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COVID-19

India’s richest state suffers surge in COVID-19 cases

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(Last Updated On: March 18, 2021)

New coronavirus infections in India rose by the most in more than three months as a second wave of the epidemic gathered momentum, with Maharashtra, the country’s richest state, accounting for two-thirds of the latest daily tally, Reuters reported.

Home to India’s commercial capital Mumbai, the western state reported 23,179 of the country’s 35,871 new cases in the past 24 hours, and the fast-spreading contagion in major industrial areas raised risks of companies’ production being disrupted.

India’s total cases stood at 11.47 million, the highest after the United States and Brazil. Deaths rose by 172 to 159,216, according to health ministry data released on Thursday.

The country’s first wave peaked in September at nearly 100,000 cases a day, with daily infections hitting a low of just over 9,000 early last month.

Reuters reported that cases have been rising in Maharashtra since the reopening of most economic activities in February. Mumbai’s suburban trains, which carry millions of people daily, also resumed services.

The state, of 112 million people, ordered a fresh lockdown in some districts and put curbs on cinemas, hotels and restaurants until the end of the month after infections rose to a multi-month high earlier this week

New cases have more than doubled in the past two weeks in Maharashtra’s industrial towns such as Pune, Aurangabad, Nashik and Nagpur, known for their automobile, pharmaceutical and textile factories.

“We have asked industries there to operate with minimum manpower as much as possible,” a senior Maharashtra government official told Reuters.

“Most of the IT companies have allowed their employees to work from home,” he said.

Hospital beds and special COVID-19 facilities were filling up fast, especially in Mumbai, Nagpur and Pune, said another state official.

Earlier this month, more than 80 percent of oxygen and intensive-care beds in Maharashtra were unoccupied.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday asked state leaders to quickly increase testing and expand vaccination to “stop the emerging second peak of corona”.

India has administered more than 36.5 million vaccine doses since starting its immunization drive in the middle of January.

Reuters also reported that in neighboring Pakistan, 3,495 people tested positive in the past 24 hours, the most daily infections since early December. Total cases rose past 615,000. Deaths rose by 61 to 13,717.

Pakistani minister Asad Umar said on Twitter that hospital beds were getting occupied fast, warning of stricter curbs if rules were not followed.

“The new strain spreads faster and is more deadly,” he said on Twitter, referring to the UK variant of the virus that has been found in Pakistan.

COVID-19

Universities to reopen once students and staff have been vaccinated

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(Last Updated On: July 24, 2021)

The Afghan government announced Saturday that the ministries of public health, higher education and education have agreed that class-based lectures for university and college students will gradually resume over the next two weeks.

The Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE) said that the first step will see all students and teaching staff get COVID-19 vaccines before classes resume.

“Class-based lessons will restart gradually at all institutions registered with the MoHE,” said Hamid Obaidi, spokesman for the MoHE adding that classes will first resume in provinces that have a low coronavirus infection rate.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education said that school examinations will start during this solar month.

According to the ministry, a decision has yet to be made on resuming classroom lessons for school students.

“The examination process will take time because we want to hold exams in many shifts to avoid large gatherings,” said Najiba Arian, a spokeswoman for the MoE.

The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) said that the impact of people having travelled around the country over Eid al-Adha will also determine the COVID-19 situation within the next week.

This comes after the MoPH reported 32 deaths as a result of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours across Afghanistan.

The MoPH said 203 new infections were registered in the mentioned time.

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Olympics-Athlete COVID-19 infections rise in Tokyo

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(Last Updated On: July 18, 2021)

Tokyo Olympics organisers on Sunday reported three new cases of COVID-19 infection among athletes, up from one new case a day earlier, as the population of the athlete’s village swells ahead of the start of the pandemic-hit Games next week.

Organisers reported 10 new cases connected to the Olympics including media, contractors and other personnel, down from 15 on Saturday.

An International Olympic Committee member from South Korea tested positive for the coronavirus on landing in Tokyo. Ryu Seung-min, a former Olympic athlete, is vaccinated, reflecting the infection risk even from vaccinated attendees.

Infection rates are climbing among the general population of the capital, topping 1,000 new cases for four consecutive days. Polls show many Japanese oppose holding the Games with the influx of overseas visitors it entails.

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First COVID case found at athletes’ village, stoking fears ahead of Olympics

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(Last Updated On: July 17, 2021)

Tokyo Olympics organisers said on Saturday a person has tested positive for COVID-19 at the athletes’ village, the first case at a site where most competitors will be staying, raising new doubts over promises of a “safe and secure” Games.

The organisers confirmed that a visitor from abroad who is involved in organising the Games had tested positive during a routine test on Friday, Reuters reported.

The person’s nationality was not revealed due to privacy concerns.

The Summer Olympics are taking place from 23 July to 8 August 2021.

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