Argentina, Nepal and others see circumstances rising quickly like India
A patient is given oxygen while waiting outside a hospital in Kathmandu, Nepal, on May 13, 2021. There are no beds for Covid-19 patients in the country’s state hospitals.
Sunil Pradhan | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
India is currently at the epicenter of the global coronavirus pandemic – but it’s not the only country with a worsening Covid-19 outbreak.
From Argentina in Latin America to Nepal in Asia, many other countries have also reported record increases in Covid cases in recent weeks, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization, has raised concerns about the global health crisis.
“India remains very concerned … but not only India has emergency needs,” he said at a press conference earlier this month.
The increase in infections has occurred as vaccination advances have been uneven around the world. In general, developed countries like the US and UK lead the way in vaccinating their populations, while poorer countries in Africa and parts of Asia lag behind due to the limited supply of shots.
Here’s a look at some of the places where Covid cases are on the rise.
- Cumulative Cases: More than 3.5 million as of May 23, according to Hopkins data.
- Cumulative deaths: More than 74,000 on May 23, Hopkins data showed.
- Vaccination: Around 19.25% of the population received at least one dose, according to Our World in Data.
Argentina has reported a record number of daily cases and deaths in the past few weeks, prompting authorities to impose new lockdown measures that will last until the end of May.
The measures, which went into effect over the weekend, include closing schools and non-essential businesses and banning social, religious and sporting events, Reuters reported.
Reported cases rose rapidly from under 5,000 a day in early March to a record high of more than 39,000 last Wednesday, Hopkins data showed. The number of deaths also rose from 112 on March 1 to a record 744 last Tuesday, according to the data.
The worsening outbreak has flooded the Argentine health system, and President Alberto Fernandez was quoted last Thursday as saying “we are living through the worst moment since the pandemic began”.
According to the statistics page Our World in Data, vaccination rates in the country are advancing slowly. Around 19% of the approximately 45 million inhabitants have received at least one dose.
- Cumulative Cases: More than 513,000 as of May 23, according to Hopkins data.
- Cumulative deaths: More than 6,300 on May 23, Hopkins data showed.
- Vaccination: Around 7.3% of the population received at least one dose, according to Our World in Data.
In Asia, growing cases of Covid are overloading Nepal’s fragile health system.
“Our medical infrastructure is in a crisis. The gap between oxygen supply and demand is huge. We also run out of vaccines,” said Dr. Samir Kumar Adhikari, the main spokesman for the Ministry of Health.
Nepal, a landlocked country of around 29 million people, borders India, which has seen a devastating second wave. India is now the second worst hit country in the world.
Many people in Nepal blamed returning migrant workers from India for the rapid rise in Covid-19 cases, NBC News reported. Many of the returnees The Nepalese had lost their jobs and their income when parts of India were locked down to contain the second wave of infections there, the report said.
This caused Nepal’s daily cases to accelerate from under 200 in early April to a record high of more than 9,300 in mid-May, Hopkins data showed.
Nepal is making efforts to secure Covid vaccines. The country began vaccinating its population in January with the AstraZeneca vaccine provided by India and Covax, a global alliance aimed at equitable distribution of vaccines, Reuters reported. However, the South Asian nation has run out of shots with the Serum Institute of India in order to still deliver the cans ordered by Nepal, the report said.
India has stopped exporting Covid vaccines as it prioritizes its domestic needs.
- Cumulative Cases: More than 218,000 as of May 23, according to Hopkins data.
- Cumulative Deaths: At least 820 as of May 23, Hopkins data showed.
- Vaccination: Around 51.8% of the population received at least one dose, according to Our World in Data.
Among the countries with rising coronavirus cases, Bahrain was one of the few countries that vaccinated a relatively large part of its population.
The reported cases in Bahrain rose from around 600 a day in early March to over 2,000 a day last week, according to Hopkins.
Bahrain has approved several Covid vaccines for use, including Pfizer-BioNTech, China National Pharmaceutical Group or Sinopharm and Russia’s Sputnik vaccine.
The country’s recent outbreak has raised concerns about the effectiveness of Sinopharm and Sputnik vaccines. This is particularly so because other highly vaccinated countries – such as Israel and the UK – which rely primarily on Western-developed shots, are reporting a decline in cases.
For its part, China appeared to be indicating last month that Chinese vaccines “do not have very high protection rates”. The officer who later made the comment tried to come back to these comments and said he had been misunderstood.
In Bahrain, the number of daily deaths – although increasing – has remained largely low, although infections are increasing rapidly.
- Cumulative Cases: More than 4,300 as of May 23, according to Hopkins.
- Cumulative Deaths: At least 23 on May 23, Hopkins data showed.
- Vaccination: Around 0.14% of the population received at least one dose, according to Our World in Data.
Prior to its recent resurgence, Taiwan was widely hailed for its success in containing the spread of Covid-19 without a full lockdown.
With a population of around 24 million, the island recorded just 1,128 cases – a large majority of which were imported – and 12 deaths by the end of April, Hopkins data showed. However, the number of daily cases rose over 200 in the past week, the data showed.
These numbers are still much lower compared to most of the world’s countries and territories, but mark a milestone for Taiwan, where daily life had been largely normal prior to the last surge.
Some media reports blamed Taiwan’s complacency for the renewed outbreak.
The Taiwanese authorities relaxed quarantine requirements for crew members in mid-April. and a hotel was found near Taoyuan International Airport, which housed flight crews in quarantine with other visitors – which led to a number of infections in the recent outbreak.
Authorities have since introduced new social distancing rules that restricted social gatherings, closed some businesses, and tightened border restrictions.
Taiwan, which has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the world, is also trying to step up efforts to vaccinate its population.