India opens its vaccination campaign on Saturday to all of its some 600 million adults despite shortages and in the midst of the epidemic, with a new record of more than 400,000 coronavirus infections in 24 hours.
On the front line of the pandemic with Brazil, India on Saturday recorded 401,993 new infections over the last 24 hours, a world first, announced the Ministry of Health. In April alone, India, a country of 1.3 billion people, detected around seven million new infections.
Some 3,523 deaths were recorded on Saturday over the past day, bringing the total to 211,853 deaths. Many experts believe, however, that the actual figures are much higher due to insufficient testing and inaccurate registration of the cause of death.
Even before its launch, India’s massive immunization program already appears to be in jeopardy.
Several states, including Maharashtra and New Delhi – among the most affected – have warned they are running out of vaccines and the campaign’s expanded rollout is threatened by administrative squabbles, price confusion and technical issues on the government’s digital immunization platform.
– “So huge files” –
So far, around 150 million vaccines have been administered, or 11.5% of the population, and just 25 million people have received their two injections.
“The lines here are so huge,” said Jayanti Vasant, at a busy vaccination center in Mumbai, “and people keep fighting.”
International medical aid, announced by more than 40 countries, started arriving this week in India, where hospitals are sorely lacking in beds, oxygen and medicine.
At least 16 Covid-19 patients and two nurses died on Saturday in the fire at Bharuch hospital, in the western state of Gujarat, a new episode of fire in hospitals overwhelmed by the epidemic.
On Saturday, a plane carrying equipment will be loaded at the French airport at Roissy, and a US military device, carrying more than 400 oxygen cylinders and a million tests for the coronavirus, landed in New Delhi on Friday. Further supplies from many countries are expected in the coming days.
The upsurge in contamination in this country is fueling the spread of the epidemic throughout the planet, where more than 150 million people have been infected, including nearly six million in one week, according to an AFP count on Friday. .
In total, the pandemic causes more than 800,000 new infections per day on average in the world, a number which has more than doubled since mid-February.
– Pope’s prayers –
Brazil, where vaccination has still not taken off, recorded 2,595 new deaths from Covid-19 on Friday, bringing the total for April to 82,266, the second consecutive monthly record since the start of the pandemic, according to figures from the Ministry of health.
In total, the country of 212 million inhabitants deplores 403,781 dead, making it the second most bereaved country in the world in absolute numbers behind the United States (more than 575,000 dead).
Ecuador, one of the most affected Latin American countries, also ended April with a monthly record of contagions with more than 53,000 new cases. And in Argentina, the night curfew was extended Friday for three weeks in Buenos Aires and its suburbs due to the increase in contamination.
As Pope Francis begins a series of prayers on Saturday for the end of the pandemic, Europe and the United States hope to leave it behind by the summer, against the backdrop of accelerating vaccination.
One hundred million people are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 in the United States, the American health authorities announced on Friday, welcoming the crossing of a “major step”.
California’s Disneyland theme parks reopened to the public on Friday, and New York City plans to “fully reopen” on July 1.
Some European countries are easing restrictions on their side, hoping to revive their economies weighed down by health measures. GDP fell in the first quarter by 1.7% in Germany, 0.4% in Italy, 0.5% in Spain, and 3.3% in Portugal which reopens its border with Spain on Saturday and begins the fourth and last phase of its deconfinement started in mid-March.
Poland also begins Saturday, with the authorization of part of the sports activities, the gradual lifting by the end of May of its restrictions. Same thing in Ukraine, where shopping centers, restaurants and sports halls reopen their doors, before the reopening of schools on Wednesday.
– Emergency approval –
On the other hand, Cape Verde announced on Friday new restrictions on bars, restaurants and sports activities, to stem the rise in cases in this West African archipelago dependent on tourism.
In Russia, ten public holidays have been declared by President Vladimir Putin to fight the virus from May 1 to 10. The statistics agency announced Friday that 23,715 people positive for Covid-19 had died in the country, including 17,457 directly from this disease, the authorities however reporting a drop in mortality due to the coronavirus.
The World Health Organization for its part granted emergency approval for the Covid-19 vaccine from the American laboratory Moderna on Friday, the fifth to benefit from such validation from the UN health agency.
This procedure helps countries that do not have the means to determine on their own the efficacy and safety of a drug to have faster access to therapies and will allow the Covax system, set up by the WHO with partners to distribute vaccines in disadvantaged nations, consider having additional vaccines.
burx-cac / am / ybl