Governments were stepping up testing and warily considering their next moves as the number of newly confirmed COVID-19 cases surges in many countries.
India yesterday reported 20,000 new cases, while the US confirmed more than 40,000 new infections for the third straight day.
As infections rise along with summer temperatures in the northern hemisphere, many governments are stepping up testing and mulling more aggressive moves such as renewed lockdowns to stem fresh outbreaks.
India’s 20,000 new infections was a new daily record. Several Indian states reimposed partial or full lockdowns after the total number of cases jumped by nearly 100,000 in one week to 548,318.
While some states have tightened precautions, in the worst-affected regions of Maharashtra, which includes India’s financial capital, Mumbai, and Delhi, home to the federal capital of New Delhi, most restrictions have been eased, with restaurants, shopping malls and parks reopened, and public buses and shared-ride services back on the roads.
The US reported 42,600 newly confirmed infections as of Saturday, with the total surpassing 2.5 million, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
Experts say actual numbers globally are likely far higher due to the large number of apparently asymptomatic cases and issues with testing.
Beaches were closing and beer was going untapped as Florida, Texas and other states backpedaled on their pandemic reopenings, ordering mandatory use of masks in public places and closing down restaurants and bars in hopes of stemming a resurgence in cases.
Nearly 8.3 million people out of about 21 million have undergone testing in recent weeks in the Chinese capital after an outbreak centered on a wholesale market.
The country had 12 new cases yesterday, including seven in Beijing, down by more than half from the day before, the Chinese National Health Commission reported.
Health authorities are using what they describe as a world-first saliva test for the coronavirus in Australia’s second-largest city, Melbourne, in the state of Victoria, where the disease is spreading at an alarming rate.
Victorian Minister of Health Jenny Mikakos said that 75 people had tested positive in the state in the previous 24 hours, bringing the total number of cases to 2,099.
Brett Sutton, Victoria’s chief health officer, said that the outbreak could surge out of control as pandemic restrictions ease elsewhere in Australia.
“l think it’s a genuine challenge now. I think we’re right at the edge in terms of being able to manage it,” Sutton said.
In the Philippines, local officials were under fire for allowing a street parade and dance during a weekend religious festival to honor St John the Baptist, despite quarantine prohibitions against public gatherings.
Performers in native wear and masks danced during the night procession, which drew a large crowd in Basak village on Cebu.
The Philippines remains a Southeast Asian hotspot with more than 35,000 confirmed infections, including 1,244 deaths.
Restrictions have been eased in many places to help salvage the ailing economy, but Cebu resumed a lockdown this month after new cases spiked.
Some governments are pushing ahead with reopening travel, particularly between countries where outbreaks of the virus appear to be contained, although the changing landscape of the pandemic suggests that the process will be complicated and subject to change.
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