In New Delhi Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged all citizens to be vaccinated and exercise caution, saying on Sunday the “storm” of infections had shaken India, as the country set a new global record of the most number of COVID-19 infections in a day.
India has recorded more than 17 million infections and 195,116 coronavirus deaths, after over 2,806 died overnight, John Hopkins University data showed. In the last month alone, daily cases have gone up eight times and deaths by 10 times. Health experts say the death count is probably far higher.
The United States said it will immediately provide raw materials for one of the COVID-19 vaccines, medical equipment and protective gear to help India respond. France, Britain and Germany also promised rapid support. Prime Minister Imran Khan had already offered to help New Delhi cope with the virus infections. The number of cases in India surged by 354,531 on Sunday, the fifth straight day of record peaks. Hospitals in Delhi and across the country are turning away patients after running out of medical oxygen and beds. “We were confident, our spirits were up after successfully tackling the first wave, but this storm has shaken the nation,” Modi said in a radio address.
His government has faced criticism that it let its guard down earlier this year, allowed big religious and political gatherings to take place when India’s cases fell to below 10,000 a day and did not plan for boosted healthcare systems. Hospitals and doctors have put out urgent notices saying they are unable to cope with the rush of patients. “Every day, it the same situation, we are left with two hours of oxygen, we only get assurances from the authorities,” one doctor said on television. Delhi’s Delhi’s Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal extended a lockdown in the capital that had been due to end on Monday for a week. COVID-19 is killing one person every four minutes in the city. Family members are left on their own to ferry coronavirus patients from hospital to hospital in search of treatment…
Pakistan on Saturday offered to help longtime rival India in its efforts to stem a catastrophic COVID-19 wave that has ravaged the world’s second-most populous country. “As a gesture of solidarity with the people of India in the wake of the current wave of COVID-19, Pakistan has offered to provide relief support to India including ventilators, BiPAP, digital X-ray machines, PPEs [personal protective equipment] and related items,” Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
The offer comes amid a recent thaw in heightened tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbors.