate the measures which had been lifted, but measures such as restrictions of mass gatherings and others continue to remain in effect.

More positive cases were reported and the measures should be extended, Yangon Region Social Affairs Minister Naing Ngan Lin told Xinhua.

Myanmar has extended the temporary entry restrictions for visitors from all countries and the suspension of operating all international commercial passenger flights at the Yangon International Airport until July 31.

Myanmar has reported 336 COVID-19 confirmed cases with six deaths as of Monday, according to latest figures released by the Health and Sports Ministry.

Indonesia

Indonesian President Joko Widodo has resisted pressure to lock down due to concern about the economy, despite the highest death toll from virus in East Asia outside China.

Now, the governor of Jakarta is reported to be considering tightening some of the relatively mild restrictions in place after a spike in cases in the capital.

Kyrgyzstan 

Kyrgyzstan registered 421 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the country's tally to 11,538.

A total of 3,095 tests for the virus have been conducted across the country and 421 of them were positive, Ainura Akmatova, the head of the public health care department of the country's Health Ministry, told a daily online news briefing.

Among the newly infected, 94 are medical workers, bringing the total number of contracted medical workers to 1,875, including 570 recoveries, she said.

Mongolia 

Mongolia reported 13 new cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, taking its total tally to 243, the country's National Center for Communicable Diseases (NCCD) said Tuesday.

"A total of 168 tests for COVID-19 were conducted across the country yesterday and 13 of them were positive," the NCCD's head Dulmaa Nyamkhuu told a daily press conference.

Ten of the newly confirmed cases are servicemen of the Mongolian Armed Forces who returned home from Afghanistan on a chartered flight on Sunday, Nyamkhuu said.

Malaysia 

 Malaysia reported four new COVID-19 infections without local transmission, the Health Ministry said on Tuesday, bringing the national total to 8,729.

Malaysia and Singapore have agreed to mutually ease travel restrictions introduced due to the COVID-19 outbreak and resume some necessary travels between the two countries, the two foreign ministries said Tuesday.

The Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL) and Periodic Commuting Arrangement (PCA) are two schemes that meant to address the needs of different groups of cross-border travelers, Malaysian Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein and his Singaporean counterpart Vivian Balakrishnan said in a joint statement.

The RGL will enable cross-border travel for essential business and official purposes between both countries on the conditions including having to submit and adhere to a controlled itinerary during their stay and to have a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) swab test.

Meanwhile, the PCA will allow Singapore and Malaysia residents, who hold long-term immigration passes for business and work to enter the other country for work purpose. After at least three consecutive months in their country of work, they may return to their home country for a short-term home leave, and thereafter re-enter their country of work to continue work for at least another three consecutive months.

The two governments said they are targeting to implement the two schemes from Aug. 10, as officials are working to finalize the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for the implementation.

Cambodia 

Cambodia confirmed nine more cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, raising the total number of infections in the country to 165, according to a Health Ministry's press statement.

The latest cases are nine Cambodian men, aged between 24 and 30 years old, the statement said, adding that they all travelled from a foreign country, with a connecting flight in Malaysia.

The country has recorded a total of 165 confirmed COVID-19 cases to date, with 133 patients cured and 32 remained hospitalised



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