More than 1 billion Covid-19 injections have been administered worldwide, offering hope even as global cases hit a new daily record, mainly due to rising infections in India, where the government, criticized for its handling of the pandemic, has asked Twitter to delete tweets criticizing its performance.
As of Saturday, at least 1,002,938,540 doses of vaccine had been administered in 207 countries and territories, according to an AFP count. However, the global number of new infections hit a record 893,000 on Friday, with India accounting for more than a third of them.
The United States said on Saturday that it was in high-level talks to deploy additional aid to Indian health workers and that it was very concerned about the situation there.
As it grapples with its overwhelming second wave, the Indian government asked Twitter to remove dozens of tweets, including some from local lawmakers, who criticized its handling of the outbreak.
Twitter has withheld some of the tweets after the Indian government’s legal request, a company spokeswoman told Reuters on Saturday.
The government issued an emergency order to censor the tweets, Twitter revealed in the Lumen database, a Harvard University project. In the government’s legal request, dated April 23, 21 tweets were mentioned.
The law cited in the government’s request was the Information Technology Act of 2000.
“When we receive a valid legal request, we review it according to Twitter rules and local law,” a Twitter spokeswoman said in an emailed statement.
“If the content violates Twitter’s rules, the content will be removed from the service. If it is found to be illegal in a particular jurisdiction, but does not violate Twitter’s rules, we may deny access to content in India only. “
Indian authorities announced 346,786 new cases on Saturday, a record for a single country since the start of the pandemic. India also reported 2,624 deaths, a daily record, as the surge in cases has prompted the government to organize special trains to bring oxygen to the hardest hit cities.
An “oxygen express” carrying 30,000 liters of oxygen arrived in northern Lucknow in the early hours of Saturday, where armed guards waited to escort trucks to hospitals.
The Indian air force is also being used to transport oxygen tanks and other supplies across the country and to bring in oxygen equipment from Singapore.
Thailand, which had long avoided the worst of the virus, was also dealing with a rising number of cases.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha said on Saturday that more than 1,400 Covid-19 patients were waiting to be admitted to the hospital.
The pandemic has killed more than three million people worldwide since the outbreak in China emerged in December 2019.
Brazil has seen its deadliest month yet from the virus with nearly 68,000 deaths reported in April so far, with a week still to go.
Worldwide, the number of vaccine doses administered has doubled in less than a month. Most poor countries have also started vaccinating, mostly thanks to the Covax program, but inoculation remains largely a privilege of wealth. High-income countries, which are home to 16% of the world’s population, have administered 47% of vaccine doses.
In contrast, low-income countries account for only 0.2% of vaccines so far.
In the US, regulators approved the restart of a Johnson & Johnson vaccine launch halted over blood clotting concerns.
In Europe, Belgium said on Saturday it would authorize the J&J injection for all adults, having already received 36,000 doses and expecting a total of 1.4 million between April and June.
The European Union as a whole said it would have enough vaccines to immunize 70% of its adult population by the end of July.
Germany is implementing new stricter lockdown rules, including night curfews and school closings, after the government passed a disputed new law designed to delay infections.
The rules, approved this week amid huge protests in Berlin, will apply in all regions with incidence rates of more than 100 new infections per 100,000 people in the past seven days.
In Britain, ongoing restrictions continue to fuel anger. London police said they arrested five people and eight officers were injured, following the disorder in large-scale protests against the remaining coronavirus restrictions in England, the mandatory use of masks and the possible introduction of so-called vaccine passports.
With Agence France-Presse and Reuters
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism