• 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: India records 1.5 million cases in a week; IMHE says global deaths 'more than double' official estimates; and Nepal experiences 'human catastrophe'.

1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have passed 156 million globally, according to Johns Hopkins University. The number of confirmed deaths stands at more than 3.25 million. More than 1.22 billion vaccination doses have been administered globally, according to Our World in Data.

Japan's government on Friday extended a state of emergency in Tokyo and three other areas until the end of May to curb a surge in coronavirus cases just months before the start of the Tokyo Olympics.

The United States had administered 251,973,752 doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the country as of Thursday morning and distributed 324,610,185 doses, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Thursday.

Brazil recorded 73,380 additional confirmed cases of the coronavirus on Thursday, taking the total number of confirmed cases in the country above the 15 million mark.

New York City plans to offer vaccines to tourists in a bid to bring more people back to the city, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Thursday. The plan would see mobile vans set up at a number of sight-seeing locations and tourists would be offered the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.The initiative is currently awaiting state approval.

Daily new confirmed COVID-19 cases per million people in selected countries.
Daily new confirmed COVID-19 cases per million people in selected countries.
Image: Our World in Data

2. India records 1.5 million new COVID-19 cases in a week

India reported another record daily rise in coronavirus cases on Friday, bringing total new cases for the week to 1.57 million, while the country's vaccination rate falls dramatically due to a lack of supplies and transport problems.

The country's total number of cases now stands at 21.49 million, with infections spreading from overcrowded cities to remote rural villages that are home to nearly 70% of the 1.3 billion population.

The country reported a record daily 414,188 new cases on Friday, while deaths from COVID-19 swelled by 3,915, bringing total deaths to 234,083.

3. Nepal experiencing 'human catastrophe' as India's COVID-19 surge spreads

Nepal is being overwhelmed by a COVID-19 surge as India's outbreak spreads across South Asia, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said on Wednesday.

“We need to act now and we need to act fast to have any hope of containing this human catastrophe. This virus has no respect for borders and these variants are running rampant across Asia," said Alexander Matheou, Asia Pacific Director for the Geneva-based agency.

Nepal is now recording 57 times as many cases as a month ago, with 44% of tests now coming back positive, the statement said.

The statement noted that other neighbours of India were also in the firing line as the outbreak spreads. Hospital intensive care units in Pakistan and Bangladesh were full or close to capacity, it said.

4. Global death tolls 'more than double official estimates', says IMHE

The COVID-19 pandemic could have caused nearly 6.9 million deaths across the world, more than double the number officially recorded, a new analysis from the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) estimated.

Deaths go unreported as most countries only record those that occur in hospitals or for patients with a confirmed infection, the report showed.

The reported COVID-19 mortality is strongly related to the levels of testing in a country, the IHME said.

"If you don't test very much, you're most likely to miss COVID deaths," IHME Director Christopher Murray said in a briefing call with journalists.