(Reuters) -Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:
India’s daily virus cases breach 100,000
India reported a record rise in COVID-19 infections on Monday, becoming the second country after the United States to post more than 100,000 new cases in a day, as politicians stage massive election rallies raising fears of further spreading the virus.
Hospitals in the worst affected state, Maharashtra, are being overrun by patients. India’s richest state, home to its commercial capital Mumbai and numerous industries, reported a record 57,074 new cases overnight.
The country’s daily infections have risen about 12-fold since hitting a multi-month low in early February, when authorities eased most restrictions and people largely stopped wearing masks and following social distancing.
China reports biggest daily case jump in over 2 months
China reported its biggest daily jump in new COVID-19 cases in more than two months, as a city on the border with Myanmar in southwestern Yunnan province accounted for all new local cases.
Ruili’s local government put residents in its urban area under home quarantine, launched a massive testing drive and began restricting people from leaving and entering the city from last week after reporting COVID-19 patients.
The city accounted for all of the 15 new local cases reported on April 4. The total number of new infections, including imported infections originating from overseas, stood at 32, the highest total since Jan. 31.
Japan fears variants are behind possible fourth wave
Japanese health authorities are concerned that variants of the coronavirus are driving a nascent fourth wave in the pandemic with just 109 days remaining until the Tokyo Olympics.
The variants appear to be more infectious and may be resistant to vaccines, which are still not widely available in Japan. The situation is worst in Osaka, where infections hit fresh records last week, prompting the regional government to start targeted lockdown measures for one month from Monday.
A mutant COVID-19 variant first discovered in Britain has taken hold in the Osaka region, spreading faster and filling up hospital beds with more serious cases than the original virus.
UK’s Johnson launches mass testing programme
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday everyone in England will be able to take a COVID-19 test twice a week in a new drive to track the pandemic as society reopens and the vaccine roll-out continues at its rapid rate.
Johnson, who is expected to confirm plans to relaunch international travel and open sections of the economy later on Monday, said the new mass testing programme would break the chain of transmissions and spot cases without symptoms.
As much of Europe enters new lockdowns to tackle surging cases, Johnson has set out a staggered plan to ease restrictions in the coming months.
Tourism first! Phuket in vaccination drive
In Thailand, it’s the all-important tourism sector that has jumped to the head of the vaccination line, with the country’s most popular resort island embarking on a mass inoculation programme two months ahead of the rest of the country.
The island of Phuket aims to deliver shots to at least 460,000 people – most of its population – as it gears up for July 1, when vaccinated overseas visitors will no longer be required to quarantine.
(Compiled by Linda Noakes; Editing by Giles Elgood)