• This daily round-up brings you a selection of the latest news and updates on the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, as well as tips and tools to help you stay informed and protected.
  • Top stories: Highest daily cases in India for second time, UK study shows 65% fall in infections after first vaccine dose, WHO to review Sinopharm and Sinovac shots.

1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have passed 144.76 million globally, according to Johns Hopkins University. The number of confirmed deaths stands at more than 3.07 million. More than 950.65 million vaccination doses have been administered globally, according to Our World in Data.

COVID-19 infections in adults of all ages fell by 65% after a first dose of AstraZeneca or Pfizer vaccine in UK research, which scientists said showed the real-world impact of the immunization campaign.

The research was conducted at a time when a new and more infectious variant of the coronavirus, called B1.1.7, was dominant in Britain, but still found vaccination was just as effective in elderly people and those with underlying health conditions as it was in the young and healthy.

Japan will declare "short and powerful" states of emergency for Tokyo, Osaka and two other prefectures, a cabinet minister said on Friday, as the country struggles to contain a resurgent pandemic just three months ahead of the Olympics.

Under a new state of emergency for 25 April to 11 May, restaurants, bars, and karaoke parlours serving alcohol will close, and big sporting events will be held without spectators, Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said.

Norway will lend 216,000 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to Sweden and Iceland, its health ministry said on Thursday, enabling the Nordic neighbours to speed up their inoculation campaigns.

COVID-19 vaccine doses administered
As of 21 April 21, over 950 million vaccine doses have been administered globally.
Image: Our World in Data

Technical experts at the World Health Organization (WHO) are to review on 26 April Chinese drugmaker Sinopharm's COVID-19 vaccine for possible emergency use listing, to be followed on 3 May by the Sinovac jab, the agency said on Thursday.

2. India's health system under pressure as cases continue to rise

India reported the world's highest daily tally of coronavirus cases for the second day on Friday, surpassing 330,000 new cases, as it struggles with a health system overwhelmed by patients.

Deaths in the past 24 hours also jumped to a record 2,263, the health ministry said, while officials across northern and western India, including the capital, New Delhi, warned most hospitals were full and running out of oxygen.

Daily infections hit 332,730 on Friday, up from 314,835 the previous day when India set a new record, passing one set by the United States in January of 297,430 new cases. The US tally has since fallen.

Delhi reported more than 26,000 new cases and 306 deaths, or about one fatality every five minutes – the fastest rate since the pandemic began.

Medical oxygen and beds have become scarce, with major hospitals reporting they are unable to take more patients and police being deployed to secure oxygen supplies.