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Asia-Pacific sees rises in COVID-19 cases, South Korea launches new social-distancing scheme to prepare for pandemic prolongation

(Xinhua)    09:54, November 02, 2020

HONG KONG, Nov. 1 (Xinhua) -- Asia-Pacific countries continued to see rises in COVID-19 cases Sunday, with South Korea launching new five-tier social-distancing regulations to prepare for the prolongation of the pandemic.

India's COVID-19 tally reached 8,184,082 on Sunday as 46,963 new cases were detected across the country in the past 24 hours, said the latest data released by the federal health ministry.

With 470 deaths since Saturday morning, the total death toll in the country due to the pandemic reached 122,111, added the ministry's data.

Still there are 570,458 active COVID-19 cases in the country, while 7,491,513 people have been successfully cured and discharged from hospitals so far.

Over the past few days, the capital Delhi has been witnessing a fresh spate of COVID-19 cases. According to official figures, over 5,000 new cases were added to Delhi's tally on Saturday.

South Korea on Sunday announced a new five-tier social-distancing regulations, replacing the existing three-tier scheme in a bid to minimize the closedown of shops and restaurants that hit hard the owners of microbusinesses and ordinary people.

South Korean Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said in a meeting of the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters that the government redesigned anti-virus measures in a tailored way to enhance effectiveness from the previous regulations under which the uniform closedown was ordered with no consideration of situation in each facility.

Chung said facilities would be simply grouped into "priority" and "regular" ones in terms of the application of anti-virus regulations, noting that wearing mask, which had been mandatory in "high-risk" sites, would be applied to all facilities.

The revised social-distancing scheme came as the government sought to prepare for the prolongation of the COVID-19 pandemic, which requires sustainable anti-virus measures.

Meanwhile, Australia Health Minister Greg Hunt has revealed plans for the country's rollout of an eventual COVID-19 vaccine.

Greg Hunt said on Sunday that health workers and the elderly will be the first Australians to be immunized against COVID-19. He stressed that 2021 will be the year of COVID vaccines in Australia.

Afghanistan on Sunday reported 76 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases after health authorities conducted 307 tests within a day, bringing the number of total cases in the country to 41,501, the Ministry of Public Health said.

Up to 1,536 deaths have been recorded since the outbreak of the pandemic in February, and no COVID-19 related death was recorded since early Saturday.

The Philippines' Department of Health (DOH) on Sunday reported 2,396 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number in the country to 383,113.

The DOH said 17,727 more patients recovered, raising the total number of recoveries to 348,760. The death toll climbed to 7,238 after 17 more patients died from the viral disease, the DOH added.

The COVID-19 cases in Indonesia rose by 2,696 within one day to 412,784, with the death toll adding by 74 to 13,943, the Health Ministry said on Sunday.

According to the ministry, 4,141 more people were discharged from hospitals, bringing the total number of recovered patients to 341,942.

Malaysia reported 957 new COVID-19 infections, bringing the national total to 32,505, the Health Ministry said on Sunday.

Health Ministry Director-General Noor Hisham Abdullah said in a press statement that none of the new cases are imported, all being local transmissions.

No new deaths have been reported, leaving the death toll at 249.

New Zealand reported two new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, and both were international returnees arrived in October, said the Ministry of Health in a statement.

The total number of active COVID-19 cases in New Zealand was currently 77 and the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases now reached 1,603, it is stated.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Wen Ying, Bianji)

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