Global Covid cases hit 150 million

Global Covid-19 cases past 150 million on Friday as a pandemic that has killed almost 3.2 million worldwide continues to wreak devastation across the globe, news wires reported. While India posted yet another black record, many other countries struggled to put the situation under control.

As a whole the number of new daily cases has more than doubled since mid-February, an AFP tally showed, in an explosion in infections blamed in part on a new Covid-19 variant but also on failure to follow virus restrictions. The countries with the highest total number of cases are the US, India and Brazil, which recorded 3,001 Covid-19 deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing its overall toll to 401,186.

The continent seeing the bulk of new daily cases is Asia, driven largely by a devastating wave in India which has overwhelmed hospitals and crematoriums. More than 40 countries have committed to sending medical aid to India, with a US Super Galaxy military transporter carrying more than 400 oxygen cylinders, other hospital equipment and nearly one million rapid coronavirus tests arriving in New Delhi on Friday.

Until now, only "frontline" workers like medical staff, people over 45 and those with existing illnesses have been given the AstraZeneca shot or Bharat Biotech's homegrown Covaxin. As of Saturday jabs will be open to all adults, meaning around 600 million more people will be eligible. But several states have warned they do not have sufficient stocks.

Also struggling to inoculate a vast country facing a surge in cases is Brazil, which has one of the highest mortality rates in the pandemic, at 189 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants. Experts blame the latest surge partly on the "Brazil variant" of the virus, a mutation that emerged in or around the Amazon rainforest city of Manaus in December.

Since the discovery of the virus, more than 50.2 million cases have been recorded in Europe, more than a third of worldwide infections. But the continent is beginning to open up again as their vaccination campaigns pick up. But the WHO issued a stark warning to eager European nations that relaxing Covid measures could spark a "perfect storm" allowing cases to spiral. "It is very important to realise that the situation in India can happen anywhere," said WHO Europe chief Hans Kluge.

More on this subject: Coronavirus

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