Over 3.14 lakh new COVID-19 cases in India, highest-ever recorded in any country

A total of 3,14,835 fresh infections were registered in a span of 24 hours, while the death toll increased to 1,84,657 with a record 2,104 new fatalities, the data updated at 8 am showed.

 

New Delhi:

The number of daily coronavirus cases in India hit a record high with over 3.14 lakh new infections being reported, pushing the total tally of COVID-19 cases to 1,59,30,965, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Thursday.

A total of 3,14,835 fresh infections were registered in a span of 24 hours, while the death toll increased to 1,84,657 with a record 2,104 new fatalities, the data updated at 8 am showed.

Registering a steady increase for the 43rd in a row, the active cases have increased to 22,91,428 comprising 14.38 per cent of the total infections, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate has dropped to 84.46 per cent.

Hospitals across northern and western India including the capital, New Delhi, have issued notices to say they have only a few hours of medical oxygen required to keep COVID-19 patients alive.

More than two-thirds of hospitals had no vacant beds, according to the Delhi government's online data base and doctors advised patients to stay at home. "The situation is very critical," Dr Kirit Gadhvi, president of the Medical Association in the western city of Ahmedabad, told Reuters.

"Patients are struggling to get beds in COVID-19 hospitals. There is especially acute shortage of oxygen." Krutika Kuppalli, assistant professor at the Division of Infectious Diseases, Medical University of South Carolina in the United States, said on Twitter the crisis was leading to a collapse of the healthcare system.

The previous record one-day rise in cases was held by the United States, which had 297,430 new cases on one day in January, though its tally has since fallen sharply. India's total cases are now at 15.93 million, while deaths rose by 2,104 to reach a total of 184,657, according to the latest health ministry data.

Television showed images of people with empty oxygen cylinders crowding refilling facilities in the most populous state of Uttar Pradesh as they scrambled to save relatives in hospital. "We never thought a second wave would hit us so hard," Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, the executive chairman of Biocon & Biocon Biologics, an Indian healthcare firm, wrote in the Economic Times.

"Complacency led to unanticipated shortages of medicines, medical supplies and hospital beds." Similar surges of infections elsewhere, in South America in particular, are threatening to overwhelm other health services.

ENOUGH VACCINES? India has launched a vaccination drive but only a tiny fraction of the population has had the shots.

Authorities have announced that vaccines will be available to anyone over the age of 18 from May 1 but India won't have enough shots for the 600 million people who will become eligible, experts say. Health experts said India had let its guard down when the virus seemed to be under control during the winter, when new daily cases were about 10,000, and it lifted restrictions to allow big gatherings.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government has come in for criticism for holding packed political rallies for local elections and allowing a religious festival at which millions gathered. On Thursday, despite the biggest public health emergency the country has faced in a generation, people were voting in the eastern state of West Bengal for a new state assembly in an election that Modi has been campaigning in.

"It's a festival of democracy and everyone is participating. You can see the queues," said Krishna Kalyan, a candidate from Modi's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. Experts say new variants, in particular a "double mutant" variant that originated in India are largely responsible for the new spikes in cases.

"The double mutant ... is considerably more infectious than the older strain of virus," said Gautam I. Menon, a professor at Ashoka University.

The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 1,34, 54,880. The case fatality rate has further dropped to 1.16 per cent, the data stated.

India's COVID-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7, 30 lakh on August 23, 40 lakh on September 5 and 50 lakh on September 16.It went past 60 lakh on September 28, 70 lakh on October 11, crossed 80 lakh on October 29, 90 lakh on November 20 and surpassed the one-crore mark on December 19.India crossed the grim milestone of 1.50 crore on April 19.

According to the ICMR, 27,27,05,103 samples have been tested up to April 21 with 16,51,711 samples being tested on Wednesday.


Comments