(Reuters) -Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:
India’s richest state prepares for lockdown
India’s new coronavirus infections reached a record on Wednesday, as crowds of pilgrims gathered for a religious festival despite oxygen shortages at some hospitals and strict curbs in other areas.
The country reported 184,372 cases in the last 24 hours, health ministry data showed, taking total infections to 13.9 million. Deaths rose by 1,027, for a toll of 172,085.
The rise in cases comes as India’s richest state, Maharashtra, the epicentre of the national second wave, is due to enter a full lockdown at midnight local time until the end of April to contain the spread.
Thailand reports daily record cases
Thailand reported on Wednesday 1,335 new COVID-19 cases, the biggest daily rise since the start of the pandemic and the third record rise this week, as the Southeast Asian country struggles with a new wave of infections.
The spike in cases comes as Thais celebrate the Songkran new year holidays and authorities have urged people to avoid unnecessary travel and reduce gatherings to help limit the outbreak, which includes the highly transmissible variant first identified in Britain.
“The period after Songkran is a critical time to control the outbreak, if not we could see 10,000 to 20,000 cases per day,” senior health official Opas Karnkawinpong said.
U.S. pauses use of J&J vaccine
U.S. federal health agencies on Tuesday recommended pausing use of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine for at least a few days after six women under age 50 developed rare blood clots after receiving the shot, dealing a fresh setback to efforts to tackle the pandemic.
Johnson & Johnson said it would delay roll-out of the vaccine to Europe, a week after regulators there said they were reviewing rare blood clots in four recipients of the shot in the United States. South Africa also suspended use of J&J’s vaccine.
The White House said appointments to receive the J&J shot were being rescheduled across the country to the other two authorized vaccines.
UK trial on switching vaccines adds Moderna and Novavax
A UK study into using different COVID-19 vaccines in two-dose inoculations is being expanded to include shots made by Moderna and Novavax, researchers said on Wednesday.
The trial, known as the Com-Cov study, was first launched in February to look at whether giving a first dose of one type of shot, and a second dose of another, elicits an immune response that is as good as using two doses of the same vaccine.
The idea, said Matthew Snape, the Oxford University professor leading the trial, “is to explore whether the multiple COVID-19 vaccines that are available can be used more flexibly”.
Dutch PM extends lockdown
The Dutch government on Tuesday extended most pandemic lockdown restrictions including a night curfew as Prime Minister Mark Rutte cited rising infection rates and hospitals near capacity.
“We have to see daily hospitalizations falling, then we’ll be over the peak of the third wave,” Rutte said at a press conference in The Hague. He said hopes that some measures could be eased on April 21 had proved illusory and they must remain in place until April 28 at the earliest.
Current measures in the Netherlands, which has seen 1.3 million coronavirus cases and more than 16,700 deaths, include the first nighttime curfew since World War Two and a ban on public gatherings of more than two people.
(Compiled by Linda Noakes; Editing by Giles Elgood)