India COVID cases near 20 million, UK rushes more aid: Live news
With more than 300,000 daily cases reported for nearly two weeks now, India is battling a ferocious second wave of the coronavirus that has overwhelmed its fragile and under-funded healthcare system.
Hospitals have been filled to capacity, medical oxygen supplies have run short and morgues and crematoriums have been swamped.
The eastern state of Odisha and northern industrial state Haryana became the latest to announce new lockdowns, joining New Delhi, Maharashtra, Karnataka and West Bengal.
Here are the latest updates:
3 mins ago (06:47 GMT)
Pfizer in talks with India over expedited approval for COVID vaccine
Pfizer is in discussions with the Indian government seeking an “expedited approval pathway” for its COVID-19 vaccine, its CEO Albert Bourla said on LinkedIn, announcing a donation of medicines worth more than $70m, Reuters reported.
“Unfortunately, our vaccine is not registered in India although our application was submitted months ago,” he said.
“We are currently discussing with the Indian government an expedited approval pathway to make our Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine available for use in the country.”
24 mins ago (06:26 GMT)
Indonesia finds two cases of Indian COVID variant in Jakarta
Indonesia has recorded two cases of a highly infectious COVID-19 variant first identified in India in the capital Jakarta, the country’s health minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said.
“There were two new mutations that entered. One from India, with two incidents in Jakarta and one from South Africa in Bali,” Budi told a virtual conference. Another official confirmed the two cases were the B.1.617 variant, first detected in India.
Indonesia last week stopped issuing visas for foreigners who had been in India in the previous 14 days.
45 mins ago (06:05 GMT)
1 hour ago (05:28 GMT)
Expert calls for ‘national stay at home order’
“In my opinion, only a national stay at home order and declaring medical emergency will help to address the current healthcare needs,” Bhramar Mukherjee, an epidemiologist with the University of Michigan, said on Twitter.
“The # of active cases is accumulating, not just the daily new cases. Even the reported numbers state there are around 3.5M active cases.”
Partial ‘corona curfew’ imposed in Uttar Pradesh extended till 7 am on May 6: ACS Information Navneet Sehgal
At least 11 states and union territories have imposed some form of restrictions to try and stem infections, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is reluctant to impose a national lockdown, concerned about the economic impact.
2 hours ago (04:33 GMT)
Why India’s COVID-19 data is vastly undercounted
As daily case counts soar far beyond what other countries have reported, experts caution the official COVID-19 numbers from the world’s second-most populous country are likely a huge undercount.
But why is India’s data considered inaccurate? Is the data any less accurate than what other nations report? And which numbers give a good indication of the crisis?
Cricket Australia (CA) is making an initial donation of 50,000 Australian dollars ($38,600), matching a donation made by Vice-Captain Pat Cummins last week, as the country’s players union thrown its weight behind a UNICEF Australia fundraising drive to respond to India’s COVID-19 crisis.
“Australians and Indians share a special bond and, for many, our mutual love of cricket is central to that friendship,” CA interim CEO Nick Hockley said in a statement.
“It has been distressing and saddening to learn of the suffering of so many of our Indian sisters and brothers during the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic and our hearts go out to everyone impacted.”
UNICEF Australia’s India COVID-19 Crisis Appeal is procuring and installing oxygen equipment in hospitals to treat seriously ill patients, providing testing equipment and “supporting acceleration of the COVID-19 vaccination roll-out”, the charity said.
3 hours ago (04:15 GMT)
India reports 368,147 new COVID-19 infections
India has reported more than 300,000 new coronavirus cases for a 12th straight day, taking its overall caseload to just shy of 20 million, while deaths from COVID-19 rose by 3,417.
With 368,147 new cases over the past 24 hours, India’s total coronavirus infections now stand at 19.93 million, while its total fatalities are now at 218,959, according to health ministry data.
3 hours ago (04:10 GMT)
UK to send 1,000 more ventilators to India
Britain is rushing to dispatch a further 1,000 ventilators to India to help its struggling healthcare system deal with a surge in coronavirus infections which is killing thousands every day.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised “the UK will always be there for India” as he committed fresh assistance, including advice from NHS staff and health experts Professor Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance.
Johnson made the pledge ahead of a call with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on Tuesday, arranged to replace a visit to New Delhi which was cancelled as cases spiralled.
The 1,000 ventilators from the UK’s surplus supply are in addition to 200 sent last week, in shipments that also included nearly 500 oxygen concentrators.
3 hours ago (04:10 GMT)
India industry body urges curbs to economic activity
The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), a leading Indian industry body, has urged authorities to take the “strongest national steps” and to curtail economic activity to save lives as the country battles surging coronavirus cases.
Billionaire Uday Kotak, managing director of Kotak Mahindra Bank and CII president, said a “maximal response measure at the highest level is called for to cut the transmission links”, as building healthcare infrastructure will take time.
“At this critical juncture when toll of lives is rising, CII urges the strongest national steps including curtailing economic activity to reduce suffering,” Kotak said in a statement.
Concerned about the economic effect of shutting down the economy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is reluctant to impose a national lockdown. At least 11 states and federal territories have imposed some form of restrictions.
The Indian Express newspaper reported on Sunday that the country’s COVID-19 task force has advised the federal government to impose a national lockdown.