Masks, travel restrictions, testing as virus cases surge
BANGKOK (AP) — Governments and businesses are ramping up precautions as coronavirus case numbers rise to dire new levels in parts of the U.S. and around the world, potentially wiping out two months of progress.
Indonesia was expected to pass the 50,000 mark for confirmed infections on Thursday. In Melbourne, health workers planned to go door-to-door to test more than 100,000 residents in a coronavirus hot spot that threatens to undo the nation's success in battling the virus.
In the Indian capital of New Delhi, which has reported more than 70,000 cases, authorities said they would conduct house-to-house screening over the coming two weeks. With the city's hospitals overwhelmed, military personnel were providing care at makeshift medical wards fashioned from railroad coaches.
India reported a record high 16,922 cases on Thursday, taking the national total to 473,105, with nearly 15,000 deaths.
The Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the continent's cases have surged to more than 336,000, up by 10,000 from a day earlier. The Africa CDC chief said the pandemic on the 54-nation continent “is picking up speed very quickly” while shortages of testing materials and medical equipment remain severe in many countries.
The actual numbers of cases everywhere, are thought to be far higher due to a number of reasons including limited testing.
World financial markets were rattled by the setbacks in fighting the pandemic, which cloud prospects for recoveries of economies mired in their worst downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
Asian shares fell Thursday after the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost over 700 points overnight for a drop of 2.7% and the broader S&P 500 fell 2.6%.
In China, where the virus first appeared late last year, an...