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Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro speaks to the media about the emergency financial aid by the federal government during coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis in Brasilia
President Bolsonaro's pandemic response is facing increased scrutinyImage: REUTERS

Coronavirus digest: Top court orders Bolsonaro probe

April 9, 2021

The Supreme Court in Brazil has called upon the Senate to probe the government's handling of the pandemic. India has reported a record caseload for the third day in a row. Follow DW for the latest.


Brazil's top court has ordered the senate to investigate President Jair Bolsonaro's response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The order by Supreme Court Justice Luis Roberto Barroso came just minutes after the whole court upheld the power of local authorities to stop churches from opening.

The president, a proud Christian who has the support of several evangelical leaders, has been a frequent critic of the Supreme Court for upholding the power of local authorities in establishing restrictions during the pandemic. Last year, he even attended protests against the country's highest court.

 Faithful pray at an evangelical church in Brasilia
Bolsonaro has the support of some of Brazil's most prominent evangelical leaders, who have organized prayer meetings for the president's healthImage: Evaristo Sa/AFP

Bolsonaro has frequently downplayed the threat of the pandemic while arguing that the economic impact of lockdowns would do more harm than the virus itself.

In recent weeks, Brazil has become the global epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, accounting for more than a quarter of the world's death toll. On Thursday, an infectious diseases specialist in Rio de Janeiro told DW that the situation in Brazil's hospitals is catastrophic.

More than the required 27 senators had already signed a request for a congressional probe into the government's handling of the pandemic.


Germany has recorded 25,000 new confirmed infections in the past 24 hours, according to data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases (RKI).

The seven-day incidence rate in Germany rose from 105.7 to 110.4, while 296 people have died in a day from the coronavirus in the latest update from the health body.

The RKI suggested a recent fall in cases was because many people had refrained from going to the doctor over the Easter break.


Australia's most populous state, New South Wales, has temporarily suspended use of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

The government recently recommended people under 50 instead receive the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine due to the risk of blood clots related to the AstraZeneca shot.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the suspension will push back the country's plan to vaccinate all adults by the end of October.

Meanwhile, Australia has finalized a deal to buy an extra 20 million doses of the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine as it moves away from relying on the AstraZeneca shot.


The United States has announced there will be nearly 85% fewer Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses available next week. The allocation will plummet to 785,500 doses.

A US Department of Health and Human Services official told Reuters that although the dose rollout at the moment is uneven, the HHS was still on track to meet its commitment of delivering close to 100 million doses by the end of May.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has said he wants to be vaccinated with the AstraZeneca shot, despite doubts surrounding the vaccine over possible links to blood clots.

It has been proven that the risks of the vaccine are very low, the 67-year-old president said, while adding he was entitled to the drug because it was used in the area where he lived.


The head of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said vaccine passports were "inappropriate" while less fortunate nations still lag behind in obtaining doses.

"We are already in a situation where we don't have vaccines, and it will be extremely unfortunate that countries impose a travel requirement of immunization certificates whereas the rest of the world has not had the chance to have access to vaccines," said Dr. John Nkengasong.

The passports would demonstrate someone has received a COVID-19 vaccine or that the individual had recently tested negative.


The government of India is looking into possible links between blood clots and vaccines, as the country battles a surge of coronavirus infections.

A panel of experts is investigating domestic cases of blood clotting, as a side effect of the two COVID-19 vaccines being used in India, financial daily Mint reported on Friday.

Those two vaccines are India AstraZeneca's and one manufactured by Bharat Biotech called COVAXIN; both are currently being administered in India.

The world's second-most-populous country reported 131,968 new cases on Friday — a record increase for a third straight day — while fatalities rose by 780, bringing the recorded death toll to date to 167,642.

Pakistan struggles to contain third COVID wave

jsi, kbd/aw (Reuters, AP, dpa, AFP)

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