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Photo: Anuwar Hazarika/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Several Asian countries are facing new coronavirus waves, with some struggling to keep up with some of the worst outbreaks since the beginning of the pandemic.

The big picture: While India accounted for half of the global infections this past week, per the World Health Organization, cases are surging in countries such as Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Cambodia, CNN reports.

By the numbers: "The Southeast Asia region reported over 2.7 million new cases and over 25,000 new deaths, a 19% and a 48% increase respectively compared to the previous week," WHO said in a press conference earlier this week.

  • Nepal reported 9,700 new cases on Friday after having less than 500 in mid-April.
  • Sri Lanka reported almost 1,900 cases on Friday, about "five times the daily infections it was reporting in early April," CNN writes, citing government data.
  • While Thailand managed to keep infection numbers low in 2020, the country reported more than 2,000 new cases on Friday, compared to only 26 new cases just a month prior, per data from Johns Hopkins University.
  • Cambodia has been experiencing an outbreak since February. The country reached a total of 18,179 confirmed cases on Friday, and has been experiencing a steady rise since mid-February, when it reported approximately 500, according to JHU.

What they're saying: "We need to act now and we need to act fast to have any hope of containing this human catastrophe," said Alexander Matheou, Asian-Pacific regional director for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

  • "This virus has no respect for borders and these variants are running rampant across Asia."
  • "We must do more to prevent this tragedy unfolding in India and across South Asia. All eyes are on India this week, but we must also consider what we may be facing in the coming weeks and how best to prepare for it."

Go deeper

Updated Aug 16, 2021 - Health

Texas Supreme Court temporarily blocks 2 counties' mask mandates

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (left) and Attorney General Ken Paxton. Photo: Robert Daemmrich Photography Inc./Corbis via Getty Images

The Texas Supreme Court granted an emergency stay to the state's Republican governor, Greg Abbott, over his ban on face mask mandates on Sunday.

Why it matters: The stay overrides lower court rulings in favor of local authorities in the counties of Dallas and Bexar, which includes San Antonio, to temporarily impose mask mandates despite Abbott's May executive order.

Aug 15, 2021 - World

Sri Lanka bans public gatherings amid COVID-19 surge

A Sri Lankan woman reacts as she receives a jab at a vaccination center in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Photo: Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Sri Lanka on Sunday banned all public gatherings and advised people to avoid public spaces amid a worsening COVID-19 situation, AP reports.

Why it matters: The country is struggling to contain a rapid surge of cases as daily infections continue to rise, according to Reuters' tracker.

Updated 6 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies — Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker