India: World’s third highest COVID cases . . .
Today India surpassed Russia to become the country with the third-highest cumulative number of COVID-19 cases in the world behind the United States and Brazil. The world’s second-most populous country and largest democracy has nearly 700,000 recorded coronavirus cases after reporting 23,000 new cases on Monday and 25,000 new cases on Sunday. Sixty per cent of India’s cases are in New Delhi; the southern state of Tamil Nadu, home to the city of Chennai; and, the state of Maharashtra, where Mumbai is located. But the official reported numbers may be a significant understatement, with the country’s pandemic response being roundly criticized for the inadequate availability, accessibility, and affordability of testing. However, India’s reported coronavirus death rate remains far lower than in many other countries, with just under 20,000 fatalities.
Australia: Internal borders to close, hard lockdown on high-rises . . .
The outbreak in the Australian state of Victoria has gathered pace, with daily new infections in the state numbering over 100 in recent days. To quell the spread, the state’s premier ordered a hard lockdown on nine public housing high-rise apartment buildings in North Melbourne on Saturday, and the following day announced Victoria’s border with New South Wales would close on Wednesday. The border closure will effectively bar travel between Australia’s two most populous states, with some limited exceptions. And while Australia’s total number of reported infections remains below 9,000, this is a significant backslide for the country that last month had been considered to be approaching COVID-free status.
Of re-opening and containment . . .
COVID-19 infection numbers are rising in other parts of the Asia Pacific. Indonesia added more than 1,200 cases yesterday to bring its total to nearly 65,000, while parts of Manila, the capital city of the Philippines, were again locked down to deal with a new spike in cases. And recent evidence published in The New York Times suggests that the virus is airborne, and therefore likely far more contagious than authorities had previously thought. This raises grave questions about the appropriate speed of and specific requirements for economic re-opening strategies the world over, including in Canada. It should be noted that Australia’s outbreak has taken place amid loosened public health measures and a return to business as usual, while India’s quickly-rising numbers have forced authorities to reverse some economic re-opening measures, such as welcoming visitors back to the Taj Mahal.
- The Guardian: Inside the Covid-19 hard lockdown of Melbourne’s public housing towers (audio)
- The New York Times: 239 experts with one big claim: The coronavirus is airborne
- The Times of India: Coronavirus roundup: Developments in India and rest of world