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COVID-19 pandemic in Asia
|COVID-19 pandemic in Asia|
Confirmed COVID-19 deaths per million residents as of December 10, 2020
Cumulative confirmed cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 people as of December 10, 2020
|First outbreak||Wuhan, Hubei, China|
|Index case||1 December 2019
(1 year, 1 month, 2 weeks and 6 days ago)
The COVID-19 pandemic began in Asia in Wuhan, Hubei, China, and has spread widely through the continent. As of 30 April 2020[update], at least one case of COVID-19 had been reported in every country in Asia except North Korea and Turkmenistan.
Asian countries with the highest numbers of confirmed coronavirus cases are India, Russia (a transcontinental country), Turkey, Iran, and Indonesia. Among the earliest countries to report COVID-19 cases after the outbreak in China were Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Vietnam, but these countries had successfully controlled the pandemic. The highest numbers of deaths are recorded in India, Iran, Indonesia, Turkey and Iraq with more than 240,000 deaths combined. The death tolls in a number of countries, however, are claimed to be significantly higher than those given in official figures.
On 23 February 2020, at least three citizens of Herat who had recently returned from Qom were suspected of COVID-19 infection. Blood samples were sent to Kabul for further testing. Afghanistan later closed its border with Iran.
On 24 February, Afghanistan confirmed the first COVID-19 case involving one of the three people from Herat, a 35-year-old man who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. On 7 March, three new cases were confirmed in Herat province. On 10 March, the first case reported outside of Herat province, was in Samangan province, bringing to the total to five cases.
Armenia confirmed the first case of coronavirus during the late night of 29 February/early morning of 1 March, announcing a 29-year-old Armenian citizen had returned from Iran and was confirmed positive for the virus. His wife was tested and results came in negative. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan declared that he is "now in good condition." About 30 people who came in contact with him are being tested and will be quarantined. Armenia had earlier closed its border with Iran. As of 15 March there are 23 confirmed cases with over 300 being in quarantine.  On March 23, it confirmed 23 cases.
On 28 February, Azerbaijan confirmed the first case from a Russian national, who was travelling from Iran. On 12 March, a woman died from multiorgan failure who had been diagnosed with COVID-19 a day earlier. This marked the first death of coronavirus in Azerbaijan. On 22 March, the first domestic human to human transmission was confirmed. On 31 March, Azerbaijan declared nationwide quarantine. People are required to stay in private houses and apartments, permanent or temporary places of residence until 20 April.
The first case in the country was confirmed on 21 February. The index case was a school bus driver who had travelled to Iran. Bahrain has recorded a total of 2,009 COVID-19 cases including 7 deaths and 1,026 recoveries. The Bahraini government has unveiled a stimulus packages of 4.3 billion Bahraini Dinars that include exempting consumers from bills of electricity and water for three months.
The first three cases of the country were confirmed on 7 March 2020. Two of those affected returned to Bangladesh from Italy and one was a family member of one of those two. On March 18, the first known coronavirus death in the country was reported.
On 22 March, Bangladesh declared a 10-day shut down effective from March 26 to April 4 to fight the spread of coronavirus. Bangladesh on Wednesday reported the fifth death from the coronavirus though no new case of the infection came out in the last 24 hours as the country suspended all domestic flights, trains and public transport to fight the pandemic.
The Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) has confirmed that one more person has died of coronavirus (COVID-19) infection in Bangladesh, taking the number of deaths from the disease in the country to five, the Dhaka Tribune reported.
Bangladesh on Wednesday confirmed another death taking the death toll in the country to six while number of positive cases rose to 54.The nationwide lockdown has been extended till April 9 to curb the spread, however Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday said that offices and industries could resume work. Health minister Zahid Malik said "another 300 ventilators are being imported. There are about 700 ventilators across private hospitals".
On 6 March, the first case in the country was confirmed, a 76-year-old US male who travelled to the country.
On 9 March, the Ministry of Health confirmed that a preliminary coronavirus test had returned positive for a 53-year-old male who had returned from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 3 March. The patient was moved to the National Isolation Centre in Tutong for treatment.
On 27 January, Cambodia confirmed the first COVID-19 case in Sihanoukville, a 60-year-old Chinese man, travelling to the coastal city from Wuhan with his family on 23 January. Three other members of his family were placed under quarantine as they did not appear to have symptoms, while he was placed in a separate room at the Preah Sihanouk Referral Hospital. By 10 February, after two weeks of being treated and kept under observation, he had fully recovered, Health Ministry stated on account of testing negative for the third time by Pasteur Institute of Cambodia. The family were finally discharged and flew back to their home country on the next day as of the 80 Chinese nationals who arrived in Sihanoukville on the same flight as the patient, most had since returned to China, although the city of Wuhan remained under quarantine at that time.
Sophisticated modelling of the outbreak suggests that the number of cases in mainland China would have been many times higher without interventions such as early detection, and isolation of the infected.
For the first time since the COVID-19 outbreak, China on Wednesday[clarification needed] revealed the presence of 1,541 asymptomatic cases carrying the deadly novel coronavirus, raising concerns of a second wave of infections amid the relaxation of stringent measures in the country initiated to contain the deadly disease.
Asymptomatic coronavirus cases are those who carry the virus but do not show any symptoms and can cause sporadic clusters of infections. In a surprise announcement on Tuesday, China's National Health Commission (NHC) said it would begin to release the data of asymptomatic patients.
A total of 1,541 asymptomatic patients infected with COVID-19 have been put under medical observation in China by the end of Monday,[clarification needed] including 205 imported cases, state-run Xinhua news agency quoted the NHC in a statement.
COVID-19 pandemic in mainland China by provinces |
Data released by Chinese provinces as of 24:00 (UTC+8) 5 January 2021
|Chinese provinces||Pop. (mil.)
On 20 March, East Timor confirmed its first COVID-19 case.
All flights from China and Wuhan to Tbilisi International Airport were cancelled until 27 January.[needs update] The Health Ministry announced that all arriving passengers from China would be screened. Georgia also temporarily shut down all flights to Iran.
On 26 February, Georgia confirmed its first COVID-19 case. A 50-year-old man, who returned to Georgia from Iran, was admitted to Infectious Diseases Hospital in Tbilisi. He came back to the Georgian border via Azerbaijan by taxi.
On 28 February, Georgia confirmed that a 31-year-old Georgia woman who had travelled to Italy tested positive and was admitted to Infectious Diseases Hospital in Tbilisi.
29 more are being kept in isolation in a Tbilisi hospital, with Head of the Georgian National Centre for Disease Control, Amiran Gamkrelidze stating there was a “high probability” that some of them have the virus.
On 5 March, five people have tested positive for the new coronavirus COVID-19 in Georgia increasing the total number of people infected in the country to nine. Head of the Georgian National Centre for Disease Control Amiran Gamkrelidze made the announcement at the recent news briefing following today. He said, all of the five people belong to the same cluster who travelled together to Italy and returned to Georgia on Sunday.
On 7 March, three people have tested positive for the new coronavirus in Georgia increasing the total number of people infected individuals in the country to twelve. Head of the Georgian National Centre for Disease Control Amiran Gamkrelidze said at a news briefing the following day that there is still no reason to panic. One of the infected individuals is Gamkrelidze's son Nikoloz. Gamkrelidze wrote on his Facebook page that he contracted the illness from a coworker, who has been tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday. Georgia has suspended direct flights with Italy in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the country. Coronavirus in Georgia has mostly been detected in passengers who have travelled in Italy recently.
As of 1 March, Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection had identified 100 cases (Including 2 Suspected Recovered Cases) in Hong Kong, with 36 patients since recovered and 2 died. By 2 April, the number of confirmed or probable cases in Hong Kong has risen to 767 after an influx of returning overseas students. 467, or 60.89% of cases were imported cases.
By 21 February, a total of 18 people had been confirmed to have SARS-CoV-2 infections and four COVID-19 deaths had occurred. On 24 February, according to the Ministry of Health and Medical Education, twelve COVID-19 deaths had occurred in Iran, out of a total of 64 SARS-CoV-2 confirmed infections.
On 25 February, Iran's Deputy Health Minister, Iraj Harirchi tested positive for COVID-19, having shown some signs of infection during the press conference. On 3 March, the official number of deaths in Iran rose to 77, the second highest deaths recorded outside China after Italy which has surpassed Iran, although the number of deaths is believed to be higher, up to 1,200 deaths due to Iranian Government's censorship and its eventual mishandling of virus outbreak. Iran currently has the most cases in Western Asia as well as the fourth most cases worldwide, with China, South Korea, and Italy surpassing Iran.
Iran's death toll goes to 2,234 on 26 March as 29,000 cases are reported. Public gatherings are banned as is transportation between cities; public parks are closed.
The first case in the country was confirmed on 22 February.
On 21 February, Israel confirmed the first case of COVID-19.
On 20 March, the first confirmed death in Israel was reported.
As of 9 August, there are a total of 82,324 confirmed cases, with 57,071 recovered and 593 deaths.
The first case was confirmed in a 30-year-old Chinese national who had previously travelled to Wuhan, developed a fever on 3 January, and returned to Japan on 6 January. Coronavirus infections in Japan topped 2,000 cases on 1 April, according to a Reuters calculation based on ministry data and media reports. A facility for disabled people in Chiba prefecture, east of Tokyo, found multiple people infected in March, bringing the total there to 121 in April. New York Times reported that Japan, which has the capacity to test 7,500 people per day, has tested a fraction of COVID-19 patients (including asymptomatic carrier), comparing Japan's situation to South Korea's one where about 360,000 South Koreans have been tested as of 26 March 2020. Columbia University professor Jeffrey Shaman suggested that Japan would not realise how things are going badly until it is too late. In late May, however, the death toll did not rise, and Foreign Policy magazine called the situation "Mysterious Success".
On 2 March, the first case in the country was confirmed. Jordan has 212 confirmed infections on 26 March. Anyone who disobeys nightly curfew will be fined up to 500 dinars (around $700). The government placed Irbid under quarantine after it recorded 26 cases in the area.
On 13 March, the first two cases in the country were confirmed.
As of 10 June, there are 13,319 confirmed cases with 62 deaths.
The first case in the country was confirmed on 24 February.
The Kuwaiti prime minister stressed that the State of Kuwait greatly values the contribution of the large Indian community there and would continue to ensure their safety and welfare in the present situation, a statement issued by the Prime Minister's Office said.
Both leaders discussed the domestic and international aspects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the statement said.
On 18 March, the first three cases in the country were confirmed. Kyrgyzstan had confirmed its first three coronavirus cases, Healthcare Minister Kosmosbek Cholponbayev said on Wednesday.
On 21 February 2020, Lebanon confirmed the first case of COVID-19, a 45-year-old woman travelling from Qom, Iran tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 and was transferred to a hospital in Beirut. Lebanon had 386 cases and nine deaths through 25 March, when it instituted a lockdown through 12 April. Essential services, such as drugstores and supermarkets, must close at nightfall.
The number of COVID-19 infections remained unchanged at 333, NNA said.
Meanwhile, the cabinet decided to extend the curfew to April 13, citing the increasing number of coronavirus infections.
Eight Chinese nationals were quarantined at a hotel in Johor Bahru on 24 January after coming into contact with an infected person in neighbouring Singapore. Despite early reports of them testing negative for the virus, three of them were confirmed to be infected on 25 January.
On 16 February, the 15th infected patient involving a Chinese female national had fully recovered, becoming the 8th patient cured from the virus in Malaysia. The following day, the first infected Malaysian also reportedly recovered, becoming the 9th cured.
In March 2020, several Southeast Asian countries experienced a significant rise in cases following an event held by Tablighi Jamaat at Jamek Mosque in Sri Petaling, Kuala Lumpur, where many people are believed to have been infected. By 17 March, almost two thirds of the 673 cases confirmed in Malaysia were related to the event. More than 620 people, including those from other countries, who attended the event have tested positive, making it the largest-known centre of transmission in South East Asia. In response to the rapid spread of cases, the Government introduced Movement Control Order lockdown restrictions in 18 March 2020, which helped to lower the infection and death rates.
The number of active cases peaked in April and slowly declined, leading to a relaxation of Movement Control Order lockdown restrictions over the next several months. Since mid-September, an outbreak of cases in Sabah, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Johor, Penang and Kedah led to a resurgence of COVID-19 cases throughout the country. By 18 November 2020, the total number of cases in Malaysia had exceeded the 50,000 mark. A Sin Chew Daily editorial has attributed the rapid surge of cases to the failure of the public, businesses and their employees including migrant workers to practise health and social distancing procedures during the relaxation of Movement Control Order restrictions throughout 2020.
As of 20 January 2021, there are a total of 169,379 confirmed cases, with 41,087 active cases, 127,662 discharged, and 630 deaths. 
On 10 March, the first case have been confirmed, a 57-year-old French citizen came from Moscow-Ulaanbaatar flight on 2 March and symptoms were shown on 7 March.
On 23 March, Myanmar confirmed its first and second COVID-19 cases. Myanmar reported its first coronavirus death on 31 March, a 69-year-old man who also had cancer and died in a hospital in the commercial capital of Yangon, a government spokeswoman said.
He had sought medical treatment in Australia and stopped in Singapore on his way home, according to the health ministry.
A Nepali student who had returned to Kathmandu from Wuhan became the first case of the country and South Asia on 23 January 2020. The first case of local transmission inside the country was confirmed on 4 April, while the first COVID-19 death came on 14 May. The country observed an almost four-month-long nationwide lockdown between 24 March and 21 July. As of 15 January 2021, the country has a total of 266,816 cases, 260,567 recoveries, and 1,948 deaths.
Qatar confirmed its first case on 29 February, in a person who had returned from Iran. The first death in Qatar was recorded in on 28 March, a 57-year old Bangladeshi national who was already suffering from chronic disease. On 31 March, Qatar reported its second Coronavirus death and 88 new cases, taking its tally to 781. The Health Ministry announced that 11 infected people have already recovered.
Russia implemented preventive measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the country by imposing quarantines, carrying raids on potential virus carriers and using facial recognition to impose quarantine measures.
On 31 January, two cases were confirmed, one in Tyumen Oblast, another in Zabaykalsky Krai. Both were Chinese nationals, who have since recovered. By 17 April, first case was confirmed in the Altai Republic, thus all 27 federal subjects of Asian Russia had confirmed cases.
On 27 February, Saudi Arabia announced temporary suspension of entry for individuals wanting to perform Umrah pilgrimage in Mecca or to visit the Prophet's Mosque in Medina, as well as tourists. The rule was also extended to visitors traveling from countries where SARS-CoV-2 posed a risk.
On 28 February, the Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia announced a temporary suspension of entry for Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) citizens to Mecca and Medina. Citizens of the GCC who had been in Saudi Arabia for more than 14 continuous days and didn't show any symptoms of COVID-19 would be excluded from this rule.
Saudi Arabia confirmed the first case on 2 March, a Saudi national returning from Iran via Bahrain.
On Thursday, 19 March Saudi Arabia suspended the holding of daily prayers and the weekly Friday prayers inside and outside the walls of the two mosques in Mecca and Medina to limit the spread of coronavirus. As of Thursday, 334 confirmed cases have been reported in Saudi Arabia with eight cases been recovered. No deaths have been reported.
On Friday, 20 March, Saudi Arabia announced it is going to suspend all domestic flights, buses, taxis and trains for 14 days amid global coronavirus outbreak.
At the virtual G20 meeting, chaired by King Salman on 25 March, collective pledges were made to inject $4.8 trillion into the global economy to counteract the social and financial impacts of the pandemic.
The first confirmed case of the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in South Korea was announced 20 January 2020. The number of confirmed cases increased on 19 February by 20, and on 20 February by 58, giving a total of 346 confirmed cases on 21 February 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Korea (KCDC), with the sudden jump mostly attributed to "Patient No. 31" who attended a gathering at a Shincheonji Church of Jesus the Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony church in Daegu. As of 20 February 2020[update], the number of confirmed cases in South Korea was the third largest after China and the infections on the Diamond Princess. By 24 February, the number of confirmed cases in South Korea was the second largest; as of 14 March 2020[update], the number was the fourth largest. A reason for the high number of confirmed cases is the high number of tests conducted. In South Korea more than 66,650 people were tested within a week of its first case of community transmission, and South Korea quickly became able to test 10,000 people a day.
The first case in the country was confirmed on 27 January. The country has 50,899 cases with 251 deaths as of 14 January 2021. As of 10 October, Sri Lankan authorities have tracked down over 1,430,864 people who had contacted the identified patients and had ordered self quarantine for such people. Near tested 1 million PCR tested on 13 December.
Due to Syria already coping with the rampant civil war, fearing that Syria will be the most affected country is raising concerns, following a number of cases found in neighboring Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan, and collapsed healthcare system as the result of the civil war. The Government of Iraqi Kurdistan, in a rare collaboration with its Syrian counterpart on 2 March, ordered complete closure of Syrian–Iraqi border to halt the spread.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a much smaller impact in Taiwan than in most industrialised countries, with seven deaths total as of 11 May 2020. The number of active cases peaked on 6 April at 307 cases, the majority of which are imported.
On 30 April 2020, the first 15 cases of COVID-19 were reported in Tajikistan.
On 1 March, the first confirmed death in Thailand was reported.
As of 19 July, there were a total of 3,246 confirmed cases with 58 deaths and 3,096 recoveries.
United Arab Emirates
The first death due to COVID-19 was reported on 20 March.
A curfew was implemented from 8 pm to 6 am on 26 March after beaches, malls and airports were closed. Public transportation was shut down. A nationwide disinfection and sterilization campaign was launched to commence during curfew hours.
On 15 March, the first case in the country was confirmed.
The first two confirmed cases in Vietnam were admitted to Cho Ray Hospital, Ho Chi Minh City on 23 January 2020: a 66-year-old Chinese man traveling from epicenter Wuhan to Hanoi to visit his son, and his son who believed to have contracted the virus from his father when they met in Nha Trang.
On 21 March, Vietnam suspended entry for all foreigners from midnight of 22 March, and concentrated isolation for 14 days in all cases of entry for Vietnamese citizens. From 1 April, Vietnam implemented nationwide isolation for 15 days. The drastic epidemic control measures have had positive results since the last case of local transmissions was from 16 April 2020 and the country is already starting to open up.
The country is seen to be extremely vulnerable to the outbreak, given the dire humanitarian situation due to the civil war, exacerbated by the famine, cholera outbreaks, and military blockade by Saudi Arabia and allies.
Prevention in other countries and territories
There are no confirmed cases in North Korea. North Korea was one of the first countries to close borders due to COVID-19. In February, wearing face masks was obligatory and visiting public places such as restaurants was forbidden. Ski resorts and spas were closed and military parades, marathons, and other public events were cancelled.
On 31 March 2020, the Asia Times reported that North Korea's measures against the pandemic seemed largely successful. Edwin Salvador, WHO's representative in North Korea, reported that as of 2 April, 709 people had been tested, with no confirmed cases, and 509 people were in quarantine. On 23 April, US analyst website 38 North reported that North Korea's early and extensive response appeared to be successful in containing the virus.
Some anonymous reports claimed that North Korea was ineffective in curbing the disease, and that an order was enacted to 'spot and shoot', so as to hide the cases being reported nationwide. Rumours also spread that first cases were reported when three soldiers were found infected, and that they were shot to death.
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