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Thursday, June 10, 2021, 10:33
Indonesia sees highest daily virus spike since late February
By Agencies
Thursday, June 10, 2021, 10:33 By Agencies

Transportation workers wear face masks and shields to help curb the spread of the coronavirus while waiting for the AstraZeneca vaccine during a mass vaccination campaign for public transport workers at the Kampung Rambutan Bus Terminal in Jakarta, Indonesia on June 10, 2021. (ACHMAD IBRAHIM / AP)

YANGON / TEHRAN / WELLINGTON / TOKYO / KABUL / BANGKOK / ISTANBUL / JAKARTA / HANOI / KUALA LUMPUR / CANBERRA / BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN / MUSCAT / NEW DELHI - Indonesia reported 8,892 new daily coronavirus infections on Thursday, the highest since Feb 23, taking its overall number of cases to 1,885,942.

Data from its coronavirus taskforce also showed 211 COVID-19 deaths reported on Thursday, taking total fatalities to 52,373.

Indonesia plans to expand its COVID-19 vaccination program to anyone aged 18 years and older as soon as the end of the month.

The government seeks to begin offering the shots in a bid to reach herd immunity against the virus, said Siti Nadia Tarmizi, the spokeswoman for the country’s COVID-19 task force. The capital Jakarta earlier announced that it’s starting to inoculate all adults.

Thailand

Thailand has planned to have 6 million of its population vaccinated against the COVID-19 by the end of June, the country's COVID-19 task force said Thursday.

As of Wednesday, the Southeast Asian country has administered over 5.44 million doses of vaccines, including 3.96 million doses for the first shot and 1.48 million doses for the second shot, Center for the COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) spokesperson Apisamai Srirangsan said at a daily briefing.

Thailand kicked off a mass inoculation drive on June 7, aiming to vaccinate about 70 percent of its nearly 70 million population by the end of the year.

Thai public schools will reopen on June 14 as planned, according to Education Minister Treenuch Thienthong.

The beginning of the 2021 academic year, previously set for May 17, has been postponed twice due to concerns over the Southeast Asian nation’s worst wave of coronavirus infections to date. Since Covid’s resurgence in early April, new infections in Thailand have jumped more than sixfold.

On Thursday, Thailand reported 2,310 new confirmed cases and 43 more fatalities from the pandemic. Its total case tally has risen to 187,538 with 1,375 deaths, according to the CCSA.

Iran

Iran on Thursday reported 12,398 new COVID-19 cases, taking the country's infections over 3 million.

The pandemic has so far claimed 81,672 lives in Iran, up by 153 in the past 24 hours, the Iranian Ministry of Health and Medical Education said.

Australia

Two Australian states are on COVID-19 alert after an infected woman and her husband traveled from Victoria, the epicentre of country’s latest outbreak, through the states of New South Wales and into Queensland, visiting dozens of sites enroute.

Authorities in New South Wales and Queensland are rushing to trace close contacts and locate virus hotspots. The couple may face criminal charges for breaching COVID-19 border restrictions.

The 44-year-old woman tested positive for COVID-19 once in Queensland, authorities said late on Wednesday, and her husband has since tested positive.

Queensland state Health Minister Yvette D'Ath told reporters in Brisbane on Thursday that the couple's tests suggested they were likely at the end of their infectious period.

"This means the risk is lower than we were expecting yesterday, which is really positive news," D'Ath said. No other cases were reported from the state.

Australia has largely contained all prior outbreaks through snap lockdowns, regional border controls and swift contact tracing, with just over 30,200 cases and 910 deaths since the pandemic began. It has reported zero cases most days this year.

Also, a second Australian woman has died from a rare blood clotting disorder likely linked to AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) on Thursday confirmed that a 52-year-old New South Wales (NSW) woman died from a blood clot in her brain after developing thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) that was likely linked to the vaccine.

It is the second death linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine in Australia after a 48-year-old woman in NSW died in April.

Japan

The Japanese government may allow seniors nationwide to reserve vacant COVID-19 vaccination slots at two mass inoculation centers being operated in Tokyo and Osaka, local media quoted government sources as saying Thursday.

The two mass vaccination sites being operated by the nation's Self-Defense Forces (SDF) have to date only been accepting reservations from seniors living in the two prefectures or surrounding regions.

However, due to some reservation slots not being taken, the government is eyeing making those available nationwide to seniors as part of its efforts to ramp up its slow vaccination rollout.

The government on Thursday also decided to lift the COVID-19 quasi-state of emergency currently in effect for three prefectures at the end of Sunday amid signs the rate of COVID-19 infections is on a decline.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, set to depart for Britain later today to attend Group of Seven (G7) summit, finalized the decision after the plan was approved earlier in the day by the government's expert advisory panel on COVID-19.

The quasi-state of emergency measures in place for Gunma, Ishikawa and Kumamoto prefectures since May 16, are set to end on Sunday as per the original schedule.

Amid concerns over the spread of highly contagious variants of the COVID-19 virus, 10 prefectures including Tokyo and Osaka remain under a fully-fledged state of emergency set to end on June 20.

Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi will restrict entry to public venues including malls and beaches to people who have a “green pass” as coronavirus cases start to inch higher in the United Arab Emirates.

The green pass, which can be accessed via the government’s health app, will use a color-coded system to indicate vaccination status and PCR test validity. The new rules in oil-rich Abu Dhabi will be effective June 15 for venues including malls and large supermarkets, gyms, hotels, public parks and beaches, as well as restaurants and cafes.


Singapore

Singapore and Australia will work towards putting in place an air travel bubble between the two countries, their prime ministers said on Thursday, after more than a year of travel disruption caused by the pandemic.

"We discussed how two-way travel between Singapore and Australia can eventually resume, in a safe and calibrated manner, when both sides are ready," Singapore leader Lee Hsien Loong told a joint news conference with visiting Australian counterpart Scott Morrison.

Singapore had in March said the two nations were discussing plans for quarantine-free travel.

Both Singapore and Australia have avoided the severe coronavirus outbreaks suffered by many counties, with total cases at just over 62,000 and 30,000 respectively.

Lee said infrastructure and processes for resuming travel needed to be put in place, starting with mutual recognition of health and vaccination certificates.

"When all preparations are ready, then we can start small with an air travel bubble to build confidence on both sides," he said.

Morrison is the first foreign leader to make an official visit to the city-state since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic last year. He stopped in Singapore on his way to Britain for the G7 Leaders' Summit.

South Korea

South Korea is considering plans to vaccinate workers at key businesses including chip and electronics firms to prevent disruptions to production, an official at the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.

The labour ministry has sent letters to companies including Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, SK Hynix Inc and LG Electronics Inc seeking information on their COVID-19 vaccination needs, the Maeil Business Newspaper reported on Wednesday, citing government and industry sources.

The KDCA and labour ministry said they were discussing such options with government agencies but no specifics had been decided.

Samsung Electronics, SK Hynix and LG Electronics said they had received the letter.

The move comes amid a global chip shortage that has affected manufacturers around the world, particularly carmakers. Samsung and SK Hynix are the world's top two memory chip makers.

South Korea reported 611 more cases of COVID-19 as of midnight Wednesday compared to 24 hours ago, raising the total number of infections to 146,303.

The daily caseload was slightly up from 602 in the previous day, staying above 600 for two days. The daily average caseload for the past week was 592.

The daily number of infections hovered in triple figures since Nov. 8 last year due to small cluster infections in Seoul and its surrounding Gyeonggi province as well as imported cases.

Of the new cases, 213 were Seoul residents and 176 were people residing in Gyeonggi province.

Turkey

Turkey on Thursday widened its COVID-19 vaccination drive, with those aged 45 and over now included in the ongoing nationwide inoculation program.

Speaking after a Coronavirus Scientific Advisory Committee meeting on the previous day, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said people aged 40 and over would also be allowed to take their shots on June 14.

"Now, our agenda is how to get back to our old normals by obtaining immunity with the vaccination program," Koca said. "The hard days are now behind."

Turkey on Wednesday confirmed 6,454 new COVID-19 cases, including 558 symptomatic patients, raising the total number of cases in the country to 5,306,690, according to its health ministry.

The death toll from the virus in Turkey rose by 87 to 48,428, while the total recoveries climbed to 5,179,833 after 6,647 more people recovered in the last 24 hours.

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is working to vaccinate the entire population against COVID-19 by early 2022, allowing the workforce, economic pillars and general public to run the economy, local media quoted Army Commander Gen. Shavendra Silva as saying.

Speaking as a guest speaker at the virtual Sri Lanka Investment Forum (SLIF) on Tuesday, Silva said a nationwide vaccination program was ongoing in the country and Sri Lanka was in the process of getting adequate vaccines in the future.

"It has to be understood that COVID-19 is not merely a health issue. Managing the pandemic is essentially managing the economy and livelihood as well. Also, the resilience in a pandemic is essentially the resilience in the economy too," Silva, who also heads the National Operations Center for the Prevention of COVID-19, said.

"Therefore, the government has never underestimated the importance of local and international economic activities to run the country's economy."

Myanmar

The number of COVID-19 cases in Myanmar has increased to 144,715 on Wednesday after 136 new cases were reported in the past 24 hours, according to a release from the Ministry of Health and Sports.

Five more deaths were reported on Wednesday, bringing the death toll to 3,233 in the country, the ministry said.

According to the ministry's figures, a total of 132,655 patients have been discharged from the hospitals and over 2.63 million samples have been tested for COVID-19 so far, including 1,746 samples tested on Wednesday.

Afghanistan 

A batch of COVID-19 vaccines donated by the Chinese government arrived in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan on Thursday.

The shipment of Sinopharm vaccines are the first Chinese donation of the COVID-19 vaccine Afghanistan has received.

Afghanistan recorded 1,822 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, raising the total tally to 87,716, the Ministry of Public Health said.

The government-run and private laboratories conducted 5,343 tests in the past 24 hours, 1,822 of them being positive with the coronavirus infection, the ministry said in a graph providing daily COVID-19 figures.

It also reported 56 new deaths in the country, raising the COVID-19 related death toll to 3,412.

The Philippines

The Philippines' Department of Health (DOH) reported on Thursday 7,485 new COVID-19 infections, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the Southeast Asian country to 1,293,687.

The death toll climbed to 22,312 after 122 more patients died from the viral disease, the DOH said.

New Zealand

Following an assessment of the COVID-19 outbreak in greater Melbourne in Australia's Victoria, New Zealand's quarantine-free travel pause with the Australian state will continue for a further seven days, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said on Thursday.

There are now 93 cases reported to be associated with the outbreak in greater Melbourne, spread over four clusters, and contact tracing efforts have identified more than 15,000 close contacts, Hipkins said in a statement, speaking of the COVID-19 situation in Victoria.

While the cases in the outbreak in the region of Melbourne, the state capital of Victoria, are genomically linked to cases arriving from overseas, there are at least three cases where an epidemiological link is still to be confirmed, Hipkins said.


A health worker takes a swab sample from a man for a reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test for the COVID-19 at a health centre in New Delhi on June 10, 2021. (PHOTO / AFP)

India

India reported on Thursday the highest single-day death toll from COVID-19 in the world, at 6,148, after a big eastern state revised its figures to account for people who succumbed to the disease at home or in private hospitals.

The health department of Bihar, one of India's poorest states, revised its total COVID-19 related death toll on Wednesday to more than 9,400 from about 5,400.

The United States had recorded 5,444 COVID-19 deaths on Feb 12.

India’s total COVID-19 case load now stands at 29.2 million after rising by 94,052 in the past 24 hours, while total fatalities are at 359,676, according to data from the health ministry.

India is close to agreeing to grant foreign COVID-19 vaccine makers such as Pfizer Inc protection against legal liability so that it can use their shots in an immunisation campaign that is facing acute shortages, three government sources told Reuters.

"Indemnity will be granted," said one of the sources. "If one company gets it then all of them get it."

India invited Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson in April to sell their vaccines after infections rocketed. However, no deal has been signed.

Pfizer has not sold to any country without obtaining indemnity against legal action over any adverse effects of their product.

India has not granted indemnity to any COVID-19 vaccine maker, but the sources, who requested anonymity, said the government was having a change of heart.

Afghanistan

Afghanistan recorded 1,822 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, raising the total tally to 87,716, the Ministry of Public Health said.

The government-run and private laboratories conducted 5,343 tests in the past 24 hours, 1,822 of them being positive with the coronavirus infection, the ministry said in a graph providing daily COVID-19 figures.

Vietnam

Vietnam recorded 219 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, including 211 locally transmitted and eight imported, bringing the total tally to 9,784, according to the Vietnamese Ministry of Health.

Among the community cases, 188 were reported in quarantine facilities or lockdown areas.

Malaysia

Malaysia reported 5,671 new COVID-19 infections, bringing the national total to 639,562, the Health Ministry said Thursday.

Health Ministry Director-General Noor Hisham Abdullah said in a press statement that eight of the new cases are imported and 5,663 are local transmissions.

Another 73 deaths have been reported, bringing the death toll to 3,684.

Brunei

Brunei reported two new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, bringing the total tally to 248.

According to Brunei's Ministry of Health, one of the imported cases is a 33-year-old man who arrived from Indonesia, and the other a 38-year-old man from Kuala Lumpur, capital of Malaysia. The two cases both arrived in Brunei on May 28 and they showed no symptoms of infection.

Investigation and contact tracing have confirmed no close contacts for the two new cases, who were quarantined upon arrival.

Oman

The Omani Health Ministry on Thursday announced 1,640 new COVID-19 cases, raising the total confirmed number in the sultanate to 230,219, the official Oman News Agency (ONA) reported.

A total of 19 fatalities were reported, pushing up the death toll to 2,467, according to a ministry statement carried by ONA.

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