India’s COVID crisis ‘beyond heartbreaking’ – WHO

India has set a new global record for a rise in daily coronavirus cases for a fifth straight day, while deaths from COVID-19 also jumped by an all-time high over the last 24 hours on Monday.

Several nations, including the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany, have offered support as India’s under-funded healthcare system struggles to cope with the increasing demand for medical oxygen and hospital beds.

US President Biden promises India support in call to PM Modi

US President Joe Biden promised emergency coronavirus-related assistance to India in a telephone call Monday with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the two countries said.

Biden “pledged America’s steadfast support for the people of India” and said the United States “is providing a range of emergency assistance, including oxygen-related supplies, vaccine materials and therapeutics,” the White House said.

Situation in India ‘beyond heartbreaking’: WHO chief

The World Health Organization director-general voiced alarm Monday at India’s record-breaking wave of coronavirus cases and deaths, describing the situation as “beyond heartbreaking”.“WHO is doing everything we can, providing critical equipment and supplies, including thousands of oxygen concentrators, prefabricated mobile field hospitals and laboratory supplies,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters in Geneva during a media briefing.

Indian coronavirus variant found in northern Italy

Authorities in northern Italy announced Monday they had identified two cases of the Indian variant of coronavirus, in a father and daughter recently returned from India.

The news follows reports of another case in the central region of Tuscany last month, and comes after the Italian government banned arrivals from the virus-hit country.

“Today in (the city of) Bassano we have the first two patients, two Indians,” announced Luca Zaia, head of the Veneto region.

Nine test positive at Indian women’s hockey training camp

Nine members of the Indian women’s hockey team, including seven players, are isolating after testing positive for COVID-19 over the weekend, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) said.

The players and staff were tested on Saturday when they arrived at the training base in Bengaluru where they will prepare for the Tokyo Olympics in July.

SAI added that all nine individuals are asymptomatic and isolating at its National Centre of Excellence.

Switzerland puts India on COVID-19 quarantine list

Switzerland has placed India to its list of high-risk countries from which travellers must enter quarantine following the surge of cases in the subcontinent and the discovery here of a first case of new variant of COVID-19 first identified in India.

Arrivals from India must immediately go into quarantine, under the government restrictions which go into effect at 1600 GMT on Monday, the Federal Office of Public Health said on its website.

PODCAST: On the front lines of India’s second wave of COVID-19

Skyrocketing numbers of cases and deaths, new coronavirus variants and medical shortages. India’s healthcare system is overwhelmed by a devastating second wave of COVID-19, and there’s no end in sight.

Pharmaceutical firm in Russia ready to ship 1 million packs of remdesivir

Russian pharmaceutical firm Pharmasyntez said on Monday it was ready to ship up to 1 million packs of the remdesivir COVID-19 treatment to India by the end of May, once it receives approval from the Russian government.

The company said it was waiting for a legal basis on which it could send the shipment of the generic version it produces of the US drug remdesivir, used to treat former US President Donald Trump, the company told Reuters new agency.

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