April 29 coronavirus news

By Joshua Berlinger, James Griffiths, Kara Fox and Niamh Kennedy, CNN

Updated 0002 GMT (0802 HKT) April 30, 2021
11 Posts
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6:47 a.m. ET, April 29, 2021

Germany puts anti-lockdown group 'Querdenker' under surveillance for possible extremist ties

From CNN's Nadine Schmidt in Berlin

Germany’s intelligence service said on Wednesday it would put some members of the country’s anti-lockdown movement under surveillance as concerns grow that their movement is attempting to undermine the legitimacy of the state.

In a statement, Germany’s Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) said they are focusing on members of the ''Querdenker'' movement which promotes coronavirus scepticism, conspiracy theories and anti-vaccine rhetoric.

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said the Querdenker movement has already shown a willingness to use violence and warned that extremists were “trying to take control of the movement.”

“Right wing extremists are trying to take control [of these events] - and what we cannot tolerate at all is violence,” the interior minister said at a press conference in Berlin on Wednesday.

The movement - whose name means “thinking outside the box” -- have been protesting anti-lockdown measures since the start of the pandemic and have ties to the far right. 

During anti-lockdown protests, members frequently clashed with police and attacked members of the media.  

The move comes as Germany reported an increase of 24,736 new coronavirus cases within the last 24 hours on Thursday, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Germany's national agency for disease and control prevention.

The death toll in Germany has risen by 264, according to RKI data, bringing the total number of Covid-19 deaths to 82,544.

3:37 a.m. ET, April 29, 2021

More than 13 million people in India applied for Covid-19 vaccines after minimum age lowered to 18

From CNN's Manveena Suri in New Delhi

Syringes filled with COVISHIELD vaccine for COVID-19 lie on ice box at a primary health center in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, on April 28.
Syringes filled with COVISHIELD vaccine for COVID-19 lie on ice box at a primary health center in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, on April 28. Dar Yasin/AP

About 13.3 million people applied for Covid-19 vaccinations in India on Thursday, the first day the vaccine was made available to everyone between the ages 18 and 44, according to the government's dedicated vaccination website, CoWIN.

India is administering two vaccines domestically: the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot, also known as Covishield, and its homegrown Covaxin, developed jointly by Bharat Biotech and the government-run Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

CoWIN opened for registrations on Wednesday. As of Thursday at 12 p.m. local time, a further 4.15 million have registered to receive vaccinations. 

India kickstarted its vaccination program in January for health care workers and priority groups, hoping to fully inoculate 300 million people by August. The start was sluggish due to logistical issues and vaccine hesitancy among the population – especially toward Covaxin, which was approved for emergency use before the efficacy data of its third phase trial were released.

As of Wednesday evening local time, 150,020,648 vaccine doses had been administered in India

2:48 a.m. ET, April 29, 2021

Why India's crisis is a global problem

Analysis by CNN's Aditi Sangal in New Delhi

A health worker collects a swab sample for an RT-PCR Covid-19 test at a community center in New Delhi, India, on April 28.
A health worker collects a swab sample for an RT-PCR Covid-19 test at a community center in New Delhi, India, on April 28. Money Sharma/AFP/Getty Images

There is a split scenario unfolding as the world battles the pandemic.

In countries like the United States and the United Kingdom, jubilant, newly-vaccinated people hug their loved ones after a long period of separation. In India, distraught families count their dead.

Sick people are being turned away from hospitals that have run out of beds and oxygen, as the number of new cases rises to record levels each day, creating a national crisis with global repercussions.

The more the virus spreads, the more chances it has to mutate and create variants that could eventually resist current vaccines, threatening to undermine other countries' progress in containing the pandemic, experts warn.

"If we don't help in India, I worry about an explosion of cases" around the world, said Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health.

That's why India's Covid outbreak is a global problem that needs a coordinated response.

Read more:

2:08 a.m. ET, April 29, 2021

Manila to maintain strict Covid-19 restrictions until mid-May

From Yasmin Coles in Manila

Cyclists ride along a bike lane alongside traffic in Quezon city, Metro Manila, Philippines, on April 27.
Cyclists ride along a bike lane alongside traffic in Quezon city, Metro Manila, Philippines, on April 27. Ezra Acayan/Getty Images

Strict travel and public health restrictions will remain in metro Manila and surrounding areas until mid-May, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte announced Wednesday.

The latest restriction were imposed in mid-April. They limited travel in and out of the capital and shut many businesses outside of essential goods and services, according to CNN affiliate CNN Philippines.

Duterte apologized for the extension of restrictions and said Covid-19 has moved beyond a public health issue to one of national interest. Though he scolded people for violating health protocols, the outspoken leader said the ultimate blame remains with the government.

Duterte said lines are forming for admission to hospitals and that the government is running our of resources to provide aid to everyone.

 

1:04 a.m. ET, April 29, 2021

After adding 1 million Covid-19 cases in 3 days, India tops 18 million cumulative cases

From CNN's Manveena Suri in New Delhi

India recorded 1 million Covid-19 cases over the last three days, pushing the total number of cases in the country to more than 18 million since the pandemic began, according to figures released today by the country’s Health Ministry.

Authorities reported 379,257 new coronavirus cases and 3,645 on Thursday, both new single-day records for India. It was the eight day in a row total cases topped 300,000

To date, India has seen 18,376,524 Covid-19 cases. At least 204,832 people have died as a result of the pandemic.

India launched its vaccination drive on January 16 and will open up vaccinations to everyone above the age of 18 on May 1. As of Wednesday evening local time, 150,020,648 vaccine doses had been administered.

1:32 a.m. ET, April 29, 2021

India is one of the world's top 10 buyers of Covid vaccines, but it still needs more

From CNN's Laura Smith-spark

A health worker inoculates a man with a dose of the Covishield vaccine for Covid-19 at the Railway Hospital in Prayagraj, India, on April 28
A health worker inoculates a man with a dose of the Covishield vaccine for Covid-19 at the Railway Hospital in Prayagraj, India, on April 28 Rajesh Kumar Singh/AP

India has the world's biggest vaccine producing capacity but is suffering a devastating second wave of coronavirus infections -- just as supplies of Covid-19 vaccines for its huge population are running low.

The government has purchased at least 205.5 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines, according to data from the Duke Global Health Innovation Center, placing India in the top 10 vaccine buyers in the world. But those shots would only cover 8% of its 1.4 billion population.

As of Tuesday, India had administered 147.7 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines, according to the health ministry. Some 2.4 million of those were given on that day alone, the ministry said.

While that sounds like a lot of shots, India ranks low in per capita vaccination, with only 11 doses administered per 100 people compared to 69 in the United States and Britain, according to Our World in Data.

Read more about India's vaccine rollout here:

12:07 a.m. ET, April 29, 2021

Modi calls for people to vote "in line with Covid-19 protocols" on final day of local elections

From CNN's Manveena Suri in New Delhi and Chandler Thornton in Hong Kong

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for people to continue to come out "in line with Covid-19 protocols" and vote during the last phase of West Bengal state elections.

Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have come under fire for holding several rallies ahead of the elections in West Bengal, with thousands in attendance and failing to abide by social distancing guidelines.

Critics have accused the BJP of putting politics before public health. India is now facing a massive new wave of Covid-19 cases across the country and nationwide shortages of oxygen.

On April 22, the Election Commission of India tightened restrictions for the remaining phases of the West Bengal state assembly elections, banning road shows, vehicle rallies and large public meetings with more than 500 people after finding political parties and candidates were flouting Covid-19 guidelines. 

However, political parties – including the BJP – continued to hold rallies throughout the week, even as India continued to record more than 300,000 cases per day.

Thursday is the last day of voting in West Bengal. The polls opened around 7 a.m. local time (9:30p ET) and are expected to close at 6:30 p.m. local (9a ET).

Southern Tamil Nadu and Kerala states, West Bengal and Assam states in the east and the union territory of Puducherry went to the polls on March 27, with voting taking place across eight phases and ending on April 29. All votes are to be counted on May 2, with the results announced on the same day, though India’s Election Commission has banned victory procession.

On Thursday, the Election Commission also issued guidelines ordering all polling officials and candidates to provide negative Covid-19 test reports or to have had both doses of Covid-19 vaccine ahead of May 2.

11:43 p.m. ET, April 28, 2021

Colombia reports record number of deaths in a day as protesters take to the streets

From Stefano Pozzebon in Bogota, Colombia

People take part in a protest against a tax reform bill launched by Colombian President Ivan Duque, in Bogota, Colombia, on April 28.
People take part in a protest against a tax reform bill launched by Colombian President Ivan Duque, in Bogota, Colombia, on April 28. Juan Barreto/AFP/Getty Images

Colombia's Health Ministry reported a record 490 new Covid-related deaths Wednesday, the same day protesters came out in force to oppose tax reforms and the government’s handling of the pandemic.

The South American country also reported 19,745 new coronavirus cases, bringing its total number to 2,824,626 since the pandemic began. At least 72,725 people have died so far.

Colombia has dispensed 4,625,373 vaccine doses so far, according to the country's Health Ministry.

11:07 p.m. ET, April 28, 2021

World’s biggest vaccine maker reduces price of Covid-19 vaccines for Indian states

From CNN’s Swati Gupta in New Delhi

The world's biggest vaccine maker, the Serum Institute India (SII), will reduce prices on Covid-19 vaccines as India faces a surge of new cases across the country, the company's chief executive said.

Adar Poonawall tweeted Wednesday that the price would be reduced by 100 rupees, going from US$5.30 per dose to US$4 per dose, to "enable more vaccinations and save countless lives.”

SII manufactures the Oxford/AstraZeneca’s Covishield vaccine.