India reports more than 26,000 new coronavirus cases

India has reported another record one-day spike in coronavirus cases. (AFP)
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Updated 10 July 2020

India reports more than 26,000 new coronavirus cases

  • Some states to reimpose lockdowns in high-risk areas
  • India’s most populous state Uttar Pradesh, with nearly 230 million people, announced a weekend lockdown beginning Friday night

NEW DELHI: India’s is reporting another record one-day spike in coronavirus cases, prompting some states to reimpose lockdowns in high-risk areas.
The 26,506 cases reported Friday bring India’s total to 793,802 infections. The Health Ministry also reported another 475 deaths in the past 24 hours, taking total fatalities up to 21,604.
The ministry said the recovery rate was continuing to improve at more than 60 percent.
The eastern state of Bihar reimposed a full lockdown in the state capital Patna and four other districts for a week beginning Friday to curb a surge in cases.
India’s most populous state Uttar Pradesh, with nearly 230 million people, announced a weekend lockdown beginning Friday night. All private shops and businesses across the state will remain closed except pharmacies and shops selling groceries, milk and produce.


Russia says suspected mercenaries detained by Belarus were going to Latin America

Updated 21 min 58 sec ago

Russia says suspected mercenaries detained by Belarus were going to Latin America

  • Belarusian authorities have said they suspect the men entered their country to plot “acts of terrorism” and destabilize it before an Aug. 9 presidential election
  • Russia has close relations with a number of Latin American countries including Venezuela, and sent dozens of military personnel to Caracas last year

MOSCOW: A Russian diplomat said on Monday a group of more than 30 suspected Russian mercenaries detained in Belarus last week were only passing through Minsk and were on their way to an unnamed Latin American state.
Belarusian authorities have said they suspect the men entered their country to plot “acts of terrorism” and destabilize it before an Aug. 9 presidential election.
Russian officials have dismissed the accusation and described the men as employees of a private security firm. The Russian state says it does not use mercenaries.
The standoff could further strain relations between Minsk and its traditional ally Russia, which soured after the neighbors failed to agree on an oil supply contract for this year.
“Their final destination was one of the states in the Latin American region,” the diplomat, Kirill Pletnyev, was quoted as saying on Monday by the Russian RIA news agency.
Belarus granted Pletnyev consular access to the detained men, RIA added. His quotes did not name the Latin American country or give any more details on the identity of the men.
Russia has close relations with a number of Latin American countries including Venezuela, and sent dozens of military personnel to Caracas last year, describing them as military specialists.
On Friday, Alexander Agafonov, the head of the Belarusian investigative group that is handling the case, said the arrested men — some of whom were wearing army fatigues — had given “contradictory accounts” about their plans.
He was quoted as saying that 11 of the arrested men had told authorities they planned to fly on to Venezuela, 15 to Turkey, two to Cuba and one to Syria. Another said he did not know his destination, while three refused to make a statement.
Belarus leader Alexander Lukashenko, who has said he wants a full explanation from Russia, faces his biggest electoral test in years on Aug. 9 as public anger swells over his handling of COVID-19, the economy and human rights.