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Some Asian nations still in grips of Delta surge

With no sign of a peak yet, some Asian nations today reported more record COVID-19 cases, including Japan, where daily infections topped 20,000 for the first time.

Japan, Thailand, Korea battle surges

Japan reached a record high for the third straight day, with Tokyo also reporting a new record single-day high, with nearly 5,800 cases, according to Kyodo News.

President Yoshihide Suga said the situation in Tokyo—which just wrapped up the Summer Olympics—is dire. Officials will meet next week to possibly expand the state of emergency beyond Tokyo and other prefectures where it is currently in place.

As of Aug 12, Olympic-related surveillance had logged 518 COVID-19 cases, mostly involving residents of Japan, according to the weekly communicable disease threat report from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. About half were contractors involved with the Games, while 29 athletes tested positive.

Meanwhile, Thailand reported a record high of 23,418 cases, according to the Bangkok Post. Bangkok is still one of the main hot spots, followed by Samut Prakhan, Samut Sakhon, and Chon Buri—all of which are also in the southern part of the country, not far from Bangkok.

South Korea says its fourth surge hasn’t peaked yet, as officials urged people to work from home if possible and to get tested after returning from vacation, according to Reuters. The country has been struggling with delayed vaccine supplies, and only about 17.4% of the population is fully vaccinated.

The government signed a new deal with Pfizer for 30 million more doses for 2022 and will hold talks with Moderna about vaccine delays.

More global headlines

  • The World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) push to restart the probe into the source of SARS-CoV-2 got a cool reception from China, which said it was open to further study only if the effort dovetails with the first joint mission report, which downplayed the likelihood of a lab leak, according to the Washington Post. The WHO has pressed for more raw data and examination of stored blood samples from some of the earliest cases.
  • In Australia, New South Wales—which is battling COVID-19 cases, mainly in Sydney—reported a daily record high of 390 new cases, despite 7 weeks of lockdown, according to Reuters. Health officials are sending more troops to help enforce Sydney’s restrictions.
  • Israel’s health ministry today approved an advisory group’s recommendation to allow booster shots to people as young as 50. Those ages 60 and older, and other high-risk groups, began receiving booster doses 2 weeks ago.
  • The global total today climbed to 205,578,722 cases, with at least 4,335,424 deaths, according to the New York Times tracker.
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