Asia Today: 4th-worst-hit India sees rural virus cases soar

NEW DELHI (AP) - India's coronavirus case rate has increased to 425,282 as infections in rural areas to which migrant workers from major cities have returned in recent weeks have risen sharply.
The Indian Ministry of Health reported 14,821 new cases and around 300 new deaths on Monday, increasing the death toll to over 13,000. The coastal state of Goa reported its first COVID 19 death.
India is the fourth largest country in the world after the USA, Brazil and Russia.
Niti Aayog, the Indian government's planning agency, says 98 out of 112 of the country's poorest districts are now infected.
The Indian government has been running special trains in recent weeks to bring thousands of migrant workers back to their traditional villages.
Nevertheless, about 60% of cases in India have been reported in the state of Delhi, which includes the state capital of New Delhi. Maharashtra, home of the Indian financial capital Mumbai; and Tamil Nadu, where the Chennai production center is located.
For other developments in the Asia Pacific region:
- The leader of a chain of pharmacies in Beijing was sentenced to 15 years in prison for selling more than 500,000 counterfeit 3M Corp. masks during the coronavirus epidemic. Two people who worked with Li Dong, the chairman of the Kang Baixin Pharmacy, were also sentenced to prison by the Chaoyang District Court, Beijing News and other media reported, citing unidentified sources. There was no announcement from the court and calls to the press office were not answered. Li and co-defendants Li Yuzhang and Luo Hanyi were convicted of buying fake 3M masks and reselling them to pharmacies or individuals. They said the defendants all contested the charges and said they would appeal their convictions.
- China reported 18 new cases of coronavirus, including nine in Beijing and two in neighboring Hebei province. It was the first time in more than a week that the number fell to single digits when an outbreak occurred in the Chinese capital. The city had previously reported more than 20 cases a day for eight days. The total number of cases since the confirmation of the first on June 11 increased to 236. The decline has been seen after China stepped up measures to eradicate the virus in Beijing, including the cancellation of school classes and public events.
- South Korea reported 17 new cases of COVID-19, the first time in nearly a month that its daily jump was due to teenagers. The increase of 40 to 50 cases per day in the past two weeks has occurred as people intensified their public activities given the loose attitude towards social distancing. An increase in imported cases has prompted authorities to stop issuing new visas to travelers from Pakistan and Bangladesh. Twelve of the new cases reported on Monday came from the Seoul metropolitan area. The mayor of the South Korean capital has raised concerns that the country could lose control of the virus, saying Seoul will introduce stronger social distancing measures if the daily increase in infections does not fall below the 30 average over the next three days . Mayor Park Won-soon said Monday that the country could have up to 800 new cases a day in a month if it doesn't control current trends.
- According to Filipino officials, Saudi Arabia has asked the Manila government to take home the remains of 282 Filipino workers. Repatriation was delayed due to coronavirus restrictions. Minister of Labor Silvestre Bello III. Says Saudi King Salman made the urgent request himself. The workers died mainly from various diseases, including COVID-19, in Saudi Arabia, where more than 800,000 Filipinos work. The Philippines has called for an extension of the three-day period and the burial of the bodies of around 50 Filipinos who died from COVID-19 disease in Saudi Arabia, Bello said. He told The Associated Press that the requests would likely be granted.
- New Zealand reported two new cases of coronavirus on Monday as infected people keep arriving at the border. The country, which has 5 million inhabitants, now has nine active cases after none at all earlier this month. Health officials say all of these cases affect people who have recently arrived and are in quarantine and there is no evidence of community transmission. Still, many remain concerned that the community transmission could return, especially after health officials admitted to having made a mistake by allowing two travelers to quarantine before being tested. Both were positive and are now isolated.

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