Countries around Asia are confronting a second wave of coronavirus infections and are clamping down again to try to contain the disease, with Australia recording a record daily rise in cases and Vietnam locking down the city of Danang.
Mainland China is battling the most aggressive return of COVID-19 in months, confirming 57 new locally transmitted cases on Sunday, the highest level since early March, driven by fresh infections in the far western region of Xinjiang.
In the northeast, Liaoning province reported a fifth straight day of new infections and Jilin province reported two new cases, its first since late May.
Hong Kong is expected to announce further restrictions on Monday including a ban on restaurant dining and mandated face masks outdoors, local media reported.
The measures, which are expected to take effect from Wednesday, would be the first time the city has completely banned dining in restaurants.
Australian authorities warned a six-week lockdown in parts of the southeastern Victoria state may last longer after the country registered its highest daily increase in infections.
Most of Australia is effectively virus-free but flare-ups in the two most populous southeastern states have authorities scrambling to prevent a wider national outbreak.
“The tragedy of COVID-19 is that we know, with the number of new infections that we have seen today, that there will be many further deaths in the days ahead,” Australia’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd told reporters.
In Japan, the government said it would urge business leaders to ramp up anti-virus measures such as staggered shifts, and aimed to see rates of telecommuting achieved during an earlier state of emergency.
“At one point, commuter numbers were down by 70 to 80%, but now it’s only about 30%,” Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said late on Sunday. “We really don’t want to backtrack on this, so we have to explore new ways of working and keep telecommuting high.”