India still in the grip of COVID-19 disaster

India still in the grip of COVID-19 disaster

Agency Reports

India remains choked by the world’s worst COVID-19 outbreak, with 403,738 fresh cases and 4,092 deaths in the past 24 hours, the government said on Sunday.

The numbers brought the overall caseload to over 22 million and the death toll to 242,362 .

India has seen over 400,000 daily infections for the fifth time in a week and over 4,000 deaths for the second consecutive day.

The country has become a global epicentre of the virus, accounting for 46 per cent of global cases and 25 per cent of global deaths, the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) weekly epidemiological report on May 5, showed.

Amid a crisis over medical oxygen and distress messages from patients, the country’s supreme court has formed a national task force to ensure adequate supplies of the life-saving gas to hospitals.

In recent days, many states in India have declared lockdowns as opposition leaders urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to announce nationwide curbs.

India, the second-most infected country after United States that has a 32.6 million caseload, is in the grip of a second wave that began mid-February.

The pandemic has claimed more than 3.2 million lives worldwide since it first emerged in late 2019.

India has been hit hard by a second COVID-19 wave with cases and deaths hitting record highs every other day.

With an acute shortage of oxygen and beds in many hospitals and morgues and crematoriums overflowing, experts have said the actual numbers for COVID-19 cases and fatalities could be far higher.

Many Indian states have imposed strict lockdowns over the past month to stem the surge in infections while others have announced restrictions on public movement and shut down cinemas, restaurants, pubs and shopping malls.

But pressure is mounting on Prime Minister Narendra Modi to announce a nationwide lockdown similar to the one imposed during the first wave last year.

Support has been pouring in from around the world in the form of oxygen cylinders and concentrators, ventilators and other medical equipment for overwhelmed hospitals.