India’s Ministry of Defense said Sunday that the authorities will seek the help of hundreds of former military doctors to support the healthcare system as the country faces record numbers of COVID-19 injuries and deaths amid angry calls for a comprehensive lockdown in the country.
About 400 medical officers are expected to work under an 11-month contract, the ministry said in a press statement, adding that other military doctors from the army will provide online consultations.
Coronavirus cases and deaths in India are registering unprecedented levels every two or three days. The deaths jumped by more than 4,000 cases for the second day in a row on Sunday.
Many states imposed strict lockdown measures over the past month to curb the spread of the virus, while other states announced restrictions on movement and closed movie theaters, restaurants, bars and shopping centers.
Calls to close
But pressure is mounting on Prime Minister Narendra Modi to declare a nationwide lockdown similar to that imposed during the first wave last year.
The Medical Association of India, the umbrella under which all doctors and surgeons fall, called for the imposition of a “comprehensive, well-planned and pre-announced” general isolation throughout the country instead of the “intermittent” night curfews and state restrictions for a few days each time.
The association said in a statement on Saturday that it was “amazed at the extreme indifference and inappropriate measures taken by the Ministry of Health to combat the dire crisis resulting from the deadly second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Anthony Fauci, a senior White House adviser on the Coronavirus, said Sunday that he had advised Indian authorities to impose a lockdown.
“You have to impose a lockdown. I think many Indian states have already done that, but you have to stop the chain of transmission. One of the ways to do that is to lock down,” he said in an interview on ABC.
Modi has been criticized for allowing massive gatherings at a religious festival and holding large election rallies over the past two months, even with the rise in coronavirus cases.
The Indian Ministry of Health recorded 4,092 deaths during the past twenty-four hours, which brought the total deaths to 242,362. Injuries rose by 403,738 cases, a number close to the record peak, bringing the total since the start of the pandemic to 22.3 million.
On Saturday, India recorded its highest daily death toll, which amounted to 4,187 deaths. The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation expects the country to record 1 million Covid-19 deaths by August.
The decline in injuries and deaths in Britain
Britain announced that the new infections recorded in the country amounted to 1770 cases on Sunday, with the total number of cases recorded within seven days declining to 14659, a decrease of 4.3 percent compared to the previous seven days.
Two new deaths were recorded within 28 days of testing positive for the virus. The total deaths during the seven days reached 67 cases, a decrease of 39.1 percent compared to the previous seven days.
The data shows that 35.37 million people, or 67 percent of the adult population, received the first dose of the vaccine. Of these, 17.67 million people, or 33.5 percent of adults, got the two recommended doses of the vaccine.
Since the start of the epidemic, the total number of deaths in the UK has reached 127,605 people within 28 days of testing positive for COVID-19.
The country witnessed a devastating second wave, which reached its peak in late January, but the numbers of new infections, deaths and those who were transferred to hospitals decreased after that.
The death toll in the United States is higher than the advertised
For his part, Fauchi considered that the number of Corona virus victims in the United States is “undoubtedly” higher than the official toll, which has reached 581 thousand deaths since the beginning of 2020.
In response to a question about a new study published by the University of Washington this week, Fauci did not confirm its outcome, which exceeded 900,000 deaths. However, he told NBC that the health authorities “said from the start that the low estimate” of the number of deaths “was very likely.
Commenting on the study’s methodology, he added that “this model concluded with a large number of deaths” amounting to 900,000, which makes the estimate slightly lower than I imagined, but sometimes the models are correct and sometimes they are less correct.
He corrected, “But I think that the estimate was undoubtedly low and still is,” and he justified the inaccuracy of the census by saying that the pandemic is “historical.” The United States recorded the highest toll in the world in absolute numbers, with more than 32 million injuries and 581,000 deaths officially recorded.
But since January, cases and deaths have decreased as the vaccination campaign accelerates. After a slight boom with the spring break, numbers have fallen back since mid-April.
For his part, Geoffrey Zentz, the White House Anti-Virus Coordinator, told CNN that we are at a turning point.
He pointed to vaccination numbers, as 58 percent of adults received at least one vaccine dose in the United States, and more than 110 million people (a third of the total population) were fully vaccinated.
President Joe Biden has set a goal of vaccinating 70 percent of adults with at least one dose by July 4, but the vaccination campaign is slowing down due to the reluctance of citizens who doubt the safety of the vaccine. “Our mission is to make vaccines easier to make available, and to win people’s trust,” Zentz added.
Cyprus lifts lockdown and adopts “safety permit” system
On Monday, Cyprus graduated from the third partial lockdown imposed by the Coronavirus “safety permit” system, to give residents more freedom of movement. On Sunday, Health Minister Konstantinos Ioanno declared, “From tomorrow, Cyprus will take a step towards a more natural path of social and economic activities.”
“By implementing health protocols, conducting checks on the population and expanding the vaccination program, Cyprus is taking an important step towards emerging from the state of uncertainty,” he added.
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The government decided to abandon the system for obtaining formal approval by text messages to allow residents to leave their homes. Island residents wishing to enter hospitality places (bars, restaurants, cafes, hotels …) will be required to present a certificate of Covid-19, which the government has called a “safety permit”.
Any person who received at least one dose of a vaccine against Covid-19 in the past three weeks or more, as well as anyone who has been infected with the virus in the past six months, benefits from this permit, as well as anyone holding a document proving the negative result of a test for detection of infection with COVID-19 valid for 72 1 hour, either through the “polymerase chain reaction” (PCR) test or the rapid test.
The authorities stressed that the permit is a temporary measure that will remain in effect until May 31, in order to accelerate the pace of vaccination on the island seeking to reach group immunity by vaccinating 65 percent of its adult population with at least one vaccine dose by the end of June.
Although the decision to lift the closure allowed non-closed guesthouses and retail stores to reopen their doors, it maintained a night-time curfew that reduced its hours to start from 23:00 instead of 21:00.
On April 26, Cyprus entered a closure for two weeks, after hospitals began to suffer under the weight of the increasing number of injuries. Cyprus witnessed a third epidemic wave, attributed to the most widespread British mutant, during which daily infections peaked with 941 infections.
Since then, the daily number of new infections has fallen below 400, as has the rate of positive results relative to the total number of examinations.
Jordan eases the evening curfew
On Sunday, the Jordanian government decided to reduce the night curfew hours, starting from the first day of Eid Al-Fitr, after the decrease in the number of Coronavirus cases.
A government statement said, “Prime Minister Bishr Al-Khasawneh on Sunday issued a communiqué according to which the nighttime ban hours were reduced, starting from the first day of Eid Al-Fitr.”
According to the statement, the curfew hours will be from eleven in the evening until six in the morning for all days of the week instead of seven in the evening until six in the morning in force now.
The statement pointed out that “reducing the hours of the night ban comes within the framework of the safe, gradual mitigation measures that the government takes in accordance with the developments of the epidemiological situation.”
The number of Coronavirus infections in Jordan decreased during the past few weeks, and on Sunday, 743 cases and 16 deaths were recorded, after it reached record numbers last March and reached more than 9,000 cases and more than 100 deaths on 22 March.
In total, Jordan recorded about 720,000 cases of Coronavirus and 9,092 deaths.
Qatar gradually lifts the Corona restrictions
The Qatar News Agency quoted a statement of the Ministry of Health saying that Qatar decided on Sunday to gradually lift the restrictions related to the Coronavirus in four phases, with the first phase beginning on May 28 and the fourth phase on July 30.
The duration of each phase will be at least three weeks, with a continuous evaluation of indicators nationwide to decide on the transition from one phase to another.
The first phase will allow a maximum of five vaccinated people to gather in a closed space, while the mosques will reopen for daily congregational prayers with some restrictions.