BEIJING (AP) — The number of confirmed cases in a new coronavirus outbreak in China’s far west has risen to 17.
The National Health Commission said Saturday that 16 more cases were identified in the previous 24 hours in the Xinjiang region, on top of a first case.
The outbreak in the city of Urumqi is the latest to pop up since China largely contained the domestic spread of the virus in March. The largest was a recent outbreak in Beijing that infected more than 330 people.
Authorities in Urumqi have reduced subways, buses and taxis and closed off some residential communities, according to Chinese media reports. They also placed restrictions on people leaving the city, including a suspension of subway service to the airport.
China has been accused of human rights abuses in Xinjiang, the homeland of the largely Muslim Uighur ethnic community. The region has long been blanketed with extreme security, which China says is necessary to prevent terrorist activity.
In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:
— Bangladesh has surpassed 200,000 cases. Nasima Sultana, additional director general of the Health Directorate, said Saturday that 2,709 people had tested positive over the last 24 hours, raising the total number of confirmed cases to 202,066, including 2,581 deaths. Bangladesh lacks adequate laboratories for testing, and experts say the actual figures are much higher. Most people in rural Bangladesh have stopped wearing masks and are thronging to shopping centers ahead of the Islamic festival of Eid al-Adha, scheduled for later this month.
— Australia’s Victoria state saw a marked drop in new COVID-19 infections — from Friday’s record high of 428 to 217. The Health Department said Saturday that two more people in the state, a man and a woman both aged in their 80s, had died, raising the state’s death toll to 34 and Australia’s national total to 118.
— Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison requested that the next two-week sitting of Parliament be canceled because of increasing concerns over the spread of the coronavirus in parts of the country. Parliament was due to sit from Aug. 4 to 13 and would not meet again until the next planned two-week sitting starting on Aug. 24. Morrison said he had written to the parliamentary speaker to ask for a cancellation. The request is considered a formality.
— South Korea has reported 39 newly confirmed infections of COVID-19, most of them cases imported from abroad. The figures brought the national caseload to 13,711, including 294 deaths. Authorities said least 28 cases were tied to overseas arrivals. Eighteen others came from the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area, which had been at the center of a virus resurgence that began in late May as restrictions eased.
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