NEW DELHI (AP) – India on Monday reported another record rise in coronavirus infections to overtake Brazil as the second worst-hit country.
In the last 24 hours, 168,912 cases have been reported, bringing India to 13.5 million and Brazil to 13.4 million, according to data from Hopkins University.
India reported 904 deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 170,179, the fourth-highest death toll in the United States, after Brazil and Mexico.
India is experiencing its worst epidemic growth, with a seven-day moving average of more than 130,000 cases per day. Hospitals across the country are overwhelmed with patients, and experts worry that the worst is yet to come.
The latest wave also coincides with a shortage of vaccines in some Indian states, including West Maharashtra, where Mumbai is the worst-hit financial capital, with nearly half of the country’s new infections over the past two weeks.
In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region.
– The Philippine capital և and four neighboring states were blocked by a lighter coronavirus on Monday to avoid further damage to the already hit economy, despite a continuing rise in infections and deaths. Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the metropolitan areas of Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal, a region of more than 25 million people, would remain under more quarantine until the end of a two-week blockade by the end of April. “Our new strategy is to increase our in-bed capacity instead of shutting down the economy,” said Roken, who spoke on television during a televised address at a Manila hospital after signing a contract with COVID-19, like many members of the government. The Philippines has long been a hotbed of coronavirus in Southeast Asia, with an estimated 865,000 infections and nearly 15,000 deaths.
– New Zealand demands that all border guards be vaccinated against coronavirus by the end of the month. Prime Minister Jac Assinda Arder said on Monday that employers should immediately consider alternatives to any of their employees who have not been vaccinated. This could mean that these employees are reassigned to out-of-bounds roles or fired. Ardern had previously set April as the deadline for vaccinating frontline workers, but on Monday it was even stronger after three quarantine workers caught the virus. New Zealand has eliminated the spread of the virus within the community, so returning travelers who can detect COVID-19 abroad are considered the most vulnerable.
– Tokyo has taken tougher measures against the coronavirus as it struggles to curb the spread of a more contagious version before the Olympics in a country where less than 1% of people have been vaccinated. Japan Aponia on Monday expanded its vaccination drive among the elderly, with the first shootings taking place in about 120 selected locations across the country. COVID-19’s stricter rules allow the governor of Tokyo to open shorter working hours for bars and restaurants, punish violators and compensate those who do so. Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike urged residents to be careful while vaccinations are in the early stages.
– The disc of the Bhutanese COVID-19 vaccine was fast from the start. As other countries spread their vaccination campaigns for months, Bhutan almost ended just 16 days after its launch. The Lesser Himalayan kingdom vaccinated almost 93% of its adults. Its small population helped Bhutan move quickly, but they are dedicated to volunteering to store cold chain from earlier vaccine carriers. Bhutan has released the footage to coincide with the auspicious dates of Buddhist astrology, with the first shot being fired by a woman born in the year of the monkey.
– The new mayor of the South Korean capital has demanded that the coronavirus self-review package be approved immediately, saying his city urgently needs more tools to fight the epidemic and keep its struggling business open. Oh Se-hoon spoke on Monday as Seoul և adjacent capitals closed hostess bars, nightclubs և other high-risk entertainment venues to slow down broadcasts. Similar operations were stopped in the southern port city of Busan. The Korea’s Disease Control and Prevention Agency says 350 of the country’s 587 new cases are in greater Seoul. Kwon Jun un-wook, director of South Korea’s National Institutes of Health, said earlier this month that authorities were reviewing whether to approve rapid home tests. However, the review is slow; some experts say that such tests will do more harm than good because they are less accurate than standard laboratory tests.