New Delhi fell to a deadlock over the weekend on Saturday as India faced a fierce new wave of coronavirus, with daily cases rising to a record 234,692 people nationwide and families demanding drugs. and hospital bed.
The Ministry of Health said the latest figure is the eighth record high in nine days.
The total number of cases is nearly 14.5 million, second only to the United States, which has more than 32 million cases.
Data show that the number of COVID-19 deaths in India increased by 1,341 to a total of 175,649 people.
The hope that South Asian countries could have beaten the pandemic has gone to steam as India saw more than two million new cases this month alone and Bangladesh and Pakistan forced to close.
India’s per capita rate remains low internationally, increasing the prospect that the number of infections – fueled by a toxic new “double mutation” – could explode further.
After a year ago locked out nationwide leading to hundreds of deaths and one of the worst recessions of any major economy, the Indian government is desperate to avoid a second slowdown. .
However, many states are being held back, including the Maharashtra hotspot, Gujarat highly concentrated industry and IT hub, and the Bangalore IT hub Karnataka state, though the restrictions are less severe than last year.
The state of Uttar Pradesh, home to some 240 million people, announced Friday that all villages and cities would be locked out for one day on Sunday.
In the capital New Delhi, which has overtaken Mumbai to become India’s most heavily affected city, restaurants, malls, gyms and spas are closed for the weekend.
‘Genomic sequencing data provided evidence of’ double mutation ‘in 61% of samples in Maharashtra. But whether this new variant is driving India’s continued rise can be said after more data becomes available. ”https://t.co/ptawnuMq9J – @runaanu
– Amit Paranjape (@aparanjape) April 16, 2021
Even so, the wedding is only allowed with a limited number of guests to 50, while the maximum funeral is 20 people. Movie theaters may open up to a third of their capacity.
“Do not panic. All essential services will be available through the end of the week, ”said Premier of the 25-million-people city Arvind Kejriwal.
Likewise, the northern state of Uttarakhand has restricted gatherings to 200 people – but as long as the vast Hindu festival is going on Kumbh Mela.
The Haridwar gathering has drawn up to 25 million people since January, of which about 4.6 million people just this week, with most people ignoring the COVID-19 guidelines.
A prophet died of the virus on Thursday and 80 other holy men gave positive results, and experts fear that millions of believers will now bring the virus back to their towns and villages. surname.
Election protests are also taking place in the eastern state of West Bengal, with Interior Minister Amit Shah attending two roadshows and a public meeting on Friday alone.
In the state capital of Kolkata, railway worker Samaresh Tapna fell ill after attending such a gathering and was hospitalized.
“I feel angry with myself … I curse myself for my fate,” the 42-year-old man told AFP.
Lack of oxygen
Hospitals are short of oxygen and coronavirus drugs, such as remdesivir, have left desperate people paying exorbitant prices on the black market.
Social media is rife with horror stories about desperate calls to help a loved one in need of hospital treatment because of COVID-19 or other complaints.
“I lost a cousin on Saturday. He was not hospitalized after a stroke. Tried 4 hospitals, ”said a message on a WhatsApp group in Delhi this week.
In a worrying new trend, doctors told AFP they had seen an increase in the number of COVID-19 patients under the age of 45, including children.
Khusrav Bajan, a consultant at the PD Hinduja National Hospital in Mumbai said: “Last year, practically no children had symptoms.
India’s efforts to vaccinate 1.3 billion people are also stumbling, according to some local authorities, with just 117 million shots so far and stocks low, according to some local authorities. .
“[It is] Understandably, many people are fed up with their limitations and want to continue with a normal life. We must double our efforts to stop the disease because so many lives are at stake, ”said Udaya Regmi from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
“This is a warning to the world. Regmi said in a statement there must be a vaccine for everyone, everywhere, rich and poor to get through this terrible pandemic, ”Regmi said in a statement, calling the rise across South Asia“ really scary ”.