Asia Today: New Delhi cases spike again ahead of Diwali fest

India has reported 47,905 new cases of coronavirus infection with New Delhi setting another daily record

NEW DELHI — India reported 47,905 new cases of coronavirus infection with New Delhi setting another daily record Thursday.

The surge of 8,593 cases in the nation’s capital is the highest for any major Indian city and comes as people crowd shopping areas ahead of Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, on Saturday.

Deaths, too, are climbing again, with 85 in New Delhi in the past 24 hours. Deaths are a lagging indicator of the impact of the virus, due to long periods of illness and medical treatment.

Overall, India’s new cases held steady. The Health Ministry also reported 550 deaths in the past 24 hours, taking total fatalities to 128,121.

India’s tally of confirmed cases — currently the second largest in the world behind the United States – has exceeded 8.6 million.

Meanwhile, the New Delhi High Court ordered authorities to take the surging coronavirus spread seriously as people were ignoring masks and social distancing norms.

In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:

— Health authorities in New Zealand say they have found an unexplained case of the coronavirus, a blow for a country which has been largely successful in its attempts to eliminate community spread. Authorities say they’re urgently investigating the recent movements and possible sources of infection for the Auckland student, who also works at a clothing store. So far authorities haven’t raised the alert level for the nation or imposed any new restrictions. Since the pandemic began, New Zealand has reported about 2,000 cases and 25 deaths.