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COVID-19 surging in Indonesia, South Africa; world toll down 5%

By
Allen Cone
An empty road as seen in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Sunday. Indonesian authorities impose tighter restrictions from Saturday through July 20. Photo by Adi Weda/EPA-EFE
An empty road as seen in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Sunday. Indonesian authorities impose tighter restrictions from Saturday through July 20. Photo by Adi Weda/EPA-EFE

July 4 (UPI) -- COVID-19 has dominated Asia, originating in Mainland China 1/2 years ago, spreading to India a few months ago and now surging in Indonesia, with 35% increase in deaths and 38% cases in the island nation.

With the pandemic nearing 4 million fatalities at 3,992,977, one-fifth of them have occurred in Asia at 801,389 but fourth behind No. 1 South America, No. 2 Europe and No. 3 North America. The continent has the most cases with 56,419,328 of the total 184,545,475 Sunday, according to tracking by Worldometers.info.

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In the past week globally, deaths declined by 5% and cases rose 3% as South Africa remained a hot spot with nearly a 50% rise in deaths and 28% in cases.

Asia's deaths dropped 9% with 16,453, and cases increased 8% with a total of 1,001,813.

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In India, deaths decreased 32% with 6,235 and 955 reported Sunday, down from a daily record of 4,529. And cases had dropped 11% with 312,165 weekly and 43,071 Sunday, compared with a record 414,188. The more contagious Delta variant was first detected in India several months ago.

India passed 400,000 deaths last week and has risen to 402,005, third in the world behind the United States with 605,526 and Brazil with 524,417. India is second in cases at 30,545,433, behind the United States with 33,716,933 and ahead of Brazil with 18,769,808.

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Indonesia is 17th in the world for deaths at 60,582, including an additional record 555 Sunday, which is fifth in the world, and previous mark of 476 in January. The deaths per million of 219 is much lower than the world average of 511.8, including 1,866 in the United States, 288 in India and 2,446 in Brazil.

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Cases rose 27,233 Sunday, behind the mark of 27,913 Saturday with 14,518 in January before the surge began in late June.

Hospitals are at capacity in Indonesia, with pleas on social media from people who are trying to find hospital rooms, blood transfusions or oxygen cylinders for their loved ones.

Many hospitals are using parking lots for emergency care.

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On Thursday, President Joko Widodo announced restrictions on community activities on the islands of Java and Bali from Saturday until July 20.

Testing is low in Indonesia at 20.4 million with a rate of 73.764 per million, compared with the U.S. at 1.5 million, Brazil at 252,000 and India at 299,000

In Indonesia, only 12% of the 276.4 million population of have received at least one vaccine dose and 5.2% are completely vaccinated.

Worldwide, a total of 3.17 billion shots have been given in a population of 7.9 billion with a two-dose regimen required for most brands, according to tracking by Bloomberg.

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The United States has administered at least one dose to 54.9% of its population with Brazil at 36.2%. Britain, which inoculated the first person in the world in December, is among the best in the world with 67.6%. India is a dominant manufacturer of vaccines worldwide, but the nation has inoculated only 20.7% of its population with at least one dose. China doesn't report dose percentages but has enough for 45.8% of the world-high 1.5 billion people.

North America leads with 74 doses administered per 100 people, followed by Europe at 69, South America at 43, Asia at 42, Oceania at 23 and Africa at 3.8, according to tracking by The New York Times.

Doses are available to all adults in India. When that happened two weeks ago, India reported a single-day record of 8 million vaccinations administered on the day the nation made doses available for everyone last Monday. The nation has the second-largest population at 1.4 billion.

Covishield is India's version of AstraZeneca's Vaxzevria. Several European Union countries have approved the vaccine.

Iran has the second-most deaths in Asia in 13th worldwide at 84,792 with 165 reported Sunday.

Turkey is sixth in the world for cases at 5,444,786 with 4,418 Sunday and 19th in deaths at 49,924, including 50 most recently.

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Coronavirus also is surging in Thailand, 41% in cases with 5,916 Sunday and 20% deaths with 44 Sunday for a total of 2,226.

Israel, which is considered part of Asia, has fully vaccinated 62.2% of its population, among the best in the world. Its death toll is 6,429 with none reported in a week. Israel recorded 101 cases Sunday. With the variant from India spiking in the nation, officials have reinstituted mask-wearing indoors and tightened border controls.

"If we weren't so well vaccinated, a lockdown would now be looming in our future, and we certainly wouldn't be able to take such mild decisions," Ran Balicer, chief innovation officer at Clalit Health Services, told The Times of Israel.

In Japan, only 24.0% of the population has received at least one dose. The nation is 37th with 14,855 deaths, including 9 Sunday, the lowest since April, with a record 216 seven weeks ago. Cases are 1,881 with a record of 7,882.

The Summer Olympics are scheduled to start in Japan on July 23. The Japanese government lifted its state of emergency everywhere except Okinawa Prefecture until July. 11. But there are restrictions, including Tokyo and Osaka, where restaurants and pubs which meet certain conditions will be allowed to serve alcohol until 7 p.m.

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Foreign spectators are banned and attendance at venues will be limited to 10,000 per venue.

All Olympians are required to test for the virus before departure and after their arrival. Vaccinations are not required.

South Korea has vaccinated 29.7% of its population. The nation has 2,016 deaths, including one more Sunday, and 160,084 cases, with a rise of 742 Sunday.

On Thursday, South Korea delayed relax social distancing rules in the greater Seoul area. It was extended one week.

The pandemic outbreak began in late 2019 in Mainland China, but the nation with the world's largest population of 1.5 billion, has reported only a few deaths in the past 12 months and stands in 65th at 4,636 behind Costa Rica with 4,686. China added 14 cases Sunday and had administered 1.3 billion doses, the most in the world and dwarfing India with around 351 million and the United States with 329 million, according to tracking by Johns Hopkins.

In Europe, four nations are in the top 10 for most deaths, led by Russia in sixth with 137,925, Britain in seventh with 128,207, Italy eighth with 127,637 and France ninth with 111,161. Also, Germany is 12th with 91,584, Spain 14th with 80,911, Poland 15th with 75,084 and Ukraine 18th with 52,470.

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On the continent, cases grew by 16% for a current total of 48,257,002 and deaths by 7% at 1,106,375.

Those increases were dominated in Russia by an 18% gain in cases, 155,046, and 21% in deaths, 4,579.

Russia reported 663 deaths Sunday, one day after a record 697 with the previous high 635 in December, and 25,142 cases compared with the record 29,935 in December.

The nation has vaccinated only 15.9% of its population with one dose and 10.2% are fully vaccinated.

Besides the Sputnik V vaccine, there are two others made in Russia.

Vaccination is compulsory for service-sector employees.

And restaurants and shops could be closed for months if they don't have 60% vaccinated staff by mid-July. Customers at restaurants are only allowed if they have been vaccinated, recovered in the past six months or who have a negative test.

Last week, President Vladimir Putin warned the new system is the only way to avoid a national lockdown.

Russia resumed regular air travel including United States, China, Italy, Belgium, Bulgaria, Jordan and Ireland.

European nations are opening travel, including launching by July 1 a Digital Covid Certificate, which allows for free movement of travelers between its countries.

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The 27-nation European Union includes the United States among countries for which travel restrictions should gradually be lifted. Also includes is Saudi Arabia despite a spike in cases and deaths. But it's up to each nation to decide on opening its borders.

The British government has placed most nations on a COVID-safe travel list.

Britain's COVID-19 numbers are down substantially from a record 2,396 deaths and 67,803 cases earlier this year.

In the past week, however, cases rose 67%, with 24,248 Sunday, three days after 27,561 and until this past week below 20,000 since January. Deaths were down 1% with 15 reported Sunday.

Britain still has restrictions on people to gather, socialize, eat and attend pubs indoors.

Britain leads European nations in vaccinated people with Italy 57.2%, Spain 55.8%, Germany 55.7%, France 53.3%, Poland 44.9% and Ukraine 6.9%.

Britain gained 15 deaths Sunday, Italy 12, France 9, Ukraine 10. Poland 1, Germany 1. Spain doesn't release data on the weekend.

On July 19, people in England are "very likely" to be able to return to "pretty much life before COVID," Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said. The curbs originally were supposed to be removed on June 21 amid the spread of the Delta varients.

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On Monday, all of Italy became a "white zone," which is the lowest-risk category.

Starting Wednesday, foreign tourists visiting France will have to pay for coronavirus tests, which is $58 for PCR ones.

In South America, deaths decreased 5% and cases increased 3%.

South America has four nations in the top 20 for most deaths. Besides Brazil, Peru is fifth with 193,069, Colombia 10th with 108,386 and Argentina 11th with 95,901..

Overall, South America has 1,017,233 deaths and 33,341,851 cases.

Brazil's fatalities decreased 9% with 718 Sunday. Cases are down 29% after nation set a record 114,139 one week ago with 27,783 most recently.

Chile has the highest vaccination rate on the continent at 66.3% and is 21st in deaths worldwide with 32,973 and 164 Sunday, with Argentina 38.9%, Colombia at 23.1% and Peru 13.8%.

Colombia reported 582 deaths, the fourth most Sunday behind India, Brazil and Russia. Argentina added 310.

On Saturday, protesters demanded the impeachment of Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro amid claims that he sought profits from purchasing COVID-19 vaccines.

Carissa Etienne, the director of the World Health Organization's Pan American Health Organization, said for most countries in the Southern Hemisphere, "the end remains a distant future."

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"Access to Covid-19 vaccines shouldn't be a privilege for a few but a right we all share," Dr. Etienne said at the news conference last week.

North America's totals are 920,726 deaths, down 17% over seven days, and 40,724,254 cases with an increase of 10%.

In one week, U.S. deaths dropped 23% to 1,635 and cases were up 7% to 95,748, according to Worldometers.info. On Saturday, 80 deaths and 4,739 cases were reported though only 15 states reported death data.

Mexico's deaths are down 22%, with 177 Saturday and fourth in the world at 233,425. Deaths are way down in Mexico from a one-day record of 1,803. The nation's cases are up 24%, ranking 15th in cases at 2,531,229 with 5,879 most recently.

Canada's cases are down 16% in one week and deaths also down 16%. Canada has reported under triple digits for deaths since 142 on Feb. 3 and a record 257 on Dec. 29 for a total of 26,348 in 24th, including 10 Saturday. Cases reported were 344, down from the record of 11,383 on Jan. 3.

In Mexico, 19 states will remain low risk green until at least July 18, eight will stay at the yellow light medium risk level and five will maintain their orange light high risk status. On Friday, orange light states Quintana Roo and Yucatan, which includes Cancun, recorded daily records for coronavirus cases this week.

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Mexico's vaccination rate is 25.1%, though it was the first Latin American nation to begin vaccinating people. And Canada has risen to 66.7% and leading the United States by nearly 12% after lagging by several points for months.

On Monday, fully vaccinated Canadians and permanent residents will be able to skip the 14-day travel quarantine.

Canada, Mexico and the United States have mutual travel bans for non-essential travel through July 21. It began one year ago in March.

Canadians who have received both doses of the vaccine won't have to wear masks or physically distance when outside with small groups of people from multiple households, according to guidance from the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Coronavirus remains minimal in Oceania, with only 42.3 million people though deaths rose 33 percent with 12 and cases up 2,618 to 39%. There are 1,289 deaths and 76,380 cases.

New Zealand's deaths remain at 26 with the last one reported on Feb. 16 and Australia's toll stayed at 910 with one reported April 13.

New Zealand reported nine cases Sunday, tallying 22 in one week, for a total of 2,751, and Australia was up 19, which is 254 in a week, for 30,499.

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Australia has vaccinated 26.0% of its population. New Zealand has administered first doses to 14.3% of its population.

New South Wales, including Sydney, went into a two-week lockdown last Saturday night amid a growing number of cases outside the areas already under stay-at-home orders except for shopping for essential goods, medical or compassion care, essential work and outdoor exercise in groups of 10 or fewer. Of the 29 locally cases reported Saturday, only 12 had been in isolation.

Two capitals ended their lockdowns: Brisbane in Queensland and Perth in Western Australia.

The outbreak also has been surging in Fiji with 30 deaths, compared with four by May 3 and three of those Sunday. Case have climbed from 121 on May 3 to 6,161 including a record 522 Sunday.

The ministry issued an official reminder that home therapy was not the right remedy for the coronavirus.

Fiji has vaccinated 30.4% of its 903,000 residents with at least one dose.

The government has warned against alternative treatments and vaccine reluctance.

"Steam therapy and drinking hot water are not the treatment for Covid-19 and it does not protect one from contracting Covid-19," the Health Ministry said.

Except for Oceania, Africa's cases and deaths grew the most in the past week among the continents: 21% for infections for a cumulative 5,690,540 and fatalities at 22% for a total 145.443.

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"The rampant spread of more contagious variants pushes the threat to Africa up to a whole new level," Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO's regional director for Africa, said in a report by The Guardian. "More transmission means more serious illness and more deaths, so everyone must act now and boost prevention measures to stop an emergency becoming a tragedy,"

South Africa accounted for more than half of Africa's cases last week,

South Africa added 1,729 at 46% and cases were 132,450, up 28%. A more contagious variant originated there.

South Africa is No. 1 on the continent with 61,840 deaths, including 333 Sunday and 16,585 infections one day after a record 26,485 cases with the mark until recently 21,862 in January. Egypt is second with 16,264 fatalities and Tunisia third with 15,377.

South Africa has vaccinated 3.9% of its population with at least one shot with no change in the past week.

"We have overcome two decisive waves but now we have a new hill to climb, a great challenge, a massive resurgence of infections... a devastating wave," President Cyril Ramaphosa said last week.

Some patients in Johannesburg unable find a bed on a public ward are being cared for at a makeshift ward set up by a Muslim charity in the city.

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"We don't see dead people," Anees Kara, a volunteer doctor, said. "The funeral services see dead people. We see death. That's the difference. We see death happening. We try to get to patients on time but unfortunately we can't always do that."

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