India Reports Record Covid Cases For A Fifth Straight Day With More Than 350,000 New Infections

  • Posted on April 26, 2021
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India reported a record number of Covid-19 cases for the fifth straight day on Monday while the official death toll also jumped.Official data showed there were 352,991 new reported cases over a 24-hour period as total infection numbers crossed 17 million.At least 2,812 people died which pushed the total death toll to over 195,000 — media reports suggest that the official death rate is likely undercounted.Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has faced criticism for allowing large crowds to gather for religious festivals and election rallies in various parts of the country this year. Prior to the second wave, India had on average around 10,000 new cases daily.But so far in April alone, the South Asian nation has reported more than 5 million new cases, sending the country’s health care system to the brink.Hospitals have run out of beds and are turning away even critically ill patients. There is a severe oxygen supply shortage, partly due to uneven distribution across states. That has led to the deaths of many Covid-19 patients as the government scrambles to send supplies to the worst-hit states by road, rail and air.“It has put a huge stress on the health care infrastructure, the supplies, oxygen because of the fact that the quantum of materials required has gone four times what it was in the first wave,” Naresh Trehan, chairman at Medanta hospital, told CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia” on Monday.“We are struggling, actually, to cope with all that,” he said, adding measures are being taken to create more beds and ramp up the production of more personal protective equipment and medicines. But India’s “weak point” is the shortage in medical-grade oxygen required.International responseThe international community responded with promises to send India desperately needed aid.The United States will send raw materials required for India to ramp up manufacturing of AstraZeneca’s vaccine locally, as well as therapeutics, rapid diagnostic test kits, ventilators and protective equipment. It will also send a team of public health advisors to India from the Center for Disease Control and USAID.That came after the United Kingdom, France and Germany pledged aid over the weekend. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Twitter that the European Union is “pooling resources to respond rapidly to India’s request for assistance via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.”Last week China’s foreign ministry said Beijing is “in communication” with New Delhi and that it is “ready to provide support and help according to India’s need.”Singapore state investor Temasek said on Sunday that it partnered with Air India and Amazon India to airlift medical equipment such as oxygen concentrators and ventilators from the city-state. The medical supplies were sent to the financial capital of Mumbai in Maharashtra and the eastern state of West Bengal, where cases are rising.Big Tech firms like Microsoft and Google have also publicly pledged to help.By cnbc.com

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