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Asia Today: Australian state records 466 cases, 12 deaths


Health workers screen people for COVID-19 symptoms at a residential building in Dharavi , one of Asia’s biggest slums, in Mumbai, India, Friday, Aug. 7, 2020. As India hit another grim milestone in the coronavirus pandemic on Friday, crossing 2 million cases and more than 41,000 deaths, community health volunteers went on strike complaining they were ill-equipped to respond to the wave of infection in rural areas. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The Australian state of Victoria recorded 466 new cases of COVID-19 and 12 deaths, including another man in his 30s. The figures were released as the city of Melbourne remained in lockdown and under an overnight curfew.

Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said that six of the deaths were connected to outbreaks at aged care facilities.

On Friday, when the state reported 450 new cases and 11 deaths, the chief health officer said the coronavirus infection rate in the hard-hit state had been “relatively flat” in the past week. That was down from a record 725 infections reported a week earlier

The deaths announced Saturday took the state’s toll to 193 and the figure for COVID-19 deaths in Australia to 278.

Meanwhile, Queensland state’s border with New South Wales has officially closed with road access blocked to everyone except essential workers and locals living along the interstate boundary. Police reported that nearly 150 people had been turned away in the early hours of the shutdown.

Queensland Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young declared New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, which contains the national capital Canberra, coronavirus hot spots on Saturday as the southern border closed for the second time since the coronavirus crisis began.

The Queensland government will review the border closure at the end of August. It has had few new COVID-19 cases in the past month.

In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:

— India has recorded 933 COVID-19 fatalities in the past 24 hours as fresh infections surged by another 61,537 cases to reach nearly 2.1 million. The Health Ministry says the total deaths touched 42,518, including more than 20,000 in the past 30 days. An average of around 50,000 new cases are reported each day since mid-June. The ministry asked state authorities to test grocery shop workers and street vendors, saying that if undetected they can potentially spread infection to a large number of people. India has the third-highest caseload in the world after the United States and Brazil. It has the fifth-most deaths but its fatality rate of about 2% is far lower than the top two hardest-hit countries. Even as India has maintained comparatively low mortality rates, the disease has spread widely across the country.

— China has reported 31 new cases of COVID-19 in the latest 24-hour period, mainly in the far west Xinjiang region where an outbreak has infected about 750 people. The National Health Commission said Saturday that 25 new cases had been confirmed in Xinjiang. The other six were people who had arrived from outside mainland China. China largely stopped the domestic spread of the disease in March, but it has had several local outbreaks since then. The current one in Xinjiang, centered on the city of Urumqi, is the largest to date. The latest confirmed cases brought China’s cumulative total to 84,596 since the pandemic began. Of those, 4,634 have died. China’s case count does not include people who test positive but show no symptoms.


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