Covid-19 has killed more than 3.3M people and infected more than 161.5M others globally. Here are all the coronavirus-related developments for May 13:

Son of Covid-19 patient, who died due to the disease, performs the last rites before his father's cremation at a crematorium ground in Giddenahalli village on the outskirts of Bengaluru, India on May 13, 2021
Son of Covid-19 patient, who died due to the disease, performs the last rites before his father's cremation at a crematorium ground in Giddenahalli village on the outskirts of Bengaluru, India on May 13, 2021 (Reuters)

Thursday, May 13:

India to receive more than 2 billion doses of vaccines

More than 2 billion doses of vaccines will likely be available in India between August to December this year, a top government advisor has said.

Those doses would include 750 million of AstraZeneca's , vaccine, produced in India by the Serum Institute of India, as well as 550 million doses of Covaxin, made by Bharat Biotech, government advisor V K Paul told reporters at a news conference.

Several Indian states are reporting an acute shortage of vaccines, even as coronavirus cases surge across the country.

Turkey reports over 11,000 new cases

The downward trend in the number of daily cases in Turkey has continued as the country reported over 11,534 new cases, according to the Health Ministry data.

A total of 11,534 cases, including 1,217 symptomatic patients, were confirmed across the country, the data showed.

Turkey's overall case tally is over 5.08 million, while the nationwide death toll has reached 44,059, with 238 fatalities over the past day.

Madrid tourism fair eyes 100,000 visitors next week

Madrid's FITUR, one of the world's biggest tourism fairs, has said it is expecting to welcome 100,000 visitors from 60 countries when it opens in the Spanish capital next week.

Organisers said it would be "the first physical trade fair" held by the sector since the pandemic erupted early last year.

"The world is watching because despite everything, we have decided to physically hold the first major tourism fair," said Jose Vicente de los Mozos, head of IFEMA which owns the vast premises where the tourism fair is normally held.

Spain will be ready in June to use certificates that would facilitate travels, Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto has said, urging the European Union to adopt this measure quickly.

Italy reports 8,000 new cases

Italy has reported 201 deaths against 262 the day before, the Health Ministry said, while the daily tally of new infections rose to 8,085 from 7,852.

Italy has registered 123,745 deaths since its outbreak emerged in February last year, the second-highest toll in Europe after Britain and the seventh-highest in the world. The country has reported 4.14 million cases to date.

UK reports biggest daily rise in cases since April 27

Britain has reported 11 new deaths within 28 days of a positive test and a further 2,657 cases of the disease, up from 2,284 new cases the day before and the biggest daily increase since April 27.

Government data showed that 184,210 people had received a first dose of a vaccine, taking the total number of people who had received at least one dose to 35.907 million, equivalent to 68.2 percent of the adult population.

Maldives approves Russia's Sputnik V vaccine

Maldives has approved Russia's Sputnik V vaccine for domestic use, the 64th country to do so outside of Russia, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), the sovereign wealth fund responsible for marketing the vaccine, said.

Britain's Johnson concerned about India variant

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said his government was worried about the transmission of an Indian variant as scientific advisors met to discuss its spread.

"It is a variant of concern, we are anxious about it," Johnson said, as new official figures from Public Health England were expected to show a rise in cases of the strain.

"We want to make sure we take all the prudential, cautious steps now that we could take," he told reporters, adding the government was "ruling nothing out".

Amazon offers new-hires $100 extra for vaccination proof Inc will give $100 more to new hires with proof of Covid-19 vaccination, the world's largest e-commerce retailer has said, as part of its plan to employ 75,000 workers for fulfilment and logistics operations.

As vaccines become crucial to reopening of the economy, several US retailers, including Dollar General, Kroger and Target, are offering bonuses or other perks to staff getting their shots.

Spain on track for herd immunity, PM says

More than two thirds of Spain's 47 million people will have been vaccinated by mid-August, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said.

The vaccination rollout has sped up over the past weeks and Spain is due to receive 13 million doses of Pfizer vaccine next month, Sanchez told a conference in Madrid.

"We are on track for herd immunity: 33 million compatriots will be vaccinated by mid-August", he said, using the term for when most of a population is immune to an infectious disease.

Tunisia to reopen economy despite hospital strain

Tunisian authorities have plans to reopen the economy next week amid public pushback against virus restrictions, even as the country's hospitals are struggling for enough oxygen to treat a persistently high number of patients.

Tunisia shut down shops and restaurants and banned all sports and cultural events last week as the prime minister warned that the health system risked collapsing. Houses of prayer were also closed – including for the Eid al Fitr holiday marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan that starts on Thursday.

But while Tunisia is currently reporting the highest number of new deaths per capita in Africa, the public is frustrated, and some small business owners or market traders have defied the new lockdown.

South Africa's death toll much higher than official tally

A South African report into excess deaths over the past year suggests more than 133,000 people in the country have died, far more than the official tally of nearly 55,000.

The South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) has been monitoring excess deaths since May 2020.

In its latest report, published on Wednesday, the SAMRC said South Africa had seen 157,000 excess deaths in the past 12 months and estimated that 85 percent of them were caused by the virus, which means just over 133,000 people have died from the disease.

This compares to an official death toll of 54,968 since the start of the pandemic.

The SAMRC report said the excess death rate per 100,000 population for South Africa was 258 over the past 12 months. This places the country – on an age-standardised basis – in the top five countries for which excess deaths are measured.

The Health Ministry declined to comment immediately on the report.

Over a quarter of EU adults would refuse vaccine, survey says

More than a quarter of adults in the European Union would be unlikely to take the vaccine when it was offered to them, a survey said.

The results also suggested a strong link between vaccine hesitancy and the use of social media, particularly where social media is the main source of information, according to Eurofound which carried out the survey.

"Unfortunately, these findings reflect a failure to deliver persuasive and clear communication regarding the efficacy and safety of vaccines," said Daphne Ahrendt, Eurofound senior research manager.

Bulgarians were the most reluctant to get the vaccine, with 67 percent of adults saying they were unlikely or very unlikely to get it. In Ireland, only 10 percent of adults said they would not get the shot.

The survey found an east-west divide across Europe. Except for France and Austria, the intention to get vaccinated was above 60 percent in all Western member states – with Nordic and Mediterranean countries, Denmark and Ireland having even higher rates.

Malaysia's new cases highest in 3 months

Malaysia has reported its highest number of new cases in more than three months, as the Southeast Asian country deals with a fresh spike in infections.

The Health Ministry reported 4,855 new cases – the highest since January 31 – and 27 deaths. It has seen a total of 458,077 cases and 1,788 fatalities.

Malaysia declared a nationwide lockdown on Monday, prohibiting inter-district travel and shutting down schools. It has been under a state of emergency since January to curb the spread of the virus.

The latest spike is partly due to highly infectious variants found in recent weeks.

Earlier this week, the Health Ministry warned new daily cases could hit 5,000 by mid-May, a number not seen since late January.

Sri Lanka banned travel throughout country

Sri Lanka's government has banned travel throughout the country for three days in an effort to contain rapidly increasing cases.

The ban is effective from Thursday night until Monday morning. It does not apply to people engaged in essential services such as health, food supply and power. Those going to the airport for air travel or seeking medical treatment will also be allowed on the roads.

“All others are banned from leaving their houses and travelling on the roads,” said General Shavendra Silva, the army commander and head of the National Operation Center for Prevention of Covid-19 Outbreak.

The Health Ministry has confirmed 131,098 cases, including 850 fatalities.

Singapore reports most cases in 8 months amid airport cluster

Singapore's Health Ministry has reported 24 locally transmitted cases, the highest daily number since mid-September, with 17 of the fresh cases linked to a cluster at Changi Airport.

Authorities had started testing all workers at the airport a few days ago after detecting the cluster. They have also restricted access to terminals to only passengers with tickets and essential workers for two weeks from Thursday.

Following months of reporting few new local cases, infections in Singapore have been climbing, prompting authorities to tighten social distancing rules from last week.

As of Wednesday, the number of unlinked cases in the community increased to 12 in the past week from seven in the week before, according to a Health Ministry statement.

Russia reports 8,380 new cases, 392 deaths

Russia has reported 8,380 new cases in the space of 24 hours, taking the national tally to 4,913,439.

The government coronavirus task force said 392 people had died, taking the national death toll to 114,723.

The federal statistics agency has kept a separate count and has said Russia recorded around 250,000 deaths related between April 2020 and March 2021.

Indian states turn to anti-parasitic drug, against WHO advice

At least two Indian states have said they plan to dose their populations with the anti-parasitic drug ivermectin to protect against severe  infections as their hospitals are overrun with patients in critical condition.

The move by the coastal state of Goa and northern state of Uttarakhand, come despite the World Health Organization and others warning against such measures.

"The current evidence on the use of ivermectin to treat patients is inconclusive," WHO said in a statement in late March.

"Until more data is available, WHO recommends that the drug only be used within clinical trials."

Merck, a manufacturer of the drug, has also said available data does not support using the drug as treatment.

"We do not have enough data to support its use," said Anita Mathew, an infectious diseases expert in Mumbai.

China administered total of 354.27 mln doses of vaccines as of May 12

China has carried out about 11.6 million vaccinations as of May 12, bringing the total number of doses administered to 354.27 million, according to data released by the National Health Commission.

Russia records first cases of Indian variant - Kommersant

Russia has recorded its first cases of the variant first found in India, Kommersant newspaper reported, citing authorities in the Ulyanovsk region.

The regional branch of consumer health watchdog Rospotrebnadzor said it had recorded 16 cases of the variant among Indian students at Ulyanovsk State University, some 700 kilometres east of Moscow.

Dilyar Khakimov, an official at the watchdog, told Kommersant that the students had been put in self-isolation and were under medical observation.

Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova had previously said the country had not recorded any cases of the variant.

Second South Korea panel backs approval of Moderna vaccine

The second of three South Korean expert panels has recommended approval for Moderna's coronavirus vaccine, based on its safety and efficacy in Phase 3 trials in the United States, the drug safety ministry said.

After the pharmaceutical panel's backing, the next step is review by a third panel, before the ministry makes a final approval decision. 

Taiwan reports 13 new domestic cases

Taiwan has reported 13 new domestic infections, amid a rise in cases that has unnerved the government and stock market.

India reports 362,727 new infections

India has reported 362,727 new infections over the last 24 hours while deaths climbed by 4,120, taking the toll to 258,317, Health Ministry data showed.

The South Asian nation's total caseload now stands at 23.7 million.

Germany's cases rise by 17,419 – RKI

The number of confirmed virus cases in Germany has increased by 17,419 to 3,565,704, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed. 

The reported death toll rose by 278 to 85,658, the tally showed.

Japan asks businesses to help with vaccination drive – Kyodo

Japan's vaccine chief, Taro Kono, has met with a top official of the country's biggest business lobby to ask that companies help vaccinate workers, Kyodo News reported.

Kono met with Japan Business Federation (Keidanren) Vice Chair Tetsuro Tomita, who responded that the corporate sector would do everything possible to meet the request, according to Kyodo.

Thailand reports daily record after including jail cluster

Thailand has reported 2,052 virus cases in the community and 2,835 among prisoners, as authorities grapple with a third wave of infections in the Southeast Asian country.

The combined total of 4,887 cases is a new daily record and brings total infections to 93,794.

Thailand's Covid taskforce also recorded 32 new deaths, bringing the total number of fatalities to 518 since the pandemic started last year.

New Zealand sets out plans to re-connect with world

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said that her government will explore more travel "bubbles" and lead trade delegations later this year to re-connect with a post-pandemic world after more than a year of border closures.

Tough lockdowns and its geographical location has helped New Zealand eliminate the novel coronavirus within its borders, but left the country of 5 million isolated from the rest of the world.

Australia in 'active talks' with Moderna to produce vaccines

Australia is in "active talks" with vaccine maker Moderna Inc to establish a domestic manufacturing facility for shots, Health Minister Greg Hunt said, the day after securing 25 million doses from the company.

Moderna on Wednesday said it would supply Australia 10 million shots designed to protect against the original strain of the coronavirus this year, and 15 million doses of its updated variant booster shot in 2022.

Cuba rolls out two vaccines still in trial phase

Faced with a surge in virus cases, Cuba this week started immunising members of the public, using two locally-produced vaccines that have yet to complete clinical trials.

The island nation of 11.2 million inhabitants recorded 1,207 new daily cases on Wednesday – a near-record for Cuba – as inhabitants of Havana and other provinces received their first dose of Abdala, one of two candidate shots in Phase II trials.

Wealthy nations once lauded as successes lag in vaccinations

Some wealthy nations that were most praised last year for controlling the virus are now lagging far behind in getting their people vaccinated – and some, especially in Asia, are seeing cases grow.

In Japan, South Korea and New Zealand, the vaccination rates are languishing in the single figures. That is in sharp contrast to the US, where nearly half of all people have gotten at least one shot, and Britain and Israel, where rates are even higher.

Brazil reports nearly 2,500 more deaths

Brazil has recorded 76,692 additional confirmed cases in the past 24 hours, along with 2,494 deaths, the country's Health Ministry has said.

Brazil has registered more than 15.3 million cases since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to 428,034, according to ministry data on Wednesday.

Mexico sees over 3,000 new cases

Mexico's Health Ministry has reported 3,090 new confirmed coronavirus cases and 267 more deaths, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 2,371,483 and fatalities to 219,590.

Separate government data published in March suggested the real death toll may be at least 60 percent above the confirmed figure. 

US virus deaths hit lowest in 10 months

Covid-19 deaths in the United States have tumbled to an average of around 600 per day – the lowest level in 10 months – with the number of lives lost dropping to single digits in well over half the states and, on some days, hitting zero.

Confirmed infections have fallen to about 38,000 per day on average, their lowest mark since mid-September. While that is still cause for concern, reported cases have plummeted 85 percent from a daily peak of more than a quarter-million in early January.

The last time US deaths from the pandemic were this low was in early July of last year. 

The number of people who died topped out in mid-January at an average of more than 3,400 a day, just a month into the biggest vaccination drive in the nation's history.

EU urges limiting travel from India

The European Commission has urged EU member states to work together to restrict travel from India in order to limit the spread of a Covid-19 variant that has ravaged the Asian country.

The Commission said the measure, which would be temporary, follows an earlier proposal by the World Health Organisation to change the classification of that variant from "variant of interest" to "variant of concern".

"It is important to limit to the strict minimum the categories of travellers that can travel from India for essential reasons and to subject those who may still travel from India to strict testing and quarantine arrangements," the Commission said in a statement.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies