Argentina, Nepal and others see cases rising rapidly like India


A patient receives oxygen while she waits outside a hospital in Kathmandu, Nepal on May 13, 2021. Government hospitals in the country lack beds for Covid-19 patients.

Sunil Pradhan | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

India is currently at the epicenter of the global coronavirus pandemic — but it is not the only country with a worsening Covid-19 outbreak.

From Argentina in Latin America to Nepal in Asia, many other countries have also reported record increases in Covid cases in the last few weeks, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, has expressed concerns over the raging health crisis around the world.

“India remains hugely concerning … but it’s not only India that has emergency needs,” he said at a news briefing this month.

The increase in infections has come as progress of vaccinations remains uneven across the world. Generally, developed countries such as the U.S. and the U.K. are ahead in vaccinating their populations while poorer nations in Africa and parts of Asia are lagging due to limited supply of shots.

Here’s a look at some places where Covid cases are surging.

Argentina

  • Cumulative cases: More than 3.5 million as of May 23, according to Hopkins data.
  • Cumulative deaths: More than 74,000 as of May 23, Hopkins data showed.
  • Vaccination: Around 19.25% of population received at least one dose, according to Our World in Data.

Argentina has in the last few weeks reported record-breaking numbers of daily cases and deaths, leading authorities to impose fresh lockdown measures that will last until end-May.

The measures, which came into force over the weekend, include closing schools and non-essential businesses, as well as banning social, religious and sporting events, reported Reuters.  

Reported cases rapidly rose from below 5,000 a day in early-March to a record-high of more than 39,000 last Wednesday, Hopkins data showed. The number of deaths also surged from 112 on March 1 to a record 744 last Tuesday, according to the data.

The worsening outbreak has swamped Argentina’s health-care system, and President Alberto Fernandez was quoted as saying last Thursday that “we are living the worst moment since the pandemic began.”

Vaccination is progressing slowly in the country, with around 19% of the roughly 45 million population having received at least one dose, according to statistics site Our World in Data.

Nepal

Many people in Nepal blamed returning migrant workers from India for the rapid rise in Covid-19 cases, reported NBC News. Many of the returning Nepalese had lost their jobs and income when parts of India went into lockdown to curb the second wave of infections there, the report said.  

That caused Nepal’s daily cases to accelerate from below 200 at the start of April to a record-high of more than 9,300 in mid-May, Hopkins data showed.

Nepal is scrambling to secure Covid vaccines. The country started vaccinating its people in January with the AstraZeneca vaccine provided by India and Covax, a global alliance aimed at fairly distributing vaccines, reported Reuters. However, the South Asian nation has run out of shots with the Serum Institute of India yet to deliver the doses that Nepal ordered, the report said.

India has halted exports of Covid vaccines as it prioritizes its domestic needs.

Bahrain

The country’s latest outbreak has contributed to concerns about the effectiveness of vaccines from Sinopharm and Sputnik. That’s especially so as other highly vaccinated countries — such as Israel and the U.K. — which rely mostly on western-developed shots, are reporting a decline in cases.

China, on its part, appeared to suggest last month that Chinese vaccines “don’t have very high protection rates.” The official who made the remark later tried to walk back on those comments, and said he was misunderstood.

But within Bahrain, the number of deaths reported daily — while increasing — has largely remained low even as infections are rising rapidly.

Taiwan

  • Cumulative cases: More than 4,300 as of May 23, according to Hopkins data.
  • Cumulative deaths: At least 23 as of May 23, Hopkins data showed.
  • Vaccination: Around 0.14% of population received at least one dose, according to Our World in Data.

Before the latest resurgence, Taiwan was widely applauded for its success in containing the spread of Covid-19 without a full lockdown.

The island with a population of roughly 24 million recorded just 1,128 cases — of which a large majority were imported — and 12 deaths by end-April, Hopkins data showed. But the number of daily cases surged past 200 in the last week, the data showed.

Such numbers remain a lot smaller compared to most countries and territories around the world, but are a milestone for Taiwan where daily life had largely continued as normal before the latest spike.

Some media reports blamed Taiwan’s complacency for the renewed outbreak.

Taiwanese authorities had relaxed quarantine requirements for airline crew members in mid-April; and a hotel near Taoyuan International Airport was found housing flight crews on quarantine with other visitors — which led to a cluster of infections in the latest outbreak.

Authorities have since imposed new social-distancing rules that limited social gatherings, closed some businesses and tightened border restrictions.

Taiwan, which has one of the lowest vaccination rates globally, is also trying to ramp up efforts to vaccinate its population.



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