[World-news] India launches effort to vaccinate all adults

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In the hope of quelling a huge spike in COVID cases, India has widened its vaccination drive to include all adults. Meanwhile, Australians face jail if they try to return home from India. Follow DW for the latest.

India on Saturday widened the country’s massive vaccination program to all adults, despite many states not having enough doses to meet demand.

The country is experiencing a horrific spike in cases that has overwhelmed the health system, particularly in the capital, New Delhi, which on Saturday extended a lockdown that was due to expire on Monday for another week because of an increase in coronavirus cases.

India reported more than 400,000 cases in 24 hours on Saturday, a global record. Deaths officially surpassed 200,000 this week, and the true death toll is believed to be far higher.

More than 40 countries have committed to sending medical aid. A US military aircraft carrying more than 400 oxygen cylinders, other hospital equipment and nearly one million rapid coronavirus tests arrived in Delhi on Friday.

Germany’s armed forces said on Twitter that a plane carrying 120 ventilators meant for Indian hospitals was taking off on Saturday morning.

Despite being the world’s largest maker of vaccines, India remains short of critical supplies of doses, due to a shortage of raw materials. 

Meanwhile, a group of scientific advisers set up by the Indian government warned in early March of a new and more contagious variant taking hold.

Critics say officials ignored calls to impose major restrictions to stop the spread. Instead, millions of largely unmasked people attended religious festivals and political rallies over the past two months.

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