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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5:28 a.m. ET, April 28, 2021

Sri Lanka enacts lockdowns across the country as cases hit record numbers

From Iqbal Athas in Colombo, Sri Lanka

People queue at a roadside screening point to get tested for Covid-19 in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on April 27.
People queue at a roadside screening point to get tested for Covid-19 in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on April 27. Eranga Jayawardena/AP

Sri Lanka’s Health Ministry said today it would increase Covid-19 related restrictions as the country reported a record 1,111 new infections.

This month's uptick is likely tied to the Sinhala and Tamil New Year celebrations on April 13 and 14, which saw people crowded streets to celebrate and shop, according to Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi.

Starting Wednesday, schools across Sri Lanka will shut and private functions will be banned. Public and private employers are being asked to limit the number of people required to report to work. Authorities have also shut the main highway between Colombo and the port town of Hambantota and placed more than 100 areas across the country in lockdown.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said this week that the only answer to cope with the current situation is vaccination, but the country is facing a vaccine shortage.

Currently it is rolling it out the AstraZeneca vaccine and is awaiting a shipment of the Sputnik vaccine.

5:25 a.m. ET, April 28, 2021

Pakistan records highest number of Covid-19 deaths in a single day

From CNN's Sophia Saifi in Islamabad

At least 201 people in Pakistan died of Covid-19 in the past 24 hours, a new single-day record, according to the country's Ministry of Health.

Since the pandemic began, 17,530 people have died as a result of the coronavirus.

The spike comes as neighboring India is battling its own spike in cases, with 300,000 new Covid-19 patients reported there every day for more than a week.

Army soldiers patrol a street in Lahore, Pakistan, on April 26, to enforce new coronavirus restrictions.
Army soldiers patrol a street in Lahore, Pakistan, on April 26, to enforce new coronavirus restrictions. Arif Ali/AFP/Getty Images

Pakistan recorded an additional 5,293 Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours. Authorities say there are currently 88,207 active cases in the country.

More than 810,000 cases have been identified in Pakistan since the pandemic began, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University.

3:23 a.m. ET, April 28, 2021

Nearly 150 patients per day are being turned away from hospital in one Indian city

From CNN's Esha Mitra in New Delhi

Nearly 150 people a day coming to the Indian city of Surat are being turned away as they seek medical treatment, said Dr. Hiral Shah, the president of the Indian Medical Association in Gujarat.

Shah said most of the patients are coming from nearby South Gujarat, but Surat's hospitals are "overwhelmed with our own population and we are running low on oxygen so we are not able to admit those coming in from surrounding areas."

"We have appealed to the chief minister, the municipal corporation, everyone, but they are saying because of the excessive congestion in the entire country the supply has to be cut short," Shah said.

Surat has been experiencing a shortage in its oxygen supply since Sunday, with 30% less oxygen being supplied to the city than is required for its patients.

Private hospitals in the city have stopped admitting new patients, unless they are able to discharge those currently admitted in the hospital.

"There could be potentially dangerous complications and it could be in a massive number, that is the worry ... the supply (of oxygen) is uncertain, hospitals don't know what will happen today or tomorrow," Shah said.

Gujarat has reported 524,725 cases of coronavirus including 6,656 deaths, according to numbers released by the Indian Ministry of Health on Wednesday.

2:42 a.m. ET, April 28, 2021

India's Covid-19 death toll surpasses 200,000 as country reports highest single-day rise

From CNN's Manveena Suri in New Delhi

Family members and ambulance workers in personal protective equipment (PPE) carry the body of a victim who died of Covid-19 at a cremation ground in New Delhi, India, on April 27.
Family members and ambulance workers in personal protective equipment (PPE) carry the body of a victim who died of Covid-19 at a cremation ground in New Delhi, India, on April 27. Prakash Singh/AFP/Getty Images

India’s coronavirus death toll has surpassed 200,000, after the country reported that 3,293 people died due to Covid-19 on Tuesday -- the highest number of Covid-19 fatalities recorded in a single day, according to figures released by the country’s health ministry on Wednesday.

It is the first time India's reported number of coronavirus deaths in a day has crossed the 3,000-mark.

India also revealed Wednesday that authorities had identified a record 360,960 new cases of coronavirus Tuesday, according to a CNN tally of figures from the Indian Ministry of Health. India has recorded more than 300,000 cases a day for seven consecutive days.

To date, India has reported 17,997,267 Covid-19 cases and 201,187 virus-related deaths.

India launched its vaccination drive on January 16. Authorities said 147,727,054 doses have been administered as of Tuesday evening local time, according to a press release issued by the Ministry of Health. A total of 24,865,044 people have received their second dose -- about 1.9% of India's population of 1.3 billion.

1:56 a.m. ET, April 28, 2021

Indian Prime Minister Modi's political party is holding rallies despite Covid-19 crisis

From CNN's Manveena Suri in New Delhi

Crowds of people gathered at rallies in Greater Warangal Municipal Corporation
Crowds of people gathered at rallies in Greater Warangal Municipal Corporation BJP Telangana

Members of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are holding political rallies to drum up support ahead of municipal elections despite a devastating second wave of coronavirus gripping the country.

Campaigning is underway in parts of southern Telangana state for municipal elections. Images tweeted by the BJP Telangana official account on Monday show crowds of people gathered at rallies in Greater Warangal Municipal Corporation, with many of them not wearing masks or adhering to social distancing guidelines.

India reported 352,991 new coronavirus cases -- breaking yet another record for the highest single-day figure globally. Cases dipped slightly Tuesday, with 323,144 new patients reported.

The party's Twitter account later took down some of the tweets and photos showing wider shots of large crowds gathered in the streets for the rallies.

Modi and the BJP have come under fire for holding several rallies in eastern West Bengal state with thousands in attendance between March and April ahead of state polls.

Members of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) continue to hold rallies despite a devastating second wave of coronavirus gripping the country.
Members of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) continue to hold rallies despite a devastating second wave of coronavirus gripping the country. BJP Telangana

Experts fear the Covid-19 pandemic in India is spiraling out of control thanks to a "perfect storm" of poor vaccine coverage, mass gatherings and the prevalence of more contagious variants of the virus. India has had a total of 17,636,307 Covid-19 cases and 197,894 deaths, according to a CNN tally

On April 22, the Election Commission of India tightened restrictions for the remaining phases of the West Bengal state assembly elections, banning road shows and vehicle rallies as well as large public meetings with more than 500 people after finding political parties and candidates were flouting public health guidelines.

Municipal elections come under state authorities, however, and the Telangana State Election Commission has advised that parties and candidates adhere to state guidelines pertaining to Covid-19. Telangana has not enacted strict anti-epidemic measures, only a curfew at night.

Telangana reported 10,122 new cases on Tuesday, bringing the total number of cases in the state to 411,905, according to state health department figures.

12:25 a.m. ET, April 28, 2021

WHO redeploys India staff to counter a "perfect storm"

From CNN's Angus Watson

A health worker tends to a patient inside a banquet hall temporarily converted into a Covid-19 ward in New Delhi, India, on April 27.
A health worker tends to a patient inside a banquet hall temporarily converted into a Covid-19 ward in New Delhi, India, on April 27. Money Sharma/AFP/Getty Images

The World Health Organization (WHO) says it has bolstered its Covid-19 response in India by redeploying 2,600 health experts from other programs to counter the massive spike in cases throughout the country.

"As is true in any country, WHO has said the combination of relaxing of personal protective measures, mass gatherings and more contagious variants while vaccine coverage is still low can create a perfect storm," WHO spokesman Tarik Jašarević said in an email to CNN.

The WHO also said the problem of hospital overcrowding is being exacerbated by patients who may not need to be there. 

“Currently, part of the problem is that many people rush to the hospital (also because they do not have access to information/advice), even though home-based care monitoring can be managed very safely," Jašarević said. “Less than 15% of people who have the infection actually need hospital care and even fewer will need oxygen."

The WHO is appealing for people not to stockpile “essential supplies like oxygen cylinders and drugs.”

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.