India recorded more than 314,000 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday – a world record for a daily count in a single country.
The second most populous country in the world is grappling with a brutal second wave of coronavirus, amid a failing health system that lacks hospital beds and oxygen tanks.
More than three million people worldwide have died from the coronavirus pandemic, while at least 143 million more cases have been reported.
Here are the latest updates:
Sweden not ready to lift COVID restrictions, but PM says the end is in sight
Sweden, which has avoided lockdowns throughout the pandemic, will postpone an interim plan to ease some COVID-19 restrictions, due to high levels of new infections, the government said.
Sweden is experiencing a third wave of the virus and the number of patients treated in intensive care is at the highest level since the spring of last year.
“When the pressure on health care eases and the spread of the infection decreases, only then will the government be ready to start lifting the restrictions,” Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said at a press conference . “But we are not there yet.”
The restrictions will be extended until mid-May and will mean restaurants will have to close at 8:30 p.m. and stores and malls will only be able to leave a limited number of customers. Sports venues and public swimming pools will effectively remain closed to visitors.
Most New Delhi hospitals full, oxygen is scarce
India reported 314,835 new coronavirus infections on Thursday as health officials warned the country’s health infrastructure was overwhelmed.
“Right now there are no beds, no oxygen. Everything else is secondary, ”said Shahid Jameel, virologist and director of the Trivedi School of Biosciences at Ashoka University.
Six New Delhi hospitals were running out of oxygen, according to a tally shared by the city government, and the city’s deputy chief minister said neighboring states were withholding supplies for their own needs.
Another 2,104 people died in the space of a day, bringing India’s cumulative death toll to 184,657, according to data from the Ministry of Health.
The previous record increase in cases was in the United States, which had 297,430 new cases in one day in January, although its infection rate has since declined sharply.
Tunisia lacks intensive care beds as variant spreads
Tunisian hospitals are running out of intensive care beds amid an increase in COVID-19 cases, said a member of the independent scientific committee advising the government.
Amenallah Messadi told Reuters the healthcare system has been pushed to the point of collapsing by an increase in cases due to the most infectious variant of the coronavirus first detected in Britain.
“The situation is very critical, the medical staff are exhausted, the intensive care units have reached their maximum capacity and deaths are on the increase,” he said.
Tunisia has recorded 291,000 cases of coronavirus and around 10,000 deaths. The daily death rate which has hovered around 80 over the past two weeks hit 95 on Tuesday.
As COVID cases increase in India, what’s next for the economy?
According to India’s Ministry of Health, deaths rose to a record 2,104 in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of deaths in the country to 184,657.
But how has the Indian economy held up?
After declining from a record 24.4% in the three months to June 2020 – which was “consistent with the severity of the lockdown” the government imposed at the time, according to the Indian economist from Barclays Rahul Bajoria – Economic activity picked up and accelerated growth rate of 0.4% for the quarter ending in December compared to the same period the year before, according to the latest figures.
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