Pakistan hits coronavirus death toll high, while India infections surpass Italy’s

Coronavirus is continuing to wreak havoc in South Asia, with Pakistan hitting a new 24-hour fatality figure high and India passing Italy in confirmed infections.

Relatives use ropes to lower the body of a person who died of COVID-19, into a freshly dug grave at a cemetery in New Delhi, India. (AP)

Pakistan reported 97 more coronavirus deaths, the highest 24-hour increase to its fatalities, as authorities urged volunteers to motivate people to adhere to social distancing regulations to contain the spread of the virus.

Pakistan also reported 4734 new virus cases, raising its overall infections to 93,983.

With the latest 97 virus-related deaths, Pakistan’s overall fatalities have jumped to 1935.

A family wearing masks to help curb the spread of the coronavirus visits a market in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. (AP)

India surpassed Italy as the sixth worst-hit by the coronavirus pandemic after another biggest single-day spike in confirmed infections.

The Health Ministry reported 9,887 new cases on Saturday, bringing the total to 236,657.

Most of the new cases are in rural areas following the return of hundreds of thousands of migrant workers who left cities and towns after the lockdown in late March.

The lockdown is now largely being enforced in high-risk areas while authorities have partially restored train services and domestic flights and allowed shops and manufacturing to reopen.

Shopping malls and religious places are due to open on Monday (local time) with restrictions to avoid large gatherings.

Rescue workers and family members carry the casket of Khursheed Bibi, who died due to coronavirus, for her burial at a cemetery in Hyderabad, Pakistan. (AP)

Sri Lanka says it will be reopen for international tourists starting August 1 after a “successful containment” of the novel coronavirus.

The country’s airports had been closed since March because of the global pandemic.

Sri Lanka Tourism said in a statement that all precautionary measures recommended by global health and travel authorities have been put in place to keep visitors and residents safe.

The statement says only online visa applications will be accepted and all tourists must show proof they tested negative for the virus 72 hours before arriving in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lankan government soldiers check body temperature of commuters who return to work at a railway station in Colombo, Sri Lanka. (AP)

Indonesia reported nearly 1000 new cases of the virus today, a new single-day high for the country that brought its total caseload past 30,000, as the government unveiled a stimulus package to anchor the virus-battered economy.

The health ministry said there were 993 newly infected people over the past 24 hours. Indonesia has confirmed 30,514 cases, including 1801 deaths, the most in Southeast Asia.

Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said a 677.2 trillion rupiah ($79.3 billion) stimulus package aims to strengthen the health care system, direct more spending toward social protection to boost consumption, and provide incentives to rescue Indonesian businesses from bankruptcy and workers from layoffs.

A janitor disinfects at a traditional market to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. (Getty)

Russia reported its second-highest one-day death toll from COVID-19, even as the number of new coronavirus infections remained steady.

The national coronavirus task force said Saturday that 197 people died over the past day, sharply up from 144 a day earlier. The highest one-day death toll was 232.

Masterpieces by Velázquez, Goya, and Picasso can be enjoyed once again now that the most important art museums in Spain’s capital have reopened after almost three months closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Madrid’s Museo del Prado opened its doors on Saturday for 1800 visitors, who had to wear face masks and have their temperature taken before viewing what the museum called its “most iconic works”.

People wearing face masks to protect against coronavirus walk down a street in central Moscow, Russia. (AP)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says more than a third of the stimulus package agreed by her government this week is devoted to tackling future challenges such as climate change.

Germany’s three governing parties announced a 130 billion-euro ($210.6 billion) package Wednesday to revive the economy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

After loosening some restrictions, Saudi Arabia on Saturday re-imposed a 3pm curfew on residents in its second-largest city of Jiddah and suspended prayers in mosques there again.

The decision comes as confirmed cases of the coronavirus continue to rise, including an alarming spike in the number of critical cases.

The kingdom has recorded more than 95,000 cases, including 642 deaths.

General view of the Museum during the reopening of the Prado Museum, in Madrid, Spain. (Getty)

China’s capital is lowering its emergency response level to the second-lowest starting for the coronavirus pandemic.

That will lift most restrictions on people travelling from Wuhan and the surrounding province of Hubei, where the virus first appeared late last year.

They will no longer face 14-day mandatory quarantines and other forms of monitoring, and those currently in such situations will be allowed to return to their normal lives.

China is meanwhile ordering its highest level of protection for the armadillo-like pangolin as part of its crackdown on the wildlife trade following the global coronavirus pandemic.

While the virus is believed to have originated in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, most scientists say it was most likely transmitted from bats to humans via an intermediary animal such as the pangolin.

Reported with Associated Press.

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