India Strain Found in China, Israel; German Record: Coronavirus Update
China and Israel have identified cases of the so-called Indian variant of the virus among people returning to the country.
China and Israel have identified cases of the so-called Indian variant of the virus among people returning to the country. The new variant is thought to be fueling India's deadlier new wave of cases that has made it the world's second worst-hit country.
Virus restrictions are set be loosened in Hungary and Ireland, while Germany said it has probably contained a third wave, even if it's too early to sound the all-clear. Singapore's daily case rate climbed to the highest in more than nine months and Thailand increased quarantine periods for visitors.
The U.S. government told its citizens to leave India, which reported a record number of daily infections and deaths Thursday. The country has confirmed 18.4 million cases and more than 204,000 deaths.
• Global Tracker: Cases top 149 million; deaths exceed 3.15 million
• Vaccine Tracker: More than 1.08 billion doses have been given
• Virus sends Modi from 'Vocal to Local' to relying on global aid
• Federal Courts Respond to Covid-19: Live Map
• China's post-Covid travel frenzy may break record this labor day
• For EU's East, vaccine persuasion proves toughest in Romania
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Germany Gave a Record 1.1 Million Doses (7:19 a.m. NY)
The new peak was reached yesterday and 25.9% of Germans have now received one dose, Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn said. About 7.5% of Germans have received two doses, he said.
Germany Has 'Checked Third Wave' (6:14 a.m. NY)
Germany has managed to check a third wave of the virus, but it's too early to sound the all-clear, according to the president of the country's public-health institute.
"The case numbers are still too high, especially among the under 60s, where they are even increasing," RKI President Lothar Wieler said. "The pandemic is unfortunately not over and it won't be under control until it's under control in every part of the world."
Singapore Cases at Nine-Month High (6:09 a.m. NY)
Singapore's daily number of cases climbed to the highest in more than nine months, with a cluster formed in one of the biggest hospitals in the country and another from a worker at Changi Airport. There were 16 new cases of coronavirus in the local community.
While the numbers are low compared to the rest of Asia, Singapore has been discovering new clusters as well as virus cases in a foreign worker dormitory that has raised concerns of a resurgence
Hungary Plans to Reopen Hotels This Weekend (5:42 p.m. HK)
Hungary plans to further ease virus curbs this weekend after 4 million citizens will have received at least one dose of the vaccine, Cabinet Minister Gergely Gulyas said.
The government expects to reach the 4 million mark on Friday, triggering the opening of hotels, movie theaters, indoor spaces of restaurants as well as zoos, baths and museums. Only those with certificates proving that they've received a vaccine or have recovered from the virus will be able to frequent these places.
India Variant Reaches China and Israel (5:30 p.m. HK)
China has detected new Covid-19 variants circulating in India among its imported cases, Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said in a briefing in Beijing.
In Israel, the Health Ministry reported 41 cases of the strain, more than half of whom were people returning from abroad. Israel is in the process of approving new travel restrictions to high-risk countries, the ministry said.
Thailand Increases Quarantine for Visitors (5:12 p.m. HK)
Thailand will increase a mandatory quarantine period for visitors to two weeks. All visitors, most of which were earlier required to quarantine for 10 days, will undergo the longer isolation from May 1. Dine-in services at restaurants in Bangkok and five other regions deemed at high risk of infections were also banned.
China Delivers Oxygen Devices to India (4:17 p.m. HK)
China's first shipment of oxygen concentrators has arrived in India, Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said, while pledging to continue supporting the heavily-hit country as it fights the virus.
BioNTech Set for Wider Shot Use in EU (3:10 p.m. HK)
BioNTech expects to get approval from the EU to use its vaccine on young teens as early as June, according to an interview by CEO Ugur Sahin to Der Spiegel. The approval request for use in teens aged 12 years and over is expected to be made on May 5.
Ireland to Ease Restrictions Further (3:12 p.m. HK)
Ireland is set to ease restrictions further, allowing stores to run click-and-collect services and construction to fully restart from May. Pubs and restaurants are now scheduled to open in June. Prime Minister Micheal Martin will outline the changes in a national address later today.
Outdoors gathering with a maximum of 15 people will be allowed, and limits on household visits will be reduced in two weeks. Hairdressers are expected to reopen next month for the first time since December.
Denmark Cuts Growth Forecast (2:34 p.m. HK)
Denmark cut its economic growth forecast for the second time in five months after a lockdown to fight the virus spread over the winter delayed the Nordic country's recovery. The new outlook is for 2.1% growth, down from a previous estimate of 2.8%.
Bangladesh Offers Aid to India (2:15 p.m. HK)
Bangladesh offered to send India medicines and medical equipment, including vaccines and protective equipment, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a press release.
Lufthansa Reins in Outlook (1:21 p.m. HK)
Deutsche Lufthansa AG said it expects to offer only 40% of its pre-pandemic capacity this year, reining in capacity plans as a rise in virus cases and slow rollout of vaccines in Europe dents its hopes for a summer travel rebound.
Moderna to Boost Capacity (1:03 p.m. HK)
Moderna Inc. said it would produce as many as 3 billion doses of its Covid-19 vaccine next year as it makes new investments to bolster output at several factories in the U.S. and Europe.
"We are almost doubling," capacity for the next year, Chief Executive Officer Stephane Bancel said in an interview.
The increased production from company-owned and partner factories is expected to ramp up in late 2021 and early 2022.
Thailand Cuts Growth Outlook (12:48 p.m. HK)
Thailand's Finance Ministry lowered its 2021 GDP growth forecast to 2.3% from 2.8% estimated in January as Southeast Asia's second-largest economy battles to contain a virus resurgence. An outlook on total tourist arrivals was cut to 2 million from 5 million.
Japan's Plan for Doctors (12:20 p.m. HK)
Japanese vaccine minister Taro Kono said he plans to ask the Japan Medical Association to increase the number of doctors who can administer vaccines, broadcaster NTV reported.
China Tweaks Airline Policy (11:08 a.m. HK)
China will let airlines choose between halting flights to the country for two weeks or capping their passenger load factor at 40% if there are instances where five to nine passengers test positive for Covid-19. The policy is effective from Saturday and replaces one that required a two-week route suspension.
Lost Income for Women (10:43 a.m. HK)
The pandemic has had a greater economic impact on women due to over-representation in industries hardest hit by the crisis, according to Oxfam International, which said women around the world lost at least $800 billion in income in 2020. That's more than the combined gross domestic product of 98 countries.
"This conservative estimate doesn't even include wages lost by the millions of women working in the informal economy — domestic workers, market vendors and garment workers — who have been sent home or whose hours and wages have been drastically cut," Oxfam Executive Director Gabriela Bucher said.
U.S. Tells Citizens to Leave India (10:14 a.m. HK)
In a Level 4 travel advisory --- the highest issued by the Department of State -- the U.S. government told its citizens to leave India as soon as possible and not travel there because of the escalating coronavirus crisis in the country.
India reported a record 379,257 new infections over the previous 24 hours and 3,645 deaths. Companies including Amazon.com Inc. and Alphabet Inc. are stepping in to help.