The most important news
NEW DELHI – A fire at a COVID-19 hospital in western India killed 18 patients early on Saturday, as the country struggling with the worst outbreak still intensifies a vaccination campaign for all of its adults, though some States say they don’t have enough shots.
India set another daily world record with 401,993 new cases on Saturday, bringing its total to more than 19.1 million. 3,523 other people have died in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of deaths to 211,853, according to the health ministry. Experts believe both figures are underestimated.
The fire started in a COVID-19 neighborhood on the ground floor and was extinguished within an hour, police said. The case is under investigation.
Thirty-one other patients at the social hospital in Bharuch, a city in Gujarat state, were rescued by hospital workers and firefighters and their condition was stable, police officer BM Parmar said. Eighteen more died in the blaze and smoke before rescuers could reach them, Parmar said.
THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:
– India Upsets Vaccination Campaign, Says All Adults 18+ Are Eligible For Vaccines
– Vaccination campaign begins amid virus outbreak in rebel-controlled Syria
– Hungary reopens to people with COVID-19 immunity card
– United States to restrict travel from India due to coronavirus outbreak
Follow the PA’s pandemic coverage further at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine
HERE’S WHAT ELSE HAPPENS:
ISLAMABAD – Pakistan’s death toll from COVID-19 approaches 18,000 as the country continues to suffer from its third wave of infection from the pandemic.
The military-backed federal agency tasked with controlling the spread of the coronavirus has reported 146 additional deaths per day. The number reported on Saturday brings Pakistan’s total death toll from the pandemic to 17,957.
Federal Planning and Development Minister Asad Umar has warned citizens that the number of critically ill COVID-19 patients is increasing rapidly and the coming weeks are very critical for impoverished Pakistan.
He urged people to strictly adhere to social distancing rules to help government efforts to limit infections.
Pakistan has deployed troops to high-risk cities to prevent people from violating social distancing rules and to shut down businesses early at night. Offices are also working with reduced staff and shorter hours.
OTTAWA, Ontario – Plans to distribute the first 300,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine in Canada next week are on hold after Health Canada learned part of it was manufactured at a facility in Maryland that had messed up the ingredients in 15 million doses bound for the US market.
The Baltimore Emergent Biosolutions facility was recently cited by the United States Food and Drug Administration for violations, including cleaning and sterilization failures, the potential for cross-contamination, and failure to follow required protocols.
The FDA has ordered the facility to stop making more J&J vaccines until the problems are corrected and the earlier dose error resulted in the destruction of the 15 million.
Health Canada had previously authorized 1.5 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured at the facility, but did not believe that the Canadian doses of J&J were related to this facility. Now Health Canada says the drug substance that is part of the J&J vaccine was actually produced there and then shipped elsewhere to have the vaccines finished.
Health Canada says it is seeking information from the FDA and J&J’s pharmaceutical arm, Janssen, to determine whether the 300,000 doses shipped to Canada meet the required safety standards.
The J&J vaccine has not been used in Canada so far. The doses arrived in Canada on Wednesday.
WASHINGTON – The Transportation Security Administration has extended the requirement that passengers on planes, trains and buses wear face masks.
The rule was supposed to expire on May 11 but will continue until September 13. The TSA says children up to 2 years old and people with certain disabilities will continue to be exempt from the rule.
Airlines and their unions had been pushing for an extension, saying the mandatory masks had helped keep airline passengers and workers safe during the pandemic.
The Federal Aviation Administration has said it will continue its zero tolerance policy against disruptive air passengers as long as the mask rule is in effect. This policy has led to fines against some passengers, sometimes for refusing to wear a mask.
DALLAS – Cruise lines are hailing word that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has pledged to resume US cruises by mid-summer and change some of the rules relating to the resumption of travel.
A spokeswoman for the Cruise Lines International Association said experts on the group are still reviewing the CDC’s comments but showing progress in talks to restart the cruise.
This week, the CDC said in a letter to the group it would let ships sail without going through training trips if 98% of the crew and 95% of passengers are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The agency also promised a quick review of training travel plans – five days instead of 60 – and changes in testing for fully vaccinated people.
The CDC had previously set conditions that the cruise industry said effectively prevented it from sailing to U.S. ports while the Caribbean and parts of Europe were open to cruise. American cruises have been interrupted by the pandemic since March 2020.
NEW YORK – U.S. health officials have concluded anxiety – not a problem with the coronavirus vaccine – has caused dozens of people to faint, dizziness and other short-term reactions this month – this.
Health experts say the clusters are one example of a phenomenon that has been narrated for decades from a variety of different vaccines. Some people are so anxious about getting injections that they cause physical symptoms.
Many of the 64 people affected either fainted or reported dizziness. Some had nausea or vomiting. A few had pounding hearts or chest pain. None fell seriously ill.
The report says these incidents occurred in California, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa and North Carolina.
TORONTO – Drugmaker Pfizer says it will start shipping U.S.-produced COVID-19 vaccines to Canada next week.
This is the first time that the United States has allowed the export of the company’s vaccine to the north. Canada has close trade links with the United States, but has obtained Pfizer vaccines from Belgium.
US authorities had kept the supplies made in the United States for home use. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said that starting next week, Canada will receive 2 million doses per week of Pfizer alone.
Vaccinations have intensified in Canada in recent months. All adults in Quebec will be able to make an appointment for a vaccine from May 14. In Ontario, Canada’s largest province, adults can book an appointment starting May 24.
ROME – The Under Secretary of the Italian Ministry of Health, Pierpaolo Sileri, hopes that visitor tourism from the United States will be allowed during the month of June.
Tourism is one of Italy’s main industries, and American tourists are an important segment, especially for high-end hotels and restaurants, including in cities like Venice, Florence and Rome.
Sileri, who is a doctor, was asked about a start date for tourism by vaccinated Americans. He says it all depends on coronavirus transmission rates and the overall pandemic situation.
But he expressed optimism that they could come soon and without the need for quarantine.
LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has said the COVID-19 mass vaccination site at Dodger Stadium will close by the end of May.
The end of operations in the stadium marks the transition of the city’s vaccination efforts to walk-in options as well as the injection of more doses at walk-in centers and mobile clinics, the mayor said in a statement.
The Dodger Stadium site has become one of the most important sites in the country for the coronavirus response, first for testing and then for delivering doses of vaccine to people waiting in long lines of cars.
More than a million people have been tested at the stadium and the number of vaccine doses given has exceeded 420,000, according to the city.
Cases and deaths have plunged in Los Angeles County, and the numbers remain low and stable. The county public health department said Thursday the positivity rate for daily tests was only 0.8%.