The number of Covid-19 jabs administered globally surpassed the one billion mark on Saturday (Apr 24), offering hope even as the number of virus cases worldwide hit a new daily record mainly due to an explosion of infections in India. At least 1,002,938,540 vaccine doses have been administered in 207 countries and territories, according to a tally.
Nevertheless, the number of new infections topped 893,000 worldwide on Friday, a new daily record.
India accounted for more than a third of these, with authorities there announcing 346,786 new cases on Saturday, a record for a single country since the start of the pandemic.
Thailand, which had long avoided the worst of the virus, was also grappling with a spiralling caseload.
The pandemic has now killed more than three million people worldwide since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019.
Hard-hit Brazil has seen its deadliest month yet of the virus with nearly 68,000 reported fatalities in April, even though there is still a week to go.
India reported 2,624 deaths, a daily record, on Saturday as a surge of cases has pushed the government to organise special trains to get oxygen supplies to worst-hit cities.
One “oxygen express” carrying 30,000 litres of oxygen arrived in northern Lucknow at dawn on Saturday, where armed guards were waiting to escort trucks to hospitals.
The Indian air force is also being used to transport oxygen tankers and other supplies around the country and to bring oxygen equipment from Singapore.
Tragically, oxygen cylinders were implicated in a fire that tore through a virus intensive care unit in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, leaving at least 23 people dead.