SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – South Korea posted its largest daily increase in coronavirus cases in nearly three months as it prepares to tighten social distancing measures in the Seoul metropolitan area.
The Disease Control and Prevention Agency reported 313 new cases on Wednesday, bringing the national total since the start of the pandemic to 29,311, with 496 deaths. It is the first time that the daily count exceeds the 300-patient barrier since the end of August.
South Korea is trying to contain the spike in infections since the restrictions were eased last month. The new cases are linked to hospitals, senior centers, churches, schools, offices and family gatherings.
Local health authorities announced Tuesday that restrictions will be tightened in the densely populated metropolitan area of Seoul from Thursday and some areas of eastern Gangwon province, hardest hit by the second wave.
Amid a widespread increase in coronavirus cases across Japan, the Tokyo metropolitan government confirmed 493 new infections on Wednesday, the worst figure since the 472 recorded on August 1, at the height of the first wave of the pandemic.
The new record coincided with the end of the visit of the president of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, to the country to discuss with the local Olympic authorities how to hold a safe Olympic Games after its delay to next July due to the pandemic.
In recent weeks, the country has recorded a steady increase in COVID-19 infections that has led experts to call for prevention measures to be strengthened. In total, Japan has 120,815 confirmed cases, with 1,913 deaths, according to the Health Ministry.
Although daily new infections remain stable across the country, the season of religious festivals continues to cause problems in the Indian capital, New Delhi, which on Wednesday reported 6,396 cases in the last 24 hours.
The next two weeks after Diwali will be important in determining the direction the pandemic will take in the city, Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said. Delhi Prime Minister Arvind Kejriwal said he has asked the federal government for permission to close a number of markets for a few days that have become major sources of contagion during the holidays.
For 11 days, the national count of new infections has not exceeded 50,000. India has confirmed more than 8.9 million cases that place it as the second most affected country in the world behind the United States, and 130,993 deaths.
The state of South Australia, where the city of Adelaide is located, will begin a six-day quarantine at midnight on Wednesday. Schools and universities, as well as bars and cafes, will be closed, and only one person from each household will be allowed to leave the house per day for just cause. Authorities announced the measure on Wednesday, after infections linked to an outbreak rose to 22.
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