Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:
India’s COVID deaths cross quarter-million mark
India said on Wednesday a record number of people were killed by the coronavirus in the past 24 hours, pushing its overall death toll to over a quarter of a million, while a prominent virologist said it was too early to say if infections had reached a peak.
Deaths from COVID-19 swelled by 4,205, while daily cases rose by 348,421, with India’s overall number of cases surging past 23 million, according to health ministry data. Even then, experts believe the official numbers grossly underestimate the real scale of the epidemic’s impact, and actual deaths and infections could be five to 10 times higher.
India’s infection curve may be showing early signs of flattening, but the decline in the number of new infections is likely to be slow, said Shahid Jameel, a top virologist.
Japan’s vaccine booking system crashes
Technical problems derailed Japan’s coronavirus vaccination booking system on Wednesday, compounding frustration over the government’s handling of new outbreaks of infections and an inoculation drive that critics say has been woefully slow.
The online system to book a vaccine crashed in many places including parts of Tokyo and the western city of Minoh because of a global problem with U.S. cloud computing vendor Salesforce.com Inc, public broadcaster NHK reported.
The health ministry has faced numerous technical problems throughout the pandemic, from a contact tracing application that failed to pass on vital information to a cumbersome database that health workers were reluctant to use.
Costa Rica hospitals in ‘serious’ phase
Hospitals in the Central American country of Costa Rica are running out of space for COVID-19 patients amid a new wave of infections, the president of the national doctors’ union said on Tuesday.
With the sharp rise in infections, doctors have called for a new lockdown, potentially dealing another blow to businesses, especially in the tourism sector, which were hoping for an influx of American and European tourists.
Costa Rica on Tuesday reported 26 new confirmed COVID-19 deaths, the largest reported daily toll since the pandemic began.
Taiwan warns alert level could rise
Taiwan reported its largest daily rise in domestic COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, while the stock market tanked after the health minister warned the island could move to a higher alert level, though he later clarified that such a step was not imminent.
Early and effective prevention steps succeeded in shielding Taiwan from the worst of the pandemic, with just 1,231 infections reported.
But 16 new domestic cases announced on Wednesday set a record daily high.
German vaccine seekers getting aggressive
Germans desperate to be vaccinated are becoming increasingly aggressive, doctors said on Wednesday, as frustration mounts after six months of lockdowns even though infection rates are falling.
“The pressure on vaccination centers and doctors’ practices is growing. People pushing for vaccination are becoming more demanding,” Anke Richter-Scheer, the deputy head of the German association of family doctors, told the Funke media group.
As Germany extends priority for vaccines to more groups, it is many people are struggling to understand why they should have to wait behind others, Richter-Scheer said. (Compiled by Linda Noakes Editng by Robert Birsel)