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COVID-19

Delhi heads for strict lockdown as COVID cases spike

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(Last Updated On: April 19, 2021)

India’s daily COVID-19 cases jumped by a record 273,810 on Monday as the health system crumbled under the weight of patients, bringing total infections closer to that of the United States, the world’s worst hit country, Reuters reported.

India’s hospitals are struggling with a shortage of hospital beds and oxygen supplies as infections pass the 15 million mark, second only to the United States. The country’s deaths from COVID-19 rose by a record 1,619 to reach a total of 178,769.

Despite soaring infections, politicians continued to hold mass rallies across the country for state elections, Reuters reported.

Social media was flooded with people complaining about the lack of beds, oxygen cylinders and drugs, and citizen groups circulating helpline numbers and volunteering support.

According to Reuters, the Indian capital New Delhi will be under a strict lockdown for six days starting on Monday night, the city’s Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said, adding the healthcare system was at a breaking point because of the worsening COVID-19 outbreak.

The city was also facing acute shortages of hospital beds, medical oxygen supplies and key medicines such as the anti-viral Remdesivir, Kejriwal said.

Reuters also reported that criticism has mounted over how Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration has handled India’s second wave of the pandemic, with religious festivals and election rallies being attended by thousands.

Leaders including Home Minister Amit Shah are set to hold further road shows and public meetings on Monday.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi – who has also addressed election rallies in recent weeks – said on Sunday he was suspending all his public rallies in West Bengal, which is in the middle of polls.

Hong Kong late on Sunday said the Asian financial hub will suspend flights from India, Pakistan and the Philippines from April 20 for two weeks due to imported infections.

As of Monday, India had administered nearly 123.9 million vaccine doses, which is the most in the world after the United States and China, though it ranks much lower in per capita vaccinations.

COVID-19

State Department spokesperson Ned Price tests positive for COVID

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(Last Updated On: September 28, 2021)

U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said he tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday (September 27) after experiencing symptoms and is isolating for 10 days, Reuters reported.

Price had been in close contact last week with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken during his meetings at the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Price announced the positive test result in a Twitter post.

The State Department said U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken had tested negative for COVID-19 after Price had tested positive.

According to the report Price joined more than half a dozen meetings with Blinken last week in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

In a call with reporters, Department deputy spokesperson Jalina Porter said Blinken had tested negative as recently as Monday morning and none of the other members of the traveling party were currently exhibiting symptoms, Reuters said.

Price also spent a good part of last week within the close circle of Blinken, including Deputy Secretary Wendy Sherman and Undersecretary for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland, who have held their own separate meetings with a number of foreign delegations.

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COVID-19

UK records 31,348 new COVID-19 cases, 122 deaths

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(Last Updated On: September 26, 2021)

Britain reported 31,348 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday and 122 more deaths within 28 days of a positive test, official data showed.

The figures compared to 35,623 new cases and 180 deaths reported on Friday.

The cumulative total of global COVID-19 cases increased to more than 226.8 million, with the death toll exceeding 4.66 million as of Friday, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

There had been 226,844,344 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 4,666,334 deaths as of Friday, the WHO’s COVID-19 dashboard revealed.

A total of 5,634,533,040 vaccine doses have been administered worldwide as of Tuesday, the WHO reported.

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COVID-19 sends northern Chinese city into semi-shutdown

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(Last Updated On: September 22, 2021)

China’s northeastern city of Harbin, with a population of 10 million, went into semi-shutdown after reporting new locally transmitted COVID-19 cases for the first time since early February.

Three of 16 new local cases reported in China for September 21 were in Harbin, the provincial capital of Heilongjiang, the National Health Commission (NHC) said on Wednesday. The last reported locally transmitted cases in the city were on February 4.

Harbin on Wednesday vowed to complete an initial round of city-wide testing by Thursday, and told its residents to refrain from stepping outside their homes, unless necessary, before their test results are out.

The city has already told its residents to avoid leaving town unless for essential reasons, and those who do leave must produce proof of negative test results within 48 hours from departure.

Indoors venues such as cinemas, gyms and mah-jong parlours were also shut, and tourist sites were ordered to limit visitor traffic at half of their capacity, state television reported on Tuesday.

The city would also suspend offline classes at all kindergartens, primary schools and high schools for a week from Wednesday, state television said late on Tuesday.

It was unclear if the three new Harbin cases were linked to the current outbreak in the eastern province of Fujian.

According to state television, one of the cases was found when the person went to a local hospital for testing.

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