Asia Today: India, Philippines ease rules; Bali reopens

Two employees of the Ryugyong Health Complex disinfect the hands and check the fever of people coming to the complex to help curb the spread of the coronavirus, in Pyongyang, North Korea, Friday, July 31, 2020. (AP Photo/Jon Chol Jin)
Two employees of the Ryugyong Health Complex disinfect the hands and check the fever of people coming to the complex to help curb the spread of the coronavirus, in Pyongyang, North Korea, Friday, July 31, 2020. (AP Photo/Jon Chol Jin)

Credit: Jon Chol Jin

Credit: Jon Chol Jin

India has added another record surge in virus cases as the government decided to lift a nighttime curfew in force since March

NEW DELHI (AP) — India added another record surge in virus cases Friday as the government decided to lift a nighttime curfew that was in force since March.

The 55,079 new cases in the past 24 hours took India’s total to 1,638,871. The Health Ministry on Friday also reported 779 deaths in the past 24 hours, taking fatalities to 35,747.

The actual numbers, like elsewhere in the world, are thought to be far higher due to a number of reasons including limited testing.

The nighttime curfew will be lifted from Saturday and yoga institutes and gyms can reopen Wednesday, according to the Home Ministry. The government also removed interstate restrictions on movement of people or goods.

The government also decided to reopen hotels in the Indian capital which had been used as quarantine facilities. After peaking at nearly 3,500 new cases per day earlier this month, New Delhi's numbers have dropped to around 1,000 cases a day.

After the nationwide lockdown was largely lifted, lockdowns now remain only in areas that are hot spots of infection and are decided by state and territory governments.

Metro service, cinemas, swimming pools, entertainment parks, bars, theaters, auditoriums and other social gathering places will remain closed until Aug. 31, the ministry said.

In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:

— Indonesia’s resort island of Bali reopened to domestic tourists Friday after an almost four-month lockdown. Visitors will face stringent rules in hotels, restaurants and on beaches. New foreign arrivals will be allowed on the island beginning Sept. 11. Tourism is the main source of income for the island, and the pandemic has caused a dive in the number of visitors.

— Vietnam’s health ministry says it has confirmed more than 100 cases linked to a Da Nang hospital after an initial case surfaced last week. The outbreak centered in the popular beach destination is Vietnam’s first in more than three months. The city was put under lockdown on Tuesday and testing and business restrictions increased in other areas. Da Nang was setting up a makeshift hospital in a sports auditorium, and doctors have been mobilized from other cities to help.

— Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte further relaxed quarantine restrictions and will shift the virus response to localized lockdowns where infections surge. Central Cebu city had been the last major area under a lockdown. The Department of Health reported a record daily tally of new and old COVID-19 cases on Friday at 4,063, bringing total infections to more than 93,300, including more than 2,000 deaths. Despite such spikes, the government has been under pressure to open the economy more widely.

— Nepal is opening its Himalayan peaks, hoping to bring back Western climbers unable to come during the spring mountaineering season. Both the government and expedition workers and businesses are hoping foreign climbers who bring some $300 million annually to Nepal will return during the autumn climbing season that begins in September. Nepal is opening to commercial flights from August. Rudra Singh Tamang, director general of Nepal’s tourism department, said mandatory test reports and quarantines when needed are among the measures being used to ensure tourism returns safely.

— Victoria state’s leader warned that tougher pandemic restrictions could be looming after Australia’s coronavirus hot spot reported its second-highest daily COVID-19 count. State capital Melbourne and a neighboring semi-rural district are over halfway through a six-week lockdown. Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said the lockdown was being analyzed to determine the next steps “but it is important that all of us acknowledge that these numbers are still far too high.” Victoria on Friday reported 627 new infections and eight deaths.

— China is tightening travel restrictions in the capital of Xinjiang, where 112 new cases were reported Friday. People arriving in Urumqi from high-risk places must undergo a two-week quarantine. Others most show proof of good health. Locals should stay in the city or show proof of health to be allowed to leave. Almost all regions in China are designated low and medium risk except for the northeastern port city of Dalian, which is high risk due to an ongoing but smaller outbreak.

— Beijing will send personnel to Hong Kong to help with coronavirus testing and the building of treatment centers, as the semi-autonomous city faces its worst outbreak of the virus, China's Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office said Friday. Hong Kong reported a total of 3,273 cases as of Friday, including 27 deaths. The city had gone weeks without any known locally transmitted cases until the beginning of July, when an outbreak began. The total number of infections has more than doubled since July 1. Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said Tuesday that the city is on the verge of large-scale community outbreak which could lead to a collapse of its hospital system. The city has tightened social distancing measures, banning dine-in eating at restaurants after 6 p.m. and restricting public gatherings to two people. Lam on Friday also announced the postponing of legislative elections for one year because of the outbreak.

— Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed alarm Friday about a jump in coronavirus cases as the nation struggles to balance economic growth and disease prevention. “We are very carefully watching the surge in infections. First, we need to step up testing,” he said. New infections in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya have risen to new highs. Abe’s government has faced criticism for going ahead with a tourism promotion program aimed at supporting the badly hit tourism industry. Meanwhile, the governor of the southern Japanese island of Okinawa, Denny Tamaki, issued its own “emergency declaration," citing an “explosive growth” in cases after a record 71 new infections were confirmed Friday. The national government has stopped short of declaring a new emergency after an earlier one was lifted in May.—

An employee wearing a protective gear disinfects to help curb the spread of the coronavirus at the Ryugyong Health Complex's public bath in Pyongyang, North Korea, Friday, July 31, 2020. (AP Photo/Cha Song Ho)
An employee wearing a protective gear disinfects to help curb the spread of the coronavirus at the Ryugyong Health Complex's public bath in Pyongyang, North Korea, Friday, July 31, 2020. (AP Photo/Cha Song Ho)

Credit: Cha Song Ho

Credit: Cha Song Ho

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam speaks during a press conference in Hong Kong, Friday, July 31, 2020. She announce to postpone legislative elections scheduled for Sept. 6, citing a worsening coronavirus outbreak. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam speaks during a press conference in Hong Kong, Friday, July 31, 2020. She announce to postpone legislative elections scheduled for Sept. 6, citing a worsening coronavirus outbreak. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Credit: Kin Cheung

Credit: Kin Cheung

Workers of PVR cinemas, a multiplex cinema chain, sanitizes a hall during a press preview to show their preparedness with the COVID-19 pandemic in New Delhi, India, Friday, July 31, 2020. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
Workers of PVR cinemas, a multiplex cinema chain, sanitizes a hall during a press preview to show their preparedness with the COVID-19 pandemic in New Delhi, India, Friday, July 31, 2020. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

Credit: Manish Swarup

Credit: Manish Swarup

Workers of PVR cinemas, a multiplex cinema chain, stand at the food court with face shields and masks during a press preview to show their preparedness with the COVID-19 pandemic in New Delhi, India, Friday, July 31, 2020. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
Workers of PVR cinemas, a multiplex cinema chain, stand at the food court with face shields and masks during a press preview to show their preparedness with the COVID-19 pandemic in New Delhi, India, Friday, July 31, 2020. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

Credit: Manish Swarup

Credit: Manish Swarup

An Indian Muslim offers prayers on the eve of Eid al-Adha with social distancing marking on the floor at Jama Masjid in New Delhi, India, Friday, July 31, 2020. Eid al-Adha, or the Feast of the Sacrifice, is marked by sacrificing animals to commemorate the prophet Ibrahim's faith in being willing to sacrifice his son. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
An Indian Muslim offers prayers on the eve of Eid al-Adha with social distancing marking on the floor at Jama Masjid in New Delhi, India, Friday, July 31, 2020. Eid al-Adha, or the Feast of the Sacrifice, is marked by sacrificing animals to commemorate the prophet Ibrahim's faith in being willing to sacrifice his son. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

Credit: Manish Swarup

Credit: Manish Swarup

Passengers use a self check in machine for flights to Queensland at Sydney Domestic Airport, Sydney, Friday, July 31, 2020. Tourism operators across Asia and the Pacific are making furtive and faltering advances, as well as some spectacular missteps, after travel was largely halted by the coronavirus pandemic that continues ebbing and mostly surging around the globe. Struggling tourism businesses in Queensland, known as Australia’s Sunshine State, will soon lose visitors from the nation’s biggest city, Sydney. (James Gourley/AAP Image via AP)
Passengers use a self check in machine for flights to Queensland at Sydney Domestic Airport, Sydney, Friday, July 31, 2020. Tourism operators across Asia and the Pacific are making furtive and faltering advances, as well as some spectacular missteps, after travel was largely halted by the coronavirus pandemic that continues ebbing and mostly surging around the globe. Struggling tourism businesses in Queensland, known as Australia’s Sunshine State, will soon lose visitors from the nation’s biggest city, Sydney. (James Gourley/AAP Image via AP)

Credit: James Gourley

Credit: James Gourley

Passengers queue to check in for flights to Queensland at Sydney Domestic Airport, Sydney, Friday, July 31, 2020. Tourism operators across Asia and the Pacific are making furtive and faltering advances, as well as some spectacular missteps, after travel was largely halted by the coronavirus pandemic that continues ebbing and mostly surging around the globe. Struggling tourism businesses in Queensland, known as Australia’s Sunshine State, will soon lose visitors from the nation’s biggest city, Sydney. A growing Sydney outbreak led the Queensland government to reconsider and Sydney visitors will now be banned from Saturday.(James Gourley/AAP Image via AP)
Passengers queue to check in for flights to Queensland at Sydney Domestic Airport, Sydney, Friday, July 31, 2020. Tourism operators across Asia and the Pacific are making furtive and faltering advances, as well as some spectacular missteps, after travel was largely halted by the coronavirus pandemic that continues ebbing and mostly surging around the globe. Struggling tourism businesses in Queensland, known as Australia’s Sunshine State, will soon lose visitors from the nation’s biggest city, Sydney. A growing Sydney outbreak led the Queensland government to reconsider and Sydney visitors will now be banned from Saturday.(James Gourley/AAP Image via AP)

Credit: James Gourley

Credit: James Gourley

People wearing masks against the spread of the new coronavirus walk at Shibuya pedestrian crossing in Tokyo Friday, July 31, 2020. The Japanese capital confirmed Friday more than 400 new coronavirus cases. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
People wearing masks against the spread of the new coronavirus walk at Shibuya pedestrian crossing in Tokyo Friday, July 31, 2020. The Japanese capital confirmed Friday more than 400 new coronavirus cases. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

Credit: Eugene Hoshiko

Credit: Eugene Hoshiko

Visitors watch while maintaining social distancing during a re-enactment ceremony of the changing of the Royal Guard at the Gyeongbok Palace, one of South Korea's well-known landmarks, in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, July 31, 2020. South Korea's newest coronavirus cases were mostly tied to international arrivals. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
Visitors watch while maintaining social distancing during a re-enactment ceremony of the changing of the Royal Guard at the Gyeongbok Palace, one of South Korea's well-known landmarks, in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, July 31, 2020. South Korea's newest coronavirus cases were mostly tied to international arrivals. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

Credit: Lee Jin-man

Credit: Lee Jin-man

Visitors hold their smartphones while maintaining social distancing during a re-enactment ceremony of the changing of the Royal Guard at the Gyeongbok Palace, one of South Korea's well-known landmarks, in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, July 31, 2020. South Korea's newest coronavirus cases were mostly tied to international arrivals. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
Visitors hold their smartphones while maintaining social distancing during a re-enactment ceremony of the changing of the Royal Guard at the Gyeongbok Palace, one of South Korea's well-known landmarks, in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, July 31, 2020. South Korea's newest coronavirus cases were mostly tied to international arrivals. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

Credit: Lee Jin-man

Credit: Lee Jin-man

An officer checks passenger's health document on his arrival at Bali airport, Indonesia on Friday, July 31, 2020. Indonesia's resort island of Bali reopened for domestic tourists after months of lockdown due to a new coronavirus. (AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati)
An officer checks passenger's health document on his arrival at Bali airport, Indonesia on Friday, July 31, 2020. Indonesia's resort island of Bali reopened for domestic tourists after months of lockdown due to a new coronavirus. (AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati)

Credit: Firdia Lisnawati

Credit: Firdia Lisnawati

Airport officers wearing face masks line up as they hold flowers to welcome passengers at Bali airport, Indonesia on Friday, July 31, 2020. Indonesia's resort island of Bali reopened for domestic tourists after months of lockdown due to a new coronavirus. (AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati)
Airport officers wearing face masks line up as they hold flowers to welcome passengers at Bali airport, Indonesia on Friday, July 31, 2020. Indonesia's resort island of Bali reopened for domestic tourists after months of lockdown due to a new coronavirus. (AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati)

Credit: Firdia Lisnawati

Credit: Firdia Lisnawati

Passengers walk with a social distancing on their arrival at Bali airport, Indonesia on Friday, July 31, 2020. Indonesia's resort island of Bali reopened for domestic tourists after months of lockdown due to a new coronavirus. (AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati)
Passengers walk with a social distancing on their arrival at Bali airport, Indonesia on Friday, July 31, 2020. Indonesia's resort island of Bali reopened for domestic tourists after months of lockdown due to a new coronavirus. (AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati)

Credit: Firdia Lisnawati

Credit: Firdia Lisnawati

This aerial photo shows quiet streets during social distancing in Hoi An, Vietnam, Friday, July 31, 2020. The old town, Vietnam's top tourist attraction, starts two weeks of social distancing on Friday morning in an attempt to contain the spread of the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Hieu Dinh)
This aerial photo shows quiet streets during social distancing in Hoi An, Vietnam, Friday, July 31, 2020. The old town, Vietnam's top tourist attraction, starts two weeks of social distancing on Friday morning in an attempt to contain the spread of the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Hieu Dinh)

Credit: Hieu Dinh

Credit: Hieu Dinh

In this photo provided by the Malacanang Presidential Photographers Division, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte talks to members of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases at the Malacanang presidential palace in Manila, Philippines Thursday, July 30, 2020. (Simeon Celi Jr./ Malacanang Presidential Photographers Division via AP)
In this photo provided by the Malacanang Presidential Photographers Division, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte talks to members of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases at the Malacanang presidential palace in Manila, Philippines Thursday, July 30, 2020. (Simeon Celi Jr./ Malacanang Presidential Photographers Division via AP)

Credit: Simeon Celi Jr.

Credit: Simeon Celi Jr.

Indian health volunteers take swab samples as part of the India-Israel Non-Invasive Raid COVID-19 test study camp, at a government hospital in New Delhi, India, Friday, July 31, 2020. A team of Israeli scientists are in the country to carry out the final stages of testing of advanced technologies for real time rapid diagnosis of the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
Indian health volunteers take swab samples as part of the India-Israel Non-Invasive Raid COVID-19 test study camp, at a government hospital in New Delhi, India, Friday, July 31, 2020. A team of Israeli scientists are in the country to carry out the final stages of testing of advanced technologies for real time rapid diagnosis of the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

Credit: Manish Swarup

Credit: Manish Swarup

People wearing face masks to protect against the coronavirus wait at a bus stop in Beijing, Friday, July 31, 2020. China is tightening travel restrictions in the capital of Xinjiang, where more than a hundred new cases were reported Friday. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
People wearing face masks to protect against the coronavirus wait at a bus stop in Beijing, Friday, July 31, 2020. China is tightening travel restrictions in the capital of Xinjiang, where more than a hundred new cases were reported Friday. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

Credit: Mark Schiefelbein

Credit: Mark Schiefelbein