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COVID-19

India overtakes Russia to become world’s third hardest-hit nation in pandemic

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(Last Updated On: July 6, 2020)

India on Sunday surpassed Russia with the number of COVID-19 cases, to become the country with the third-highest number in the world.

Adding just under 24,000 new Coronavirus cases late Sunday, India’s total is now at 697,836, according to Worldometer data.

In its daily update, India’s health ministry on Sunday reported the record spike in cases and stated that 613 people had died in 24 hours.

India’s count surpassed Russia’s current caseload of 681,251. With this, only the US and Brazil have recorded higher numbers of COVID cases than India.

According to local news reports, this surge in numbers came as infections rose in the western and southern parts of the country amid heavy monsoon rains.

NDTV stated that Maharashtra, the worst-hit state and home to the densely packed financial hub Mumbai, recorded over 7,000 new cases while Tamil Nadu and Delhi recorded more than 4,200 and 2,500 fresh cases respectively.

The surge in cases in India comes despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi has imposed one of the world’s strictest lockdowns in March to control the virus spread.

Authorities have made wearing masks mandatory in public places, while large gatherings are banned and shops and other public establishments are required to implement social distancing.

But epidemiologists have told India’s media that the country’s peak could still be weeks or months away, suggesting the country’s already severely overburdened healthcare system will come under further stress.

COVID-19

New COVID variant detected in South Africa

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(Last Updated On: November 26, 2021)

Britain on Thursday said it was concerned by a newly identified coronavirus variant spreading in South Africa that might make vaccines less effective and imperil efforts to fight the pandemic. Flora Bradley-Watson reports.

The UK on Thursday banned flights from six southern African countries due to a new coronavirus variant spreading there, Reuters reported.

According to the report the new variant, called B.1.1.529, has alarmed global health officials as it appears to be more transmissible and may evade vaccines.

That’s because its spike protein is dramatically different to the one in the original coronavirus that the COVID-19 vaccines are based on.

Britain’s health secretary said it was important to act fast:

“We will be suspending all flights from six southern African countries and we will adding those countries to the travel red list. Those countries are South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini and Zimbabwe and Botswana. And we will be requiring anyone that arrives from those countries from 4am on Sunday to quarantine in hotels.”

“Our scientists are deeply concerned about this variant. I’m concerned, of course, and that’s one of the reasons we’ve taken this action today.”

Earlier on Thursday, South African scientists said they had detected the new COVID-19 variant in small numbers and were working to understand its potential implications.

The variant has also been found in Botswana and Hong Kong, but the UK Health Security Agency said no cases of it had been detected in Britain, read the report.

The World Health Organization is holding an emergency meeting on Friday to discuss the new variant.

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COVID-19

Rotterdam mayor slams violent COVID-19 protests, scores arrested

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(Last Updated On: November 20, 2021)

The mayor of Rotterdam on Saturday condemned “an orgy of violence” at protests against COVID-19 measures in the Dutch port city, in which seven people were wounded and more than 20 arrested.

Crowds of several hundred rioters torched cars, set off fireworks and threw rocks at police during the protests on Friday evening. Police responded with warning shots and water canons, Reuters reporter.

“Police were forced to draw their weapons and even fire direct shots,” Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb told a press conference early on Saturday.

Asked to characterize the event, Aboutaleb said it was “an orgy of violence, I can’t think of another way to describe it.”

Authorities said they had arrested more than 20 people and expected to detain others, as the city centre where the riots took place is extensively monitored by security cameras.

Protestors had gathered to voice opposition to government plans to restrict access to indoor venues to people who have a “corona pass”, showing they have been vaccinated or have already recovered from an infection.

The pass is also available to people who have not been vaccinated, but have proof of a negative test, Reuters reported.

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COVID-19

US COVID-19 cases surpass 46.9 million, death toll exceeds 761,000

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(Last Updated On: November 14, 2021)

The cumulative total of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States exceeded 46.94 million on Friday, with the death toll exceeding 761,000, according to the data released by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.

Specifically, the country’s case count rose to 46,943,681 as of Friday, and its death toll reached 761,402, according to the CSSE tally.

Though a U.S. state with the highest vaccination rate, Vermont is experiencing its worst COVID-19 surge, Reuters reported.

In Vermont, nearly 72 percent of residents are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But at the same time, it has the 12th highest growth rate of new COVID-19 cases in the country over the past week till Tuesday.

Experts suggested that a new round of resurgence could hit the United States as the winter comes and many people tend to ease their restriction measures after getting vaccinated.

As the U.S. faces a shortage of products due to supply chain problems caused by the COVID-19, hospitals in many states including Utah and Texas are calling for public donation of used crutches, walkers and canes.

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