SEOUL – India has registered 75,829 confirmed coronaviruses cases in the past 24 hours, a day after crossing 100,000 total fatalities.
The Health Ministry raised India’s confirmed total to more than 6.5 million on Sunday and said at least 101,782 people have died of COVID-19 since the pandemic began.
India is still registering the highest number of daily cases globally but with the recovery rate at more than 83%, the number of those recovered has surpassed 5.5 million, the Health Ministry said.
India also has the low fatality rate of 1.56%, which is nearly half the global one.
The Health Ministry credited the increased testing in the country for a sustained low death rate. India has conducted nearly 79 million tests so far, according to official data.
India is preparing to reopen cinemas and entertainment parks with limited capacity beginning Oct. 15, in an effort to revive the economy. Health experts warn the move has the potential for the virus to spread during the upcoming religious festival and winter season.
India is also making plans for an eventual vaccine, with officials saying they hope to immunize at least 250 million of the country's 1.4 billion people by July 2021.
Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan said Sunday that the government will ensure “equitable access” to a vaccine and is in the process of identifying high-risk groups that will be the first in line to receive it.
Vardhan said the topmost priority will be given to frontline health care workers.
India is testing three potential vaccines, including one being developed jointly by the University of Oxford and pharma giant AstraZeneca.
That vaccine will be mass produced by India’s Serum Institute, the world’s biggest vaccine producer. The Serum Institute has said that it will produce 200 million doses of coronavirus vaccines for developing countries, including India.
In other developments from the Asia-Pacific region:
— Indonesia has surpassed 300,000 confirmed infections since the pandemic began. The Health Ministry on Sunday reported 3,992 new cases, taking the country's total to 303,498. The ministry said 11,151 people have died of the disease, while 228,453 patients have recovered.
— South Korea has reported 64 new cases of the coronavirus, the fourth straight day its increase came below 100, possibly reflecting the fewer number of tests conducted during one of the biggest holidays of the year. The figures released by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency on Sunday brought the national caseload to 24,091, including 421 deaths. Thirty-eight of the new cases were reported in the Seoul metropolitan area, which has been at the center of a viral resurgence since August. Seventeen of the new cases were linked to international arrivals, mostly from other Asian countries such as the Philippines, India, and Bangladesh. There are concerns that infections could rise in coming weeks because of increased travel during the five-day Chuseok harvest holiday that continues through Sunday.
— The premier of Australia’s Victoria state has called on citizens to “stay the course” after large groups flooded beaches and parks at the weekend in defiance of strict lockdown regulations. Victoria, emerging from a major winter spike in coronavirus cases, relaxed lockdown regulations last weekend but still allowed only five people from up to two households to congregate outside. Many ignored those regulations on Saturday and crowded parks and beaches, causing Premier Daniel Andrews to remind Victorians not to be selfish and maintain social distancing. Victoria reported only 12 new coronavirus cases and one death Sunday, well down on the peaks of winter. “We are so, so close,” Andrews said. “Let’s not any of us do anything that might undermine the very positive numbers. Once we get them low, we can keep them low and we can open up again if we don’t do anything silly or anything selfish right now.”
— Sri Lankan authorities imposed a curfew Sunday in two suburbs in Western Province, after a person tested positive for the coronavirus. The curfew covers Minuwangoda and Divulapitiya suburbs, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) north of the capital Colombo. The Education Ministry announced that school holidays would be moved forward to start Oct 5 instead of Oct. 9. The person was being treated at a hospital for a fever when a coronavirus test came back positive. About 15 hospital staff and 40 co-workers have been put in self-quarantine. For more than two months, health officials have been saying that they have prevented the community spread of the virus. The country has reported 3,388 confirmed cases, including 13 deaths. Of the total, 3,254 have recovered.