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What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

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Record number of deaths in India
India said on Wednesday a record number of people were killed by the coronavirus in the past 24 hours, pushing its overall death toll over a quarter million. Experts believe the official numbers grossly underestimate the real scale of the epidemic's impact, and actual deaths and infections could be five to 10 times higher.

Scores of bodies are washing up on the banks of the Ganges and volunteers are collecting the unclaimed ashes of the dead to eventually scatter in the Ganges as Indians fail to keep pace with the deaths and cremations of around 4,000 people a day from the novel coronavirus.

Brazil suspends AstraZeneca vaccine for pregnant women
Brazil's federal government on Tuesday nationally suspended the vaccination of pregnant women with the AstraZeneca Covid-19 shot, after an expectant mother in Rio de Janeiro died from a stroke possibly related to the inoculation.

AstraZeneca said in a statement that pregnant women and those breastfeeding were excluded from clinical trials of its Covid-19 vaccine. The country's health regulator Anvisa said it had not been informed of any other adverse events in pregnant women receiving the vaccine.

Latin America's pandemic tragedy
Peruvian 28-year-old mother Hellen Ñañez has mourned the death of 13 close relatives since the pandemic struck last year: uncles, cousins, a grandfather. Now her dad is fighting for his life.

Ñañez's story is a grim reflection of the tragedy unfolding in Latin America, which has lacked the financial firepower to keep people from sliding deep into poverty; underfunded healthcare systems are under strain, and inoculation programs have stalled.

Latinos travel north for the shot
From Mexico to far-flung Argentina, thousands of Latin Americans are booking flights to the United States to take advantage of one of the world's most successful vaccination campaigns, as rollouts in their own countries sputter.
Travel agencies have responded by offering packages that arrange the vaccine appointment, flights, hotel stay and even offer extras such as city and shopping tours. U.S. cities have caught on to the trend, which is ushering much needed business into cash-strapped hotels, restaurants and other service activities.

EU confident of Covid-19 travel certificate for summer
The European Commission expects to finish work soon on a Covid-19 certificate that could allow citizens to travel more easily this summer in the 27-nation bloc, the EU executive said on Tuesday after a meeting with European affairs ministers. A two-week pilot project to test the technology in a few countries at a time began on Monday, the EU Commission said.

The pass would allow those vaccinated, recovered from Covid-19 or with negative test results to cross borders in a union where restrictions on movement have weighed heavily on the travel and tourism industry for more than a year.

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