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Coronavirus around the world: South Africa nearing 500,000 cases

North Korea

Seoul: North Korea introduced tougher prevention measures against the coronavirus on Tuesday, state media reported, after it locked down the border town of Kaesong to tackle what could be its first publicly confirmed case of the respiratory disease.

Strict quarantine measures and the screening of districts were in progress, and test kits, protective clothing and medical equipment were being rapidly supplied, the North’s KCNA state news agency said.

People wear face masks to help curb the spread of the coronavirus in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Monday.

People wear face masks to help curb the spread of the coronavirus in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Monday.Credit:Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service

The measures come after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un declared an emergency on Sunday after a person suspected of being infected with the virus returned from South Korea.

North Korea had reported testing 1211 people for the virus as of July 16 with all returning negative results, the World Health Organisation said in a statement. The report said 696 nationals were under quarantine.

Pakistan

Islamabad: Pakistan’s daily COVID-19 infections has dropped below 1000 for the first time in three months.

The country on Tuesday counted 936 new cases reported in the last 24 hours throughout the country of 220 million people.

Dr Zafar Mirza, special assistant to Prime Minister Imran Khan, tweeted praise for Khan urging Pakistanis to wear masks as the “most effective practice to reduce the transmission of the disease”.

Khan on national television Monday demonstrated the proper use of masks and explaining that shutdowns will result if the disease spikes again. Medical professionals and Khan’s political opponents have criticised him for reopening the economy. He has said a total shutdown would hurt the poorest and instead pursued what he called “smart” lockdowns narrowly targeted at the hot spots of infection.

Still Mirza warned there was no room for complacency particularly as Pakistan readies to celebrate the Muslim holiday of Eid al Adha at the end of the month.

Vietnam

Hanoi: Vietnam has locked down its third-largest city for two weeks after 15 cases of COVID-19 were found in a hospital.

Public transport into and out of the central city of Da Nang was cancelled. Over the weekend, thousands of mostly Vietnamese tourists had to end their summer holidays in the popular beach destination.

Authorities estimated several thousand people would be stranded by the transportation shutdown and asked hotels to shelter them.

Women wearing face masks stand on a beach in Vung Tau city, Vietnam.

Women wearing face masks stand on a beach in Vung Tau city, Vietnam.Credit:AP

The government on Sunday had ordered social distancing and closing non-essential businesses in the city of 1.1 million people.

The outbreak was detected in patients and health workers at Da Nang hospital.

Germany

Berlin: Negligence is behind a steady rise in new coronavirus infections in Germany, the head of the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases said on Tuesday, adding that it was unclear if the country was experiencing a second wave.

“The new developments in Germany make me very worried,” Lothar Wieler said during his first news conference in weeks. “The rise has to do with the fact that we have become negligent.”

The number of daily new cases almost doubled on Tuesday to 633, and the institute linked the increase to increased social contact at parties and in the workplace. It urged people not to flout social distancing rules.

Taiwan

Taipei: Taiwan on Tuesday was investigating its first possible local coronavirus infection in more than a month, a Thai man who tested positive last week, as the island also faces a rise in cases brought from overseas.

Taiwan’s early response was effective in keeping the pandemic at bay, with just 467 infections and seven deaths. Most of the cases have been imported and have recovered.

Until the Thai man’s positive test, the island had not seen a local case of coronavirus infection since June 24.

Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Centre said it was probing where and how the man contracted the virus. The migrant worker arrived on the island in January and tested positive on July 25, shortly after returning to Thailand.

More than 180 people who had contact with him in Taiwan have undergone health screenings, the centre said.

China

Beijing: New coronavirus cases continue to rise in China’s north-western region of Xinjiang, with 57 reported on Tuesday.

The capital Beijing also reported its first case of domestic transmission in more than two weeks, while the northeastern province of Liaoning added another six cases in its local outbreak. Another four cases were found among Chinese travellers arriving from outside the country, bringing the daily total over the past 24 hours to 68.

Despite the new clusters, China appears to have largely contained the virus and the death toll remains at 4634 among 83,959 cases. Hospitals are treating 391 people for COVID-19, with another 307 being monitored in isolation for showing signs of infection or for having tested positive for the virus without displaying symptoms.

Xinjiang’s outbreak has centred on the region’s capital and largest city of Urumqi, where authorities have restricted public transport, isolated some communities and ordered testing among those considered at risk of infection.

Russia

Moscow: Russia reported 5395 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Tuesday, bringing its nationwide tally to 823,515, the fourth-largest in the world.

Russia’s coronavirus taskforce said 150 people had died over the last 24 hours, pushing the official death toll in the country of around 145 million people to 13,504.

AP with Reuters

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