May 12 coronavirus news

By Veronica Rocha, Elise Hammond and Melissa Mahtani , CNN

Updated 1:32 AM ET, Thu May 13, 2021
8 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
7:54 a.m. ET, May 12, 2021

Former Italian PM Berlusconi hospitalised with Covid-related illness

From Livia Borghese in Rome

Italy's former prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, speaks at the Chamber of Deputies on February 9, in Rome, Italy. 
Italy's former prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, speaks at the Chamber of Deputies on February 9, in Rome, Italy.  Livio Anticoli/Pool/Insidefoto/Mondadori Portfolio/Getty Images

Italy's former prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, has been hospitalised with a covid-related illness, just weeks after being discharged.

Berlusconi was admitted to San Raffaele Hospital in Milan due to “consequences of Covid,” his “Forza Italia” party press office told CNN. Berlusconi is president of the party.

Berlusconi, 84, contracted the virus in September last year, and spent 24 days in the same hospital. He was discharged on April 30.

The party press office described his medical condition as “good,” but did not give further details. 

8:26 a.m. ET, May 12, 2021

What are some of the factors behind India's vaccine shortage?

From CNN’s Swati Gupta in New Delhi

A health worker prepares a dose of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine on May 11, in New Delhi, India.
A health worker prepares a dose of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine on May 11, in New Delhi, India. Amal KS/Hindustan Times/Getty Images

India is in the grip of the world's worst Covid-19 outbreak, with the death toll and daily case numbers continuing to increase and break records.

As essential medical supplies run low, countries and corporations around the world have come to India's assistance. But countries are also putting restrictions on travel with India as the situation worsens.

India has so far administered 175,171,482 vaccine doses. But the race is still on to get more jabs in arms as new variants wreak havoc on the country.

Here, CNN's Swati Gupta looks at some of the factors behind India's vaccine shortage:

  • Exporting vaccines. In January, once India approved its homegrown vaccine Covaxin and Covishield -- as the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is known domestically -- the government began to rapidly export a large number of doses through the COVAX program, meeting their personal commitments to multiple countries. 

  • Raw materials. There is currently a shortage of raw materials for the Serum Institute of India, which is producing Covishield. India has been largely dependent for those on the US, which had placed a temporary ban on exports. The US lifted the ban partially on April 25. But it will take a while for the materials to reach India.   

  • Overwhelming demand. India has opened up vaccination drives in phases over the past three months to high-risk citizens. But on April 19, as the second wave was rapidly gaining hold, the Indian government announced that from May 1 all adults between 18-44 years of age can apply for vaccination. With the already strained supply, the country has added millions of people to the list of eligible candidates for a vaccine -- which has further strained states now scrambling to keep up with the overwhelming demand.   

  • Issues in coordination between state and federal governments. Due to poor coordination between the state and federal governments, certain states are complaining that they are not receiving the much-needed vaccines which the federal government had promised to supply. The gap in demand and supply is most apparent in the state of Maharashtra, which has been forced to shut down some of its vaccination centers as they have run out of vaccines.

6:48 a.m. ET, May 12, 2021

UK records 'largest number' of B.1.617 cases outside of India, WHO says 

 From Sharon Braithwaite in London

The Covid-19 variant, B.1.617, first identified in India in October has been now found in 44 nations, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The United Kingdom is the country outside of India that has reported the largest number of cases of the variant, WHO said Wednesday in its weekly epidemiological update.

Outside of India, the United Kingdom has reported the largest number of cases sequenced as B.1.617 sublineages, and recently designated B.1.617.2 as a national variant of concern," WHO said.

On Monday, WHO classified it as a variant of concern, a label that indicates that the identified variant may show, among other indicators, evidence of increased transmissibility or evidence of increased severity.

When asked about this variant, England’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty said on Monday during a press conference that "we don't know if this is going to cause significant problems in the autumn."

The UK is set to remove most social distancing restrictions on May 17.

Read more about variants:

6:48 a.m. ET, May 12, 2021

US issues 'Do Not Travel' advisory for Nepal

From CNN's Chandler Thornton

The United States Embassy in Nepal has issued a Level 4 "Do Not Travel" notice for the country amid the spread of Covid-19.

"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 4 Travel Health Notice for Nepal due to COVID-19, indicating a very high level of COVID-19 in the country," the embassy said in a travel advisory Wednesday.

The embassy added that it is awaiting approval from the Nepali government for charter flights to take US citizens out of the country. 

Commercial flights are not departing Nepal and the government has extended the flight suspension through May 31.

The embassy said its services are closed during Kathmandu's lockdown, which is currently in effect until May 27.

8:32 a.m. ET, May 12, 2021

Pope Francis holds first public audience in six months

From CNN’s Delia Gallagher in Rome 

Pope Francis holds his homily on May 12, in Vatican City.
Pope Francis holds his homily on May 12, in Vatican City. Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Pope Francis told a crowd gathered outside the Vatican on Wednesday that he was happy to see them "face to face," in his first public audience since November last year.

The papal's weekly audiences with the public had been suspended due to Covid-19 restrictions.

A sparse crowd of approximately 300 faithful, wearing masks, sat outside in the Vatican’s San Damaso courtyard.

The public had their temperatures taken and passed through metal detectors before entering the courtyard.

Pope Francis did not wear a mask. He stopped to talk, shake hands and sign autographs with the crowd when entering the courtyard.

“It’s not nice to speak to an empty room, in front of a camera,” the Pope said, referring to the months when he held his audiences via live-stream from the Vatican’s Apostolic Library.

The Vatican first suspended papal audiences with the public in March last year due to Covid-19 restrictions, briefly resuming them again in September, before a surge in cases forced another closure in November.

5:38 a.m. ET, May 12, 2021

India's total Covid-19 cases passes 23 million

From Manveena Suri in New Delhi

India’s total tally of coronavirus cases has crossed the 23 million mark, as the country recorded 348,421 new cases on Wednesday, according to figures released by the health ministry.

The total number of Covid-19 cases currently stands at 23,340,938.

The country also reported a record death toll of 4,205 on Wednesday. This is the highest for India since the start of the pandemic, and takes the overall death toll to 254,197.

The number of deaths reported each day in the country have been consistently above 3,000 on a daily basis, since April 28.

The ongoing second wave has led at least 24 states and union territories -- out of a possible 36 -- to impose some form of restrictions. At least 21 of these are under complete lockdown, according to CNN data compiled from state governments.

  • Total vaccine doses administered: 175,171,482
  • Number of people who have received a second dose: 38,580,291. This is equal to nearly 3% of India’s 1.3 billion population being fully vaccinated, according to a press release issued by the health ministry on Tuesday.

5:22 a.m. ET, May 12, 2021

Majority of Nepal under full or partial lockdown

From journalists Asha Thapa and Kosh Raj Koirala in Kathmandu

The majority of Nepal is now under full or partial Covid-19 lockdown, according to the country's Ministry of Home Affairs.

Only five districts remain open out of a total of 77 with 64 under full and eight under partial lockdown, the ministry reported.

Districts under full lockdown have asked both public and private vehicles to stay off the roads. All academic institutions and businesses are closed except those related to essential services. 

Most districts have allowed grocery stores to open for limited hours.

The Covid-19 measures are enforced by the chief district officers from their respective districts. The central government had previously given authority to districts to impose full or partial lockdown.

Oxygen supply: Nepal's Supreme Court urged the government to set up a task force to direct the distribution of oxygen cylinders and other life-saving equipment amid rising Covid-19 infections. 

In an interim order on Tuesday, the court said no Nepali should be deprived of medical treatment due to a shortage of life-saving equipment, such as oxygen cylinders, medicine, and well-equipped hospital beds. 

It said the government has the responsibility to ensure the timely supply of these equipment to save lives, and that they should form a task force to ensure "efficient coordination" in their distribution.

Some context: Nepal had seen case numbers begin to fall in February, with newly identified cases hovering between 50 to 100 each day. But infections erupted in mid-April as neighboring India's second wave picked up speed.


5:33 a.m. ET, May 12, 2021

FDA predicts Covid-19 vaccines can go into younger teens' arms as soon as Thursday

From CNN's Maggie Fox

Coronavirus vaccines can likely go into younger teens’ arms as soon as Thursday, US Food and Drug Administration officials said Monday.

The FDA extended emergency use authorization of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine to kids ages 12 to 15 on Monday. 

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has scheduled an emergency meeting for Wednesday. It’s expected to vote to recommend use of the vaccine. After that, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky is expected to give her final approval, after which states can give the go-ahead to administer the vaccine to the new age group.

States regulate medical practice but things should move quickly, said Dr. Peter Marks, director of FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, the arm of the FDA that regulates vaccines.

“We would assume they could be as soon as Thursday,” Marks told reporters in a briefing Monday evening.

“Thursday, right,” added FDA Acting Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock.