Covid-19 pandemic: Asia-Pacific region sees new wave, many outbreaks in Australia’s Victoria


A woman wearing a protective mask stands in line outside a mandatory Covid-19 test site in the Hougang district of Singapore on 22 May, 2021.| Representational image | Wei Leng Tay/Bloomberg


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New Delhi: The coronavirus pandemic continues to devastate countries, with more than 16,96,44,425 cases and 35,25,263 deaths recorded so far.

ThePrint brings you some stories from around the world on the pandemic to keep you updated.

Governments in the Asia-Pacific region are struggling to contain a resurgent wave of Covid-19. Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, has relaxed entertainment restrictions for those vaccinated.

Govts in Asia-Pacific grappling with new Covid wave

On Thursday, a new resurgent wave in the Asia Pacific region claimed new records as the governments ‘scramble’ to impose coronavirus restrictions and roll out vaccinations, reports The Straits Times.

In Malaysia, 7,857 new cases were reported. This was the third consecutive day of record highs and it prompted the government to impose a nationwide movement control order.

Thailand recorded a second consecutive peak in daily deaths as 47 people died of the virus Thursday. Taiwan too reported an increase in its infections, with 671 new cases and a record high of 13 deaths on Thursday.

Asia has recorded 5,03,54,010 cases of Covid-19 and 6,68,259 deaths.

Saudi Arabia to relax entertainment restrictions for those vaccinated

Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority announced Thursday that the kingdom will allow entertainment activities to resume for those who have been vaccinated against Covid-19, reports Arab News.

Covid-related protocols have also been set for event organisers to use precaution when holding events.

“Entertainment venues will be allowed to open at 40 per cent capacity in open spaces,” the report said.

Saudi Arabia has recorded 4,45,963 cases of Covid-19 and 7, 309 deaths.

Why Australia’s Victoria is witnessing so many Covid outbreaks 

Victoria has started a seven-day long ‘circuit breaker lockdown’, which is the fourth such lockdown since the pandemic began — although, other states in Australia have witnessed sizeable outbreaks in comparison to infections in Victoria, reports The Guardian.

Experts have suggested that a high degree of connectedness with Melbourne may have resulted in a bigger outbreak in Victoria. Hassan Vally, an associate professor in epidemiology at Latrobe University, agrees Victoria’s latest lockdown is the unlucky result of someone shedding high amounts of virus after quarantining in South Australia,” said the report.

So far, the state has recorded 20,581 cases of Covid-19 and 820 deaths.

Public health units in Toronto prepared for schools to reopen 

Canada’s chief medical officer of health David Williams said all health units in the Greater Toronto Hamilton area are prepared for schools to reopen. These units also have the capacity to test students and staff, trace infections and screen them, reports The Globe and Mail.

This comes as the government has been grappling with the decision on whether to reopen schools or not.

But there are worries: “Despite the broad support among medical officers of health, other medical experts expressed concerns that a return to in-person learning would increase the province’s Covid-19 numbers”, said the report.

Canada has recorded 13,71,073 cases of Covid-19 and 25,411 deaths.

What else we are reading:

US is said to have unexamined intelligence to pore over on virus origins: The New York Times 

Vaccine hesitancy keeps the virus alive in Asia: Asia Times 


Also read: India ensured supply of medicines to 123 partner countries despite its own needs: Vardhan


 

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