NEW DELHI – India reported 45,674 new coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours, with the capital coping with a sharp surge of nearly 7,000 cases a day this week.
India’s tally of confirmed cases -- currently the second largest in the world behind the United States – has exceeded 8.5 million. The Health Ministry on Sunday also reported 559 deaths in the past 24 hours, taking total fatalities to 126,121.
India has seen an overall steady dip in new cases after touching nearly 100,000 a day in mid-September.
However, the tally in New Delhi continues to hover around 7,000 a day after dropping to nearly 1,000 in September. The Indian capital also reported 79 deaths in the past 24 hours, the highest since June.
Delhi state Health Minister Satyendar Jain said that apart from aggressive contact tracing, targeted testing in shopping areas and other busy locations also has started. And authorities are reaching out to people through mobile testing vans.
The government warns that the situation could worsen due to festival shopping crowds, coupled with the onset of winter and high air pollution levels.
In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:
— Victoria will be reunited as one state with travel restrictions on Melbourne residents lifted as active COVID-19 cases continue to ease. Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said Sunday he will scrap a 25-kilometer (15-mile) travel limit on city residents and remove Melbourne’s “ring of steel” from midnight after the state went nine days without a new case. “We know that so many people have missed those that they love the most, those who they need to see, been desperately keen to see, for such a long period of time," he said. He promised restaurants, bars and clubs would be able to take a “bigger step” in coming weeks. Most of those establishments reopened last week but with table restrictions for outside and inside dining. Andrews said Victorians will have to continue wearing masks for at least another two to three weeks. Victoria will welcome the first international flights to Melbourne since June 30, with the resumption of flights from New Zealand from Monday. Victoria’s COVID-19 death toll is 819, and 907 people have died from the virus across Australia.
— China’s government on Sunday reported 28 new confirmed coronavirus infections, all of which the National Health Commission said were patients who contracted the virus abroad.
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