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China fights Covid surge as Japan extends emergency during Olympics

  Hundreds of thousands of people in China were in lockdown on Friday as the country battled its worst Covid-19 outbreak in months, while Ja...

 


Hundreds of thousands of people in China were in lockdown on Friday as the country battled its worst Covid-19 outbreak in months, while Japan -- a week into the Olympics -- extended its state of emergency due to surging infections.

 

The average number of new daily cases globally jumped by 10 percent over the last week, according to an AFP tally, largely due to the highly contagious Delta variant, after slowing between late April and mid-June.

 

While the Asia-Pacific region has been hard-hit -- with Vietnam and Japan recording a 61 percent jump in daily cases -- Western countries are also facing surges, with the US and Canada seeing 57 percent more infections.


The World Health Organization has warned that the Delta variant, first detected in India, could unleash more outbreaks in a high-risk zone stretching from Morocco to Pakistan where vaccination rates are low.

 

In China, a cluster of infections in Nanjing city linked to airport workers who cleaned a plane from Russia earlier this month had reached Beijing and five provinces by Friday.

 

Hundreds of thousands of people have been locked down in Jiangsu province, of which Nanjing is the capital, while 41,000 came under stay-at-home orders in Beijing's Changping district.

 

The Philippines, which has closed its airport to most international travel for months, will send more than 13 million people in the national capital region back into lockdown next week because of a Delta-linked increase, the government said Friday.

 

And Japan extended a virus state of emergency in Tokyo and expanded the measure to four more regions after new cases topped 10,000 for the first time on Thursday.

 

Japan's case figures remain small compared to many places, with 3,300 new infections reported in Tokyo on Friday, but experts say the medical system is already at risk of being overwhelmed with only around a quarter of the population fully vaccinated.

 

The record cases come as Tokyo hosts the Olympics, where organisers on Friday reported 27 new cases related to the event -- the highest daily figure yet.

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