Asia Today: New Delhi sees worst wave as India’s cases drop

India’s capital is seeing its worst wave of coronavirus infections since the start of the pandemic, even as the nation’s overall cases fall

New Delhi has averaged more than 5,200 newly confirmed cases a day this past week, the highest this trend has been since the first case was recorded in the capital on March 2.

The Health Ministry has attributed the surge in New Delhi to the festival season and warned the situation can worsen due to people crowding markets for festival shopping, coupled with the onset of winters and high air pollution levels in the capital.

India is maintaining an overall decline in new cases, registering 38,310 in the last 24 hours. The Health Ministry also Tuesday reported another 490 fatalities, raising the overall death toll to 123,097.

With 8.2 million cases of coronavirus, India is the second worst-hit country behind the U.S.

In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:

— Authorities in Sri Lanka are keeping schools closed for another two weeks amid a virus surge in two clusters. The decision announced Tuesday means schools will now reopen Nov. 23. Schools were closed last month as a precaution when the clusters emerged at a garment factory and later the country’s main fish market. The two recent clusters account for about three-quarters of Sri Lanka’s 11,335 total cases. The government has imposed curfew in the western province and some other parts since last week. More than a dozen villages in different parts of the country have been isolated. Besides, authorities have closed key public offices, banned public gatherings and placed restrictions on public transport.