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April 19, 2021

International update: Global Covid deaths exceed 3 million in worst week of pandemic

By Paul Dennis

19 April

Global: The global Covid death toll has passed the grim tally of 3 million with a figure of 3,019,330 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. Meanwhile, infections exceed 141 million world wide.

More people around the world were diagnosed with the coronavirus during the past seven days than any other week since the virus emerged, topping 5.2 million globally, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The worst outbreaks are gaining speed in many countries that are ill-equipped to cope. The data also showed a 12% increase in cases from a week earlier, throwing doubt on hopes that the end of the pandemic is in sight.

US: Covid -19 infections have passed 31.6 million. Meanwhile, the US coronavirus death toll is 567,217 according to Johns Hopkins University data.

The US is “in somewhat of a precarious position” with a seven-day average of more than 60,000 new Covid-19 infections per day, though vaccinations will bring the number down, Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, said on ABC’s “This Week.”

Turkey: Turkey recorded a further 318 deaths from Covid-19 in the space of a day, its highest daily total so far, data from the Health Ministry showed on Sunday, as well as 55,802 new infections.

India: More hospital beds will be freed for Covid-19 patients, India’s health ministry said Sunday, as states appealed for additional supplies of oxygen and treatment drugs amid a worsening wave of infections gripping the country.

UK: The UK recorded 10 further deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid-19 test on Sunday, the lowest death toll since September, as well as 1,882 new infections.

A “huge” backlog of patients in English hospitals caused by the coronavirus pandemic could take up to five years to clear, NHS Providers has said. Around 4.7 million people were waiting to start treatment at the end of February – the highest figure since records began in August 2007 – according to data from NHS England.

Thailand: Thailand reported 1,390 new infections on Monday, taking the nation’s total infections to 43,742. A flareup in cases from an outbreak which began at the start of April has infected a total of 14,851 people, according to Apisamai Srirangsan, a spokeswoman for the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration. Thailand also reported three new deaths, which took total fatalities to 104.

Vaccine news

US: Half of all adults in the US have received at least one Covid-19 shot, the government announced Sunday, while nearly one third of all adults (32.5%) have been fully vaccinated. Meanwhile, Dr Anthony Fauci expects the use of Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine to be resumed in the US after it was temporarily suspended.

Italy: Italy has held discussions with Moderna, Novartis and ReiThera about domestic production of mRNA-based shots, the Financial Times reported, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter. Novartis, ReiThera, Moderna and CureVac declined to comment to the newspaper.

Philippines: The Philippines will resume the use of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccines on individuals under 60 years old. The Southeast Asian nation’s Department of Health will issue new guidelines on the vaccine’s use, Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said at a virtual forum.

Japan: Japan is considering an exception that would allow dentists to administer Covid vaccines in places where enough doctors and nurses aren’t available, according to the Yomiuri newspaper. Meanwhile, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said Sunday evening that had she instructed officials to consider a state of emergency as an option to contain the virus, public broadcaster NHK reported. “The number of confirmed virus cases is on a rising trend and it should be considered with a sense of speed,” Koike said.

UK: People who have fought off Covid will be reinfected in a first-of-its-kind trial at the University of Oxford, potentially illumating how to develop more effective vaccines against the virus. Researchers are looking for 64 healthy, previously-infected volunteers aged 18 to 30 year to be studied under controlled, quarantined conditions for at least 17 days, the university said. They’ll be infected with the original strain from Wuhan and followed for a year.

Lockdown updates

Canada: Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau said on Sunday he would send federal healthcare workers to help Toronto and the province of Ontario battle a third wave of infections that has forced shutdowns of schools and businesses.

Saudi Arabia: Muslims hoping to perform the Umra pilgrimage to Mecca must be vaccinated against coronavirus, Saudi state TV said on Sunday.

Japan: Osaka Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura said the Japanese prefecture would make a request to the central government on Monday to declare a state of emergency over the virus.

Argentina: Schools will continue with in-person attendance after a local court decision ruled against a presidential decree that called for virtual learning, Buenos Aires City mayor Horacio Rodriguez Larreta said on Sunday night. In-person school attendance in the Latin American country’s capital was set for suspension for two weeks starting Monday.

Antipodes: Australia and New Zealand kicked off their first quarantine-free flights since the pandemic began, after they each successfully halted the spread of the virus. The flights reflect “a world-leading arrangement that opens up travel while aiming to keep Covid-19 out of the community,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Ardern said in a statement. Travelers between the two nations had been previously required to quarantine for at least two weeks upon arrival.

Hong Kong: Hong Kong will ban flights from India, Pakistan and the Philippines for 14 days starting 20 April, the government said in a statement Sunday. A circuit breaker arrangement is triggered for each of the countries as there had been five or more arrivals with the N501Y mutant coronavirus strain within seven days, the government said. Under the mechanism the three countries will be designated as “extremely high-risk.” Neighboring Macau will also require visitors who have been in India, Pakistan and the Philippines in the past 28 days to quarantine for 28 days upon arrival, according to a government statement on Sunday.

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