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India surpasses 200,000 COVID deaths amid record spike: Live news | Coronavirus pandemic News

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India reports record 3,293 deaths and 362,902 new cases in the past 24 hours as the devastating second wave overwhelms its healthcare system.

India has surpassed the grim milestone of more than 200,000 deaths caused by the COVID-19 disease as a devastating second wave of  infections overwhelms the South Asian nation.

The record surge has choked the country’s under-funded healthcare system, with hospitals reporting a shortage of medical oxygen and beds.  Even crematoriums are running out of space, with funerals held in parking lots, and parks turned into temporary cremation grounds.

The World Health Organization says a variant of COVID-19 feared to be contributing to a surge in coronavirus cases in India has been found in at least 17 countries.

Here are the latest updates:

India sees record spike in daily cases, deaths

India has reported 360,960 new coronavirus cases – its biggest surge since the pandemic erupted more than a year ago – and the overall number of cases are now nearly at 18 million, according to health ministry data.

The country saw 3,293 deaths in the past 24 hours. It was the first time the daily death toll crossed the 3,000 mark.

India’s total death toll at 201,187 is now only behind that of the United States, Brazil and Mexico.


Vaccine registration opens for all adults

India on Wednesday opened its COVID-19 vaccine registration for all adults. From May 1, all Indians above the age of 18 are eligible to get their coronavirus shots.

Though the country’s vaccination drive for senior citizens began in January, less than 2 percent of its population has been vaccinated so far.

Despite India being the world’s biggest producer of vaccines – it’s called the “pharmacy of the world” – there are also concerns about the availability of COVID-19 vaccines in the country.


Indian COVID-19 variant in 17 countries: WHO

The World Health Organization says a variant of COVID-19 feared to be contributing to a surge in coronavirus cases in India has been found in at least 17 countries.

The UN health agency said the B.1.617 variant of the virus first found in India had been detected in over 1,200 sequences uploaded to the GISAID a global, open-access database “from at least 17 countries”.

“Most sequences were uploaded from India, the United Kingdom, USA and Singapore,” the WHO said in its weekly epidemiological update on the pandemic.

The WHO recently listed B.1.617 – which counts several sub-lineages with slightly different mutations and characteristics – as a “variant of interest”. But so far it has stopped short of declaring it a “variant of concern”.


Australians in IPL ‘anxious’ about getting home

Australians involved in the Indian Premier League (IPL) are “anxious” about how they will get home from the tournament as the COVID-19 crisis continues in India but they are not looking for any “free rides”, the head of the players’ union said.

Three Australian players have pulled out of the IPL but two remain stranded in India following Australia’s decision to suspend flights from the Asian nation until May 15. Nearly 40 Australians remain involved in the IPL as players, coaches, officials and commentators, but Prime Minister Scott Morrison said they would not be allowed to jump the queue whenever repatriation flights resume.

The regular IPL season ends on May 23, with playoffs to follow before the final on May 30.

“As you’d imagine, they’re all pretty anxious,” Australian Cricketers’ Association Chief Executive Todd Greenberg told Sydney radio station 2GB. “They’re in probably one of the biggest hotspots that we’ve seen since COVID so we’re just trying to make sure that they’re all safe and secure and they can fulfil their commitments and … we can get them home as soon as we can.”

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