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What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

Pic: Pixabay

Ex-army medics recruited in India's Covid fight
Calls grew for India to impose a nationwide lockdown as new coronavirus cases and deaths held close to record highs on Monday, increasing pressure on the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

On Sunday, top White House coronavirus adviser Anthony Fauci said he had advised Indian authorities they needed to shut down. The Indian Medical Association has also called for a "complete, well-planned, pre-announced" lockdown.

India will recruit former army medics to support its overwhelmed healthcare system, the defence ministry said on Sunday. Some 400 medical officers are expected to serve on contract for a maximum of 11 months, the ministry said in a press release, adding that other defence doctors had also been contacted for online consultations.

Japan PM says he has "never put Olympics first"
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said on Monday that he has never "put the Olympics first", the same day an opinion poll showed nearly 60% of people in Japan want the Olympics cancelled less than three months before they begin.

Japan has extended a state of emergency in Tokyo until the end of May and is struggling to contain a surge in Covid-19 cases, raising further questions about whether the Games should go on. Its vaccination rate is the lowest among wealthy nations.

International Olympic officials, Tokyo planners and Suga himself have insisted the Games will go on in "a safe and secure" way. Foreign spectators have been barred and planners issued an elaborate playbook of rules last month aimed at preventing coronavirus infections.

Covid-19 link still at large in Australia's New South Wales
Australia's New South Wales (NSW) state reported zero Covid-19 cases for a fourth straight day on Monday, but concerns about new infections remained as the missing link in a case that has reinstated restrictions continued to elude officials.

Australia's most populous state on Sunday extended social distancing curbs in Sydney by a week after authorities could not find a transmission path between an infected overseas traveller and a resident in his 50s who tested positive last week.

More than 5.3 million people living in and around Sydney, Australia's biggest metropolitan area, have been ordered to wear masks on public transport and at indoor venues, while house gatherings are limited to 20 guests until May 17.

Spaniards party as Covid curfew ends but doubts remain
Exhilarated Spaniards chanting "freedom" danced in streets and partied on beaches as a Covid-19 curfew ended in most of the country, but others feared it was too soon to let go.

In scenes akin to New Year's Eve celebrations, hundreds of mainly young people gathered in Madrid's Puerta del Sol square to applaud the clock striking midnight while in Barcelona revellers headed to the beach with drinks in hand.

Social media videos of large groups paying little heed to distancing drew criticism on Sunday. "Freedom does not include breaking the rules," said Madrid's conservative mayor Jose Luis Martinez-Almeida, emphasising that gatherings to drink on the street, known as "botellones", were prohibited.
(Reuters)

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