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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8:33 a.m. ET, April 28, 2021

Bangladesh diverts industry oxygen supplies to hospitals for Covid-19 patients

From Salman Saeed in Dhaka and CNN's Esha Mitra in New Delhi

A worker refills cylinders at an oxygen plant in Dhaka, Bangladesh on April 23.
A worker refills cylinders at an oxygen plant in Dhaka, Bangladesh on April 23. Piyas Biswas/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images

Bangladesh has announced that the country’s oxygen supplies should only be provided to hospitals and clinics as a precautionary measure due to an overall increase in Covid-19 infections across the country, according to the Department of Explosives.

Monira Yesmine, an official from the department, told CNN that the government had sent a notice to various oxygen companies on Friday requiring them to suspend oxygen supply for industrial use and provide it only to hospitals and clinics instead “due to increased cases of Covid-19 patients in the nation and fear of oxygen shortage.”

The move comes as hospitals in neighboring India have been plagued by oxygen shortages as cases continue to surge on the subcontinent.

India has taken a similar approach to commercial oxygen supply, with its government temporarily banning the supply of oxygen for industrial use from April 22.

Dr. Supriyo Sarker, Program Manager of Bangladesh's Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) told CNN that Bangladesh received its last oxygen supply shipment from India on April 21. 

Sarker said that currently, the main challenges in the country's health system "are shortage of manpower, bed and ICU capacity and the oxygen supply for Covid-19 patients.”

He noted however, that over the last few days, a drop in case numbers had been reported, and that oxygen was still in reserve.

"If the infection doesn’t increase any further, we won’t face a big problem," he said, underscoring the government's precautionary stance.

The country’s Health Minister Zahid Maleque said the country is unlikely to face a crisis of medical oxygen given the current number of coronavirus patients receiving treatment in hospitals.

On vaccines, Bangladesh is currently seeking more doses amid a current shortage after the Indian government’s decision to halt its exports of the AstraZeneca vaccine in the midst of its own crisis dealt a blow to the country's rollout plans.

Bangladesh recorded 3,031 additional daily cases on Tuesday, according to the DGHS, raising the national confirmed cases to 751,659.

The country's death toll stood at 11,228 on Tuesday.

6:11 a.m. ET, April 28, 2021

Indian prime minister’s aunt dies from Covid-19

From Manveena Suri and Diksha Madhok in New Delhi and CNN's Chandler Thornton

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a public rally in North 24 Parganas, India, on April 12.
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a public rally in North 24 Parganas, India, on April 12. Samir Jana/Hindustan Times/Getty Images

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's aunt has become the latest casualty of the country’s devastating coronavirus outbreak.  

Narmadaben Modi, died Tuesday after contracting Covid-19, according to the Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency, attributing family members.

The 80-year-old was undergoing treatment for the virus when she died in hospital, PTI said.

"Our aunt Narmadaben was admitted to the civil hospital some ten days ago after her condition deteriorated following coronavirus infection," said Modi's younger brother, Prahlad Modi, according to PTI. "She breathed her last at the hospital today," he added.

The prime minister, who has yet to publicly comment on his aunt's death, has been heavily criticized in recent weeks over his handling of India’s coronavirus crisis -- currently the world's worst outbreak.

Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has continued to hold rallies for municipal elections in spite of surging coronavirus cases across India. Campaigning for municipal elections is underway in southern Telangana state, with images posted by the official BJP Telangana account on Monday showing crowds of people gathered at rallies in Greater Warangal Municipal Corporation -- with many of them not wearing masks or adhering to social distancing guidelines.

Earlier this month, the Indian government attempted to assuage criticism of Modi by asking social media networks including Twitter and Facebook to remove around 100 posts critical of Modi's Covid-19 response.  

India’s coronavirus death toll has now surpassed 200,000 people after the country reported a further 3,293 deaths on Tuesday -- its highest daily death toll thus far.

A record 360,960 new cases were recorded by health authorities on Tuesday, making it the seventh consecutive day of more than 300,000 new cases being recorded.

5:58 a.m. ET, April 28, 2021

People in the UK might be able to travel internationally from mid-May using the NHS app

From CNN's Sharon Braithwaite and Lindsay Isaac in London

Passengers are escorted through an arrivals area towards buses destined for quarantine hotels, after landing at Heathrow airport in London, on April 23, as travel restrictions remain in place.
Passengers are escorted through an arrivals area towards buses destined for quarantine hotels, after landing at Heathrow airport in London, on April 23, as travel restrictions remain in place. Leon Neal/Getty Images

The UK transport secretary said Wednesday that the country's National Health Service (NHS) app will be used as a certificate for international travel, noting that the earliest possible date to "unlock" international travel would be in mid-May.

Under current coronavirus restrictions, it is currently illegal to travel abroad from the UK for holidays.

The existing NHS app is being “re-deployed” to be able to “show you've had a vaccine or you've had testing,” Grant Shapps told UK broadcaster SKY.  

The UK government is expected to set out this week which countries people in the UK can travel to this summer.

Shapps said he will set out "towards the beginning of May" which countries fall into the various different categories of a "traffic light" system recently announced by the UK government.

Under the "cautious" plan, countries will be classified as red, amber or green -- depending on their pandemic situation.

Countries included in the green list will be ones "where you'll be able to go to without needing to quarantine on your return," Shapps said.

He added that travelers will still need to take a pre-departure Covid-19 test and another one on return.

The earliest possible date to "unlock" international travel is May 17, Shapps said, and that "so far the data does continue to look good from a UK perspective, notwithstanding those concerns about where people might be travelling to and making sure we're protected from the disease being reimported."

The transport secretary added that he is working with "partners across the world to make sure that [the NHS] system can be internationally recognized, as that's the way forward," and that at an upcoming meeting of the G7 secretaries of state for transport, he would be discussing the subject with his counterparts, including transport secretaries from the US and Canada.

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.”