Covid-19 surges across Asia with Japan, South Korea reporting record infections

Published Wed, Jul 21, 2021 · 04:45 PM

[GENEVA] Covid-19 continued its rampage through Asia with South Korea and Thailand reporting record infections. Japan's top coronavirus adviser said cases in Tokyo could hit a new high in early August, before the end of the Olympics. Australian lockdowns are failing to rein in growing outbreaks.

The virus can be beaten if 70 per cent of every nation's population is vaccinated by mid-2022, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said as he called for a massive global inoculation drive. "The pandemic will end when the world chooses to end it," he said.

Johnson & Johnson's single-dose vaccine produced relatively low levels of antibodies against the delta variant, according to a study that hasn't yet been peer reviewed. Delta makes up 83 per cent of all sequenced cases in the US, up from 50 per cent in early July.

New cases continued to climb in Australia's two largest cities on Wednesday as strict stay-at-home orders impacting half the nation failed to halt the spread of the delta variant.

New South Wales state, home to Sydney, reported 110 new locally transmitted Covid-19 cases. The source of 56 infections is currently unknown. Victoria state, which is home to Melbourne, recorded 22 new local cases.

Thailand reported 13,002 new cases on Wednesday, the highest single-day increase since the pandemic began.

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The new infections take the nation's cumulative cases to 439,477, according to the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration. The country reported 108 fatalities and 8,248 recoveries.

South Korea reported a record 1,784 new cases in the past 24 hours, up from 1,278 the previous day, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency's website.

There were 1,726 local infections, with 599 new cases in Seoul and 450 in Gyeonggi province. About 32 per cent of the population, or 16.4 million people, have received at least one vaccine dose, while 13 per cent are completely vaccinated.

Japan's top Covid-19 adviser, Shigeru Omi, said in a TV programme on Tuesday that Tokyo's daily coronavirus cases could hit a new record in the first week of August, potentially reaching a figure close to 3,000. This would overlap with the Tokyo Olympics, which run through Aug 8.

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