The first emergency medical supplies have arrived in India as part of a global campaign to staunch a catastrophic wave in the latest pandemic hotspot, with the United States also pledging to export millions of AstraZeneca vaccine doses. Crates of ventilators and oxygen concentrators from Britain were unloaded at the Delhi airport early Tuesday, the first emergency medical supplies to arrive in the country where infection and death rates are growing exponentially.
The explosion in infections in India — 350,000 new cases were recorded there on Tuesday alone — has driven a surge in global cases to 147.7 million and the virus has now killed more than 3.1 million people worldwide.
In New Delhi, images showed smoke billowing from dozens of pyres lit inside a parking lot that has been turned into a makeshift crematorium.
The United States, France, Germany, Canada, the EU and the World Health Organization have all promised to rush supplies to India. On Monday, US President Joe Biden announced the United States would send up to 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine abroad.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization said that a variant of Covid-19 feared to be contributing to a surge in coronavirus cases in India has been found in over a dozen countries. The UN health agency said the B.1.617 variant of Covid-19 first found in India had as of Tuesday been detected in over 1,200 sequences uploaded to the GISAID open-access database “from at least 17 countries”.
Here are the Latest News Live Updates:
A 54-year woman has died in Canada after receiving the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine, the first fatality linked to the drug in the country, provincial authorities announced Tuesday. “I’m sad to know that a healthy 54-year-old woman… died because she was vaccinated. It’s hard to take,” Francois Legault, the premier of Quebec, said.
Chief public health officer Horacio Arruda said life-saving treatments did not work and the unidentified patient died of cerebral thrombosis after being vaccinated. But he cautioned that the death should not change the government’s recommendations to use the vaccine for those over 45 years old.
“We knew about serious complications, there was one in 100,000 (doses administered). But we must remember that, to date, we have had more than 400,000 people who have been vaccinated with AstraZeneca,” Quebec health minister Christian Dube added.
One dose of the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccines reduces the chances of someone infected with coronavirus from spreading it to other household members by up to 50 percent, according to a English study published Wednesday. The Public Health England (PHE) research found that those who became infected three weeks after receiving their first jab were between 38 and 49 percent less likely to pass the virus on to their household contacts than those who were unvaccinated.
“This is terrific news — we already know vaccines save lives and this study is the most comprehensive real-world data showing they also cut transmission of this deadly virus,” said British Health Secretary Matt Hancock.