Asia Today: Sources of many cases in Victoria untraceable

World

A woman waits to give a nasal swab sample to test for COVID-19 at a medical camp in Mumbai, India, Saturday, Aug. 8, 2020. As India hit another grim milestone in the coronavirus pandemic on Friday, crossing 2 million cases and more than 41,000 deaths, community health volunteers went on strike complaining they were ill-equipped to respond to the wave of infection in rural areas. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade)

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The premier of Australia’s Victoria state says more than 2,700 active cases have no known source and remain the primary concern of health authorities.

Victoria on Sunday saw a welcome drop in its new COVID-19 cases with 394 but a record 17 deaths, including two people in their 50s. It took the hard-hit state’s toll to 210 and the Australian total of deaths to 295.

Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said confirmed cases also include almost 1,000 health care workers.

The city of Melbourne has been under tough restrictions since a week ago, including an overnight curfew and mandatory wearing of masks, but won’t see the results of their efforts for another one to two weeks.

Almost 270 Victorian residents have been fined over the past 24 hours for breaching the restrictions, including a man helping a friend to move a television 27 kilometers (17 miles) across the city.

Victoria Police issued 268 fines to individuals in the past 24 hours, including 77 for curfew breaches and 38 for failing to wear a mask when leaving home.

In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:

— The Indian Medical Association says 196 doctors have died of COVID-19 so far and, in an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, requested adequate care for physicians and their families. The Health Ministry on Sunday recorded nearly 64,000 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours for a total of 2,153,010. India also recorded 861 fatalities, driving the death toll to 43,379. India has been posting an average of around 50,000 new cases a day since mid-June and has the third-highest caseload in the world after the United States and Brazil. It has the fifth-most deaths but its fatality rate of about 2% is far lower than the top two hardest-hit countries.

— Hong Kong has seen a further decline in new coronavirus cases, with just 69 reported as of Sunday. Hong Kong’s Center for Health Protection said 67 were locally transmitted and the other two brought from overseas. No new deaths from COVID-19 were reported, leaving the total for the semi-autonomous southern Chinese city at 47 among 3,938 cases. Hong Kong has instituted strict measures to prevent new infections and the center urged members of the public to avoid going out, having social contact or dining out. Last week, authorities said they would offer free testing to all 7.5 million residents in order to track those who might have the virus while not showing symptoms and reassure the public that the outbreak is under control.

— Chinese authorities on Sunday announced 15 new cases in the northwestern region of Xinjiang and eight others brought from outside the country. A total of 817 people remain in treatment, 43 of them in serious condition, and 276 are under monitoring in isolation for showing signs of COVID-19 or testing positive for the virus without displaying symptoms. China has reported a total of 4,634 deaths from COVID-19 among 84,619 cases. Xinjiang’s main city of Urumqi was the center of China’s latest major outbreak, but strict measures including travel restrictions and the lockdown of some residential communities appears to have contained the spread.

— South Korea has reported 36 additional coronavirus cases amid an uptick in local community infections. The additional figures Sunday took the national tally to 14,598 with 305 deaths. Thirty of the new cases were locally transmitted while the rest were associated with international arrivals. South Korea on Saturday also recorded 30 domestically transmitted cases, the first time the figure hit above 30 in about two weeks. Heath officials say many of those were linked to church gatherings. Health authorities have said imported cases are less threatening as they enforce two-week quarantines on all people arriving from abroad.

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