Diners in South Korea’s capital are again allowed to eat and drink inside cafes and dine until late, as Seoul sees its lowest daily number of new COVID-19 cases in a month.
India, meanwhile, has recorded 92,071 new coronavirus infections in 24 hours, taking the country closer to the grim milestone of 5 million cases.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has reported a record one-day increase in global coronavirus cases, with the total rising by 307,930 in 24 hours.
This story will be updated throughout Monday.
Monday’s key moments:
- Cases in India approach 5 million
- WHO reports record one-day increase in global coronavirus cases
- Domestic flights back to normal in outbreak’s epicentre
- Indonesia reports sixth consecutive day of over 3,000 new infections
- Second wave emerges in Austria
South Korea eases restrictions as cases slow
South Korea has reported its lowest daily virus tally in about a month.
The achievement came as authorities began easing tough social-distancing rules in the greater Seoul area.
The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said the 109 new cases took the country’s total to 22,285 with 363 deaths.
The daily increase has stayed in the 100s for 12 straight days, but Monday’s increase was the lowest since mid-August.
The Government on Sunday relaxed its physical-distancing guidelines in the Seoul area, citing a downward trend in new infections and economic worries.
The rules, effective from Monday, allow customers to eat and drink inside franchise cafes and bakeries. Indoor gyms and after-school tutoring institutions can reopen.
A ban on late-night dining at restaurants has also been lifted. Distancing and masks are still required.
Cases in India approach 5 million
India has recorded 92,071 new cases of coronavirus, taking its total number to 4.85 million, according to the federal health ministry.
The world’s second-most populous country lags only the United States globally in overall number of infections, but it has been reporting more daily cases than the US since mid-August.
Deaths have been relatively low so far compared with the number of infections, but they are on the rise.
More than 1,100 people died of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, the ministry said, taking the total number of fatalities from the disease to 79,722.
WHO reports record one-day increase in global coronavirus cases
The WHO reported a record single-day spike in global coronavirus cases on Sunday, with the total rising by 307,930 in 24 hours.
The biggest increases were from India, the United States and Brazil, while deaths rose by 5,537 to a total of 917,417.
Both the United States and India each reported more than 1,000 new deaths, and Brazil reported 874 lives lost in the past 24 hours.
The previous WHO record for new cases was 306,857 on September 6.
The agency reported a record 12,430 deaths on April 17.
Domestic flights back to normal in outbreak’s epicentre
Domestic air travel in Wuhan, the epicentre of the global coronavirus outbreak, has returned to pre-pandemic levels, authorities say.
The virus was first detected in Wuhan late last year and the city underwent a draconian 76-day lockdown as its hospitals struggled to deal with a wave of cases that required the rapid construction of field hospitals to handle the overflow.
Since reopening in early April, life has gradually returned to normal and numbers of domestic flights serving the city, as well as the number of passengers, had both fully recovered, according to the operator of Wuhan Tianhe International airport.
It said 64,700 passengers were transported aboard 500 domestic flights on Friday.
The airport is preparing to eventually resume international passenger flights to destinations such as Seoul, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta, Qu Xiaoni, the state-run Xinhua News Agency quoted an airport representative as saying.
International cargo routes have already reopened.
China has gone almost a month without registering a new case of local transmission and on Sunday the National Health Commission reported just 10 new cases — all of them imported.
Hospitals are treating 151 people for COVID-19 and another 357 people are in isolation after testing positive for the disease without showing any symptoms, the commission said.
China has reported a total of 85,184 cases of COVID-19 with 4,634 deaths.
Indonesia reports sixth consecutive day of over 3,000 new infections
Indonesia has reported its sixth consecutive day of over 3,000 new cases, just as the capital city of South-East Asia’s most populous country prepares to bring back social-distancing restrictions.
New infections on Sunday reached 3,636 with new deaths at 73. That brought the total number of infections to 218,382 and deaths to 8,723.
To try and stem the spread of the virus in Jakarta, employees of businesses considered non-essential will be required to work from home from Monday.
Certain government workers will be allowed to work from offices.
Markets and shopping centres will be permitted to stay open at half capacity, and restaurants within shopping centres will be allowed to operate for takeaway only.
The curbs will be implemented for two weeks, but could be extended.
Second wave emerges in Austria
Austria’s leader said his country is experiencing a second wave of infections.
Chancellor Sebastian Kurz announced on Friday that the Austrian Government would reimpose measures like mandatory masks in shops to curb a rise in new infections.
Austria recorded 859 new infections on Friday, the highest daily figure since late March.
Mr Kurz said developments in Vienna are “particularly dramatic”, with the city accounting for around half of new cases.
He said Austria will soon be dealing with 1,000 new cases per day.
He called on Austrians to reduce social contacts, wear masks and keep their distance “as well as possible”.
He predicted “a tough autumn and winter,” but stuck to his assessment that things should be largely normal by next summer.
Israel to enter nationwide lockdown amid COVID-19 surge
Israel will enter a three-week nationwide lockdown starting on Friday to contain the spread of the coronavirus after a second-wave surge of new cases.
During the lockdown, which comes during the Jewish High Holiday season, Israelis have to stay within 500 metres of their houses, but can travel to workplaces that will be allowed to operate on a limited basis.
Schools and shopping malls will be closed, but supermarkets and pharmacies will remain open.
Indoor gatherings are limited to 10 people, and groups of 20 are allowed outdoors.
As the economy reopened, daily infections jumped, passing 4,000 last week.
On Saturday, 2,715 new cases were reported. Since the outbreak began, 1,108 people have died.
Record infection rise in Czech Republic
Coronavirus infections have continued to grow in the Czech Republic, reaching a record level for the fourth day this week.
The Health Ministry said the day-to-day increase in new cases reached 1,541 on Saturday, a record high for the country.
Health Minister Adam Vojtech said “nobody expected” such a spike.
The Czech Republic has had 35,401 cases overall, including 453 deaths.