BANGKOK (AP) — India’s confirmed coronavirus cases have surpassed China’s, with the Health Ministry on Saturday reporting a spike to 85,940 infections and 2,752 deaths.
China has reported 82,941 confirmed case and 4,633 deaths since the virus was first detected late last year in the central city of Wuhan.
The worst-hit Indian states are Maharashtra with 29,100 cases, Tamil Nadu with 10,108, Gujarat with 9,931 and New Delhi with 8,895.
In the last 24 hours, India had confirmed 3,970 new cases and 103 fatalities.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is due to announce a decision this weekend on whether to extend the 54-day-old lockdown.
Early this month, the government started gradually easing the restrictions to resume economic activity by allowing neighborhood shops to reopen and manufacturing and farming to resume. It also has resumed limited train services across the country to help stranded migrant workers, students and tourists.
In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:
NEPAL REPORTS FIRST VIRUS DEATH: Nepal’s Health Ministry said Saturday a woman who recently gave birth before becoming sick died Thursday at a hospital near Kathmandu, becoming the country’s first known fatality from the coronavirus. The 29-year-old woman gave birth May 8 in Kathmandu and then returned home. She was brought to a hospital near her village after falling sick. Hospital results showed she tested positive for the virus. Nepal has 281 confirmed cases. A lockdown imposed on March 24 to stop the spread of the virus has been extended several times and is scheduled to end today. All flights and ground transport have been halted and people are prohibited from leaving their houses. All schools and most markets are closed.
CHINA TO CUT SHORT ASSEMBLY: A Chinese official confirmed the annual legislative session will be curtailed to protect public health during the coronavirus pandemic. Zhang Yesui, the chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National People’s Congress, did not indicate how much it would be shortened. He told the official Xinhua News Agency the agenda and schedule would be approved before the session starts in Beijing on May 22. The congress, delayed from March because of the outbreak, normally lasts about two weeks. Police have announced a ban on drones and other low-flying objects from May 20-28 because of the meeting, so this year’s could run about a week. China’s ruling Communist Party decided to go ahead with the meeting of 3,000 delegates after largely stopping the spread of the virus. But some government officials will join breakout sessions with deputies via video link, and news conferences will also be conducted remotely by video.