India’s health ministry said Sunday that it recorded 93,249 new coronavirus cases in the previous 24-hour period, the highest daily tally this year in the South Asian nation.
Mumbai, India’s financial capital and the capital of Maharashtra state, is now under stringent lockdown measures. Half of the country’s new cases of the virus have been recorded in that state.
Nawab Malik, a minister in the state government, told reporters that a nightly curfew from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. local time would be imposed starting Monday. Shopping malls, cinemas, bars, restaurants and places of worship will close starting Monday evening. A complete lockdown will go into effect on weekends.
Only two nations have more confirmed cases than India, which currently has more than 12.4 million infections, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. The United States has 30.7 million cases, while Brazil has close to 13 million infections.
India Confirms More Than 80,000 New Daily COVID Cases
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Millions of people worldwide were under new lockdown restrictions during the Easter weekend, because of infections that have surged despite the continued rollout of vaccination campaigns.
Italy imposed a strict three-day nationwide lockdown Saturday, preventing large gatherings in St. Peter’s Square for the second year in a row.
New lockdown measures took effect Sunday in France, where a fast-spreading coronavirus variant first found in Britain has filled intensive care units. Restrictions were also imposed recently in Belgium and other European countries.
Across the Atlantic, the Canadian province of Ontario entered its third lockdown, with limited 28-day restrictions, on Saturday as more dangerous variants spread and hospitalizations increased. New restrictions were also imposed in British Columbia and Quebec.
Brazil is experiencing one of the worst outbreaks as a more contagious variant first detected in that country spreads, alarming other Latin American countries.
While Bolivia has closed its border with Brazil, Chile has sealed all its borders, and Ecuador and Peru have gone into lockdown.
As vaccination initiatives to help contain the spread of the infection struggle to keep pace with infections, the U.S. on Friday announced that it became the first nation to fully vaccinate 100 million people. The announcement came just more than a week after the administration of President Joe Biden reached its goal of administering 100 million single shots.
Cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, however, remain on the rise in some regions of the United States.
“I plead with you. Don’t give back the progress we’ve all fought so hard to achieve,” Biden said Friday. “We need every American to buckle down and keep their guard up in this homestretch.”
Last week, Biden also said, “At least 90% of all adults in this country will be eligible to be vaccinated by April the 19th, just three weeks from now, because we have the vaccines. For the vast, vast majority of adults, you won’t have to wait until May 1st.”
Compared with the U.S., European nations are struggling to get vaccination programs up to speed.
The World Health Organization said only 10% of Europe’s population have received one vaccine dose, and just 4% have received two doses. One reason for the lag among European nations is their reliance on the AstraZeneca vaccine.
US Puts J&J In Charge of Plant that Botched COVID Vaccine, Removes AstraZeneca
The United States has put Johnson and Johnson in charge of a plant that ruined 15 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine and has stopped British drugmaker AstraZeneca Plc from using the facility, a senior health official says
Although there have been reports of blood clotting in some people who have received the shot, the drug maker rejects this assertion and has found no evidence connecting the vaccine with blood clots. Nevertheless, Canada, France, Germany and the Netherlands allow the use of the vaccine only in older people.
Britain’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency urged people Friday to continue taking the AstraZeneca vaccine, saying it was unsure if it was causing the clots while acknowledging that seven of the 30 recipients who developed clots in the country had died. More than 18 million doses of the vaccine have been administered.
Britain is reliant on the AstraZeneca vaccine, developed at the University of Oxford, to inoculate about 46% of its population. It also uses the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. In Britain, new coronavirus infections are hovering around 3,400 a day, and on Saturday, it recorded 10 coronavirus-related deaths, the lowest daily number since September.
In France, four people died of blood clots after receiving the AstraZeneca shot. The family of a 38-year-old woman has filed a criminal complaint seeking a manslaughter investigation.
Meanwhile, the U.S. contract plant that mixed the ingredients of two vaccines is under new management. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has placed pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson in charge of the Emergent BioSolutions facility in Baltimore, Maryland, where the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be produced.
It was recently revealed that workers at the facility had accidentally used ingredients from both Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca when manufacturing a large batch of vaccines. The mistake was discovered, however, before the vaccines were shipped.
The AstraZenca shot has not yet been approved for use in the U.S., but the U.S. has entered into agreements to ship millions of the AstraZeneca vaccines to Canada and Mexico.