India sees record coronavirus deaths - GulfToday

Nearly 240,000 have died from the coronavirus in India


India's health ministry reported 4,187 fatalities over the past 24 hours.

Gulf Today Report

New COVID-19 deaths surged past 4,000 for the first time in India on Saturday as it struggled with one of the world's worst outbreaks.

India's health ministry reported 4,187 fatalities over the past 24 hours, taking the overall death toll to just under 240,000. Cases rose by 401,078, increasing the total since the start of the pandemic to 21.9 million.

India now accounts for nearly half of the world's new known cases according to an AFP database. Experts say even those dramatic tolls are undercounts.

Virusdead-DelhiHospitalPeople try to console a woman mourning the demise of her relative who died from the coronavirus. AFP

One doctor in Bengaluru said he's had to reject patients "left, right and centre” as his hospital struggled to find more oxygen.

"The problem is the demand is so high that we need constant oxygen,” Dr. Sanjay Gururaj, the medical director at Shanti Hospital and Research Center, said. The hospital is sending a truck twice a day to oxygen plants on the outskirts of the city to bring back 12 jumbo oxygen cylinders. "In normal times, this would have lasted over two weeks – now, it lasts just over a day,” he added.


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The state’s oxygen shortages prompted the high court on Wednesday to order the federal government to increase the daily liquid medical oxygen supplied to Karnataka. The ruling came after 24 COVID-19 patients died in a government hospital on Monday. It's unclear how many of them died due to the lack of oxygen, but an investigation is ongoing.

The global immunisation effort was boosted with WHO approval for Chinese firm Sinopharm's vaccine.

India-Covid-LThe health ministry says 401,993 new infections were registered, taking the total caseload to 19.1 million.

And while many Western countries have started easing restrictions thanks to rapid vaccinations, the head of the World Health Organisation warned that more countries could suffer the kind of deadly outbreaks currently raging in India, Brazil and Nepal.

The Indian government has struggled to contain the outbreak, which has overwhelmed its healthcare system and sparked anger and frustration among the public.

"The government says that there is ample supply of medicines and oxygen," said Brijesh Pandey, who spends hours every day jostling with others to try to secure oxygen for his brother-in-law.

CremationfireA man runs to escape heat emitting from the multiple funeral pyres of COVID-19 victims at a crematorium in New Delhi. AP

"But look how hundreds of desperate people are struggling to save their brothers, sisters and parents."

India reported more than 400,000 new infections on Saturday, but many experts suspect the official death and case numbers are a gross underestimate.

The surge has spilled into next-door Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

Its eastern neighbour Pakistan on Saturday began a nine-day shutdown targeting travel and tourist hot spots to try to stop its outbreak from snowballing during the upcoming Eid celebrations at the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

The country opened up its massive vaccination drive to all adults, although several states warned of acute shortages.

The Eid holidays usually see a mass movement of people across the nation of 220 million, and the government has mobilised the military to help enforce the restrictions.

But mosques, which have been packed each night throughout Ramadan, will remain open despite the virus threat.

cremation-NewDehliAn aerial view of the crematorium in New Delhi. AFP

India's southern state of Tamil Nadu announced new lockdown measures on Saturday as officials reported a nationwide record number of single-day COVID-19 deaths as cases continue to surge.


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