April 16 (Reuters) - Here's what you need to know about the
coronavirus right now:
India extends record rise in cases
India extended a record daily run of new COVID-19 infections
on Friday, spurred by hundreds of positive tests at a major
religious gathering, as politicians pushed ahead with election
rallies against advice they could worsen the outbreak.
India is battling a massive second wave of the pandemic,
with new restrictions imposed in Mumbai, New Delhi and other
cities. There are also growing calls for officials to speed up
the country's vaccination program as hospitals are swamped.
The 217,353 new cases reported by the health ministry on
Friday marked the eighth record daily increase in the last nine
days and took total cases to nearly 14.3 million.
Thailand uses hotel beds for COVID-19 patients
Thailand reported on Friday its fifth record daily tally of
coronavirus cases this week, as authorities set up thousands of
field hospitals to cope with an influx of patients and lined up
hotels to provide extra beds for those without symptoms.
All positive cases have to be admitted into care under Thai
rules and with 10,461 patients currently being treated, the
medical sector could be put under additional strain.
The government has set up over 20,000 beds at field
hospitals across the country at community centers and gyms.
Brazil's hospitals running out of sedatives
Brazil's hospitals were running out of drugs needed to
sedate COVID-19 patients on Thursday, with the government
urgently seeking to import supplies amid reports of the
seriously ill being tied down and intubated without effective
Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga said Brazil was in talks
with Spain and other countries to secure the emergency drugs.
Hospitals, he added, were also struggling to get enough oxygen.
The scenes playing out across Brazil are placing growing
international pressure on President Jair Bolsonaro.
Merkel says lockdowns, curfews vital
German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged lawmakers on Friday to
approve new powers that would allow her to force lockdowns and
curfews on areas with high infection rates, saying a majority of
Germans were in favor of stricter measures.
"The third wave of the pandemic has our country firmly in
its grip," said Merkel, whose speech in parliament was
interrupted by heckling from lawmakers of the far-right
Alternative for Germany party opposed to lockdowns.
"Intensive care workers are sending one distress call after
the other. Who are we to ignore their pleas?" Merkel said.
Fauci believes J&J vaccine will 'get back on track soon'
Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease doctor, hopes
U.S. regulators will make a quick decision to lift a pause on
the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and get that vaccine "back on
track," he said in an interview with Reuters on Thursday.
His comments come a day after a panel of advisers to the
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention delayed a vote
on whether to resume the J&J shots for at least a week, until it
had more data on the risk.
The United States earlier this week decided to pause
distribution of the J&J vaccine to investigate six cases of a
rare brain blood clot linked with low platelet counts in the
(Compiled Linda Noakes, editing by Larry King)