India imposes travel bans as rise in daily coronavirus cases amid aid promises

India imposes travel bans as rise in daily coronavirus cases amid aid promises


India has set a new global record for a rise in daily coronavirus cases for a fifth straight day, while deaths from COVID-19 also jumped by an all-time high over the last 24 hours on Monday.

Several nations, including the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany, have offered support as India’s under-funded healthcare system struggles to cope with the increasing demand for medical oxygen and hospital beds.

Global Coronavirus Update

20 mins ago (08:37 GMT)

Defence Sec: UK will help India in ‘hour of need’

Britain will do “everything it can to alleviate the suffering” of people in India, the UK’s defense minister said.

The UK is set to send 600 pieces of medical equipment including ventilators to India to help the country in the fight against the latest wave of infections.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said the first of nine plane-loads of kit would arrive in New Delhi on Tuesday.

UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said Britain would use military planes or charter other aircraft in order to get the supplies to India to help the country “in their time of need.”

The assistance package includes 495 oxygen concentrators, 120 non-invasive ventilators and 20 manual ventilators from surplus UK stocks.

33 mins ago (08:24 GMT)

Google and Microsoft pledge support

Google CEO Sundar Pichai has announced $1.8mn in funding to a non-profit organisation Give India and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to help the country’s fight against the virus.

    Devastated to see the worsening Covid crisis in India. Google & Googlers are providing Rs 135 Crore in funding to @GiveIndia, @UNICEF for medical supplies, orgs supporting high-risk communities, and grants to help spread critical information.

    — Sundar Pichai (@sundarpichai) April 26, 2021

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella also vowed “to use its voice, resources, and technology to aid relief efforts, and support the purchase of critical oxygen concentration devices”.

    I am heartbroken by the current situation in India. I’m grateful the U.S. government is mobilizing to help. Microsoft will continue to use its voice, resources, and technology to aid relief efforts, and support the purchase of critical oxygen concentration devices.

    — Satya Nadella (@satyanadella) April 26, 2021

40 mins ago (08:17 GMT)

France to send oxygen equipment to India

France will send oxygen respiratory equipment to India in the coming days, the office of French President Emmanuel Macron said.

Earlier on Sunday, the European Commission activated its EU Civil Protection Mechanism and said it was seeking to send oxygen and medicine to India after receiving a request from Delhi.

45 mins ago (08:12 GMT)

India’s removal of tweets critical of COVID-19 response ‘dangerous’

The removal of dozens of tweets seen to be critical of the Indian government’s handling of the virus is putting people’s health at risk and quashing dissent, activists and politicians said.

Twitter withheld some tweets after a legal request by the Indian government, a company spokeswoman told Reuters on Saturday.

“Suppression of information and criticism of government is not only dangerous for India but it is putting people around the world at risk,” said Mirza Saaib Beg, a lawyer whose tweets were among those withheld.

“Freedom of inquiry is an intrinsic part of freedom of speech and expression,” said Beg.

India’s ministry for information technology did not respond to a request for comment.

52 mins ago (08:05 GMT)

India’s COVID-19 tragedy in pictures

India’s medical oxygen shortage has become so dire that a Sikh house of worship began offering free breathing sessions with shared tanks to COVID-19 patients waiting for a hospital bed. 

A man waits to refill a medical oxygen cylinder at a charging station on the outskirts of Prayagraj in Uttar Pradesh state. India’s underfunded health system is tattering as the world’s worst coronavirus surge wears out the nation, which on Monday set another global record in daily infections. [Rajesh Kumar Singh/AP Photo]

A COVID-19 patient breathes with the help of an oxygen mask and waits inside an autorickshaw to be attended to and admitted to a dedicated COVID-19 government hospital in Ahmedabad.

2 hours ago (07:16 GMT)

Cricketers pull out of India’s IPL over COVID

Two Australian cricketers have become the latest players to pull out of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

The IPL has attracted criticism for continuing even as the country’s healthcare system reels from more than 350,000 daily infections and almost 3,000 deaths a day from the virus.

India star spinner Ravichandran Ashwin also withdrew from the IPL Twenty20 tournament on Sunday.

2 hours ago (06:50 GMT)

Delhi to provide free vaccination to citizens above 18

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has announced that the Delhi government will provide free COVID-19 vaccinations to people above the age of 18 years.

“Today we approved the purchase of 1.34 crore (13.4 million) vaccines,” he said in a virtual press conference.

2 hours ago (06:40 GMT)

Why does India have so many COVID cases?

For a country where COVID numbers appeared to be dropping dramatically just a few weeks ago, what has gone so wrong in India

3 hours ago (05:44 GMT)

Thailand suspends travel from India

Thailand has suspended issuing travel documents from India over concerns of imported coronavirus cases, as more venues were closed in Bangkok.

The Thai embassy in New Delhi said in a statement that certificates of entry for non-Thai nationals travelling from India will be suspended until further notice.

4 hours ago (05:27 GMT)

US to ramp up support for virus-hit India

The US will “immediately” make supplies of vaccine-production material, as well as therapeutics, tests, ventilators and protective equipment available to India.

“The United States has identified sources of specific raw material urgently required for Indian manufacture of the Covishield vaccine that will immediately be made available for India,” a White House statement said.

Western nations including Britain, France, Canada and Germany have also pledged help.

4 hours ago (05:03 GMT)

India reports record 352,991 new cases

With 352,991 new cases, India sees a new world record for a rise in daily coronavirus cases. India’s total caseload has now crossed 17 million, according to health ministry data – behind only the US.

Deaths from COVID-19 also jumped by an all-time high, with a record 2,812 fatalities reported over the last 24 hours, to reach a total of 195,123.

The death toll could be a huge undercount, as suspected cases are not included, and many COVID-19 deaths are being attributed to underlying conditions.

4 hours ago (05:03 GMT)

Bangladesh shuts land border with India

Bangladesh has announced it is closing its land border with India in response to the record-breaking infection rates and death toll in the neighbouring country.

The ban, which excludes transportation of goods, will remain effective for 14 days from Monday, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen told reporters in Dhaka.

Bangladeshi citizens stranded in India will be allowed to return home through three specific border points, provided they produce a negative PCR test within 72 hours of their entry, a Foreign Ministry announcement said.

Air travel between the two countries has remained suspended since Bangladesh halted international passenger flights on April 14 as part of a nationwide lockdown.

4 hours ago (05:03 GMT)

Netherlands to ban flights from India

The Netherlands will also prohibit passenger flights from India from Monday at 6pm (16:00 GMT) until May 1 due to fears over a new variant of COVID-19, the ministry of transport said.

The ban, announced on Sunday, does not include cargo flights or planes carrying medical personnel.