Xinhua Asia-Pacific news summary at 0600 GMT, July 22

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NEW DELHI -- India's federal health ministry Wednesday morning said 648 new deaths due to COVID-19, besides fresh 37,724 positive cases, were reported during the past 24 hours across the country, taking the number of deaths to 28,732 and total cases to 1,192,915.

"As on 8:00 a.m. (local time) Wednesday, 28,732 deaths related to novel coronavirus have been recorded in the country," reads information released by the ministry.(India-COVID-19)

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WELLINGTON -- New Zealand Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway was removed from office on Wednesday after his improper relationship with a staffer was tipped off by a third party.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told a press conference that she dismissed Lees-Galloway as a minister.(New Zealand-Minister)

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MANILA -- The Philippines has released a total of 21,858 inmates as part of its efforts to decongest the country's crowded jails and prevent the contamination of COVID-19 among prisoners, Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Ano said on Wednesday.

Ano said the 21,858 so-called persons deprived of liberty were released from March 17 to July 13 from 470 jail facilities across the country supervised by the Bureau of Jail and Management and Penology (BJMP).(Philippines-COVID-19-Prisoners)

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KATHMANDU -- The Nepali government has decided to formally end the nearly four-month lockdown, allowing almost all economic activities to operate as the country witnesses declining number of new COVID-19 cases in recent days, a senior cabinet minister said.

A cabinet meeting has decided to end the lockdown from Tuesday mid-night, Yubaraj Khatiwada, Nepali government's spokesperson and the minister for finance and communication, said at a regular press meet on Tuesday.(Nepal-Lockdown)

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ISLAMABAD -- At least 20 people were killed and several others injured on Tuesday in different rain-related incidents in Pakistan's eastern Punjab province as the country witnessed torrential monsoon spell, local media reported.

According to the reports, the majority of the deceased lost their lives due to roof collapse incidents caused by heavy rains which continued for hours in different areas of the province.(Pakistan-Rain-Deaths) Enditem

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