The daily COVID-19 death toll in India has reached a record high as a second surge in infections has forced the government to impose new lockdown measures in large parts of the country.
India’s Health Ministry said Tuesday that at least 1,761 people died in the last day, raising the death toll to more than 180,500, the world’s fourth highest death toll.
Many health experts and government officials believe the death toll is much higher than the official count. Several large cities have reported COVID-19-linked burials and cremations that far exceed the official tally.
The new wave of coronavirus infections hit the world’s second-largest country after it relaxed lockdown restrictions in February following declines over several consecutive months.
In an effort to prevent the collapse of its overwhelmed health care system, the capital, New Delhi, imposed a weeklong lockdown late Monday.
India’s western state of Maharashtra, the country’s hardest-hit region, announced Tuesday that grocery stores and vendors can only operate four hours a day.
The northern state of Uttar Pradesh announced a weekend lockdown that begins Friday evening, while the southern state of Telangana imposed a night curfew.
India’s resurgence prompted the United States on Tuesday to issue a “do not travel” warning to India. Britain issued a similar advisory on Monday, the same day that Hong Kong announced a ban on all flights from India.
Singapore extended by one week Tuesday a required 14-day quarantine period on arrivals from India.
India’s coronavirus resurgence, including more contagious variants detected there, is contributing to spikes globally in countries such as Brazil and France.
Johnson & Johnson vaccine
Separately, in the U.S., Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine is coming under further scrutiny by government health authorities.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said Monday the agency was looking into reports of additional cases of severe side effects possibly linked to the one-shot vaccine.
The CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) jointly called for a pause in the administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine last week after six women between the ages of 18 and 48 developed a rare but serious blood-clotting disorder following vaccination. One woman died and one was hospitalized in critical condition.
The six women were among the 7 million Americans who have received the vaccine since its approval.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine makes up a small proportion of the U.S. vaccine supply, but experts say the problem may make more people reluctant to get vaccinated.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has said he expects an independent CDC advisory panel to lift the suspension when it meets again later this week.
As of Tuesday, more than 142.1 million people around the globe have been infected by COVID-19, including over 3 million deaths, according to Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.
The number of new cases around the world are on the rise despite the acceleration of vaccination campaigns in many nations, especially in India, which reported 259,170 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, its sixth consecutive day of more than 200,000 confirmed new infections.
The growing surge of new COVID-19 cases around the world has prompted the U.S. State Department on Monday to announce an increase in the number of countries on its “Do Not Travel” list by around 80%.