An expert panel on Wednesday blamed bad coordination as well as dithering by national governments and international organisations for the failure to tackle Covid-19 before it became a full-blown pandemic, as India’s death toll topped 250,000.
India added a record 4,205 deaths to its Covid-19 toll in the past 24 hours, with the variant stoking the country’s surge now present in dozens of other countries across the globe.
Latest figures gathered by AFP from official sources showed almost 160 million confirmed cases worldwide by 1600 GMT Wednesday.
The IPPPR insisted that rich countries should provide one billion vaccines to the world’s poorest nations by September 1.
Vaccinations have helped to ease the pandemic crisis in the United States and Europe.
Vaccine frontrunner Britain reported a 2.1-percent jump in GDP in March as it gradually emerges from lockdown.
As governments eye a return to mass travel, Spain said it was hoping to welcome 45 million tourists this year and Germany said it would relax quarantine rules for holidaymakers returning from some EU neighbours.
Bangladesh on Wednesday took delivery of half a million doses from China.
As China’s vaccine diplomacy push continues, Senegal also announced it would receive 300,000 doses from Beijing.
But hesitancy is also limiting vaccinations in some parts of the world, with a poll showing that most people in vaccine-sceptical Russia do not want the jab.
For now India is struggling even to count the dead, with many experts saying official figures — 254,197 killed so far — may be an underestimate by several times.
There are fears that the virus is now raging in India’s vast rural hinterland where two-thirds of the population live, and where health care is patchy.
The European Medicines Agency said Wednesday that there is “promising evidence” that mRNA-based vaccines like those developed by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech can “neutralise” the new variant — although it is still monitoring data.
But it has spread to at least 44 nations, the WHO said Tuesday, with Britain detecting the most cases of the variant outside India.
– Olympic doubts –
It used AstraZeneca doses supplied as part of the global Covax programme aimed at boosting immunisation in poorer nations.
Norway on Wednesday said it was dropping AstraZeneca from its vaccination programme, while keeping Johnson & Johnson’s jab suspended over similar concerns.
As the nationwide vaccine rollout remains confined to medical workers and the elderly, golf star Hideki Matsuyama became the latest high-level sportsman to express doubts.
Polls show a majority in Japan oppose holding the Games this year.
Source: Experts blast early pandemic failures as India deaths top 250,000 (theaustralian.com.au)