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India’s daily COVID-19 cases pass 400,000 for first time as second wave worsens

India recorded more than 400,000 new COVID-19 cases for the first time on Saturday as it battles a devastating second wave, and the country’s massive new vaccination drive was hampered in some areas by shortages of the shots.

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India recorded more than 400,000 new COVID-19 cases for the first time on Saturday as it battles a devastating second wave, and the country’s massive new vaccination drive was hampered in some areas by shortages of the shots.

Authorities reported 401,993 new cases in the previous 24 hours, after 10 consecutive days of more than 300,000 daily cases. Deaths jumped by 3,523, taking the country’s total toll to 211,853, according to the federal health ministry.

The surge in infections has overwhelmed hospitals, morgues and crematoriums and left families scrambling for scarce medicines and oxygen. And while India is the world’s biggest producer of COVID-19 vaccines, shortages of the shots in some states hindered the opening of vaccinations for all adults.

West Bengal state was unable to start a drive aimed at adults aged between 18 and 45 due to a shortage of shots and urged the federal government to provide more supplies, a senior state health official said, declining to be named as he was not authorised to speak with media.

Arvind Kejriwal, the chief minister of the hard-hit state of Delhi on Friday urged people not to queue at vaccination centres, promising more vaccines would arrive “tomorrow or the day after”.

Eastern Odisha state said on Friday it had received a consignment of 150,000 shots but would only allow a few people to get shots due to lockdown restrictions preventing movement.

In Ahmedabad, the main commercial city in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state of Gujarat, hundreds of people lined up for their shots.

“I took my first dose and I am appealing to all students to take the vaccine and be safe,” said Raj Shah, a 27-year-old student in the city.

India has received 150,000 Sputnik-V vaccine doses from Russia and millions more doses will follow, an Indian foreign ministry spokesman said on Saturday.

DELHI STILL GASPING

Shortages of medical oxygen have plagued the medical system.

In New Delhi’s Batra Hospital, local media reported that eight people including a doctor died on Saturday after the facility ran out of oxygen.

“Delhi required 976 tonnes of oxygen and yesterday only 312 tonnes of oxygen was given. How does Delhi breathe in such a low oxygen?” chief minister Kejriwal tweeted.

At a hearing on Saturday, the Delhi high court took note of the deaths at Batra Hospital and told the federal government to make arrangements for the allocated supply of oxygen to be given to Delhi.

Manisha Bashu presses the chest of her father, who is suffering from breathing problem, after he felt unconscious while receiving oxygen support for free at a Gurudwara (Sikh temple), amidst the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Ghaziabad, India, April 30, 2021. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

“Enough is enough,” Justice Vipin Sanghi said.

The federal government’s counsel told the court: “We are doing maximum to what human limit can go.”

Desperate coronavirus patients continued to arrive at hospitals despite a shortage of beds.

Gasping for air, 62-year-old Vijay Gupta was turned away by Holy Family hospital, a non-profit private facility in the southeast of the capital, as all of its 385 beds were full.

His family and friends debated what to do try next.

“We have been roaming around since 6 a.m. looking for a bed,” said Gupta’s friend Rajkumar Khandelwal. “Where shall we go?”

A fire in a hospital about 190 km (115 miles) south of Ahmedabad killed 16 coronavirus patients and two staff, the latest in a series of deadly accidents at hospitals. read more

The Delhi government said it will extend for another seven days a lockdown it first imposed for a week on April 19.

WARNING SIGNS IGNORED

Daily infections have soared since the start of April. Some experts blame mass religious gatherings and political rallies for the severity of India’s second wave, which caught the government unprepared.

A forum of scientific advisers set up by the Modi administration warned officials in early March of a new and more contagious variant taking hold in the country, five scientists who are part of the forum told Reuters. read more

Four of the scientists said that despite the warning, the federal government did not seek to impose major restrictions to contain the spread of the virus. Millions, largely unmasked, attended religious gatherings and election rallies that were held by Modi, leaders of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and opposition politicians.

The surge in India has come as many countries are seeing the pandemic ease.

U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday banned most travel from India in restrictions that will take effect from Tuesday. read more

Other countries and territories have also imposed travel restrictions on India, including Australia, Britain, Germany, Italy and Singapore. Canada, Hong Kong and New Zealand have suspended all commercial travel with India. read more

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Eastern Odisha state said on Friday it had received a consignment of 150,000 shots but would only allow a few people to get shots due to lockdown restrictions preventing movement.

Source: https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/india-posts-record-daily-rise-covid-19-cases-401993-2021-05-01/

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Reuters

Chip shortage to hit about 100,000 Mazda vehicles in 2021

Mazda Motor Corp (7261.T) said on Friday it expects a semiconductor crunch to affect around 100,000 of the Japanese automaker’s vehicles globally during the fiscal year.

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The logo of Mazda is pictured at the LA Auto Show in Los Angeles, California, U.S., November 20, 2019. REUTERS/Andrew Cullen

Mazda Motor Corp (7261.T) said on Friday it expects a semiconductor crunch to affect around 100,000 of the Japanese automaker’s vehicles globally during the fiscal year.

However, Mazda will fully leverage available inventory to minimize the hit to about 70,000 wholesale units, it said in a statement.

The worldwide shift to remote work and learning during the pandemic had boosted demand for laptops and other gadgets, exacerbating a global chip shortage.

The shortfall will cost automakers $110 billion in lost revenues this year, up from a prior estimate of $61 billion, consulting firm AlixPartners said, forecasting the crisis will hit the production of 3.9 million vehicles. read more

Automobiles depend on chips for everything from computer management of engines for better fuel economy to driver-assistance features such as emergency braking.

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

The worldwide shift to remote work and learning during the pandemic had boosted demand for laptops and other gadgets, exacerbating a global chip shortage.

Source: https://www.reuters.com/business/autos-transportation/chip-shortage-hit-about-100000-mazda-vehicles-2021-2021-05-14/

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Reuters

England to ease COVID restrictions further on May 17

England will press ahead with plans to ease COVID-19 restrictions further on May 17, including allowing people to meet indoors, thanks to favourable data on infections and vaccines, the government said on Sunday.

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Visitors to Greenwich Park sit and look towards Canary Wharf financial district as lockdown restrictions are eased amidst the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in London, Britain, April 25, 2021. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

England will press ahead with plans to ease COVID-19 restrictions further on May 17, including allowing people to meet indoors, thanks to favourable data on infections and vaccines, the government said on Sunday.

The country is in the process of gradually lifting its latest lockdown over a period of months, in line with a four-step plan unveiled in February.

Under Step 3 of the plan, as outlined when it was first announced, people will be allowed to meet up indoors for the first time in months, in groups of up to six people or two full households together.

Pubs, cafes and restaurants will be able to host customers indoors, also for the first time in months and subject to certain rules. Other indoor entertainment, hospitality and sports venues will also be able to resume activity.

Johnson’s Downing Street office said the latest data on COVID vaccinations, on infections, hospitalisations and deaths, and on the risk posed by new variants had been taken into account in deciding to move forward with Step 3.

“The data reflects what we already knew – we are not going to let this virus beat us,” Johnson said, according to a Downing Street statement.

“The roadmap remains on track, our successful vaccination programme continues – more than two thirds of adults in the UK have now had the first vaccine – and we can now look forward to unlocking cautiously but irreversibly.”

Johnson was due to provide further details at a news conference on Monday.

Semi-autonomous administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own separate timetables for easing COVID restrictions.

The United Kingdom has lost more than 127,000 people to COVID-19. It experienced a devastating second wave that peaked in late January, but since then the numbers of new cases and deaths have plummeted. read more

On Sunday, a total of 1,770 new cases and two new deaths were recorded across the United Kingdom. That contrasts with the situation during the second wave, when the daily number of new cases peaked at over 80,000 while the daily death toll was above 1,300 on the worst day.

There are also expected to be significant changes for the arts and events sectors under Step 3, with both indoor and outdoor venues allowed to host far greater numbers of people than for many months.

The government had already confirmed last week that international travel would be allowed to resume on May 17, although still with severe restrictions in place except for a handful of countries. read more

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Source: https://www.reuters.com/world/uk/england-ease-covid-restrictions-further-may-17-2021-05-09/

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Reuters

UK officials admit some markets to be subject to duties under post-Brexit deal terms – FT

Companies in freeports in Britain will not get to enjoy the full benefits of the new tax-efficient zones if they are exporting to certain countries including Canada, Norway, Switzerland and Singapore, the Financial Times reported on Sunday, citing government officials.

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An illuminated British flag is seen at 10 Downing Street on Brexit day in London, Britain January 31, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville

Companies in freeports in Britain will not get to enjoy the full benefits of the new tax-efficient zones if they are exporting to certain countries including Canada, Norway, Switzerland and Singapore, the Financial Times reported on Sunday, citing government officials.

Freeports are a special kind of port where normal tax and customs rules do not apply. Goods that arrive into freeports from abroad are not subject to tariffs that are normally paid to the government.

However, the recent post-Brexit trade agreements with 23 countries include clauses which specifically prohibit manufacturers in freeport-type zones from benefiting from the deals, the FT report added, citing officials.

In March, Finance Minister Rishi Sunak said freeports will be set up at East Midlands Airport, Liverpool, Felixstowe, Plymouth, Thames, Teesside, Humber And Solent.

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Source: https://www.reuters.com/world/uk/uk-officials-admit-some-markets-be-subject-duties-under-post-brexit-deal-terms-2021-05-09/

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