India’s Covid Infections Pass 20 Million

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As the U.S. travel ban for India kicks in, reports highlight that other developing nations are also experiencing surges. Globally, there were more new cases in the last two weeks than in the first six months of the pandemic.

‘Horrible’ Weeks Ahead As India’s Virus Catastrophe Worsens

COVID-19 infections and deaths are mounting with alarming speed in India with no end in sight to the crisis and a top expert warning that the coming weeks in the country of nearly 1.4 billion people will be “horrible.” India’s official count of coronavirus cases surpassed 20 million Tuesday, nearly doubling in the past three months, while deaths officially have passed 220,000. Staggering as those numbers are, the true figures are believed to be far higher, the undercount an apparent reflection of the troubles in the health care system. (Ghosal, 5/4)

Modi Fights Pressure To Lock Down India As Virus Deaths Rise

Two weeks ago, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called on states to only consider lockdowns “as the last option.” Now everyone from his political allies to top business leaders and U.S. President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser see them as the only way to stem the world’s worst virus outbreak. The debate has been complicated by Modi’s move last year to impose a nationwide lockdown without warning, spurring a humanitarian crisis as migrant workers fled on foot to rural areas. While Modi is keen to avoid that criticism again, particularly after his Bharatiya Janata Party failed to win an election in West Bengal when votes were counted Sunday, even states run by his party are ignoring his advice. (Trivedi and Fay Cortez, 5/3)

USA Today:
COVID: US Travel To India Restricted

The U.S. will restrict travel from India starting Tuesday following a deadly coronavirus surge that has smashed records and left the country in despair. India has become the first in the world to report more than 400,000 daily cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, as the surge threatens global efforts to tamp down the pandemic and return to pre-COVID life. The country’s official count of coronavirus cases surpassed 20 million Tuesday, nearly doubling in the past three months, while deaths officially have passed 220,000. (Aspegren, 5/4)

The Wall Street Journal:
Some Countries Threaten Citizens With Jail If They Return From India 

The wave of Covid-19 sweeping India is leading some nations that have largely contained the virus to threaten their own citizens with jail time or heavy fines if they try to get home from the South Asian country. Australia has banned travel from India because it fears positive cases would overwhelm its quarantine system, which has largely kept the country free of coronavirus until now. New Zealand last month temporarily prohibited all travelers from India before modifying the policy to allow its citizens to return. (Cherney, 5/3)

In related news —

It’s Not Just India. New Virus Waves Hit Developing Nations

It’s not just India. Fierce new Covid-19 waves are enveloping other developing countries across the world, placing severe strain on their health-care systems and prompting appeals for help. Nations ranging from Laos to Thailand in Southeast Asia, and those bordering India such as Bhutan and Nepal, have been reporting significant surges in infections in the past few weeks. The increase is mainly because of more contagious virus variants, though complacency and lack of resources to contain the spread have also been cited as reasons. (Hong, Thanthong-Knight and Scott, 5/3)

WHO: More COVID-19 Cases Reported In Last 2 Weeks Than In First 6 Months Of Pandemic 

The number of global coronavirus cases reported in the last two weeks eclipses the first six months of the pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Monday. It underscores the severity of the current wave of infections in India, which surpassed 400,000 cases for the first time over the weekend, as well as a record-high number of deaths, per data from Johns Hopkins University. (Chen, 5/3)

Pandemic’s Global Toll Rises Even As Rich World Starts To Move On 

We seem to have arrived at a fork in the pandemic: Pockets of the rich world are beginning to move past COVID-19, while some less-fortunate countries are facing greater danger than ever. The World Health Organization said today that more cases had been recorded globally over the last two weeks than in the first six months of the pandemic, driven largely by an unprecedented surge in India and the ongoing onslaught in Brazil. (Lawler, 5/3)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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