The coronavirus pandemic has killed over 2.8M people and infected over 131M globally. Here are the coronavirus-related developments for April 3:

People line up early at the Jacob Javits Convention Center Covid-19 vaccination hub in New York, March 04, 2021.
People line up early at the Jacob Javits Convention Center Covid-19 vaccination hub in New York, March 04, 2021. (AFP)

Saturday, April 3

US administers 161.7 million doses of vaccine

The United States has administered 161,688,422 doses of the vaccines in the country and has distributed 207,866,645 doses, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

The tally is for Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech, and Johnson & Johnson'S vaccines as of 6:00 am ET (11GMT), the agency said.

According to the tally posted on April 2, the agency had administered 157,606,463 doses of the vaccines, and distributed 204,719,335 doses.

The agency said 104,213,478 people had received at least one dose while 59,858,146 people are fully vaccinated.

UK says 5 million get second shot of vaccine

Britain reported 10 deaths from Covid-19 within 28 days of a positive test, the lowest daily figure since early September, as its vaccine rollout reached another milestone.

Official data also showed 31,301,267 people had received their first shot of a vaccine, with five million now having had both doses in what is the fastest rollout in Europe.

"Our spectacular vaccination programme has now delivered over five million second doses, giving those most vulnerable to Covid - including half of all those aged over 80 - the best possible protection," health minister Matt Hancock said in a statement.

The latest data also showed there were 3,423 new cases, a slight rise from 3,402 reported the day before, though unlike countries such as France and Germany which are battling a third wave of the coronavirus, infections in Britain have been steadily falling.

Turkey reports more than 44,000 new cases

Turkey has reported more than 44,000 new coronavirus cases, the Health Ministry said, the largest single-day spike since the beginning of the pandemic.

A total of 44,756 cases, including 1,483 symptomatic patients, were registered across the country over the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of cases over 3.44 million.

The nationwide death toll has reached 32,078 with 186 more daily fatalities.

Italy reports 376 deaths

Italy has reported 376 coronavirus-related deaths against 481 the day before, the health ministry said, while the daily tally of new infections decreased to 21,261 from 21,932.

Italy has registered 110,704 deaths linked to the virus since its outbreak emerged in February last year, the second-highest toll in Europe after Britain and the seventh-highest in the world.

The country has reported 2.65 million cases to date.

Kenya hits back at UK travel ban with measures

Kenya has announced mandatory quarantine for passengers from Britain, in response to being placed on the country's so-called red list, which Nairobi rejected as " discriminatory".

The UK government on Friday banned visitors from Kenya due to concerns over the circulation of a variant of the coronavirus which originated in South Africa.

In a lengthy statement, Nairobi said the decision would have "deep and far-reaching consequences" on trade, travel and security co-operation between the two close allies.

"The decision seems to be motivated by a discriminatory policy against certain countries and peoples," Kenya's foreign ministry said in the statement.

In return, Kenya announced that all passengers arriving, or transiting through the UK, will face 14-days mandatory quarantine at a government facility, at their own expense.

They will also have to pay to take two Covid-19 tests. Kenyan nationals are exempt from the new rules.

Ukraine hits daily case high 

Ukraine recorded a new daily high of more than 20,000 coronavirus cases.

Health Minister Maxim Stepanov says 20,341 new infections were registered in the previous day, nearly 500 more than the record on Friday.

Ukraine began vaccinations late in February, but only about 230,000 people have received the shots because of widespread reluctance. The sharply rising numbers prompted the mayor of the capital Kyiv to order schools and public transportation closed for two weeks starting Monday.

Overall, more than 1.7 million infections and 34,000 confirmed deaths have been recorded during the pandemic.

Deaths in UK among AstraZeneca jab recipients after blood clots

The UK medical regulator has said that out of 30 people who suffered blood clots after receiving the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, seven have died.

The British acknowledgement of deaths comes as several European countries have paused the use of the AstraZeneca jab over a potential link to blood clots.

The UK's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency said in a statement that "Out of the 30 reports up to and including 24 March, sadly 7 have died."

The Netherlands on Friday halted vaccinations with the AstraZeneca jab for people under the age of 60 after five new cases among women, one of whom died.

Germany took a similar decision earlier this week.

Syria to receive vaccines within days 

Covid-19 vaccines will arrive in Syria within days from China, Russia and the World Health Organisation, the regime said, according to news agency SANA.

The vaccines will be administered "according to a clear system", the report said without giving further details. 

Ukraine approves Sinovac vaccine

Ukraine has approved the Sinovac vaccine to fight the coronavirus pandemic, the health ministry said, after the country recorded a record rise in new cases for the second day in a row.

Ukraine received its first batch of 215,000 Sinovac doses in March to boost its vaccination programme, which has lagged behind many other European countries and it has so far relied on a single batch of AstraZeneca vaccines from India.

But authorities delayed using the vaccine, saying its local supplier had not provided the necessary paperwork and that the vaccine needed additional laboratory checks.

"As part of the vaccinations against Covid-19, Ukraine will use the CoronaVac vaccine from Sinovac Biotech," the health ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

Taiwan to receive Covax vaccines

Taiwan's first batch of vaccines via the global initiative Covax will arrive on the island on Sunday, almost 200,000 doses of the AstraZeneca shot, Health Minister Chen Shih-chung said.

Taiwan, which has kept the pandemic under control thanks to early and effective prevention, began its vaccination campaign only last month, also with AstraZeneca shots, after getting 117,000 doses directly from the drugmaker.

Philippines extends curbs 

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has extended a strict lockdown in the capital region and adjacent provinces by at least one week to try to contain a renewed surge in coronavirus infections, his spokesman said on Saturday.

The Philippines, which has the second-highest cases and deaths in Southeast Asia, reported 12,576 new coronavirus infections on Saturday, putting further strain on the healthcare system.

Restrictions, which include a ban on non-essential movement, mass gatherings and dining in restaurants, will remain for at least another week, Duterte's spokesman, Harry Roque, said in a televised announcement. The measures had been set to end on April 4.

After vaccination, Argentinian leader tests positive

Argentina's President Alberto Fernandez, who has been vaccinated against coronavirus, announced that he had tested positive.

"At the end of today, after presenting a fever of 37.3 and a slight headache, I performed an antigen test, which was positive," he tweeted, adding he was waiting for the results of a PCR test to confirm the diagnosis.

The president, who turned 62 on Friday, was in isolation as a precaution but said he was "physically well."

"Although I would have liked to end my birthday without this news, I am also in good spirits," he said.

Fernandez was inoculated with the Russian Sputnik V vaccine and had his second shot on February 11, sources in the presidency said.

Australia's Queensland records one new local case

Australia's Queensland state, the epicentre of the most recent small outbreak of the virus, recorded a new infection on Saturday, health officials said, but risks to the public were minimal as the victim had been in isolation for days.

"We never know which is the person who is going to end up infectious, but here we have one who has been in quarantine," said Jeannette Young, chief medical officer of the northeastern state.

"So that's ideal."

Authorities had shut a coronavirus ward in a hospital in the state's capital of Brisbane to investigate how two of its patients became infected during the outbreak that spread in two separate clusters, Young added.

The total number of infections from the clusters has grown at 19, but authorities reined in the spread this week to lift on Thursday a three-day snap lockdown in the city of 2 million.

India's daily infections hit six-month high

India's daily infections hit another record for the highest tally since September, while daily deaths reached a five-month high, a Reuters count based on data from the health ministry showed.

The south Asian nation recorded 89,129 new infections and 714 deaths, the ministry said. That was the biggest single-day rise since September 20 last year and the most deaths since October 21, according to a Reuters tally.

Infections have surged in India since the beginning of March, with its richest state of Maharashtra, home to the financial capital of Mumbai, the worst hit.

Late on Friday, the state's chief minister warned of a full lockdown to curb infections if people did not limit their movements.

Germany's confirmed cases rise by 18,129

The number of confirmed cases in Germany increased by 18,129 to 2,873,190, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Saturday. The reported death toll rose by 120 to 76,895, the tally showed.

Austria, Slovenia to help Czechs with vaccines

Austria and Slovenia on Friday promised thousands of vaccine doses for the Czech Republic after coming under fire from Brussels for refusing to help EU partners in greater need of jabs.

"We will help the Czech Republic bilaterally with 30,000 doses," Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said in a statement sent to AFP.

Later his Slovenian counterpart Janez Jansa also pledged 10,000 doses for the Czech Republic.

"A year ago, at the beginning of the epidemic when we had no protection gear, the Czech Republic was the first to help us and sent us 1.5 million masks and other gear," Jansa said in a tweet, adding: "We said we will never forget it and we have not."

Russia reports over 24,000 virus-related deaths in February

Russia on Friday reported a decline in virus-related deaths in February on the previous month, as authorities say the worst of the pandemic has passed and aim to lift remaining curbs by the end of the summer.

The figures published by the Rosstat statistics agency showed 14,171 Russians died due to the virus in February, while a further 9,198 people died with the virus but primarily of other causes.

That total of 24,369 represented a decline of 36 percent on January, which saw 37,878 virus-related deaths -- a figure Rosstat revised up by nearly 10,000 compared to its initial count last month.

Hong Kong bars incoming Singapore Airlines flights

Hong Kong has barred until mid-April incoming passenger flights from Singapore operated by Singapore Airlines, after an arriving passenger tested positive for virus infection.

Three passengers on the carrier's March 31 flight also failed to comply with disease precautions, Hong Kong authorities said on Friday.

Singapore Airlines confirmed the order but said passenger services from Hong Kong to Singapore would not be affected by the suspension, which runs until Ap ril 16.

A transit passenger on the SQ882 flight had a negative pre-departure test result, but subsequently tested positive on arrival in Hong Kong, the airline said.

California to allow indoor gatherings

California cleared the way for people to attend indoor concerts, theater performances and NBA games for the first time in more than a year as the rate of people testing positive for the virus in the state nears a record low.

State officials won't require testing or proof of vaccination for some of those events, but they do limit the number of people allowed to attend. Events that do require testing and vaccinations will be allowed to have more paying customers than those that don’t. Only people who live in California can attend these live performances.

The rules are different for private indoor gatherings, including weddings, meetings or conferences. Those are only to be allowed if all guests test negative for the virus at least 72 hours in advance or show proof of full vaccination. The changes do not mention requiring proof of vaccination and put much of the enforcement on business owners and operators.

Florida governor issues order banning 'vaccine passports'

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order banning businesses from requiring customers to show proof they have been vaccinated in order to get service.

The Republican governor had previously announced his intent to issue an order banning so-called “vaccine passports.” His action also barred any government agency in Florida from issuing such documentation for the purpose of providing proof of vaccinations.

In his executive order, DeSantis asserts that “vaccination passports reduce individual freedom and will harm patient privacy.”

Effective immediately, Florida businesses are barred from requiring patrons to provide documentation certifying vaccination to enter a business or to get served.

Latin America passes 25 million infections

Latin America and the Caribbean have passed the 25 million mark for recorded coronavirus cases as a surge in infections saw countries place restrictions on travel and movement while vaccine campaigns catch up.

An AFP tally showed the region reaching the grim milestone of 25,001,533 infections, putting it in third place after Europe with 44.2 million cases and the United States and Canada with over 31.5 million.

The death toll for Latin America and the Caribbean exceeded 788,000, according to AFP's count, second only to Europe which has lost some 936,000 people in the pandemic.

Brazil is at the epicentre of the region's latest epidemic wave, reporting a staggering 66,500 Covid-19 deaths in March alone, and more than 325,000 in total so far.

Mexico follows with more than 294,000 deaths, according to recent government data revealing figures much higher than the official fatality toll of about 203,000.

Kenya confirms new 19 deaths, 1,851 cases

Kenya’s Ministry of Health has confirmed 19 coronavirus-related deaths and 1,851 infections while conducting 9,676 tests in the last 24 hours amid the country’s third wave of the pandemic.

Total fatalities are now 2,186 while the tally of confirmed infections stands at 136,893, according to the ministry's latest update.

UK to ease restrictions to allow care home residents two visitors

Britain will allow care home residents in England two visitors later this month, giving some grandparents the chance to meet their grandchildren for the first time, the government said on Saturday.

To stop Covid-19 being spread in care homes which were badly hit during the initial outbreak of the disease last year, the government imposed tight restrictions on access during the latest strict lockdown which began in January.

Last month, measures were eased to allow each care home resident one indoor visitor, and from April 12, this will be doubled.

Parents will be allowed to bring babies and very young children, allowing some people the chance to meet the newest members of their family for the first time.

Visitors will have to wear personal protective equipment and provide a negative Covid test result. 

Brazil registers 2,922 new deaths

Brazil has registered 2,922 new Covid-19 deaths, the health ministry said, as the Latin American nation grapples with the worst of the pandemic so far and the world's highest daily death tolls.

First COVAX virus vaccines arrive in Belgrade

Serbia has received its first shipment of vaccines via the international COVAX mechanism.

More than 57,000 AstraZeneca doses arrived on a cargo plane that landed in the capital Belgrade.

Senior government ministers were there to welcome it.

Serbia also has a number of other vaccines, including Pfizer, Sinopharm and Sputnik.

The country of 7 million has so far vaccinated some 1.5 million people with at least one dose.

Serbia moved Friday to relax some of its restrictions, announcing plans to allow bars and restaurants to serve guests outside and to stay open for longer.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies