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May 10, 2021updated 25 Mar 2022 7:48am

International update: Deadly fungal infection adds to India’s Covid woes

By Paul Dennis

10 May

Global: The global Covid death toll is still rising with a figure of 3,293,355 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. Meanwhile, infections have passed 158 million world wide.

US: US Covid -19 infections have passed 32.7 million. Meanwhile, the US coronavirus death toll is 581,754 according to Johns Hopkins University data.

The share of US hospital beds occupied by Covid-19 patients fell to 5.37%, the lowest since 5 October, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

Chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci says there’s “no doubt” the United States, which has reported the world’s worst overall Covid-19 death toll, has been undercounting fatal cases.

India: India added 366,161 more cases Monday, lower than the 400,000-odd numbers it reported Sunday. Numbers on Monday typically tend to be lower than usual because of a dip in testing across the country during the weekend. The data tends to rebound starting Wednesday. India also reported 3,754 deaths Monday, taking the total death toll in the country to 246,116.

Coronavirus is causing the spread of a deadly fungal infection called mucormycosis across the western state of Maharashtra, the Times of India reported. Hospitals in Mumbai, which are treating dozens of such patients, are facing a shortage of anti-fungal medicines. The infection can also lead to blindness. The fungal infection usually sets in two to three weeks after treatment for Covid and was mostly found in patients who already suffer from diabetes and then got affected by Covid-19.

Singapore: Singapore will test thousands of people for Covid-19 as the number of infections unlinked to current virus clusters continued to rise over the weekend. An additional ten Covid-19 cases were reported by the country’s health ministry late on Sunday. Separately, four individuals are connected to an earlier cluster at Changi Airport and three are related to the cluster at Tan Tock Seng Hospital.

Japan: The International Olympic Committee is making arrangements for President Thomas Bach to travel to Japan in June, FNN reported, without saying where it got the information. Bach’s visit scheduled for May 17 has been canceled as a result of the extension of a state emergency covering Tokyo and other areas where the coronavirus outbreak is spreading.

Vietnam: Vietnam’s Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh warned the nation could face political instability if the current coronavirus outbreak spreads nationwide, according to a post on the government’s website. Vietnam reported 78 new domestic virus patients this morning, and 411 since the latest outbreak began on 27 April. Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City have shut most schools. In both the capital and Ho Chi Minh City, cinemas, gyms and spas have been shuttered. Other areas of the nation have put in place similar restrictions.

Brazil: A maskless President Jair Bolsonaro led a Mother’s Day motorcycle parade on Sunday as Brazil added almost 39,000 Covid-19 cases. Deaths increased by 1,024 to 422,340 in the latest daily count, according to Health Ministry data.

Vaccine news

EU: The European Union has not yet renewed its contract for the supply AstraZeneca vaccines beyond June and is not certain it will, the bloc’s internal market commissioner Thierry Breton said, a day after a new contract with Pfizer is announced.

US: Los Angeles will offer appointment-free vaccinations at all sites starting Monday, Mayor Eric Garcetti said, in an effort to “knock down barriers to vaccine access.” The city is expecting to administer more than a quarter million shots for a second straight week.

China: Shanghai Fosun said on Sunday it will set up a 50:50 joint venture with BioNTech to produce mRNA Covid-19 vaccine in China. Both companies have committed up to $100 million investment through cash, production facilities and technologies. Fosun will set up a production facility capable of making 1 billion doses of the vaccine, according to the company’s filing to the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

UK: More than a third of the United Kingdom’s adult population is now fully vaccinated against Covid-19, and two-thirds of adults have received a first shot. The UK has now administered more than 53 million doses of coronavirus vaccines. The success of the vaccine rollout, coupled with strict lockdown measures that are now being eased, has led to a plunge in new cases and deaths. Health authorities on Sunday reported just two daily deaths from the virus in all of the UK.

Brazil: The health ministry will begin distributing 1.12 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine on Monday. The latest batch brings Brazil’s distribution to about 75.4 million doses and more than 46.8 million shots administered.

Iran: President Hassan Rouhani said some 13 million people in Iran, about 15% of the population, will be vaccinated against the coronavirus by 22 July, as the country tries to combat the Middle East’s worst outbreak. Rouhani said he expects all people in high-risk groups to receive at least their first dose by that date, the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency reported, adding that two domestically developed shots will be ready for mass use by June.

Lockdown updates

UK: The British prime minister, Boris Johnson, is to set out a timetable on Monday for lifting coronavirus restrictions in England. He’s expected to say friends and family will be able to hug and mix indoors from next week, while cinemas and museums can reopen. It comes despite growing concerns over the spread of the India coronavirus variant.

Spain: People broke out in spontaneous celebration at midnight, after a national state of emergency that included curfews from 11 pm to 6 am in most of Spain ended at midnight. In the capital of Madrid alone, the police intervened in more than 450 incidents, the Associated Press reported, as hundreds of people, mostly youth, took to the main plazas and streets in several large cities. “Freedom doesn’t involve holding booze parties in the street because street drinking is not allowed in the city of Madrid,” Mayor José Luis Martínez-Almeida said Sunday. Restrictions were eased on restaurants, travel between regions, and on social gatherings.

China: China will set up a “separation line” on the peak of Mount Everest to avoid possible Covid-19 infections by climbers from virus-hit Nepal, state media reported, after dozens were taken ill from the summit’s base camp.

India: Members of India’s opposition have called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi to order a national lockdown as the country’s official death toll to date hits 238,270.

Taiwan: China Airlines will temporarily reduce cargo flights to deal with pilot shortage after one-sixth of its pilots got sidelined due to quarantine measures, the Central News Agency reported. The airline will cut its cargo flights globally and half of its cargo flight services to the US, Apple Daily reported on Saturday, without saying where it got the information. Around 200 pilots are unable to fly as a precaution after 12 pilots were confirmed to have Covid-19 since 20 April.

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