India Virus Surge Continues in New Delhi

India's overall tally of new coronavirus cases remained steady on Saturday, but officials were watching a surge of cases in the capital that comes as people socialize during the festival season.

The Indian Ministry of Health has registered 44,684 new positive cases and 520 deaths in the last 24 hours. Of those, 7,802 new cases have been reported in New Delhi, with 91 deaths.

India has seen 8.7 million infections since the start of the pandemic—the second-most in the world—but new infections have been decreasing daily since mid-September. More than 129,000 virus deaths have also occurred in the county, reports AP.

New Delhi has seen an upsurge in recent weeks, registering more new cases than any other Indian state. Rising figures coincide with the busy national festival season, with millions celebrating Diwali, the Hindu light festival, on Saturday.

COVID-19 beds in government-run hospitals are almost complete and the availability of intensive care unit beds with support for ventilators in the city has reached an all-time low, according to government statistics. The New Delhi government has said that the number of cases is expected to increase to nearly 12,000 per day by the end of November.

In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:

— Authorities in Sri Lanka said operations at the country’s main port have been hampered after 60 port workers tested positive for COVID-19 and another 200 workers were quarantined. Colombo port officials said operations have been delayed and nearly a dozen ships are waiting outside the port to enter. A large number of containers have also piled up. Port officials said they are calling ex-port workers to help. Colombo port is considered a key shipping hub in South Asia and the lifeline of Sri Lanka’s economy. The port is located in the heart of Colombo, which has seen a fresh outbreak of the virus since last month. During the last 24 hours, 468 new infections were reported.

— South Korea's soccer association said that after arriving in Austria for a friendly match with Mexico, four players and a staff member of the men's national team tested positive for COVID-19. Korea Football Association spokesperson Kim Min-soo said the rest of the squad would be re-tested until the decision is taken to postpone the match against Mexico scheduled for Saturday night in Wiener Neustadt, south of Vienna. The KFA said none of the five who tested positive were showing symptoms and that players and staff were currently quarantining in their rooms. At home, South Korean health authorities reported 203 new cases of COVID-19, the highest daily jump in 73 days.

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