India has announced more than 300,000 new coronavirus cases in 24 hours as hospitals grapple with a lack of oxygen supply.
CAPE TOWN, April 22 (ANA) – India has recorded more than 300,000 new coronavirus cases, the highest single-day spike seen anywhere in the world since the pandemic started, as well as the highest number of fatalities in 24 hours.
According to Al Jazeera, India’s daily increase of 314,835 cases surpassed the previous record of 297,430 cases set by the United States in January.
In less than a week, almost 1.6 million Covid-19 cases have been reported for a total of more than 15 million cases.
The dramatic rise in numbers has been attributed to inadequate safety precautions, a Hindu festival that was attended by millions, and a “double mutant” variant of the coronavirus.
“The second wave is a consequence of complacency and mixing and mass gatherings. You don’t need a variant to explain the second wave,” said Ramanan Laxminarayan of the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy in New Delhi.
According to Manish Sisodia, New Delhi’s deputy chief minister, several hospitals in the city were running out of oxygen, and officials in neighbouring states were halting deliveries to the capital to save it for their own needs.
Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson for the foreign ministry, said China was aware of the severity of the recent outbreak in India and was willing to provide help and support, but there was a temporary shortage of appropriate materials for epidemic prevention, according to Al Jazeera.
In a nationwide address on Tuesday night, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi attempted to lift morale by stating that the government and the pharmaceutical industry were speeding up efforts to address shortages of hospital beds, oxygen, tests and vaccines.
The “surge in infections has come like a storm, and a big battle lies ahead,“ Modi said.
On Thursday, health officials in northern and western India, including New Delhi, declared a state of emergency, claiming that most hospitals were overcrowded and running out of oxygen.
The city needs about 5,000 more intensive care unit (ICU) beds than it can find, according to Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain.
According to Al Jazeera, a leak caused the oxygen supply to their ventilators to run out on Wednesday in Maharashtra, killing at least 22 patients in western India.
Some doctors advised patients to stay at home. At the same time, a crematorium in Muzaffarpur, India’s eastern capital, said it was overrun with bodies, and mourning families would have to wait their turn.
Authorities in Maharashtra, the worst-affected district, have declared new regulations that will take effect on Thursday evening. Maharashtra was still under a partial lockdown, according to the BBC.
The crisis has been compared to an “economic emergency” by India’s Supreme Court, which has ordered the federal government to devise a national programme for oxygen supply, critical medicines, and vaccines.
More than 130 million vaccine doses have been distributed in India, but the campaign is open only to health professionals, front-line workers and people over the age of 45 years.
Pfizer reported on Thursday that it was in talks with the Indian government about supplying its Covid-19 vaccine at a non-profit expense.
– African News Agency (ANA); Editing by Yaron Blecher
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