What you need to know about the coronavirus right now


What you need to know about the coronavirus right now
A man with a breathing problem receives oxygen support for free inside his car at a Gurudwara (Sikh temple). PHOTO / REUTERS

Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:

Indian hospitals swamped

India’s new coronavirus infections hit a record peak for a fifth day on Monday, as countries including Britain, Germany and the United States pledged to send urgent medical aid to help battle the crisis overwhelming its hospitals.

Infections in the last 24 hours rose to 352,991, with overcrowded hospitals in Delhi and elsewhere turning away patients after running out of supplies of medical oxygen and beds.

India’s government will not import COVID-19 vaccines itself but expects states and companies to do so, two government officials told Reuters, a decision that may slow acquisitions of shots.

Thailand starts stricter shutdown

Thailand’s government slapped restrictions on travel from India on Monday and closed more venues in Bangkok, even as it came under fire for not doing enough to contain a spike in infections.

The government has ordered parks, gyms, cinemas and day-care centers in its capital, the epicenter of the latest wave of infections, to shut from April 26 until May 9.

It has also introduced a 20,000 baht ($635) fine for not wearing masks in public.

Turkey eyes tighter lockdown

Turkey’s cabinet will discuss adopting a tighter lockdown on Monday as President Tayyip Erdogan tries to prevent a second lost year of tourism revenues, officials said.

After the last cabinet meeting two weeks ago, as coronavirus cases surged, Erdogan reined in social activities and travel.

Total daily cases then peaked above 63,000 on April 16 before dropping sharply to below 39,000 on Sunday.

Moderna vaccine to be reviewed for WHO emergency listing

Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine will be reviewed on April 30 by technical experts for possible WHO emergency-use listing, a World Health Organization spokesman told Reuters.

A decision on the U.S. drugmaker’s vaccine, now being evaluated under the abridged procedure on the basis of prior review by the European Medicines Agency, is expected in one to four days after that.

So far vaccines made by Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson have received WHO approval, which is a signal to national regulatory authorities on a product’s safety and efficacy.

Israel examining heart inflammation cases

Israel’s Health Ministry said on Sunday it is examining a small number of cases of heart inflammation in people who had received Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, though it has not yet drawn any conclusions.

Pfizer said it has not observed a higher rate of the condition than would normally be expected in the general population.

Israel’s pandemic response coordinator, Nachman Ash, said that a preliminary study showed “tens of incidents” of myocarditis occurring among more than 5 million vaccinated people, primarily after the second dose.

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