India coronavirus count tops 600,000 amid recent surge

Indian medical staff hands over certificates and flowers to patients who recovered from COVID-19 after their discharge at a hospital in Siliguri on July 1, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 02 July 2020

India coronavirus count tops 600,000 amid recent surge

  • India’s virus tally stood at 604,641 infections, with 100,000 of those infections reported in the past four days
  • Many industries and businesses have reopened across the country, and Indians have cautiously returned to the streets

NEW DELHI: The number of confirmed coronavirus infections in India has topped 600,000, with health authorities reporting 19,148 new cases in the past 24 hours.
As of Thursday, India’s virus tally stood at 604,641 infections, with 100,000 of those infections reported in the past four days.
India’s Health Ministry said the death toll from the virus was now 17,834 people.
The worst hit three states, including those home to the cities of Mumbai and New Delhi, account for more than 60 percent of the country’s cases.
Despite the surge in infections, the western beach of state of Goa, a popular backpacking destination, opened for tourism on Thursday with the state government allowing 250 hotels to reopen after more than three months. Tourists will either have to carry COVID-19 negative certificates or get tested on arrival.
The state has so far reported 1,387 positive cases with four deaths.
Many industries and businesses have reopened across the country, and Indians have cautiously returned to the streets. Schools remain closed.


Medical reservists to the rescue as Manila steps up virus battle

Updated 11 August 2020

Medical reservists to the rescue as Manila steps up virus battle

  • 3,000 personnel face call-up amid warnings country is losing COVID-19 war

MANILA: The Philippines is considering calling up more than 3,000 military medical reservists to help in the battle against the coronavirus pandemic.

The move comes as a rising number of infections threatens to overwhelm the country’s struggling health care system. 

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that a list had been drawn up of of 380 doctors and nurses, as well as 3,000 reservists with medical training who can be mobilized to help COVID-19 patients.

In a televised interview, Lorenzana said talks on calling up medical reservists took place at a meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte last week after warnings of a shortage of medical personnel in Manila.

He said the message from medical groups that staff were overwhelmed and exhausted sent a “distress signal to the nation.”

Hospital staff also warned that the country “is waging a losing battle against COVID-19.”

“We have medical reserves. All we have to do is find out where they are now,” Lorenzana said.

“As of last week we were able to get about 380 doctors and nurses, plus about 3,000 other medical personnel, including medical aides and medical technicians,” he added.

If the plan to mobilize medical reservists is pushed through, the defense department will deploy them to help in Manila and other areas with high rates of COVID-19 infection.

The defense secretary said he is confident many of the reservists will respond once they are called to duty.

Asked if the defense department has a timetable for their deployment, Lorenzana said: “We have to process them, but first we will have to get a go signal from the Department of Budget and Management because we need money to mobilize these people. We have to pay their salary and allowances.

“I have directed the Philippines armed forces to estimate how much we money we need,” he said.

Last week Duterte ordered a strict quarantine to be reimposed in capital and surrounding provinces until Aug. 18.

He said this will give the government time to refine its pandemic strategies and offer a “breather” to exhausted front-line workers.

Under the curfew people will be restricted to essential travel and mass transport will be closed.

As of Monday, the Philippines had recorded 129,913 COVID-19 cases, with 67,673 recoveries and 2,270 deaths.