India’s coronavirus cases surge by another 96,000 infections

Virus Outbreak India
Virus Outbreak India - (Copyright AP)
9:36am, Fri 18 Sep 2020
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India’s coronavirus cases have jumped by another 96,424 infections in the past 24 hours, showing little signs of slowing down.

The health ministry raised the nation’s confirmed total since the pandemic began to more than 5.21 million. It said 1,174 more people died in the past 24 hours, for a total of 84,372.

India is expected within weeks to surpass the reported infections seen in the United States, where more than 6.67 million people have been reported infected, the most in the world.

Coronavirus graphic - (Copyright PA Graphics)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a fresh appeal to people to use face masks and maintain social distancing as his government chalked out plans to handle big congregations expected during a major Hindu festival season, beginning next month.

Meanwhile, Israel is set to go back into a full lockdown to try to contain an outbreak that has steadily worsened for months amid government infighting.

The three-week lockdown, beginning at 2pm local time (12pm BST) on Friday, will include the closure of many businesses, strict limits on public gatherings, and will largely confine people to within a kilometre (0.6 miles) of their homes.

The closures coincide with the Jewish High Holidays, when people typically visit their families and gather for large prayer services.

Indonesian Covid-19 mural - (Copyright AP)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned that even stricter measures may be needed to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed.

Elsewhere, New Zealand has reported no new confirmed cases of the coronavirus for the first time in more than five weeks as hopes rise that an outbreak discovered in Auckland last month has been stamped out.

Friday also marked the fourth consecutive day without any cases of community transmission. All recent cases have been found among quarantined travellers returning from abroad.

Authorities have still not pinpointed the origin of the August outbreak, which they believe was imported. Auckland was temporarily placed into lockdown as the country continued its strategy of trying to completely eliminate community spread of the virus.

New Zealand has reported a total of just over 1,800 cases and 25 deaths.

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