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May 5, 2021

International update: India’s Covid crisis predicted to worsen – deaths forecast to pass 1 million by July

By Paul Dennis

5 May

Global: The global Covid death toll is still rising past 3 million with a figure of 3,227,887 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. Meanwhile, infections have passed 154 million world wide.

US: US Covid -19 infections have passed 32.5 million. Meanwhile, the US coronavirus death toll is 578,499 according to Johns Hopkins University data

Brazil: Brazil’s former health minister told a parliamentary inquiry on Tuesday that president Jair Bolsonaro’s government knew full well that the treatment they were advocating for Covid-19 patients had no scientific basis, Reuters reports. Luiz Henrique Mandetta, who was sacked last April by Bolsonaro for not agreeing to push the malaria drug chloroquine as a Covid-19 treatment, testified before a parliamentary inquiry into the handling of the pandemic that has killed more than 408,000 Brazilians.

India: The coronavirus wave that plunged India into the world’s biggest health crisis has the potential to worsen in the coming weeks, with some research models projecting that the death toll could more than double from current levels. A team at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore used a mathematical model to predict about 404,000 deaths will occur by 11 June if current trends continue. A model from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington forecast 1,018,879 deaths by the end of July.

India added 382,315 virus cases in a day, according to government data. Deaths rose by 3,780 in a day.

UK: Surge testing is not being carried out in England for coronavirus variants first detected in India, despite the government claiming it would be deployed, the Guardian has learned.

France: The number of daily new Covid-19 infections in France slowed again on Tuesday, continuing a three-week trend, with the week-on-week increase in cases below 3% for the third day in a row.

Australia: New South Wales state has recorded a new Covid-19 case in a man who lives in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, according to a statement from NSW Health. Urgent investigations into the source of the infection and contact tracing are underway. It’s understood the man in his 50s has not travelled overseas recently and doesn’t work in a hotel quarantine, border or health role, according to the statement.

Vaccine news

US: The White House says US president Joe Biden is setting a new vaccination goal to deliver at least one dose to 70% of adult Americans by 4 July. Biden said if the Food and Drug Administration authorizes Pfizer Inc.’s vaccine for use in children as young as 12, as anticipated, 20,000 pharmacies across the country are prepared to give them shots. As of now, 56% of US adults, or 145 million, have received at least one dose and almost 41%, or about 105 million, are fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

UK: The UK’s prime minister Boris Johnson and US secretary of state Antony Blinken agreed on the need for a global rollout of Covid-19 vaccines to end the pandemic, Downing Street said on Tuesday after the pair met in London.

UAE: Dubai permitted 17 private healthcare facilities to administer the Pfizer-BioNTech and Sinopharm vaccines. It will be in addition to state-run vaccination centers, and all the shots will continue to be provided free of cost.

Philippines: The Philippines has approved Moderna Inc.’s coronavirus vaccine for emergency use, the Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday. Moderna recently signed a deal with the Philippine government and private sector to supply 20 million doses of its Covid-19 vaccines.

Lockdown updates

Australia: Australia’s deputy prime minister Michael McCormack says “nobody’s going to be jailed” for trying to return to Australia from India, continuing the federal government’s walk-back of their hardline travel ban.

India: India’s main opposition party called for a full national lockdown as the country passed more than 20 million Covid-19 infections, BBC reported. There has been a “virtual collapse of health services” and a lockdown is needed to “break the chain”, a spokesman for the Congress party said, according to the British broadcaster. The prime minister is resisting the move due to the economic impact.

Seychelles: Seychelles, which has fully vaccinated more of its population than any other country, has closed schools and canceled sporting activities for two weeks as infections surge. The measures, which include bans on the intermingling of households and the early closure of bars, come even as the country has fully vaccinated more than 60% of its adult population with two doses of coronavirus vaccines. The curbs are similar to those last imposed at the end of 2020.

Canada: Canada’s pandemic-era policy of turning back asylum-seekers trying to enter between official border crossings is unlawful and violates their rights, a legal action filed on Tuesday alleges.

Argentina: Argentina’s Supreme Court has overruled president Alberto Fernandez’s decree to close Buenos Aires schools amid a surge in Covid cases.

Germany: A German “jab to freedom” bill that would from this weekend lift social-distancing rules, testing requirements and curfews for people who have been fully vaccinated, has been criticised for discriminating against young people still months from getting their first dose.

Poland: People travelling to Poland from Brazil, India and South Africa will have to quarantine, the country’s health minister said.

Hong Kong: Hong Kong’s government will send residents from a total of 260 units at two buildings on Hong Kong Island to 21-day mandatory quarantine after two domestic workers living there have tested positive for Covid-19 involving the N501Y mutant strain, according to a government statement Wednesday.

Vietnam: Vietnam has ordered a strict border control after lengthening the quarantine period as it traces the recent flare up in coronavirus cases to overseas travelers.

Singapore: Singapore’s government said it’s assessing any potential changes to a planned travel bubble with Hong Kong after a flareup of Covid-19 infections triggered fresh restrictions in the city-state. Meanwhile, In a setback to one of the world’s most successful virus containment regimes, Singapore is limiting social gatherings to a maximum of five people from eight, and boosting its traveler quarantine to try and contain large clusters of a more infectious virus strain.

Malaysia: Malaysia tightened restrictions on movements in six districts in Selangor, the country’s richest state, in a bid to contain a rise in virus infections there.

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