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COVID-19

India’s coronavirus infections cross 18 million

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(Last Updated On: April 29, 2021)

India’s total COVID-19 cases passed 18 million on Thursday after another world record daily infection and death tally and as the government rejected reports of problems with its vaccine campaign, Reuters reported.

India reported 379,257 new COVID-19 cases and 3,645 new deaths on Thursday, according to health ministry data. It was the deadliest day so far for any country hit by the pandemic.

India’s best hope to curb its second deadly wave of COVID-19 was to vaccinate its vast population, said experts, and on Wednesday it opened registrations for everyone above the age of 18 to be given jabs from Saturday.

But the country, which is one of the world’s biggest producer of vaccines, does not have the stocks for the estimated 600 million people becoming eligible.

Many people who tried to sign up said they failed, complaining on social media that they could not get a slot or they simply could not get online to register as the website repeatedly crashed, Reuters reported.

“Statistics indicate that far from crashing or performing slowly, the system is performing without any glitches,” the government said in a statement late on Wednesday.

The government said more than eight million people had registered for the vaccinations, but it was not immediately clear how many had got slots.

About nine percent of India’s population have received one dose since the vaccination campaign began in January with health workers and then the elderly.

The second wave of infections has overwhelmed hospitals and crematoriums and prompted an increasingly urgent response from allies overseas sending equipment, Reuters reported.

“India’s COVID outbreak is a humanitarian crisis,” U.S. Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren said on Twitter.

Delhi is reporting one death from COVID-19 every four minutes and ambulances have been taking the bodies of COVID-19 victims to makeshift crematorium facilities in parks and parking lots, where bodies are burned on rows and rows of funeral pyres.

The U.S. State Department issued a travel advisory warning on Wednesday against travel to India because of the pandemic and approved the voluntary departure of family members of U.S. government employees in India.

Reuters reported that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been criticised for allowing massive political rallies and religious festivals which have been super spreader events in recent weeks.

More than 8.4 million eligible voters are set to vote on Thursday in the last phase of an eight-part election in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal, even as the state witnesses a record rise in coronavirus cases.

“The people of this country are entitled to a full and honest account of what led more than a billion people into a catastrophe,” Vikram Patel, The Pershing Square Professor of Global Health in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School said in The Hindu newspaper.

COVID-19

Universities to reopen once students and staff have been vaccinated

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(Last Updated On: July 24, 2021)

The Afghan government announced Saturday that the ministries of public health, higher education and education have agreed that class-based lectures for university and college students will gradually resume over the next two weeks.

The Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE) said that the first step will see all students and teaching staff get COVID-19 vaccines before classes resume.

“Class-based lessons will restart gradually at all institutions registered with the MoHE,” said Hamid Obaidi, spokesman for the MoHE adding that classes will first resume in provinces that have a low coronavirus infection rate.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education said that school examinations will start during this solar month.

According to the ministry, a decision has yet to be made on resuming classroom lessons for school students.

“The examination process will take time because we want to hold exams in many shifts to avoid large gatherings,” said Najiba Arian, a spokeswoman for the MoE.

The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) said that the impact of people having travelled around the country over Eid al-Adha will also determine the COVID-19 situation within the next week.

This comes after the MoPH reported 32 deaths as a result of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours across Afghanistan.

The MoPH said 203 new infections were registered in the mentioned time.

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COVID-19

Olympics-Athlete COVID-19 infections rise in Tokyo

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(Last Updated On: July 18, 2021)

Tokyo Olympics organisers on Sunday reported three new cases of COVID-19 infection among athletes, up from one new case a day earlier, as the population of the athlete’s village swells ahead of the start of the pandemic-hit Games next week.

Organisers reported 10 new cases connected to the Olympics including media, contractors and other personnel, down from 15 on Saturday.

An International Olympic Committee member from South Korea tested positive for the coronavirus on landing in Tokyo. Ryu Seung-min, a former Olympic athlete, is vaccinated, reflecting the infection risk even from vaccinated attendees.

Infection rates are climbing among the general population of the capital, topping 1,000 new cases for four consecutive days. Polls show many Japanese oppose holding the Games with the influx of overseas visitors it entails.

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COVID-19

First COVID case found at athletes’ village, stoking fears ahead of Olympics

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(Last Updated On: July 17, 2021)

Tokyo Olympics organisers said on Saturday a person has tested positive for COVID-19 at the athletes’ village, the first case at a site where most competitors will be staying, raising new doubts over promises of a “safe and secure” Games.

The organisers confirmed that a visitor from abroad who is involved in organising the Games had tested positive during a routine test on Friday, Reuters reported.

The person’s nationality was not revealed due to privacy concerns.

The Summer Olympics are taking place from 23 July to 8 August 2021.

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