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Red Cross:COVID Cases Exploding in Asia05/12 06:18


   KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) -- Coronavirus cases are exploding in Asia and 
the Pacific with over 5.9 million new confirmed infections in the past two 
weeks, more than in all other regions combined, the International Federation of 
the Red Cross said Wednesday.

   It warned that the surge is pushing hospitals and health systems to the 
brink of collapse.

   Seven out of 10 countries globally that are doubling their infection numbers 
the fastest are in Asia and the Pacific, it said. Laos took just 12 days to see 
its cases double, and the number of confirmed infections in India has doubled 
in under two months to more than 23 million, the Red Cross said in a statement.

   It said Oxford University's Our World in Data reported more than 5.9 million 
new COVID-19 infections in Asia and the Pacific during the two weeks. Official 
figures for much of the region are widely believed to be undercounts.

   "COVID-19 is exploding across much of Asia, overwhelming hospitals and 
healthcare. More people have been diagnosed with the disease in Asia over the 
past two weeks than in the Americas, Europe, and Africa combined," Red Cross 
Asia Pacific director Alexander Matheou said.

   "Right now, we need global solidarity for regional support with more medical 
equipment, support for prevention and urgent access to vaccines," he said.

   While vaccination campaigns are underway in the region, the Red Cross said 
they are hampered by shortages, hesitancy and the costly logistics of reaching 
many areas across the region.

   "To bring this pandemic under control, we need greater global cooperation so 
that lifesaving resources, medical equipment, vaccines and money get where they 
are needed to help people most at risk. We're only safe when everyone is safe," 
it said.

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