Homeland Security

India Reports Record 273,810 Daily COVID Cases

By VOA News April 19, 2021

India's health ministry Monday announced a record 273,810 new COVID cases in the previous 24-hour period while officials in the capital, New Delhi, announced a weeklong lockdown.

The infections reported Monday are the most the country has seen in a single day since the pandemic began.

About 1 in 3 people tested for COVID-19 in New Delhi recently returned a positive result, according to the city's chief minister Sunday.

"The bigger worry is that in last 24 hours, positivity rate has increased to around 30% from 24%," Arvind Kejriwal, chief minister of Delhi, told a news briefing Sunday.

"The cases are rising very rapidly. The beds are filling fast," he said.

People in Delhi have turned to social media to complain about the lack of oxygen canisters and the shortages of hospital beds and drugs.

With more than 15 million total infections, India is second to the United States, which has recorded 31.6 million cases.

Former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, 88, was hospitalized Monday in New Delhi after testing positive for COVID-19.

Just more than 1% of India's population has been vaccinated, according to Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

Indian officials announced Monday that everyone 18 or older will be eligible to receive a vaccine beginning May 1.

Greta Thunberg

In other developments Monday, global climate change activist Greta Thunberg said it was unethical for rich countries to vaccinate their younger citizens before vulnerable groups in developing countries receive inoculations.

"Vaccine nationalism is what is running the vaccine distribution," Thunberg said from Sweden during a virtual press briefing by the World Health Organization in Geneva.

WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, "We have the tools to bring this pandemic under control in a matter of months if we apply them consistently and equitably."

In Turkey, deaths from COVID-19 reached a new daily high of 341. The country began Monday making COVID-19 vaccines available for all people 55 and older.

Also Monday, pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and BioNTech said they would provide 100 million more doses of their coronavirus vaccine to the European Union this year. The extra doses bring the total doses promised by Pfizer and BioNTech to the EU to 600 million in 2021.

In Iran

On Sunday, Iran reported its highest daily death toll from the coronavirus in months, as hospitals in the capital and elsewhere were filling to capacity.

Iran's health ministry reported 405 deaths from the virus and confirmed more than 21,000 infections Sunday.

Iran's vaccination campaign has been slow and dependent on a range of domestically made vaccines. About one-tenth of 1% of its population has been fully vaccinated, according to Johns Hopkins.

Vaccine numbers

Meanwhile Sunday, Israel lifted the requirement that masks be worn outdoors. Nearly 56% of its population is fully vaccinated against the virus, according to Johns Hopkins.

The United States reported Sunday that just over half of its adult population has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The United States halted use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine while it investigates rare incidents of blood clots, but Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, said he expects use of the shot to resume within a week.

"I doubt very seriously if they just cancel it. I don't think that's going to happen. I do think that there will likely be some sort of warning or restriction or risk assessment," Fauci said on NBC's Meet the Press.

There have been more than 3 million global deaths from the coronavirus.

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