Swept by a brutal second Covid wave, India saw a record spike in infections with 3.14 lakh new cases, the world’s biggest-ever daily surge, taking the caseload to 1.59 crore. In another grim record, 2,104 Covid deaths were recorded since yesterday.
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India is facing one of the biggest health challenges in the recent years with the shortage of medical oxygen, hospital beds and anti-viral drug Remdesivir, used in the treatment of Covid. The fresh surge surpasses the previous highest one-day rise in the world of 2,97,430 cases posted by the United States in January, news agency Reuters reported. 1.84 lakh people have died so far.
The centre has assured that “oxygen demand and supply is being monitored round the clock”. Health Minister Harsh Vardhan in a tweet last night said the government has increased “quota of oxygen” for seven states- Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Delhi.
India has been recording over 2 lakh Covid infections everyday since April 15. The second wave is still to peak, as per the centre. But experts are not sure when the cases will decline. Maharashtra (67,468), Uttar Pradesh, Delhi (24,638), Karnataka (23,558) and Kerala (22,414) were the five states that recorded the biggest surge in last 24 hours.
In Maharashtra, the worst-hit state, the Uddhav Thackeray government has announced new Covid curbs as part of “Break- the-Chain” program. The state on Wednesday reported the highest number of Covid deaths in a day at 568.
As per new rules, attendance at all private and government (centre and state) offices not directly connected to the management of the COVID-19 pandemic in Maharashtra will be capped at 15 per cent. Attendance at weddings and marriage ceremonies has been capped at 25. Use of private vehicles, excluding buses, will only be allowed for essential services or valid reasons, like medical emergencies.
In Delhi, desperate oxygen crisis resonated in the High Court on Wednesday. Hitting out at the centre, the court said: “How is the government so oblivious to the reality on ground? You can’t have people die because there is no oxygen.” The High Court further told the government: “Beg, borrow, steal… it’s your job.”
Polling is being held in Bengal today for the sixth phase of state elections; politicians have been criticised for holding election rallies despite a surge in cases across the country Campaigning, however, continues. Union minister Amit Shah will attend three poll meetings today, Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh has four road shows. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will hold four public meetings in north and central Bengal.
Amid the country’s fight against a deadly virus, death of 24 people at a hospital in Maharashtra’s Nashik on Wednesday shocked the nation. An oxygen tanker leaked outside the hospital, disrupting supply to patients for around 30 minutes. Prime Minister Narendra Modi defined the tragedy as “heart-wrenching”.
The government, for the first time, on Wednesday shared the data on Covid infections after vaccinations. “Two to four per 10,000 breakthrough infections of COVID-19 have happened after people received the vaccine. This is a very, very low number, nothing to panic about,” said Balram Bhargava, Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
Even as many states have announced fresh restrictions to break the chain of transmission, PM Modi on Tuesday said that “lockdown should be the last resort”. India has been witnessing an alarming surge in infections despite efforts to step up vaccine coverage. 13.22 doses have been administered so far. The vaccine net will be widened to all people above 18 from May 1.