Asia Today: New Delhi sees worst wave as India’s cases drop

NEW DELHI (AP) — India’s capital is seeing its worst wave of coronavirus infections since the start of the pandemic, even as the nation’s overall cases fall.

New Delhi has averaged more than 5,200 newly confirmed cases a day this past week, the highest level since the first case was recorded in the capital on March 2.

The Health Ministry has attributed the surge in New Delhi to the festival season and warned that the situation can worsen due to people crowding markets for festival shopping, coupled with the onset of winter and high air pollution levels in the capital.

Overall, new cases are declining in India, with 38,310 reported in the last 24 hours. The Health Ministry also reported 490 more fatalities, raising the overall death toll to 123,097.

With 8.2 million confirmed cases of coronavirus, India is the second worst-hit country behind the United States.

In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:

— Authorities in Sri Lanka are keeping schools closed for two more weeks amid a virus surge in two clusters. The decision announced Tuesday means schools will now reopen Nov. 23. Schools were closed last month as a precaution when the clusters emerged at a garment factory and later the country’s main fish market. The two recent clusters account for about three-quarters of Sri Lanka’s 11,335 total confirmed cases. The government has imposed a curfew in Western province and some other areas since last week. More than a dozen villages in different parts of the country have been isolated. Authorities have also closed key public offices, banned public gatherings and placed restrictions on public transport.

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