Hello and welcome to today’s live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic with me, Helen Sullivan.
Japan is set to expand quasi-emergency measures to 10 regions on Friday as a fourth wave of Covid-19 cases spreads, casting doubt on whether the Summer Olympics can be held in Tokyo.
Meanwhile reports are emerging of Brazilian health workers forced to intubate patients without the aid of sedatives, after weeks of warnings that hospitals and state governments risked running out of critical medicines.
- A coronavirus variant with potentially worrying mutations that was first detected in India has been found in the UK. In total, 77 cases of the variant have been recorded in the UK up to 14 April, according to the latest update from Public Health England (PHE). Overall Covid-19 case rates have fallen in all regions of England.
- France’s coronavirus death toll passed 100,000. The country of 67 million is the eighth in the world to reach the symbolic six figure mark, and the third in Europe after the United Kingdom and Italy.
- Most regions in Portugal will enter the third phase of easing the Covid-19 lockdown next week, but stricter rules will stay in place in municipalities where transmission rates remain high, prime minister Antonio Costa said.
- The US is preparing for the possibility that a booster shot will be needed between nine to 12 months after people are initially vaccinated against Covid-19, David Kessler, chief science officer for president Joe Biden’s Covid-19 response task force, said.
- India’s daily coronavirus caseload has doubled in 10 days, with a record 200,000 new infections logged Thursday as authorities grapple with shortages of vaccines, treatments and hospital beds.