India Daily Infections at Record; U.K. Free Tests: Virus Update
A nurse administers a dose of the Sinovac Biotech Ltd. Covid-19 vaccine at a Covid-19 vaccination center in Shanghai. (Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

India Daily Infections at Record; U.K. Free Tests: Virus Update

New infections in India climbed to more than 100,000 over the last 24-hours and Mumbai authorities asked private offices to switch to work from home after the financial hub emerged again as a viral epicenter.

Everyone in England will be urged to take a coronavirus test twice a week as a new system of Covid passports is assessed for wide-scale use, under Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plan to reopen the economy after lockdown.

China is ramping up its Covid-19 vaccination push, aiming to be twice as fast as the U.S. as the lagging rollout threatens to undermine the advantage secured by effectively wiping out the virus.

President Joe Biden issued an Easter message casting vaccinations as a “moral obligation, one that can save your life and the lives of others.” Republican opposition to vaccine passports grew as Mississippi’s governor said they were not “a good thing to do in America.”

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India Daily Infections at Record; U.K. Free Tests: Virus Update

Thailand Reports Highest Daily Cases in Almost Two Weeks (2:05 p.m. HK)

Thailand on Monday reported 194 new Covid-19 cases, the highest single-day increase since March 23, taking total confirmed infections to 29,321, authorities said.

Some of the new cases reported were found from clusters discovered at entertainment venues in downtown Bangkok, as well as a prison. Authorities cautioned Thais to go to bars and nightclubs, to spokeswoman said. The increase in new infections comes before a national holiday next week.

Iran to Receive 700,000 Doses of AstraZeneca Vaccine (1:58 p.m. HK)

Iran is due to take delivery of some 700,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine on Monday, its first shipment through the World Health Organization’s Covax initiative, Iran’s Food and Drug Administration said.

Iran, the hardest-hit country by the pandemic in the Middle East with 63,000 deaths and more than 1.9 million cases, has placed an order for over 16 million doses of Covid-19 shots through Covax.

India Daily Infections Surge to Record Above 100,000 (12:08 p.m. HK)

India added more than 100,000 infections over the last 24-hours, a record increase that pushed its richest state to order offices to work from home and shut malls and restaurants through April.

Maharashtra, home state of the country’s financial hub Mumbai and contributor of about 15% of national output, will halt all non-essential services from 8 p.m. on Monday. Private offices were asked to switch to work-from-home, with some allowances for banks and stock exchanges.

The country reported 103,558 new infections after the government over the weekend warned of “an alarming rate of growth of Covid-19 cases and deaths in the country.”

Indonesia to Extends Limitations on Movement (10:32 a.m. HK)

Restrictions on people moving around the country will remain in place for two weeks starting April 6, a spokesperson for Indonesia’s Covid-19 task force said, with more areas included in this round.

U.K. to Make Free Test Kits Available (8:23 a.m. HK)

Everyone in England will be urged to take a coronavirus test twice a week as a new system of Covid passports is assessed for wide-scale use, under Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plan to reopen the economy after lockdown.

Free test kits will be made available through local pharmacies, community centers and home delivery services, when the new regime goes live on April 9.

With most of the adult population now having received a vaccine, the government believes rapid testing of the whole population and a system of Covid status certification will help keep control over the pandemic as restrictions are eased.

China Steps Up Vaccine Pace (5:31 p.m. NY)

China is ramping up its Covid-19 vaccination push, aiming to be twice as fast as the U.S. by pressuring Communist Party members, bank workers and college staff to get shots, as the lagging rollout threatens to undermine the advantage it secured by effectively wiping out the virus.

The inoculation effort has been stepped up markedly in recent weeks, with China now administering an average of 5 million doses a day from less than a million at the start of the year. While a significant increase, that translates to 5 doses for every 100 people, compared to 25 in the U.S. and 56 in Israel, according to Bloomberg’s Vaccine Tracker.

Texas Rangers to Hold Opener at Capacity (5:19 p.m. NY)

India Daily Infections at Record; U.K. Free Tests: Virus Update

The Texas Rangers will reopen their stadium at full capacity for their home opener on Monday, ABC News reported, the first Major League Baseball team to do so since the pandemic began a year ago.

Some 40,000 seats may be filled at the stadium in Arlington, west of Dallas. It comes about a month after Texas’ Republican Governor, Greg Abbott, ended the state’s mask mandate and encouraged businesses to open fully. Masks will be required for the Rangers’ game, though.

The other Texas baseball team, the Houston Astros, plans to operate at 50% capacity during April and will require fans to wear masks except when they’re eating.

California Vaccination Numbers Climb (2:54 p.m. NY)

California, with a population of around 40 million people, has already administered more than 19.7 million Covid vaccines, according to the health department’s website said. There were 2,400 new cases reported yesterday and 109 more deaths. The state’s seven-day positive test rate was 1.7%, down from 1.8%.

India Daily Infections at Record; U.K. Free Tests: Virus Update

Cases High as France Locks Down (2:46 p.m. NY)

France reported 80,711 new coronavirus cases this weekend as the country enters a third nationwide lockdown. The number of ICU patients has risen by 87 since Friday to 5,341, according to French health authorities. There were 370 deaths in the last 48 hours, taking the total to 96,650.

Cases have been surging in France since December due to more contagious, deadlier variants, forcing President Emmanuel Macron to abandon a strategy of regional measures and opt for another lockdown.

Gottlieb Sees Limited U.S. Surge (12 p.m. NY)

Rising U.S. Covid-19 cases won’t amount to a full-blown “fourth wave,” former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

India Daily Infections at Record; U.K. Free Tests: Virus Update

Gottlieb said he expects daily vaccinations to increase to 5 million. Meanwhile, some 130 million people in the U.S. who have been infected also have some level of immunity, he said.

“I think that there’s enough immunity in the population that you’re not going to see a true fourth wave of infection,” he said. “What we’re seeing is pockets of infection around the country, particularly in younger people who haven’t been vaccinated and also in school-age children.”

Mumbai Pushes for Work-From-Home (11:06 a.m. NY)

Mumbai authorities asked all private offices to work from home through April as India’s financial hub emerges once again as the epicenter of a new wave of coronavirus infections.

Banks, medical and insurance offices will be allowed some staffing concessions, Rajesh Tope, health minister of the state of Maharashtra -- of which Mumbai is the capital -- said in video messages Sunday. All non-essential services including malls, places of worship, beauty salons will shut operations from 8 p.m. on Monday. Detailed guidelines are awaited.

“There is an alarming rate of growth of Covid-19 cases and deaths in the country,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s federal government said in a statement earlier Sunday.

Biden’s Easter Message: Get Vaccinated (10:54 a.m. NY)

President Joe Biden called on Americans feeling the “longing and loneliness of distance” during the second consecutive pandemic Easter to get vaccinated in a holiday video posted to White House social media channels.

“We share the sentiments of Pope Francis who has said getting vaccinated is a moral obligation, one that can save your life and the lives of others,” Biden said. “By getting vaccinated and encouraging your congregations and your communities to get vaccinated, we can not only beat this virus but we can haste the day when we can celebrate the holidays together again.”

A Kaiser Family Foundation survey published this week found that 28% of White evangelical Christians said they would “definitely not” take the vaccine even if it were available to them, putting the demographic group among the most hesitant to receive the shot.

New U.S. Viral Wave Predicted (10:11 a.m. NY)

A fourth surge of infections in the U.S. is just gathering pace and is focused on younger people who’ve yet to be vaccinated, said epidemiologist Michael Osterholm, reflecting the race between more contagious variants and quickly getting shots into arms.

“We are now seeing an increasing number of severe illnesses [and] ICU hospitalizations in individuals between 30 to 50 years of age,” Osterholm, a member of President Joe Biden’s Covid-19 advisory board, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

India Daily Infections at Record; U.K. Free Tests: Virus Update

Michigan’s report Saturday of 8,413 new cases -- the highest since early December -- was “a wake up call for everyone,” he said.

U.K. Covid Pass May Take Months (5:44 p.m. HK)

The Covid passports designed to restart large-scale events in the U.K. may not be ready until fall, according to the Telegraph newspaper.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will confirm on Monday a plan to allow people to attend public events including sports by either showing proof of vaccination, a recent negative test or antibodies from an infection in the last six months, the newspaper reported on Sunday. But the certification project, which will likely be on a mobile app, will take months to develop, the Telegraph said, citing unidentified senior government officials.

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