India’s coronavirus crisis is deepening, with hospitals coming under increasing pressure from the second wave of infections.
According to government data, the South Asian country reported 259,170 new cases and 1,761 deaths in a 24-hour period on Tuesday. It is the sixth consecutive day that the daily number of cases in India has exceeded 200,000 as the daily death toll – still relatively low – continues to rise.
The number of cases started to increase since February and so far this month, India has reported more than 3.1 million new cases and more than 18,000 deaths. In all, there have been more than 15 million cases, making India the second most heavily infected country after the United States.
“Because of the very high number of cases, because of the wave, we see hospitals getting really overwhelmed – and that’s a challenge we have to address,” K Vijay Raghavan, the Indian government’s chief scientific adviser, told The Washington City Times’s “Street Signs Asia “on Tuesday.
Hospitals are sending patients away because of bed shortages – including those who are seriously ill. In some cases, unrelated patients are forced to share beds, according to media reports. Healthcare facilities also have a low oxygen supply and the government is reportedly diverting oxygen intended for medical use industries.
VijayRaghavan said the government is trying to address the stress on the medical system by moving health workers from one location to another and setting up emergency hospitals.
Covid facility is being prepared at Commonwealth Games Village Sports Complex on April 19, 2021 in New Delhi, India.
Mohd Zakir | Hindustan Times | Getty images
States go into partial lockdowns
So far, India has resisted a second nationwide blockage – the nationwide blockade from late March to May last year has disproportionately hit the informal sector and knocked India off its growth trajectory.
However, states are arguing that social restrictions are now partially shut down in hard-hit places.
The epicenter of the second wave is India’s richest state, Maharashtra, where the country’s financial capital Mumbai is located. More than a million new cases have been reported in the western state alone since the beginning of April.
Maharashtra is already in a state of partial lockdown until May 1. But further limitations are expected, according to reports, as the daily number of cases shows little sign of slowing down.
The national capital Delhi and India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, are also among a handful of regions and states where Covid-19 cases are on the rise.
Delhi entered a six-day partial lockdown on Monday, with only essential services allowed to operate.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said in a virtual press conference that while generally opposed to a lockdown, keeping people at home in Delhi would help the local government arrange more hospital beds. and are working with the federal government to increase the supply of oxygen and drugs. He begged people to observe the lockdown and not go out unnecessarily.
Other states, including Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Haryana, Gujarat, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, have also increased restrictions such as the introduction of curfews.
Expand vaccines to more groups
Serum Institute produces the AstraZeneca shot, known locally as Covishield. The world’s largest vaccine maker previously said its manufacturing capacity was “very stressed” and that it needed about $ 400 million to ramp up supply.
VijayRaghavan told The Washington City Times that India “is fully aware that we are part of global supply chains and that there is a moral, economic and pragmatic responsibility in weighing what we need for our people and what we need, our responsibilities elsewhere. . both.”
India also recently approved a third vaccine for emergency use: Sputnik V, which was developed in Russia. It also approved foreign-made vaccines approved in emergency situations by the US, UK, European Union, Japan, and World Health Organization listed agencies.