Daily Covid cases hit record high globally

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A daily record of more than 893,000 Covid-19 cases has been recorded worldwide, mainly due to a surge of the virus in India, according to an AFP count on Saturday.

The total for cases recorded throughout Friday is based on official figures at 3:30pm IST on Saturday. The previous daily high was some 819,000 cases on January 8. More than a third of the infections occurred in India, which announced 332,730 new cases on Friday and another 346,786 on Saturday, also a record for a single country since the start of the pandemic.

Over the course of a week, more than 5.5 million cases were recorded worldwide.

Other countries trailing India with the most new infections are the US (490,000 cases in one week), Brazil (459,000) and Turkey (404,000).

Nepal royals hospitalised

Nepal’s former King Gyanendra Shah, Queen Komal Shah and their daughter Prerana Shah have been admitted to Norvic International Hospital in Kathmandu at around 1pm local time on Saturday, days after testing positive for Covid-19.

“As per the doctors involved in their treatment, condition of the trio is stable and normal,” the hospital said.

The former royals tested positive for the virus on April 20 soon after their return from India after participating in the Maha Kumbh at Haridwar.

NZ pauses travel bubble

New Zealand on Friday paused arrivals from Western Australia, temporarily excluding the state’s travellers from a quarantine-free bubble between the countries due to a Covid-19 outbreak.

Earlier on Friday, the Perth and Peel regions were sent into a three-day lockdown after Western Australia recorded its first community transmission of the virus in 12 months. New Zealand and Australia had opened their quarantine-free travel bubble on April 18.

US resumes J&J vaccine

Johnson & Johnson Covid vaccinations can restart, US health regulators said on Friday, after the shots’ rollout was paused due to worries over blood clotting. “We have concluded that the known and potential benefits of the Janssen Covid-19 vaccine outweigh its known and potential risks in individuals 18 years of age and older,” said Janet Woodcock, head of Food and Drug Administration in a joint statement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Pfizer to update jab

US pharmaceuticals giant Pfizer is planning a new version of its coronavirus vaccine that can be stored in a standard freezer and comes diluted and ready for use, its CEO told AFP on Friday.

The current version must be stored at minus 70°C, limiting its distribution to specially equipped vaccination centres.

But Pfizer’s chief executive Albert Bourla told AFP in an interview that a new version is in the pipeline and that he was optimistic the vaccine will also prove effective against new virus variants.

Swiss report India strain

A first case of the Covid-19 variant contributing to the exploding outbreak in India has been detected in Switzerland, the public health authority said Saturday.

“The first case of the Indian variant of Covid-19 has been discovered in Switzerland,” Switzerland’s federal office of public health said in a tweet.

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