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COVID-19

‘Monumental tragedy of epic proportions unfolding across India’

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(Last Updated On: April 20, 2021)

India reported 1,761 deaths from COVID-19 overnight, its highest daily toll, with large parts of the country now under lockdown, Reuters reported.

This comes as the country battles a second wave that has left people fighting for hospital beds, oxygen and medicines.

The world’s second most populous country is grappling with its biggest public health emergency after it lowered its guard when coronavirus infections fell to a multi-month low in February, health experts and officials say.

On Tuesday, the health ministry reported 259,170 new infections, the world’s highest daily rate. It has reported daily infections above the 200,000 mark for six days.

Total coronavirus cases in India are now at 15.32 million, second only to the United States.

Reuters reported that Delhi, the capital city which has seen a surge in cases, began a six-day lockdown late on Monday that officials hope will slow the virus transmission and relieve the pressure on the health infrastructure.

People in Delhi and in towns of Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, put out desperate calls for help on Twitter, asking for assistance getting their families into hospitals. Others reported dire shortage of oxygen and the anti-viral drug Remdesivir.

“(A) monumental tragedy of epic proportions is unfolding across India. No hospital beds, no oxygen, no vaccination,” said Manish Tewari, an opposition lawmaker, on Twitter.

India has lost 180,530 people to the disease, still quite a distance from the 567,538 deaths reported in the United States. But experts have warned that the official death toll does not reflect ground reality and that it could sharply rise as doctors struggle to cope with the pressure, Reuters reported.

“The huge pressure on hospitals and the health system right now will mean that a good number who would have recovered had they been able to access hospital services may die simply because of this,” said Gautam I. Menon, a professor at Ashoka University.

Several major cities are already reporting far larger numbers of cremations and burials under coronavirus protocols than official COVID-19 death tolls, according to crematorium and cemetery workers, the media and a review of government data. read more

Reuters Bhramar Mukherjee, a professor of biostatistics and epidemiology at the University of Michigan, said many parts of India were in “data denial”.

“Everything is so muddy,” she said. “It feels like nobody understands the situation very clearly, and that’s very irksome.”

Stung by criticism that the government had failed its people, Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered vaccinations on Monday for anyone above the age of 18 to be given from May 1.

So far, 108.5 million people have received a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to a government portal, a small portion of India’s 1.3 billion population.

Reuters also reported the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Protection has said all travel should be avoided to the country, while Britain said it will add India to its travel “red-list”.

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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