April 20 coronavirus news

By Sophie Jeong, Kara Fox and Nicholas Pearce, CNN

Updated 2:40 AM ET, Wed April 21, 2021
4 Posts
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6:49 a.m. ET, April 20, 2021

Modi’s BJP limits election rallies to 500 people as Covid-19 cases surge across India

From CNN's Esha Mitra in New Delhi

Chief minister of West Bengal and Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee is seen at the center of an election rally with TMC candidates from Beleghata to Bowbazar on April 15 in Kolkata, India.
Chief minister of West Bengal and Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee is seen at the center of an election rally with TMC candidates from Beleghata to Bowbazar on April 15 in Kolkata, India. Samir Jana/Hindustan Times/Getty Images

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling political party has said it will no longer hold large election rallies in the state of West Bengal, citing a “difficult phase of the pandemic.”

Instead, Modi’s party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), will hold “small public gatherings," with a cap of 500 people, according to a BJP statement released Monday.

West Bengal, one of five Indian states where elections are currently being held, has seen tens of thousands in attendance at rallies organized by the BJP and by the Trinamool Congress Party – who currently rules the state government.

West Bengal, which has never had a BJP government, has become a key focus for the party. However, the elections are being held amid the country’s second wave.

On Tuesday, India reported a 6th consecutive day of more than 200,000 new Covid-19 cases, according to a CNN tally of figures from the Indian health ministry.
The country has reported nearly 1.5 million new cases in the past seven days alone.
India’s health ministry also reported 1,761 new deaths, the highest in almost 10 months.
In West Bengal, a total of 668,353 total cases have been reported, including 10,606 deaths and 53,418 active cases, according to the Indian Ministry of Health on Tuesday.

Rahul Gandhi, the leader of India's main opposition party, said the Indian National Congress had suspended all public rallies in West Bengal as of Sunday. 

The Chief Minister of West Bengal and founder of the Trinamool Congress Party Mamata Banerjee said at a rally on Monday that she would hold short meetings considering the ongoing pandemic.

Banerjee also accused the central government for inadequately preparing for India’s current surge, saying that Modi “ has not done anything to stop covid nor let anyone else do anything to stop it” and that “the prime minister is responsible.”

The Trinamool Congress Party has also appealed to the country's election commission to combine the remaining electoral phases into one day, due to the surge in cases. If that strategy was approved, it would expedite the election process and eliminate the need for further election rallies.

For now, the election commission is currently moving forward with a phased election strategy.

West Bengal has a total of eight polling days, with three remaining. The next date of polling is on April 22. 

6:13 a.m. ET, April 20, 2021

India reports 6th consecutive day of over 200,000 new Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Swati Gupta in New Delhi

Health workers checking a Covid-19 positive patient inside an ambulance at a hospital in Kolkata, India, on April 18.
Health workers checking a Covid-19 positive patient inside an ambulance at a hospital in Kolkata, India, on April 18. Debarchan Chatterjee/NurPhoto/Getty Images

India reported 259,170 new Covid-19 cases Tuesday, its sixth consecutive day of more than 200,000 new infections, according to a CNN tally of figures from the Indian health ministry.

The country also reported 1,761 new deaths, the highest in almost 10 months. India has reported nearly 1.5 million new cases in the past seven days alone.

On Monday evening, the New Delhi government imposed a curfew until April 26 to combat the rising cases and the pressure on the city's healthcare system.

“Our healthcare system has reached its limit. It is now in a state of distress. It has not collapsed yet but it is in distress. Every healthcare system has its limits. No system can accommodate unlimited patients,” Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said during a press conference Monday.

India has recorded a total of 15,321,089 Covid-19 cases and 180,530 deaths, according to the Indian Ministry of Health.

India now has the second highest number of coronavirus cases in the world ahead of Brazil, which has reported over 13.9 million cases, and behind the United States, which has recorded over 31.7 million cases, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University.

Correction: A previous version of this post incorrectly stated where the US ranks in global coronavirus cases. 

2:41 a.m. ET, April 20, 2021

Argentina received 800,000 doses of Russia's Sputnik-V vaccine

From CNN's Maria Fleet in Atlanta

Argentina's government received 800,000 does of Russia's Sputnik-V coronavirus vaccine Monday, the President's office said.

The arrival was announced on the official Twitter feed of Argentina's Presidency, which also showed video of an Aerolineas Argentinas plane carrying the shipment of doses arriving at night in Buenos Aires and being unloaded.

The shipment brings the total number of vaccine does received to nearly 9 million, according to Argentina's Ministry of Health.

Some context: The shipment comes as Argentina is experiencing a spike in new cases. The country has registered more than 200,000 new cases in a 24-hour period on 9 separate days in April, according to the country's Ministry of Health.

On Tuesday, Argentina reported 20,461 new cases of the coronavirus, and 248 new deaths, bringing the total number of deaths registered due to Covid-19 to 59,476. 

2:41 a.m. ET, April 20, 2021

A vaccinated airport worker in New Zealand tests positive for Covid-19

From Angus Watson in Sydney

An information board displays a public health notice for the NZ Covid Tracer App in a deserted check-in hall at the International Terminal of Auckland Airport in Auckland, New Zealand, on Tuesday, July 7, 2020.
An information board displays a public health notice for the NZ Covid Tracer App in a deserted check-in hall at the International Terminal of Auckland Airport in Auckland, New Zealand, on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. Brendon O'Hagan/Bloomberg via Getty Images

An airport worker in New Zealand tested positive for Covid-19 Tuesday, a day after the country opened a travel bubble with Australia.

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the border worker was fully vaccinated "early on" in the country's vaccine rollout.

The individual's job is to clean planes that have flown internationally from countries where Covid-19 is widespread, according to a media release from New Zealand's Ministry of Health. The worker was employed at Auckland Airport.

“This was border worker who did work in an environment where they were coming into contact with the planes that are used to transport people from Red Zones, from high-risk countries,” Ardern said.

The person has been placed in isolation, interviewed, and their contacts are being tracked, New Zealand Health said Tuesday.

Ardern said the case was not connected to the travel bubble with Australia, and the agreement was not impacted.