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Indonesia's daily death toll hits new high as Bali reopens

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KARANGASEM, INDONESIA: Thousands of people attended mass prayers at the Besakih Hindu temple in Bali yesterday to express gratitude for the gradual reopening of the island to domestic tourism this month.

Bali has reported 1,849 coronavirus infections and 20 deaths so far, while Indonesia as a whole recorded its highest number of fatalities since the coronavirus pandemic began.

There were 82 deaths yesterday, taking the national toll to 3,171. Infections rose by 1,607, for a total of 63,749 cases.

Bali will maintain a "strict health protocol", provincial secretary Dewa Made Indra told reporters.

The local government expects to reopen Bali to foreign arrivals in September.

The Philippines also had a daily high - for infections.

There were 2,434 confirmed infections, taking the country's total count to 44,254, the Health Ministry said.

The rise could be attributed to increased contact among people as the country began easing lockdown measures to help reduce the pandemic's damage to the economy, the ministry said.

The Philippines also recorded seven new deaths yesterday, bringing total fatalities in the country to 1,297.

Meanwhile, the relaxation of curbs in Malaysia saw high occupancy in hotels and traffic jams as domestic tourists thronged the historic city of Melaka over the weekend.

Melaka Tourism Association acting president Sazali Sabri said hoteliers had reported brisk business since Friday.

"It's considered a 'golden' weekend for hoteliers," he said in an interview yesterday.

"We hope this trend continues and Melaka tourism would be back to normal."

Mr Sazali said the crowd were mostly locals, patronising tourist hot spots.

In the popular Jonker Street, six 100-page log books for contact tracing were filled in five hours as huge crowds jammed the area on Saturday night, the authorities said.

Five new cases were recorded in the country yesterday, bringing the total number of infections in Malaysia to 8,663, said the Health Ministry.

Health director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah said three of the five new cases were imported cases, while the other two involved local transmissions.

The death toll in Malaysia remained at 121. - REUTERS, AFP

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