World

India reports record daily jump of nearly 70,000 coronavirus cases

Study in India's capital suggests that almost 30% of population may have the coronavirus

BENGALURU/NEW DELHI: India reported a record daily jump of 69,652 coronavirus infections yesterday, taking the total number of cases to 2.84 million, data from the federal health ministry showed.

It reported 977 new deaths, taking the total to 53,866.

India is the worst-hit country in Asia and third in the world, behind only the US and Brazil in terms of the number of cases.

To make matters worse, a serological survey of 15,000 people conducted by the local government in the Indian capital suggests that almost 30 per cent of the population in New Delhi likely have been infected by the novel coronavirus.

This figure indicates that infection numbers are much higher than those recorded.

The survey, which tested a sample of the population for the presence of antibodies, was done in the national capital territory in the first week of August, its health minister Satyendra Jain told a news conference yesterday.

"We found that 29.1 per cent of the population of Delhi had antibodies, which means that they were infected and have been cured," Mr Jain said.

Delhi has a population of 20 million and has recorded a total of 140,767 cases of Covid-19.

The findings of the survey are in line with what other cities like Mumbai and Pune have discovered, that a significant number of their people have been infected.

SOUTH KOREA

Infection fears are not confined to India alone.

South Korea's coronavirus infections are back "in full swing" and spreading nationwide after members of a church attended a political demonstration, the authorities said yesterday.

The Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) reported 288 new cases as of midnight on Wednesday, marking a week of triple-digit daily increases, although down slightly from the previous day's 297.

"This is a grave situation that could possibly lead to a nationwide pandemic," Vice Health Minister Kim Gang-lip told a briefing.

Without aggressive contact tracing, the country could experience the types of spikes and continued infections witnessed in the US and Europe, said KCDC deputy director Kwon Jun-wook.

"Consider the Covid-19 pandemic now to be in full swing."

The latest outbreak is driven by hundreds of infections among members of a church run by a far-right preacher.

They had attended an anti-government protest in Seoul on Aug 15.

Mr Kwon urged all demonstrators to get tested immediately at nearby public health clinics to protect the vulnerable around them.

The demonstration may have been a "catalyst" for the nationwide outbreak, as churchgoers chartered buses to the capital from their homes across the country, including the southern port of Busan, Mr Kwon said.

South Korea has reported 16,346 cases of the new coronavirus, with 307 Covid-19 deaths.

If infections continue rising at the current rate or accelerate, the authorities say they will likely impose the strictest level of social distancing - closing schools, requiring employees to work from home and limiting gatherings to 10 people. - REUTERS

WORLD