Sri Lanka extends curbs, US deaths spike
Sri Lanka's pandemic lockdown measures have been extended as South Korean authorities reported a surge of new infections and US coronavirus-linked fatalities hit a seven-month high.
Officials in Sri Lanka on Friday extended the COVID-19 lockdown by another two weeks amid pressure from medical experts.
The current lockdown was to end on Tuesday.
A special meeting of the COVID-19 Control Committee chaired by President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa decided to extend the measures until October 1.
Medical experts have said although Sri Lanka has registered a decline in daily cases, oxygen requirements and deaths, it remains at risk.
There were 2314 confirmed cases in the last 24 hours.
The lockdown was first imposed on August 20 and extended four times.
The government has allowed export-oriented factories and agriculture work to continue in addition to essential services.
Meanwhile, South Korea is nearing a one-day record of daily virus cases set last month ahead of the biggest holiday of the year.
The 2008 cases reported on Friday was the 73rd consecutive day of more than 1000, despite officials enforcing the country's strongest distancing rules short of a lockdown in Seoul and other large population centres for the past 10 weeks.
More than 1500 cases came from the greater Seoul area, home to half of a population of more than 51 million.
Infections have surged as schools reopened and people returned from summer holidays in recent weeks.
There are concerns that transmissions will worsen during the Chuseok holiday break that begins over the weekend and continues through next Wednesday.
Millions usually travel across the country to meet relatives during Chuseok.
"We plead once again that people who aren't fully vaccinated not to visit their aging parents who are in their 60s or older," Deputy Health Minister Lee Ki-il said during a briefing.
The United States reported its highest single day COVID-19 death toll in more than seven months on Thursday.
With 3393 additional fatalities reported, the total number of the pandemic victims in the country reached 670,027, as per the latest data from Johns Hopkins University.
The last time the US recorded coronavirus-related casualties of a higher magnitude was on February 5.
Texas reported the most number of infections - 16,938 - while Florida reported the most coronavirus-related deaths - 1554 on Thursday.
The number of people hospitalised due to coronavirus infection in the country has come down to 97,424 while 32,347,726 people have so far recovered from the disease.
As per the latest data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a total of 180,086,143 people or 54.2 per cent of the total population have been fully vaccinated in the US.
with Reuters and DPA
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