India has edged closer to recording nearly 100,000 coronavirus cases in 24 hours as it ordered the retesting of many people whose first screening results were from a less reliable method than is being widely used.
According to the health ministry, India recorded another spike of 96,551 cases in the past 24 hours, taking its caseload to 4.56 million.
It also reported another 1,209 deaths, taking the total fatalities to 76,271.
The government said some negative rapid antigen tests should be done again through the more reliable RT-PCR method, the gold standard of coronavirus tests, which looks for the genetic code of the virus.
The retesting order applied to people who had negative results but had fever, coughing or breathlessness, or people who developed those Covid-19 symptoms within three days of their negative test results.
Using the rapid antigen or viral protein tests has allowed India to dramatically increase its testing capacity to more than 1.1 million a day – but the quicker, cheaper test is less reliable and retesting is often recommended.
The directive was meant to ensure infected people did not go undetected and to check the spread of the disease among their contacts.
Meanwhile, South Korea’s daily count of new coronavirus cases is under 200 for a ninth straight day, continuing a downward trend in fresh infections for the country.
The Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said the 176 cases added in the previous 24 hours took the national tally to 21,919, with 350 deaths.
South Korea’s daily caseload was above 400 in late August, with clusters of new infections in churches, schools, restaurants and other spots, mostly in the Seoul metropolitan area.
The outbreak has gradually slowed after authorities imposed stronger social distancing rules.
Health official Yoon Taeho said the government believes the country’s caseload is in general on a downward trajectory, though he urges people to keep trying to reduce face-to-face contacts with others and to follow social distancing guidelines.
In France, the daily case count has climbed back up as summer vacations brought relaxed virus vigilance.
The number of infected patients in hospitals and intensive care units had stayed low and stable for several weeks – until now.
Doctors in Marseille – the country’s latest virus hotspot — started sounding the alarm this week.
The 70 ICU beds dedicated to virus patients in France’s second-biggest city and the surrounding Bouches-du-Rhone region were all occupied by Tuesday.
The number of ICU virus patients in the region has doubled in the past 10 days and now surpasses 100.
“The beginning of summer was relatively calm but in the past few weeks there is a new rise,” said the Laveran Military Training Hospital’s chief doctor, Pierre-Yves, who can only be identified by his first name according to military policy.
“What is going on here is just like what is going on in other hospitals of the region.”
The number of people infected with coronavirus is also surging in the Czech Republic, as a new record was set for the second time in a week.
The health ministry said the day-to-day increase in cases reached 1,382 on Thursday.
In the two previous days, the number of infected in one day surpassed 1,160.
In reaction to the spike, the Czech Republic has returned to the mandatory wearing of face masks in interior spaces.