People wait to get free food during an extended lockdown in Bangalore, India, on Sunday. Photo by Gadeesh NV/EPA-EFE
June 13 (UPI) -- India's new coronavirus cases are diminishing, including a 31% decline in one week, as the Asian nation closes in on the United States with the most infections in the world.
On Sunday, the pandemic worldwide has caused the deaths of 3,819,403 people and infections were 176,707,611, according to tracking by Worldometers.info. That represents a 12% decline in infections but a 6% rise in fatalities.
On Sunday, India reported 80,834 cases, the lowest in 73 days after 84,332 the day before and compared with a record 414,188 on May 8. In the past week, infections rose 630,666, which is a 31% drop in one week.
India's total cases are 29,359,155 and deaths are 370,854. The United States' totals are 599,769 fatalities and 33,462,030 infections, according to Johns Hopkins tracking.
Though cases are subsiding in India, deaths are still trending up with a weekly increase of 14%. On Sunday, 3,303 were reported after 4,002 the day before. The world daily record is 6,148 Thursday but Bihar revised its total related death toll to 9,429 from 5,424, accounting for people who died at home or in private hospitals. India had the previous world record of 4,529 in May.
India ranks third in total deaths behind Brazil, which has 486,358. Brazil is ahead of India in cases with 17,376,998, more than three times as much as the next highest, France with 5,737,810.
A more contagious Delta variant that originated in India in February is spreading across the globe.
Researchers at BioNTech and the University of Texas Medical Branch reported Thursday the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine would protect against infection with the Delta variant and others.
India is a dominant manufacturer of vaccines worldwide, but the nation has inoculated only 15% of its population with at least one dose and 3.5% fully vaccinated, according to tracking by Bloomberg.
The hesitancy rate is 28.7%, according to Facebook's COVID-19 Symptom Survey, because of misinformation, rumors and a lack of trust in the government.
In rural areas, villagers don't want to be vaccinated because they say they have God and do not need a vaccine.
In an effort to boost the rate, Indian businesses are giving incentives that include free alcohol, food, gold nose pins and hand blenders.
McDonald's recently started offering 20% discount vouchers with the tagline, "Just another reason to get vaccinated ASAP."
The Delhi government has offered a tax rebate for early filing of property tax of vaccinated families.
And Uber announced a $100 million initiative offering free rides to and from vaccination centers across 35 Indian cities.
A total of 2.33 billion shots in the world have been given in a population of 7.9 billion with a two-dose regimen required for most brands.
North America leads with 65 doses administered per 100 people, followed by Europe at 55, South America at 32, Asia at 29, Oceania at 16 and Africa at 3, according to tracking by The New York Times.
The United States has administered at least one dose to 52.2% of its population with Brazil at 25.5%, according to tracking by Bloomberg. Britain, which inoculated the first person in the world in December, is among the best in the world with 61.8%.
Along with the one-dose Johnson & Johnson, the other top vaccine makers are Moderna and Pfizer, which require two shots.
In Asia, deaths increased 8% and cases decreased 23%. The continent has the most cases at 53,534,985 but is fourth in deaths at 745,009.
The pandemic outbreak began in late 2019 in Mainland China, but the nation with the world's largest population of 1.5 billion has reported only a few deaths in the past 12 months and stands in 62nd at 4,636 behind Ireland with 4,941. China added 34 cases Sunday and had administered 878 million doses, the most in the world and dwarfing second-place United States with around 308 million, according to tracking by Johns Hopkins.
Iran has the second-most deaths in Asia in 13th at 82,098, dropping behind Argentina in the past week with 187 reported Sunday.
Turkey ranks fifth in the world for cases at 5,330,447 with 5,012 Sunday and 19th in deaths at 48,721, including 53 most recently.
In the Far East, Indonesia has the most deaths, 52,879 in 17th place with 149 reported Sunday.
Japan is 36th with 14,090 deaths, including 32 on Sunday with a record 216 four weeks ago. Cases are 1,382 with a record of 7,882.
Only 12.1% of the population has received at least one dose.
With the Summer Olympics in Japan less than six weeks ago, the Japanese government is considering lifting the state of emergency covering Tokyo and other areas after this week. Some restrictions would remain in place, including Tokyo and Osaka.
Experts this week are to discuss easing restrictions on spectators at major events, including the Olympics. They are now limited to 5,000 or 50% of venue capacity. Spectators from outside Japan are banned during the Olympics.
The U.S. State Department is warning U.S. citizens against traveling to Japan.
South Korea has vaccinated 22.0% of its population, up from 14.4% in one week. The nation has 1,9785 deaths, including three more Sunday, and 147,874 cases, with a rise of 452 on Sunday. The record is 40 deaths and 1,241 cases.
South Korea's restrictions are set to expire on June 13.
Israel, which is considered part of Asia, has fully vaccinated 60.5% of its population, among the best in the world. Its death toll is 6,430, rising by 12 in one week.
South America has four nations in the top 20 for most deaths. Besides Brazil, Peru is fifth with 188,708, Colombia 10th with 95,778 and Argentina 12th with 85,343.
Overall, South America has 944,166 deaths and 30,659,751 cases.
The continent's deaths increased 11% with a rise of 20% in Brazil and 3% in Colombia, and cases dropped 2% though Brazil went up 8%. On Saturday, Brazil's deaths rose by 2,008 and cases by 75,778. On Sunday, it was 1,118 deaths and 36,998 cases.
Colombia reported the third-most deaths Sunday behind India and Brazil with 586 and Argentina was sixth with 268.
Chile has the best vaccination rate on the continent at 60.3% and is 22nd in deaths with 30,579, with Argentina at 26.5%, Colombia at 15.1% and Peru at 10.3%.
Chile's cases are down 1% in a week but they rose by 7,481 Sunday, the fourth day in a row above 7,000 with the record 9,151 in April. Amid the surge, Chile's capital Santiago was back into lockdown.
Europe has posted the most deaths of the continents, 1,086,296, and cases are second, 47,183,550.
But the increases are trending down significantly. In one week, infections dropped 16% and fatalities 14.0%.
Among the eight European nations in the top 20 for most deaths, the only nations increasing in the past week were Italy at 7% with 26 Sunday and Spain at 1% with no data over weekend. Russia remained unchanged but added 2,629 fatalities and 357 Sunday.
In Moscow, workers were ordered to take this week off with pay as cases spiked by 6,071 on Saturday in the city, which is the most since December. In Russia, they rose by 14,723 Sunday, the most in four cases. The weekly cases increase was 21%.
Bars and restaurants will stop serving at 11 p.m.. Shopping malls, public playgrounds and athletic grounds will be closed.
"Right now, we can vaccinate everyone in Russia given the volume of vaccine being produced," President Vladimir Putin said Saturday at an annual state awards ceremony at the Kremlin. "The question is that, as always - it's a typical phenomenon here - people are cautious about all such procedures."
Russia has developed its own vaccine called Sputnik V.
Four European nations are in the top 10 for most deaths with Britain sixth with 127,904, Italy seventh with 127,002, Russia eighth with 126,430 and France ninth with 110,420. Germany is 11th with 90,470, Spain 14th with 80,501, Poland 15th at 74,573 and Ukraine 18th at 51,679.
Of those countries, only Britain has vaccinated at least half its population. Germany is at 48.3%, France 46.5%, Italy 47.8%, Spain 45.1%, Poland 40.4, Russia 12.3% and Ukraine 4.0%.
In Britain, deaths have dropped to only 60 in one week with 8 Sunday after a record 2,396. But cases rose 52% at 47,869, including 8,125 Friday, the highest in three months. Sunday's increase was 7,490.
"It's clear that the Indian variant is more transmissible and it's also true that the cases are going up, and that the levels of hospitalization are going up," Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in an interview Saturday with Sky News at the G-7 summit in Cornwall, southwest England. "Now, we don't know exactly to what extent that is going to feed through into extra mortality, but clearly it's a matter of serious, serious concern."
Johnson had hoped Britain could drop the final restrictions, including social-distancing measures on June 21.
European Union nations are launching a Digital Covid Certificate, which allows for free movement of travelers between its countries. Currently 12 nation are using the app and the rest plan to launch by July 1. The app provides digital proof they are vaccinated, recently tested negative for coronavirus or recovered from the illness.
And the process could be extended to other nations.
"Right now if you're an American, not living in the EU, you could get the certificate if you ask the national authorities of a member state to give you that certificate based on some proof that you've been vaccinated, or had a recent COVID test," an EU spokesperson said.
The United State has no plans to roll out so-called "vaccine passports."
The British government has most nations on a COVID-safe travel list. On an "amber list" are several countries, including the United States, Canada and most European nations, in which travelers must complete a 10-day quarantine at home.
Banned on the red lists are countries that include India, South Africa, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Peru and Egypt.
The nonessential travel ban among Mexico, Canada and the United States has been extended through June 21. It began one year ago in March.
Mexico is fourth in the world with 230,095 deaths, including 274 Sunday and 15th in cases at 2,452,469, with 3,649 most recently. Deaths are way down in Mexico from a one-day record of 1,803.
Canada has reported under triple digits for deaths since 142 on Feb. 3 and a record 257 on Dec. 29 for a total of 25,931 in 24th, including 28 Saturday and 17 Sunday. Cases reported Saturday were 1,290, down from the record of 11,383 on Jan. 3, and 1,122 on Sunday.
North America's totals are 907,614 deaths and 40,169,407 cases.
Mexico's vaccination rate is 19.8%, though it was the first Latin American nation to begin vaccinating people. And Canada has risen to 62.1% and leading the United States by nearly 10% after lagging by several points for months.
With Canada's vaccinations accelerations, several provinces are loosening restrictions this weekend.
In Ontario, which has experienced one of North America's longest lockdowns, patio dining of up to four people per table is permitted as of Friday. Non-essential stores can also reopen, with capacity limits, and outdoor fitness classes open.
Coronavirus remains minimal in Oceania, with only 42.3 million people. There are 1,255 deaths and 70,291 cases.
New Zealand's deaths remain at 26 with the last one reported on Feb. 16 and Australia's toll stayed at 910 with one reported April 13.
New Zealand reported six Sunday, tallying 26 in one week, for a total of 2,708, and Australia was up 11, which is 72 in a week, for 30,248 total.
Australia has vaccinated 17.4% of its population. New Zealand has administered first doses to 10.0% of its population.
In the Australian state of Victoria with a population of 7 million, including Melbourne, a lockdown ended Thursday. Residents in metropolitan Melbourne cannot travel more than 15 miles from their homes except for essential purposes. Restaurants, bars, shops and beauty services have density limits.
Face masks are mandatory indoors and outdoors.
The state recorded one new local case on Saturday and three while in hotel quarantine.
Africa reported the biggest increase in cases in the past week at 40% for a cumulative 5,088,906 and deaths at 20% for a total 135,048.
South Africa led the spike with 791 additional deaths at 37% and cases at 50,518, up 48%. A more contagious variant originated there.
South Africa is No. 1 on the continent with 57,765 deaths, including 59 Sunday and 7,657 cases. Egypt is second with 15,623 fatalities and Tunisia third with 13,515.
South Africa has vaccinated 2.8% of its population with at least one shot.
Around 32 million doses have been administered to the African population of 1.2 billion.
"As we close in on five million cases and a third wave in Africa looms, many of our most vulnerable people remain dangerously exposed to COVID-19," Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, the World Health Organization regional director for Africa, said in a report by United Nations News.
"Vaccines have been proven to prevent cases and deaths, so countries that can, must urgently share COVID-19 vaccines."
The G7 nations -- Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States -- announced Sunday they will donate at least one billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines to poor countries, including Africa. Johnson, the prime minister in Britain, said he wanted to build up manufacturing capacity, especially in Africa.
That includes vaccines made by Johnson & Johnson, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has ordered at least 60 million doses to be discarded from a plant in Baltimore, Md.
"This may pose another huge blow to African vaccine distribution," Zain Rizvi, law and policy researcher at the advocacy group Public Citizen, told The Washington Post.