South Asia reaches 10 million COVID-19 cases

South Asia — consisting of India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Bhutan, Nepal, Maldives and Sri Lanka — accounts for 18 per cent of global cases and almost 11 per cent of global deaths.

Nov 21, 2020

NEW DELHI: The South Asia sub-region surpassed 10 million COVID-19 cases on Nov 19.

South Asia — consisting of India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Bhutan, Nepal, Maldives and Sri Lanka — accounts for 18 per cent of global cases and almost 11 per cent of global deaths, according to the Reuters tally.

It is the second sub-region, after North America, to cross the 10 million case threshold.

The South Asian countries account for 23 per cent of the world’s population of 7.59 billion people.

India, the only Asian country among the top ten countries worst affected by the pandemic, accounts for about 90 per cent of both the sub-region’s cases and deaths.

India has reported a steady decline in daily reported cases in recent weeks. It has recorded a daily average of around 39,500 new cases over the past week, less than half the  92,890 seven-day average in the middle of September.

However, experts had warned that exuberant celebrations for Deepavali, the Hindu festival of lights, over the past weekend could lead to a new spike.

India’s eastern neighbour Bangladesh, the world’s biggest apparel producer after China, is South Asia’s second worst hit country with about 438,000 coronavirus cases. Officials there extended the closure of schools and other educational institutions amid fears of a second wave of infections during the winter. Cases were on the rise again in Pakistan, where on Nov 13 more than 2,000 cases were reported in a single day for the first time since July. Officials responded by banning public political rallies.

In Nepal, the number of cases passed 200,000 with nearly half reported in the capital Kathmandu and its surrounding areas. — Reuters/LiCas News

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