What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

·3 min read
A man walks past burning funeral pyres of people, who died due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at a crematorium ground in New Delhi

(Reuters) -Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:

Indian health system staggers

India reported the world's highest daily tally of coronavirus cases for a second day on Friday, surpassing 330,000 new cases, as it struggles with a health system overwhelmed by patients and plagued by accidents.

Deaths in the past 24 hours also jumped to a record 2,263, the health ministry said, while officials across northern and western India, including the capital, New Delhi, warned most hospitals were full and running out of oxygen.

The surge in cases came as a fire in a hospital in a suburb of Mumbai treating COVID-19 patients killed 13 people on Friday, the latest accident to hit a facility crowded with people infected with the coronavirus.

Thailand reports record COVID-19 tally

Thailand needs to add more intensive care unit beds at hospitals to tackle an influx of COVID-19 patients, an official said on Friday, as the country struggles with a third wave of infections, the most severe it has faced up to now.

Based on a daily rate of 1,500 new cases, Thailand will only have enough ICU beds for around one more week in Bangkok and just under three weeks nationwide, said Taweesin Wisanuyothin, a spokesman for the government's COVID-19 task force.

His warning came after Thailand reported 2,070 new coronavirus cases on Friday, the highest number of daily cases since the pandemic started.

Japan to declare 'short, powerful' emergency

Japan will declare "short and powerful" states of emergency for Tokyo, Osaka and two other prefectures on Friday as the country struggles to contain a resurgent pandemic just three months ahead of the Olympics.

Under a new state of emergency for April 25 to May 11, the government will require restaurants, bars, and karaoke parlours serving alcohol to close, and big sporting events to be held without spectators, Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said.

Breaching the restrictions will in some cases carry penalties under a recently revised law, he said.

Australia's Perth to enter snap lockdown

Western Australia's capital of Perth and the neighbouring Peel region will enter a snap three-day lockdown from midnight on Friday after two people tested positive for COVID-19, the first cases of community transmission in Australia in a week.

Australia has all but stamped out the virus thanks to mandatory hotel quarantine for returning residents and citizens and snap lockdowns to arrest the infection.

The first case related to a man in Melbourne who likely contracted the disease during his two-week quarantine stay in a Perth hotel.

U.S. CDC probes new death, hospitalisation after J&J shot

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is investigating the death of an Oregon woman and the hospitalisation of another in Texas after receiving Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine, state health officials said.

The incidents come as advisers to the CDC are set to meet on Friday to consider whether it is safe to resume injections of the single-dose vaccine, while senior health officials prepare for a green light.

Meanwhile, Britain's medicines regulator on Thursday said there had been 168 major blood clots following a dose of AstraZeneca's vaccine, a rate of 7.9 clots per million doses, a jump in incidence from the previous week's figure.

(Compiled by Linda Noakes, Editing by William Maclean)