Monday, January 17News That Matters

India’s coronavirus cases top global record for two days: Live

People scramble for life-saving oxygen supplies across India as Japan announces third state of emergency for Tokyo.

India has recorded world’s highest infection tally for second day, leaving hospitals across the country scrambling for oxygen supplies.

Meanwhile, France on Friday became the first high-income country to donate COVID-19 vaccines to a developing nation through the United Nations-backed COVAX rollout programme, shipping more than 100,000 doses to Mauritania.

Also on Friday, Japan declared a third state of emergency for Tokyo and three western prefectures.

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world:

39 mins ago (16:02 GMT)

India’s COVID-19 infections top global record for second day

People scrambled for life-saving oxygen supplies across India and patients lay dying outside hospitals as the capital, New Delhi, recorded the equivalent of one death from COVID-19 every five minutes.

For the second day running, the country’s overnight infection total was higher than ever recorded anywhere in the world since the pandemic began last year, at 332,730.

The outbreak’s resurgence has hit with such ferocity that hospitals are running out of oxygen, beds and anti-viral drugs.

Many patients have been turned away because there was no space for them, doctors in Delhi said.

Patients suffering from COVID-19 share a hospital bed in New Delhi [Danish Siddiqui/Reuters]

41 mins ago (16:00 GMT)

France donates COVID vaccines through UN programme

France became the first wealthy country to donate COVID-19 vaccines to a developing nation through a jab mechanism  for low- and middle-income countries, shipping more than 100,000 doses to Mauritania.

Leaders of the COVAX programme hailed the French donation, which was announced by President Emmanuel Macron, and called on other rich countries to follow suit at a time of intense competition for short supplies of vaccines – as coronavirus infection counts are on the rise.

“We generally have the means to accelerate our solidarity by donating vaccines,” Macron told a World Health Organization event, announcing the donation to COVAX. “These AstraZeneca vaccines, as I am speaking to you, on their way to West Africa.”

42 mins ago (15:59 GMT)

Japan issues third virus emergency in Tokyo, Osaka area

Japan declared a third state of emergency for Tokyo and three western prefectures amid skepticism it will be enough to curb a rapid coronavirus resurgence just three months ahead of the Olympics.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced the emergency for Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo from April 25 through May 11.

People wearing protective masks walk on the street in Tokyo [Issei Kato/Reuters]

The step is largely intended to be “short and intensive” to stop people from traveling and spreading the virus during Japan’s “Golden Week” holidays from late April through the first week of May, Suga said.

“I sincerely apologise for causing trouble for many people again,” said Suga, who earlier had pledged to do his utmost to prevent a third emergency. But he said he is alarmed by the fast=spreading new variant of the virus in the four prefectures and tougher steps are needed.

44 mins ago (15:57 GMT)

Austria to permit reopenings in almost all sectors from May 19

Almost all Austrian businesses hit by coronavirus restrictions will be allowed to reopen from May 19, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz announced in Vienna.

“These steps toward reopening are taken under strict hygiene rules, but they will be taken,” Kurz said.

Restaurants, hotels, sports facilities and cultural venues, for example, will be allowed to receive customers again if they can present a negative coronavirus test result.