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India breaches 200,000 daily COVID-19 cases as hospital...

Newsdeck

Newsdeck

India breaches 200,000 daily COVID-19 cases as hospital beds, oxygen fall short

Indian women walk past graffiti depicting the Covid-19 pandemic to create awareness among people in Bangalore, India. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Jagadeesh NV)
By Reuters
15 Apr 2021 0

NEW DELHI/BENGALURU, April 15 (Reuters) - India reported a record 200,000 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday and the financial hub of Mumbai entered a lockdown, as many hospitals treating coronavirus patients reported severe shortages of beds and oxygen supplies.

By Neha Arora and Sachin Ravikumar

The surge was the seventh record daily increase in the last eight days and comes as India battles a massive second wave of infections that has its epicentre in the economically significant state of Maharashtra, home to Mumbai. The western state accounts for about a quarter of the country’s total cases.

India reported 200,739 COVID-19 cases over the last 24 hours, according to health ministry data released Thursday. Deaths stood at 1,038, taking the total to 173,123.

The total case load reached 14.1 million, only second to the United States, which leads the global tally with 31.4 million cases.

Hospitals and doctors in Maharashtra as well other regions including Gujarat and Delhi in the north reported chaotic scenes as healthcare facilities were overwhelmed with a surge in admissions of COVID-19 patients.

“The situation is horrible. We are a 900-bed hospital, but there are about 60 patients waiting and we don’t have space for them,” said Avinash Gawande, an official at the Government Medical College and Hospital in Nagpur, a commercial hub in Maharashtra.

Hospitals in other places including Gujarat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state, reported oxygen shortages. “If such conditions persist, the death toll will rise,” the head of a medical body in Ahmedabad wrote in a letter to the Gujarat state chief minister.

India’s government said the country was producing oxygen at its full capacity everyday for the last two days and it had boosted output.

“Along with the ramped up production of the oxygen manufacturing units and the surplus stocks available, the present availability of oxygen is sufficient,” the health ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of pilgrims still thronged to a religious festival in the north of the country on Wednesday, stoking fears of a new surge in COVID-19 cases in the region.

In capital Delhi, too, daily COVID-19 cases are hitting new records, with doctors warning the surge could be deadlier than in 2020.

“This virus is more infectious and virulent …. We have 35-year olds with pneumonia in intensive care, which was not happening last year,” said Dhiren Gupta, a paediatrician at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in New Delhi. “The situation is chaotic.”

(Reporting by Neha Arora in New Delhi; Additional reporting by Rama Venkat in Bengaluru and Sumit Khanna in Ahmedabad; Writing by Sachin Ravikumar Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Lincoln Feast.)

Information pertaining to Covid-19, vaccines, how to control the spread of the virus and potential treatments is ever-changing. Under the South African Disaster Management Act Regulation 11(5)(c) it is prohibited to publish information through any medium with the intention to deceive people on government measures to address COVID-19. We are therefore disabling the comment section on this article in order to protect both the commenting member and ourselves from potential liability. Should you have additional information that you think we should know, please email [email protected]

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