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Coronavirus digest: Germany rushing to get oxygen, medicine to India

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has vowed to quickly provide India with vital medical supplies. Meanwhile, Italy is set to partially reopen its economy. Follow DW for the latest.

An Indian coronavirus patient in a ricksha

An Indian coronavirus patient inside an auto ricksha while waiting to be admitted to a hospital

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Monday that Germany is racing to get oxygen and medicine to India, as the South Asian country reels under the biggest surge of new COVID cases and hospitalizations of anywhere in the world. 

"The second wave is currently rolling over India with unprecedented power. It was right that we acted quickly to stop the entry of the new mutation in Germany," Maas told the Rheinische Post newspaper on Monday.

All travelers coming from India, except German citizens, will be barred from entering Germany beginning on Monday. Researchers are currently trying to determine whether a special variant of the virus in India is linked to an increase in infections.

Maas also praised India's involvement in the COVAX vaccine alliance and added that the German government is working together with private companies to get India the supplies it needs.

India reported a new global record for daily coronavirus infections on Monday, for the fifth day in a row. The country's total tally of recorded cases passed 17 million. There were also 2,812 new COVID-19 deaths recorded in the previous 24 hours.

Here is the latest coronavirus-related news from around the world.

Europe

Germany recorded 11,907 new coronavirus cases and 60 new deaths on Monday, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). Chancellor Angela Merkel is expected to discuss exemptions for coronavirus-immune individuals with the 16 state premiers on Monday. 

Watch video 02:21

India COVID-19 death toll climbs amid oxygen shortages

Italy is set to open partially reopen restaurants, bars, concert halls, movie theaters and other businesses on Monday, as parts of the country drops into the low-risk "yellow" category.

The Italian parliament is currently debating a 220-billion euro ($266 billion) EU-backed recovery plan. 

Greece will lift quarantine policies for Australia, Russia and several other countries on Monday if the inbound travelers are either vaccinated or test negative for the virus.

The Netherlands is set to ban flights from India on Monday to keep coronavirus mutations from entering Dutch territory.

The Spanish city of Pamplona has called off its annual San Fermin festival — known for its bull-running which attracts tourists from around the world — for the second year in a row because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The mayor had held off on making a decision, but eventually decided not to go ahead with the festivities due to prevalent virus outbreaks, busy hospitals and a slow vaccine rollout.

Americas

Brazil recorded 1,305 new deaths from the virus on Sunday, along with 32,572 new cases, according to the country's health ministry. 

Watch video 02:42

COVID: Brazilian doctors face medical supply shortage

US Vice President Kamala Harris is expected to call on UN member states on Monday to prepare for the next possible pandemic. During a virtual address, Harris will outline how the US and other countries should work together to combat future health crises.

Asia

Hong Kong and Singapore said on Monday that the postponed plan to launch an air travel bubble between the two cities would begin on May 26. The plan was delayed last November after Hong Kong saw a surge in COVID-19 infections.

Travelers between the two destinations will not have to enter quarantine as long as they fulfill the travel bubble conditions. The arrangement follows in the footsteps of the travel bubble set up between Australia and New Zealand earlier in the month.

Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha was fined 6,000 baht ($190, €157) on Monday for violating coronavirus containment rules after a picture posted to Facebook showed him in a meeting without wearing a face mask.

New restrictions also came into force in the country as it attempts to bring down a new surge of infections which left a record number of people dead over the weekend.

Watch video 12:00

COVID-19 Special: Tracing the source of vaccine skeptics

Kazakhstan rolled out its homemade two-shot COVID-19 vaccine on Monday. Health Minister Alexei Tsoi received his jab of QazCovid-in, also known as QazVac, live on television.

The vaccine, developed by the state-backed Research Institute for Biological Safety Problems, is currently in stage three trials and 50,000 doses have been manufactured already.

A Turkish biopharmaceutical company, Viscoran Ilac, has signed a deal with the Russian developer of the Sputnik V vaccine to begin the manufacture of vaccine doses in Turkey.

India is set to receive the first batch of Sputnik V, Russia's indigenous vaccine on May 1, Kirill Dmitriev, the head of Russian Direct Investment Fund said on Monday.

Dmitriev's statement follows a statement from Russian pharmaceutical firm, Pharmasyntez, that it would ship 1 million doses of the vaccine to India by May-end, pending approval from the Russian government.

Oceania

The capital of Fiji, Suva, has been put under a two-week lockdown following a "superspreader" funeral event, which is believed to have caused a spike in cases.

wd/wmr (Reuters, AP)

 

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