Covid-19: India records it higest cases in months

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Mr Bulu, 34, who has been an international referee since 2019, fell to the playing turf after showing signs of unease.

He was subsequently stretchered off and was taken to a local hospital in Abidjan.Initially appointed as the fourth official, Mr Bulu ended up overseeing the qualifier after his compatriot, who had been scheduled to officiate the match, reportedly tested positive for Covid-19.

India, officially the Republic of India, is a country in South Asia. It is the second-most populous country, the seventh-largest country by land area, and the most populous democracy in the world. Scientists are scrambling to figure out which parts of the population are now most affected. 

Last summer, a survey of serologic tests in Mumbai found that 57% of the city’s slum-dwellers had antibodies suggesting prior exposure to the coronavirus. But in wealthier areas, the percentage of people with antibodies was much lower. 

As infections surged, India on Thursday also widened its inoculation programme to include people above the age of 45 as the world’s second most populous country aims to immunise 400 million people after expanding the programme.

The drive, launched in January, so far was restricted to front-line workers, the elderly and those suffering from other health conditions, unlike some richer countries that have made all their adults eligible to get inoculated.

Anxious people lined up early at New Delhi’s Max hospital to get shots of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine produced by the Serum Institute of India, the world’s biggest maker of vaccines.

“We have been saying from the beginning, everywhere and on social media, that please open up the vaccination programme, let everyone get it and be free from tension,” said Madhav Singh Rathore, 53, a salesman at a clothes store, who sat among a line of people waiting to get the injection.

Health Minister Harsh Vardhan tweeted that there would be no vaccine shortage in the country as it opens up the vaccination programme.

“Centre to continually replenish states’ supplies,” he said on Twitter. “Avoid overstocking and understocking.”

Adding to the pressure on the government, the daily rise in cases has quadrupled in the space of a month as most of India has reopened for business and travel curbs have been lifted.

“The situation is going from bad to worse” VK Paul, the top COVID-19 adviser to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said this week.

Despite the second wave of infections, hundreds of Hindu devotes on Thursday gathered on the banks of the river Ganges in the northern town of Haridwar to take a holy dip on the first day of a month-long Kumbh Mela, or the pitcher festival.

“Mother Ganga will protect us and destroy all the negative impact of COVID-19 in the world. However, we should be cautious and take precautions,” said Sunanda, a devotee.

Local authorities have said anyone coming from the 12 states where cases are rising will have to produce a negative COVID-19 test before being allowed to bathe in the river.

India has already decided to delay big vaccine exports for now, including to the World Health Organization-backed global vaccine alliance, COVAX.

India has so far injected 64 million doses in its population but exported nearly as many ones. This has drawn criticism at home as India’s per-capita vaccination figure is much lower than many countries.

The country is currently using the AstraZeneca vaccine and a shot developed at home by Bharat Biotech, which is struggling to step up supplies. India’s drug regulator is soon expected to approve Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine.

SOURCE: NEWS AGENCIES

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