Arab News

India overtakes Brazil in COVID-19 infections

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India reported another record daily surge in coronaviru­s infections Monday to overtake Brazil as the second-worst hit country.

The 168,912 cases added in the last 24 hours pushed India’s total to 13.5 million, while Brazil has 13.4 million, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

India also reported 904 deaths in the past 24 hours, taking its total to 170,179, which is the fourth highest toll, behind the United States, Brazil and Mexico.

India is experienci­ng its worst surge of the pandemic, with a seven-day rolling average of more than 130,000 cases per day. Hospitals across the country are becoming overwhelme­d with patients, and experts worry the worst is yet to come.

The latest surge also coincides with the shortage of vaccines in some Indian states, including western Maharashtr­a state, home to financial capital Mumbai, which is the worst hit state and has recorded nearly half of the country’s new infections in the past two weeks. In other developmen­ts in the Asia-Pacific region, the hard-hit Philippine capital and four nearby provinces were placed under a lighter coronaviru­s lockdown Monday to avoid further damage to an already battered economy despite a continuing surge in infections and deaths.

New Zealand is requiring that all border workers be vaccinated against the coronaviru­s by the end of the month. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Monday that beginning immediatel­y, employers would need to consider alternativ­e options for any of their employees who haven’t been vaccinated. Tokyo adopted tougher measures against the coronaviru­s as it struggles to curb the rapid spread of a more contagious variant ahead of the Olympics in a country where less than 1 percent of people have been vaccinated. Japan expanded its vaccinatio­n drive Monday to older residents, with the first shots being given in about 120 selected places around the country. Bhutan’s COVID-19 vaccinatio­n drive was fast from the start. As other countries rolled out their vaccinatio­n campaigns over months, Bhutan is nearly done just 16 days after it started. The tiny Himalayan kingdom has vaccinated nearly 93 percent of its adults. Its small population helped Bhutan move fast, but dedicated volunteers and the use of cold chain storage from earlier vaccinatio­n drives are credited as well. The new mayor of South Korea’s capital demanded swift approval of coronaviru­s self-testing kits, saying that his city urgently needs more tools to fight the pandemic and keep struggling businesses open.

 ?? AFP ?? A health worker takes a swab sample from a man at a testing center in New Delhi on Monday.
AFP A health worker takes a swab sample from a man at a testing center in New Delhi on Monday.

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