COVID roundup: India’s rising cases and a ‘travel bubble’

India continues reporting more than 200,000 daily cases, but Australia and New Zealand open quarantine-free ‘travel bubble’.

Passengers arrive from New Zealand after the New Zelanad-Australia 'travel bubble' opened overnight, at Sydney Airport [Reuters]

India has reported yet another record rise in COVID-19 cases, as hospitals across the country struggle with a shortage of beds and oxygen supplies.

The numbers of new infections and deaths continue to increase worldwide too.

Globally, more than 141.4 million coronavirus cases have been reported since the start of the pandemic with more than three million deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

India’s cases rise by record 273,810

India reported a record rise in coronavirus infections of 273,810, taking its overall caseload past 15 million, second only to the United States.

Maharashtra is the worst-affected state, with data showing more than 68,000 new infections there in the past 24 hours. The country’s deaths from COVID-19 rose by a record 1,619 to reach a total of 178,769, according to health ministry data.

India has been reporting daily cases in excess of 200,000 for the last four days.

Australia-New Zealand ‘travel bubble’

Hundreds of passengers from Australia began arriving at New Zealand airports after authorities reopened borders, a pandemic milestone that allows quarantine-free travel between the countries for the first time in more than a year.

Though most Australian states have allowed quarantine-free visits from New Zealand residents since late last year, New Zealand had enforced isolation for arrivals from its neighbour, citing concerns about sporadic virus outbreaks there.

Half of US adults have been vaccinated: data

Half of all adults in the United States have received at least one COVID-19 shot, according to the government, marking another milestone in the nation’s largest-ever vaccination campaign.

Almost 130 million people 18 or older have received at least one dose of a vaccine, or 50.4 percent of the total adult population, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Sunday. Almost 84 million adults, or about 32.5 percent of the population, have been fully vaccinated.

Brazil’s record daily deaths

Brazil recorded 42,980 additional confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the past 24 hours, along with 1,657 deaths, the highest since the pandemic began.

Brazil has registered more than 13.9 million cases since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to 373,335.

Hong Kong bans flights from three countries

Hong Kong will suspend flights from India, Pakistan and the Philippines from April 20 for two weeks after the N501Y mutant COVID-19 strain was detected in the Asian financial hub for the first time.

The three countries would be classified as “extremely high risk” after there had been multiple imported cases carrying the strain into Hong Kong in the past 14 days, the government said.

New state of emergency expected in parts of Japan

A recent surge in COVID-19 cases could see many parts of Japan slide back into states of emergency with authorities in Tokyo and Osaka looking at renewed curbs to stop the spread.

The new wave of infections complicates preparations for the Tokyo Olympics which are due to start in July having already been postponed due to the global coronavirus outbreak last year.

This month, Japan put Osaka, Tokyo and eight other prefectures under “quasi-states of emergency” but those measures have done little to reverse the trend so far, with Osaka reporting a record 1,220 cases on Sunday.

Source: Al Jazeera