India sees record rise in Covid cases | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 08, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:16 AM, April 08, 2021

India sees record rise in Covid cases

States impose new restrictions despite record-setting vaccination campaign

  • Biden says all adult Americans eligible for Covid vaccine by April 19

  • Who chief slams 'travesty' as some nations yet to begin vaccination

  • Restriction on exports forces Serum Institute to seek Indian govt funds

 

India yesterday reported a record 115,736 new coronavirus cases as world grappled with new surge in infections amid a shortage of vaccines which WHO called a 'travesty'.

Experts blame India's fresh wave on people ignoring guidelines and attending huge religious and political and public events.

India has now recorded 12.8 million cases, the third-highest behind the United States and Brazil, although those nations have much smaller populations.

Maharashtra, the worst-hit state and home to megacity Mumbai, has imposed a night curfew and weekend lockdowns are due to begin from tomorrow evening.

New Delhi imposed night curfews from Tuesday, and yesterday, Gujarat in western India extended after-dark restrictions to 20 cities and banned large social and political gatherings.

The northern state of Punjab yesterday ordered a ban on political gatherings and extended a night curfew to the whole state while capping numbers at indoor funerals and weddings to 50 guests and 100 for outdoors.

The government has so far shied away from reimposing a nationwide lockdown after a shutdown in March 2020 -- one of the world's toughest -- caused widespread human and economic misery.

Meanwhile, India yesterday claimed it has overtaken the United States to become the fastest Covid-19 vaccinating country with an average daily rate of 30,93,861 vaccine doses, reported our New Delhi correspondent.

The pandemic has now killed more than 2.8 million people worldwide.

Amid all these dark and gloom, President Joe Biden on Tuesday announced that all adults across America will be eligible for Covid-19 vaccines within two weeks.

In stark contrast, many other countries in Europe are lagging behind in vaccination and have been forced to reimpose deeply unpopular shutdowns to battle stubbornly high caseloads. One problem in Europe has been a wave of concern over the safety of the AstraZeneca vaccine and its reported links to blood clots.

Meanwhile, restrictions on exporting its Covid vaccines have left India's Serum Institute needing financial help from the government, its CEO said.

India last month put the brakes on exports of AstraZeneca jabs made by the institute. The company now requires additional funding of 30 billion rupees ($408 million) to ramp up capacity and has asked the government for financial help, he added.

Meanwhile, the head of the World Health Organization said on Tuesday slammed the mismanagement in vaccine distribution.

"Scaling up production and equitable distribution remains the major barrier to ending the acute stage of the Covid-19 pandemic," Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference.

"It's a travesty that in some countries health workers and those at-risk groups remain completely unvaccinated."   

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