The pace of new COVID-19 cases in India hit a new daily world record today, topping 300,000 for the seventh day in a row as its daily deaths topped 3,000 for the first time.
The worst surge of the pandemic has prompted an outpouring of international assistance as more help arrived.
Scale-up includes more remdesivir
India’s health ministry reported 362,757 new cases today, along with 3,285 more deaths. Some experts say the case numbers are likely an undercount, owing to a drop in testing, according to Reuters.
Ventilators and oxygen concentrators from the United Kingdom arrived in New Delhi, where a train hauling 70 tons of oxygen arrived from eastern India. Yesterday, the maker of remdesivir, Gilead Sciences, announced that it took steps to scale up the production of the drug in India and will donate at least 450,000 doses.
The United States is among the countries that has announced urgent assistance for India, and Indian government sources told Reuters that they expect to receive the biggest portion of the 60 million AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine doses that the United States is donating to the global fight against the virus.
Last week, Doctors Without Borders announced it had restarted its emergency response in India, which targets case identification, management, and prevention efforts in Mumbai. Part of the nonprofit’s work involves working with people who have tuberculosis and drug-resistant tuberculosis, some of whom have COVID-19 coinfections.
Also, MSF has expanded its efforts at health centers in overcrowded areas of Mumbai, where living conditions contribute to the spread of the virus, and it is taking steps to staff two units at a Mumbai hospital that will add 1,000 intensive care unit beds.
Neighboring nations also battle rising cases
Other countries in the region are also battling COVID spikes. Amid worries over oxygen supply, Pakistan’s two most populous provinces yesterday announced bans on elective surgeries to preserve oxygen supplies for COVID-19 patients, according to Fintech Zoom.
Pakistan yesterday asked its military to help enforce COVID-19 measures, and the country’s president told the nation that he hopes to avoid a lockdown, but may have no choice.
Nepal’s cases are also climbing, with Kathmandu as one of the country’s hot spot, according to a separate Fintech Zoom report.
At least three cities in Nepal have ordered lockdowns to slow the spread of the virus.
More global headlines
- Turkey’s government yesterday announced a nationwide lockdown that will begin Apr 29 and last until May 17, according to Reuters. The country’s cases have declined over the past 2 weeks but are still among the world’s worst per capita.
- In vaccine developments, Brazil’s regulators rejected Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine due to lack of data on safety, effectiveness, and quality, though Russia has pushed back on the country’s assessment. And Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis said it is scaling up production capacity to make COVID-19 vaccine for Germany-based CureVac, which has developed an mRNA vaccine.
- Brazil’s senate has launched an investigation into President Jair Bolsonaro’s response to COVID-19, following months of the country’s leader downplaying the threat and promoting untested treatments, according to The Guardian. Brazil, where cases recently stabilized at a high level, is among the world’s worst-hit countries.
- Canada is sending its army and Red Cross to help with Ontario’s surge in COVID hospitalizations, Reuters reported.
- The global total today topped 148 million cases, rising to 148,160,752, and 3,125,773 people have died from their infections, according to the Johns Hopkins online dashboard.