New waves of coronavirus infections are sweeping through several countries in Asia, many having become more ferocious than previous outbreaks.
The Philippines recorded a whopping 15,300 new cases on April 2 according to Johns Hopkins University, far surpassing the first wave record of 6,700 new cases in a day set in August 2020. Looking at new cases in relation to population, the Philippines are also the most affected major country in Asia. The 7-day rolling average of new cases per one million of population stood at more than 93 Tuesday, followed by 67.5 new cases/million in India.
India saw almost 116,000 new cases Tuesday and broke its previous record of almost 98,000 daily new cases set in September for the first time Sunday. Bangladesh, where case numbers are growing at a similar rate to its larger neighbor, also blew past its former daily record when it recorded 7,200 new cases on the same day. The number was much higher than the first wave record of 4,019 new infections that was recorded on July 2, 2020.
Virus variants are driving resurgences of coronavirus infections around the globe, but their impact on the new Asian outbreaks remains unclear. The more contagious variant first detected in the UK (B.1.1.7) has been found in India, as has an India-specific double mutant. The Philippines have also detected a new third-generation variant, which is suspected to be a descendant of the dangerous Brazilian mutant P.1. The British and South African variants have also been found in the country and the first case of P.1 itself was reported on March 13.
Third-most affected in relation to population was Malaysia, but cases in the country have been slowing. Fifth-most affected Pakistan has also seen a light easing of the situation. This is according to numbers collected by research project Our World in Data located at the University of Oxford.
Other growing outbreaks are being monitored in Mongolia and once again in Japan (which would constitute a fourth wave for the country). Countries in Southeast Asia - Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand - have also seen more new cases than usual. Yet, the overall number of infections in the little-affected region remains low. New infections remained at stable levels in Indonesia and Singapore, while slightly rising again in South Korea and Nepal.