April 28 coronavirus news

By Joshua Berlinger, Jessie Yeung, Brett McKeehan, Kara Fox, Melissa Mahtani and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 12:08 AM ET, Thu April 29, 2021
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12:17 a.m. ET, April 28, 2021

New Zealand is no longer the best place to ride out the pandemic, according to Bloomberg's ranking

From CNN's Julia Hollingsworth in Hong Kong

 A border worker receives a dose of the Covid-19 vaccine in Auckland, New Zealand, on February 20.
 A border worker receives a dose of the Covid-19 vaccine in Auckland, New Zealand, on February 20. Xinhua/Sipa USA

New Zealand's successful pandemic handling has won it international attention -- and has even seen Hollywood stars shift to its shores.

But according to Bloomberg's latest Covid resilience rankings, the island nation that's been held up as an example of how to handle Covid-19 is no longer the best place to ride out the pandemic.

For the first time since Bloomberg's rankings started last November, Singapore has topped the world -- knocking New Zealand off its perch with a score of 79.7 to New Zealand's 79.6.

Singapore, a country of 5.7 million, has reported more than 61,000 cases and 30 deaths, while New Zealand -- a country of about 5.1 million -- has reported just 2,601 cases and 26 deaths. Both countries have used strict border policies to almost entirely squash community transmission of Covid-19.

But there's something Singapore has over New Zealand: vaccinations. While Singapore has at least partially vaccinated more than a fifth of its population, New Zealand has vaccinated less than 3%.

The Bloomberg Resilience Score ranks countries on their fatality rate and cases per 100,000 over the past month, their total deaths per 1 million, their test positive rate and the level of vaccination. Australia, Israel and Taiwan rounded out the top five spots.

For now, New Zealand is only rolling out vaccines to border workers, staff at state-run quarantine facilities, and high-risk frontline workers or those living in high-risk places, although it plans to provide everyone in the country with a free vaccine.

And while the country's vaccination rate is lagging behind other places overseas -- the United States, for instance, has already at least partially vaccinated more than 41% of its population -- New Zealand isn't alone in the region for its low vaccination rate. For example, Thailand, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan and Australia have all been relatively slow at vaccinating their populations.

Leaders in some countries have argued there is some value in not rushing vaccines out as it allows them time to observe side effects.

But experts say these countries still need to vaccinate their populations, as having huge numbers of unvaccinated people is a risk in a world where Covid mutates and changes so rapidly.

12:10 a.m. ET, April 28, 2021

Catch up: Here are the latest Covid-19 headlines from the US and around the world

New guidance for fully vaccinated people in the US was released Tuesday as some states start relaxing Covid-19 restrictions. Meanwhile, new infections and virus deaths surge in India and other parts of the world.

Here are Tuesday's top headlines to get you caught up:

  • India: The country is experiencing the world's worst outbreak of Covid-19 infections, reporting at least 323,144 new cases Tuesday. Hospitals have run out of basic medical supplies, with many patients dying due to oxygen shortages. The government has been scrambling to respond to the crisis, with countries around the world offering aid. Here's how you can help.
  • New guidance: Fully vaccinated people can unmask outdoors if they are walking, running, hiking or biking alone or with members of their household, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. Those who are fully vaccinated can also go mask free while dining at an outdoor restaurant with friends from multiple households or small outdoor gatherings. Unvaccinated people should still wear a mask.
  • Travel: The State Department announced students, journalists, certain academics and those “who provide critical infrastructure support” from countries affected by Covid-19 travel restrictions may now come to the United States under a National Interest Exception.
  • Lifting restrictions: Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced any fully vaccinated Ohioan will no longer have to quarantine if they are exposed to someone with Covid-19.
  • Vaccines: The White House said nearly 30 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines will be allocated this week. That is an increase from the previous two weeks. The Biden administration also announced measures to make it easier for college students to get their second dose in their home state.
  • Johnson & Johnson vaccine: The CDC says two additional people experienced a rare blood clotting condition after receiving the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine, bringing to 17 the number of known cases of what the agency is calling thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS). As of Friday, the CDC had reports of 15 confirmed cases among 8 million vaccinations.