Today's updates from The Guardian
- India records 145,384 new Covid-19 cases on Saturday and 794 deaths, the highest number of deaths in more than five months as the country deals with a deadly second wave of infections.
- Russia has reported 8,704 new Covid-19 cases and 402 deaths on Saturday.
- A scientist advising the British government has said that any blood clots associated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are “extraordinarily rare events.”
- The German biotech firm Curevac believes the EU might give its Covid-19 vaccine approval in May or June.
- Cambodia’s prime minister Hun Sen has threatened quarantine-breakers with jail time on Saturday and told civil servants that they could lose their jobs if they go unvaccinated.
- Thailand plans to install 10,000 field hospital beds in Bangkok, as it deals with the third wave of Covid-19.
- Iran imposed a 10-day lockdown across most of the country today to curb the spread of its fourth wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
- The Colombian capital, Bogotá, is under a strict lockdown to slow a third wave of the pandemic; as mayor Claudia Lopez has said, “only strictly essential activities will be allowed”.
- Nearly 2 million coronavirus home testing kits are being distributed across Greece’s pharmacies as pupils and teachers are asked to present biweekly negative tests.
India records more than 100,000 daily cases again this weekIndia records 145,384 new Covid-19 cases on Saturday and 794 deaths, the highest number of deaths in more than five months as the country deals with a deadly second wave of infections, Reuters reports.
The country’s overall caseload has increased to 13.21 million, the third-highest globally, behind the US and Brazil, recording 100,000 new cases on Monday and four more times after that.
Maharashtra, the Indian state with the highest number of cases, is imposing a weekend lockdown until Monday, after having already shut down restaurants, malls and places of worship.
As the government blames the resurgence mainly on crowding and a reluctance to wear masks, many states have complained about the shortage of vaccines.
Thailand reports 789 new casesThailand has reported 789 new Coronavirus cases and one new death today, as it deals with a new wave of infections. The new case numbers bring the total number of infections to 31,658, with 97 deaths, according to the Covid-19 information centre.
Thailand plans to install 10,000 field hospital beds in its capital, Bangkok, as the country deals with a third wave of Covid-19, a health official said today.
Hospitals are reluctant to test for Covid-19 because they must admit people if they test positive.
At least a dozen hospitals in the capital have said they had stopped testing because of a lack of kits or capacity, authorities said.
Suksan Kittisupakorn, director general of Thailand’s medical service department, said: “We aim to increase [field] hospital beds to 10,000 in no time, which should give the public confidence that we can still contain this round of outbreak.”
Reuters reported that Thailand aims to begin mass immunisation from June and has so far vaccinated more than 530,000 health workers and those deemed vulnerable.
On Saturday, the country received 1m doses of China’s Sinovac vaccine and is due to get another 500,000 doses this month, according to deputy government spokeswoman Traisuree Traisoranakul.
Iran orders 10-day lockdown as cases riseIran imposed a 10-day lockdown across most of the country today to curb the spread of its fourth wave of the coronavirus pandemic, state media reported.
The new lockdown will affect 23 of the country’s 31 provinces, with businesses, schools, theatres and sports facilities forced to shut and gathering banned during the Muslim holy month Ramadan, whichbegins on Wednesday.
According to the health ministry, Iran’s cases have surpassed 2m with a new daily average of more than 20,000 infections over the past week and 64,000 total fatalities.
President Hassan Rouhani said in televised remarks: “Unfortunately, today we have entered a fourth wave.” Blaming the new surge in cases on the variant first discovered in the UK, which spread to Iran from neighbouring Iraq earlier this year.
Cambodia's quarantine-breakers threatened with jail timeCambodia’s prime minister Hun Sen has threatened quarantine-breakers with jail time on Saturday and told civil servants that they could lose their jobs if they go unvaccinated.
Cambodia has registered more than 1,000 infections in the past two days, bringing the country’s tally to 4,081 cases and 26 deaths.
This week authorities banned travel between provinces, imposed a night-time curfew in the capital Phnom Penh and shut down popular tourism sites.
Prime minister Hun Sen on Saturday threatened harsher measures, saying anyone who flouts a two-week quarantine period would face a quick trial and jail time.
“People who break Covid measures must be sentenced,” he said on state-run TV. “I accept being called a dictator, but I will also be admired for protecting my people’s lives.”
Cambodia has already passed a strict Covid-19 prevention bill that could mean people flouting virus rules are jailed for up to 20 years.
Hun Sen also announced that being vaccinated was mandatory for all state officials and the armed forces, warning them they could be fired if they refuse.
The kingdom’s vaccination programme began in February, and a million people have since received at least their first of two shots. Infection numbers started surging in late February when an outbreak was detected in the local Chinese community.
Over 100 diners fined in Paris, FrancePolice in Paris fined more than 100 diners on Friday at an underground restaurant for breaking coronavirus restrictions and arrested its organiser.
Police officers were called “for an excessive noise complaint about a restaurant,” the French capital’s police wrote on Twitter.
Underground restaurants offering wealthy people pre-coronavirus dining experiences have made headlines in France this week after a private television channel, M6, broadcasted a report into a restaurant in an affluent area of Paris where neither the staff nor the diners were wearing a mask.
Strict lockdown in Bogota, ColombiaThe 8 million people living in the Colombian capital, Bogotá, are under a strict lockdown to slow a third wave of the pandemic mayor Claudia Lopez has said, “only strictly essential activities will be allowed”.
The strict lockdown comes in addition to night curfews that 7 million people in Medellín, Cali, Barranquilla and Santa Marta, where the health system is overwhelmed by the virus.
Colombia has the second-most cases in Latin America, recording more than 2.4m cases.