World Indian government faces lockdown calls, contempt charges
Guests flock to Dutch cafe terraces as lockdown eases
UTRECHT, Netherlands (AP) — Lisa Gerritsen and Eva Diks were the first guests in six months to be served at Cafe Le Journal on The Neude square in the Dutch city of Utrecht on Wednesday. First in a long line waiting to be seated, they chose a table in the sun, ordered a bottle of rose wine and glasses of water and were planning to make a day of it. “We’ve waited so long. We were here at 11 o’clock. Fantastic,” said Gerritsen, a 19-year-old student. “We plan to stay here until 6 p.m.
NEW DELHI (AP) — India's government faced calls for a strict lockdown to slow a devastating surge in new coronaviorus cases, and a court in New Delhi on Wednesday will decide whether to punish officials for failing to end a 2-week-old erratic supply of oxygen to overstretched hospitals.
With 382,315 new confirmed cases, India's tally has risen to more than 20.6 million since the pandemic began. The Health Ministry on Wednesday also reported 3,780 deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 226,188. Experts believe both figures are an undercount.
The Latest: Nepal starts 15-day lockdown as COVID-19 spikes
KATHMANDU, Nepal — Offices were closed, markets were shuttered and vehicles were forced off the streets in Nepal’s capital on Thursday as authorities imposed a 15-day lockdown because of spiking cases of COVID-19. The lockdown was imposed in most of the Himalayan nation's major cities and towns. In Kathmandu and surrounding districts, police set up checkpoints and were stopping drivers and pedestrians. Several vehicles were impounded for defying the lockdown.
Rahul Gandhi, a leader of the opposition Congress party, said this week "a lockdown is now the only option because of a complete lack of strategy by the Indian government.”
The New Delhi High Court will decide whether to press contempt charges against officials for defying its order to meet oxygen requirements of more than 40 hospitals in the capital. Those found guilty face six months in prison or a fine.
The court summoned two Home Ministry officials for Wednesday's hearing.
"You can put your head in the sand like an ostrich, we will not. We are not going to take no for an answer,” Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli said.
The grim reality is that hospitals are reducing the number of beds and asking patients to move elsewhere, the judges said. The court is hearing petitions filed by several hospitals and nursing homes struggling with irregular oxygen supplies.
Despite 3-week lockdown, many remain on the move in Turkey
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkish security forces on Friday patrolled main streets and set up checkpoints at entry and exits points of cities, to enforce Turkey’s strictest COVID-19 lockdown to date. Still, many people were on the move as the government, desperate not to shut down the economy completely, kept some sectors exempt from the restrictions. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan imposed the new lockdown restrictions — which took effect Thursday evening and will last until May 17 — following an alarming resurgence that saw COVID-19 infections and fatalities reach record high levels.
Raghav Chaddha, a spokesman for the Aam Aadmi Party governing New Delhi, said hospitals were getting only 40% of their 700 metric tons (772 U.S. tons) requirements through the federal government, and the local government was arranging additional supplies to meet the shortfall and setting up new oxygen plants.
The latest wave of infections since April has pushed India’s health care to the brink with people begging for oxygen cylinders and hospital beds on social media and news channels.
India launches effort to inoculate all adults against COVID
NEW DELHI (AP) — In hopes of taming a monstrous spike in COVID-19 infections, India opened vaccinations to all adults Saturday, launching a huge inoculation effort that was sure to tax the limits of the federal government, the country's vaccine factories and the patience of its 1.4 billion people. The world's largest maker of vaccines was still short of critical supplies — the result of lagging manufacturing and raw material shortages that delayed the rollout in several states. And even in places where the shots were in stock, the country’s wide economic disparities made access to the vaccine inconsistent.
Bodies have been piling up at cremation grounds and in graveyards with relatives waiting for hours for the last rites.
Dileep Kumar, a student, said he was asked by hospital authorities to shift his father to another hospital in Ghaziabad, a town on the outskirts of New Delhi, after it ran out of oxygen on Tuesday.
Authorities are scrambling to add more beds, sending oxygen from one corner of the country to another, and scaling up manufacturing of the few drugs effective against COVID-19.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is reluctant to impose a national lockdown for fear of the economic fallout. Modi said last month that it should be the last resort.
But nearly a dozen states have imposed curbs on their own.
How Indian Americans Got the President’s Ear
After years of trying to build influence, the Indian American political world is starting to feel a sense of actual power and clout in the new administration.Within 24 hours, he had heard back from a White House official, who told him that a team had been assembled to consider the situation. Two days after that, Secretary of State Antony Blinken tweeted that the U.S. would “rapidly deploy additional support to the people of India.
The most populous state of Uttar Pradesh, with 200 million people, implemented a five-day lockdown this week. The country’s second and third most populated states of Maharashtra and Bihar are also under lockdown with varying curbs.
Efforts to scale up the vaccination drive are hampered by the shortage of doses. India, a country of 1.4 billion, has so far administered 160 million doses.
The global community is extending a helping hand. The United States, Britain, Germany and several other nations are rushing therapeutics, rapid virus tests and oxygen to India, along with some materials needed for India to boost its domestic production of COVID-19 vaccines.
India Covid-19: Fauci joins calls for nationwide lockdown .
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is under increasing pressure to impose a nationwide lockdown as the country grapples with the world's worst Covid-19 outbreak.On Monday, India reported 366,161 new cases, its health ministry said -- the first time daily infections have dipped below 400,000 since May 6. Its total caseload is now more than 22 million since the pandemic began.