Asia Today: New Delhi reverses limits on testing, sickbeds

Full Screen
1 / 9

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

A member of Indonesia Red Cross sprays disinfectant in an attempt to help curb the spread of the new coronavirus inside a classroom at a school in Jakarta, Indonesia Tuesday, June 9, 2020. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)

BANGKOK – New Delhi has reversed orders that limited the scope of coronavirus testing and reserved hospital beds for city residents as the Indian capital’s caseload continues to surge.

Delhi’s numbers of infected jumped to 29,943 on Tuesday of India’s 266,598 total cases nationwide.

Since coming to power in 2013, the government led by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has prioritized investing in health care. Delhi has the best health care in India, drawing patients from across the country.

But as lockdown restrictions have eased in recent weeks, the number of people infected with the coronavirus has soared in the capital. On Sunday, Kejriwal announced that hospital beds for COVID-19 patients would be reserved for Delhi residents and testing limited to those with symptoms of the disease.

But the central government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi strongly objected to the rules, and late Monday the Delhi government set them aside, with Kejriwal tweeting that “making arrangements for treatment for people from across the country during the Covid-19 pandemic is a major challenge. But maybe it’s God’s will that we have to serve everyone in the country.”

In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:

— MAGSAYSAY AWARDS CANCELED: The Ramon Magsaysay awards have been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, marking only the third disruption in six decades for the annual prize regarded as an Asian Nobel. The Philippine foundation that hands out the awards said it has no choice “with the COVID-19 pandemic practically immobilizing the world.” Last year's recipients included a South Korean who helped fight suicide and bullying; a Thai human rights defender; journalists from India and Myanmar; and a musician credited with helping to shape modern Philippine musical culture. The Philippines has about 22,400 coronavirus cases, including more than 1,000 deaths.

— SPECTATORS FOR AUSSIE FOOTBALL: South Australia state will allow 2,000 fans to attend an Australian rules football match on Saturday but won’t allow a Black Lives Matter rally on the same day. South Australia is the first state or territory to allow a crowd to return to professional sport. Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said spectators will be allowed at a match between Port Adelaide and the Adelaide Crows. But they wouldn't grant a second exemption from social distancing rules for a protest against the death of George Floyd. Stevens said the rally last week had been allowed due to unique circumstances. “To continually allow people to disregard the restrictions we have in place would make a mockery of the good efforts of everybody else who are doing their best to abide by those restrictions,” Stevens added.