The Latest: India edges closer to 7 million virus cases
NEW DELHI — India has reported another 70,496 new infections in the past 24 hours, taking the country’s total since the pandemic began to more than 6.9 million.
The Health Ministry on Friday also reported 964 deaths in the past 24 hours, taking total fatalities to 106,490.
India is seeing infections spread at a slower pace than last month, when daily infections touched a record high of 97,894 cases. India is averaging more than 70,000 cases daily so far this month.
Since the pandemic began India has reported the second most total cases in the world behind the United States.
Health experts have warned that congregations during major festivals later this month and in November have the potential for the virus to spread.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
— Trump insists he’s ready to resume campaign rallies and feels “perfect” one week after COVID-19 diagnosis
— Amid New York City protests, Orthodox Jews urge new virus-era dialogue
— China says it will join COVAX coronavirus vaccine alliance, reversing earlier stance
— Sri Lanka orders closures as it works to contain new coronavirus cluster
— Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Sri Lankan health authorities are working to contain a growing cluster of new coronavirus infections, ordering the closure of bars, restaurants, casinos, nightclubs and spas.
The Indian Ocean island nation over the weekend reported its first locally transmitted infection in more than two months, which led to the discovery of a cluster centered around a garment factory in densely populated Western province.
By Friday the number of infections linked to the cluster climbed to 1,053, with more than 2,000 more people asked to quarantine at home. The majority of infected people are co-workers of the first patient, who is a worker at the garment factory.
BEIJING — China is joining the world’s coronavirus vaccine alliance known as COVAX. It previously declined to join, missing a deadline in September.
China has four vaccine candidates in the last stage of clinical trials, making it farther ahead in development timelines than others.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said China was joining to ensure equitable distribution of vaccines and in hope more capable countries will also join. It is not yet clear the exact terms of the agreement and how China will contribute.
The alliance is designed so participation by richer countries helps finance access for poorer ones. The Trump administration in the U.S. has declined to join.
HARTFORD, Conn. — Dr. Deborah Birx of the White House coronavirus task force says she is concerned about the uptick in coronavirus cases in the Northeast.
She said Thursday at the University of Connecticut’s Hartford campus that a “very different” kind of spread is happening now.
She says it’s not happening in the workplace so much because people are taking precautions. She says more people are becoming infected because of indoor family gatherings and social events as the weather cools.
She says that was a lesson learned in the South during the summer when people went indoors for air conditioning.