Asia Today: India and Bangladesh have biggest 1-day jumps

BANGKOK (AP) — India on Sunday reported its biggest one-day jump in coronavirus cases as the country entered the 40th day of a nationwide lockdown.

Confirmed infections have neared the 40,000 mark and the death toll has reached 1,301, including 83 deaths in the last 24 hours, officials said. The 2,600 newly confirmed cases are a single-day high for the country.

The six-week lockdown, which was supposed to end last Monday, has been extended another two weeks, with a few relaxations. The lockdown has slowed the spread of the virus, but has come at the enormous economic cost.

The Indian Air Force on Sunday conducted fly-pasts and showered flower petals on hospitals across cities, including New Delhi, as part of efforts to thank medical and police personnel for being at the forefront of the battle against the pandemic.

In other developments around the Asia-Pacific region:

— BANGLADESH SEES SINGLE-DAY HIGH: Bangladesh also confirmed its highest single-day total, announcing 665 new cases on Sunday. The country has confirmed a total of 9,455 cases, including 177 deaths. There are major concerns that Bangladesh's front-line fighters like doctors, nurses and police are facing serious dangers of being infected. At least 113 police officers have been infected over the last 24 hours, raising the total to 854, police officials said. More than 500 doctors have also been infected with the virus, according to a doctors' group.

— BANGKOK RESTRICTIONS EASED: Residents of Bangkok were able to enjoy public parks and purchase alcoholic beverages Sunday as coronavirus restrictions were eased. Restaurants have to keep their customers at least 1.5 meters (5 feet) apart and practice a wide range of sanitary measures, beginning with taking the temperature of customers and staff, and circulating fresh air. Small restaurants that could fit 20 people before might be able to seat eight to 10 under the rules. Restaurants had been limited to takeout and delivery services since mid-March. A partial lifting on the sale of alcoholic drinks will allow takeaway purchases, even while bars remain closed.

— CHINA SLOWLY REOPENS: Chinese health authorities said two new coronavirus cases were confirmed on Sunday, as millions of domestic tourists flocked to newly reopened sites during a five-day holiday. Nearly 1.7 million people visited Beijing parks on the first two days of the holiday, and Shanghai’s main tourist spots welcomed more than a million visitors, according to Chinese media reports. The surge comes after a relaxation of travel restrictions as the coronavirus outbreak slows in mainland China and the government tries to reboot the economy. China reported just three new cases in the last two days. One new case was in inland Shanxi province, west of Beijing, and the other was an imported one in Shanghai. China’s official confirmed case count stands at 82,877. Most of the patients have recovered and been discharged from hospitals. China reported no new deaths in the last 24 hours and has recorded just one in the past two weeks. The country’s official death toll is 4,633.

— SOUTH KOREA TO FURTHER EASE GUIDELINES: South Korea said it will further relax its social distancing guidelines amid a continued slowdown of new coronavirus cases. Health Minister Park Neung-hoo said Sunday that the government, starting Wednesday, will allow public facilities temporarily closed over concerns about the coronavirus to reopen in phases. He said public parks, outdoor sport and leisure facilities and museums will reopen earlier than welfare centers, public theaters and concert halls. Park said schools will reopen in phased steps. Currently, South Korean students are taking classes online. South Korea reported 13 additional cases of the coronavirus on Sunday, raising its total to 10,793, including 251 deaths. Daily increases have consistently shown a downward trend in recent weeks.

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