COVID roundup: India’s record cases, no masks in Israel

Record cases being reported across the world but some good news from Australia and Israel.

The vaccination campaigns are speeding up but rising cases have forced new lockdowns and restrictions around the world [Georgi Licovski/EPA]

Globally, more than three million people have now died from the coronavirus.

The number of lives lost, as compiled by Johns Hopkins University, is about equal to the population of Kyiv (Ukraine), Caracas (Venezuela) or Lisbon (Portugal). It is higher than Chicago’s population of 2.7 million and equivalent to Philadelphia and Dallas combined.

The vaccination campaigns are speeding up but rising cases have forced new lockdowns and restrictions around the world.

India’s record cases, again

India recorded a new high of more than 261,000 daily coronavirus cases on Sunday.

Statistics by the Health Ministry revealed that 261,500 cases were registered in the past 24 hours, which pushed the total to 14.7 million. There were 1,500 deaths, taking the number of fatalities to 177,150.

Capital New Delhi has recorded 24,000 coronavirus cases in a day and is facing an acute shortage of hospital beds.

Iran sees highest daily death toll in months as virus surges

Iran’s daily coronavirus death toll climbed over 400 for the first time in months on Sunday, as the country, which has long had the region’s largest outbreak, battles a post-holiday infection surge.

Iranian health authorities recorded 405 fatalities from the virus, pushing the total death toll to 66,732. Officials increasingly have warned about the impact of trends seen nationwide during the Persian New Year, or Nowruz.

The two-week holiday last month brought increased travel, relaxed restrictions and large gatherings without precautions.

Brazil’s record daily deaths

Brazil recorded 67,636 additional confirmed cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours, along with 2,929 deaths.

Brazil has registered more than 13.9 million cases since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to 371,678, the second-highest in the world behind the United States.

France’s quarantine measures

France will enforce a strict 10-day quarantine for all travellers coming from Brazil starting April 24 in a bid to prevent the spread of a coronavirus variant first found in the South American country.

France decided this week to suspend all flights to and from Brazil. The measure will be extended until April 23. Starting April 24, only people residing in France or holding a French or European Union passport will be allowed to fly to the country.

The same measures will also gradually be put in place by April 24 for people returning from Argentina, Chile and South Africa, where other coronavirus variants were detected.

Turkey reports high number of cases again

Turkey reported 62,606 new coronavirus cases in the space of 24 hours, close to its highest daily tally, and 288 deaths.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday announced several new restrictions and a partial lockdown for the first two weeks of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan to curb the surge in cases.

Turkey’s overall death from COVID-19 stands at 35,608, from more than 4.2 million confirmed cases.

Pakistan reports highest cases, deaths since June 2020

Pakistan saw a new record of daily infections and deaths as a third wave of COVID-19 continues to batter the South Asian nation.

Some 6,127 new infections and 149 deaths were recorded over the past 24 hours, the highest numbers since June 2020.

The nationwide death toll has reached 16,243, whereas the total caseload is 756,285.

Cambodia uses wedding halls for COVID patients as cases surge

Cambodia began setting up thousands of hospital beds in two wedding party halls on Sunday to cope with an influx of COVID-19 patients in a country that up until recently had largely managed to contain infections.

Cambodia also reported a daily record 618 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, its health ministry said, in a spike in infections following an outbreak first detected in late February.

The new numbers took the overall tally to 6,389. Cambodia until recently had one of the world’s lowest numbers of infections. It has reported 43 deaths, all in the past two months.

Australia in no hurry to reopen borders

Australia is in no hurry to reopen its international borders and risk the country’s nearly coronavirus-free lifestyle, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Sunday.

Australia closed its borders to all non-citizens and non-residents in March 2020 and has been permitting only limited international arrivals in recent months, mainly its citizens returning from abroad.

The border closure, together with snap lockdowns, swift contact tracking and high community compliance with health measures, have made Australia one of the world’s most successful countries in curbing the pandemic, limiting coronavirus cases to below 29,500 infections and 910 deaths.

Israel scraps mask requirement

Israel has dropped the requirement to wear masks outdoors and fully reopened schools for the first time in more than a year. Most of the country’s population has been vaccinated against COVID-19.

Masks are required to be worn in public places indoors. The government said masks continue to be worn outdoors as well in large gatherings.

All students – from daycare to 12th grade – will return to regular in-person classes on Sunday.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies