News World Asian wrap: India nears one million cases as Japan battles boy-band outbreak

Asian wrap: India nears one million cases as Japan battles boy-band outbreak

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India’s number of coronavirus cases has jumped by more than 28,000 and are fast approaching a million.

The 28,498 cases reported in the past 24 hours took the national total to 906,752.

Cases have jumped by 100,000 in four days.

The Health Ministry on Tuesday also reported another 553 deaths in the past 24 hours, taking total fatalities up to 23,727.

India has largely lifted its nationwide lockdown, but the spread of the virus has prompted several big cities to reimpose partial lockdowns.

Inside a pop-up coronavirus train ward in India. Photo: Getty

The southern city of Pune started a 10-day lockdown on Tuesday.

Only essentials including milk shops, pharmacies, doctors’ clinics and emergency services will be allowed open.

Eight of India’s 28 states, including the worst-hit Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and New Delhi, account for nearly 90 per cent of cases.

India is the third worst-affected country in terms of infections, only behind the United States and Brazil.


Tokyo health officials have appealed for more than 800 theatregoers to be tested for coronavirus after a production starring Japanese boy-band members was found to be the source of at least 20 cases.

As the number of virus infections continues to rise in Japan’s capital city, the Tokyo government said it was focusing on a 190-seat theatre in the Shinjuku entertainment district, where infections have also been traced to cabaret clubs.

Japan is pushing ahead with opening up parts of the country, with plans to reopen a runway at one of the country’s biggest airports, even as infections persist in major cities, rural areas and US military bases.

The latest cluster has been traced to Theatre Moliere, near Tokyo’s red-light district, which this month staged a play for six days starring mainly up-and-coming boy-band members.

The Tokyo government said it learned of the first infection among a cast member on July 6 after which testing found 20 related cases by late on Monday.

It called on all audience members who attended the performance to be tested.

As Tokyo struggles to contain virus infections, travel routes to and from the city continue to open up.

Narita International Airport, one of the two main airports serving the capital, is planning to reopen its second runway before a public holiday next week, public broadcaster NHK reported.

Tokyo reported 119 new cases of coronavirus infections on Monday following a four-day run when the daily tally exceeded 200.

Overall, Japan has reported about 23,000 infections and nearly 1000 related deaths.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong will impose strict new social distancing measures, the most stringent in the Asian financial hub since the coronavirus broke out, as authorities warn the risk of a large-scale outbreak is extremely high.

The measures coming into effect from midnight dictate that face masks will be mandatory for people using public transport and restaurants will no longer provide dine-in services and only offer takeaway after 6pm.

Both are new rules that were not implemented during the city’s first and second coronavirus waves earlier this year.

If a person does not wear a mask on public transport, they face a fine of $HK5000 ($930).

Chief executive Carrie Lam said on Monday the government would limit group gatherings to four people from 50 – a measure last seen during a second wave in March.

Twelve types of establishments including gyms and places of amusement must shut for a week.

“The recent emergence of local cases of unknown infection source indicates the existence of sustained silent transmission in the community,” the government said in a statement late on Monday.

The Chinese-ruled city recorded 52 new cases of coronavirus on Monday, including 41 that were locally transmitted, health authorities said.

Since late January, Hong Kong has reported 1522 cases and local media reported an eighth death on Monday.

More than 13 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 569,336 have died, according to a Reuters tally.

Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December.