With the death of six more people in floods and mudslides in northeastern India's Assam state, the death toll has been climbed to 77 till Tuesday.
According to officials, two weeks of heavy rains caused one of Asia's largest rivers to overflow.
The Brahmaputra River continued to wreak havoc, displacing more than 2 million people, the officials said.
Vast tracts were still underwater with 26 of the state’s 33 districts badly affected.
M.S. Mannivanan, head of the State Disaster Management Authority, said rescue and relief operations were underway.
“We have 40 teams of the State Disaster Response Force in the worst-hit areas and the army also is on standby,” Mannivanan said.
The Brahmaputra River, which flows through Tibet, India and Bangladesh, burst its banks in Assam late last month, inundating large swathes of the state and triggering mudslides.
“The situation is grim, although the Brahmaputra's waters have receded slightly today with the intensity of rains coming down a bit,” Manninanan said.
Thousands of people were taking shelter Tuesday on a raised river embankment after being displaced from their submerged homes in central Assam’s Morigaon district.
“Our villages and all nearby villages have been under chest-deep water for about a week now,” said Nilima Khatun, who was clutching her 2-year-old child. “We are passing days in misery with no relief coming our way from the government.”
The floods also inundated most of Kaziranga National Park, home to rare one-horned rhinos, authorities said.
In the Pabitora wildlife sanctuary, 35 kilometers (21 miles) east of the state capital, Gauhati, an entire one-horned rhino population of over a hundred were taking shelter in artificially built highlands.
“The entire park is submerged with the rhinos moving to the highlands for shelter," park ranger Mukul Tamuly said by phone.
Annual monsoon rains hit the region in June-September. The rains are crucial for rain-fed crops planted during the season but often cause extensive damage.
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Currently, there is no adequate evidence of the transmission of COVID-19 from pregnant women infected with the virus to their fetuses, a Chinese medical expert has said.
The severity of the illness of pregnant COVID-19 patients is similar to that of other patients and the disease is not more likely to develop into serious cases for pregnant women, said Zhao Yangyu, head of the obstetrics department of the Peking University Third Hospital.
"According to researchers from home and abroad, the conditions of expectant mothers who have recovered from the disease are generally good, and there is no proof of the necessity to terminate the pregnancy," Zhao said.
With the current normal treatment and methods on pregnant patients, the fetuses are safe, she added.
Melita Vujnovic, the representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) to Russia, has said that the novel coronavirus could have existed in a dormant state long before its outbreak in late December last year.
"WHO has established a large team that will work together with Chinese scientists to analyse the origin of the virus," Vujnovic said in a recent interview with RIA Novosti news agency.
"This virus lived in animals and at some point passed to humans. It's hard to say when and where this happened. It's being investigated. Viruses can be found in waste water. But nothing can be said specifically," she said, reports Xinhua.
The novel coronavirus has existed worldwide and broke out whenever and wherever favourable conditions occurred rather than starting in China, Tom Jefferson, senior associate tutor at the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine at Oxford and a visiting professor at Newcastle University, said earlier this month.
Spanish virologists have discovered traces of the novel coronavirus in a sample of Barcelona waste water collected in March 2019, nine months prior to the virus outbreak in China.
According to the Italian National Institute of Health, samples of sewage water from Milan and Turin showed traces of the novel coronavirus on December 18, long before the country's first confirmed cases.
Vujnovic said that scientists are studying these samples and if there is any "revolutionary result," the WHO will immediately announce it.
The official funeral for Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon will be held online this week over coronavirus concerns, his funeral committee said Sunday.
The announcement comes amid a heated social debate over how big a funeral should be arranged for Park, who was found dead on Friday.
He reportedly had been involved in sexual harassment allegations.
Lawmaker Park Hong-keun, who works for the interim funeral committee, told reporters that the online funeral will be held inside Seoul City Hall on Monday morning. He said the committee aimed to support a government-led anti-virus campaign and hold a “humble” funeral.
The lawmaker said about 100 people, including the bereaved family, are expected to attend the funeral, which will be broadcast live on YouTube. He said the funeral will include silent tributes, the laying of florals, video featuring the mayor and commemorative speeches.
Park Hong-keun said that as of 1 a.m. Sunday, around 18,000 people had paid their respects to the mayor at two mourning sites in Seoul, one at a hospital and the other at a plaza near City Hall. About 922,000 people had condoled the mayor’s death at a city-run online mourning site as of Sunday afternoon.
While the death has caused an outpouring of sympathy, many South Koreans have demanded that authorities investigate the reported allegations against Park and voiced opposition to a large-scale funeral paid for with taxpayer money.
A petition filed with the presidential office opposing such a funeral had garnered more than 535,000 signatures as of Sunday afternoon. “Holding a quiet, family funeral should be proper,” the petition says.
Seoul city officials said Monday's online funeral would be an official event paid for with city funds.
Police said there was no sign of homicide when Park's body was discovered. But they’ve refused to disclose the exact cause of his death. Seoul officials said Friday that what they described as Park’s “will” was found at his residence.
Police launched massive searches for Park, 64, on Thursday, after his daughter had called police and reported her father missing. While the searches were underway, South Korean media reported that one of Park’s secretaries had lodged a complaint with police on Wednesday over alleged sexual harassment.
Police later confirmed that a complaint against Park had been filed but refused to provide further details, including whether the complaint was about sexual behavior.
Taiwan held various public events after keeping its coronavirus outbreak to a few hundred cases and wrapped up an annual film festival with an awards ceremony Saturday night.
Actors and others lined up for photo shoots with no social distancing, and participants didn’t wear masks in historic Zhongshan Hall in Taipei.
Taiwan, with a population of about 23 million people, has had 451 confirmed cases and seven deaths.
A baseball game in the city of Taichung on Saturday drew more than 10,000 fans for the first time this season, the official Central News Agency said.
Health authorities said last month that fans would be allowed to sit in alternate seats and no longer would have to wear masks, except when leaving their seats. Authorities have been gradually allowing larger crowds since play began in April with no fans.
The horror film “Detention,” set during martial law in Taiwan in the 1960s, was the biggest winner at the Taipei Film Festival, taking six awards including the Grand Prize and Best Actress for 22-year-old Gingle Wang.
Chang Jung-chi, the Best Director winner for “We Are Champions,” said the virus outbreak had forced him to slow down his work. “This comes to me like a friend patting my shoulder and saying, ‘Hang in there,’ ” he said.