New Delhi: In the last 24 hours, India reported 3,52,991 COVID cases and 2,812 deaths, a new record high as a deadly second wave sweeps the country. The hospitals in the country are also facing problems in treating COVID patients amid a serious oxygen crisis.
This is the fifth straight day that over 3 lakh cases have been recorded by the country. Nearly 10 lakh cases have been reported in the last 72 hours. Top hospitals, helpless patients and their families and friends have been sending out SOS messages for medical oxygen and medicines on social media.
The fresh surge takes the country’s caseload to 1.73 crore; 1.95 lakh people have died so far after contracting the virus. On Sunday, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the second wave of coronavirus has “shaken the country”. India’s top priority right now is to fight Covid, Modi said in his monthly radio address “Mann ki Baat”.
US President Joe Biden has said the US is “determined to help India in its time of need”. “Just as India sent assistance to the United States as our hospitals were strained early in the pandemic, we are determined to help India in its time of need,” he said in a tweet.
The US confirmed on Sunday it will “immediately” make available sources of raw materials required to scale up production of the Covishield coronavirus vaccine in India.
Life-saving medical equipment, including hundreds of oxygen concentrators and ventilators, are being sent from the United Kingdom to India “to support efforts to prevent the tragic loss of life from this terrible virus,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Sunday.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan also expressed solidarity with the people of India battling the deadly wave, saying “we must fight this global challenge confronting humanity together”.
The European Union, Germany and Israel have also offered help. “Upon request for assistance by #India, we have activated the #EU Civil Protection Mechanism. The EU will do its utmost to mobilise assistance to support people of IN. Our #ERCC is already coordinating EU MS that are ready to provide urgently needed #oxygen & medicine rapidly,” tweeted Janez Lenarcic, the European Commissioner for Crisis Management.
Across the country, 551 medical oxygen generation plants will be set up using the PM-Cares Fund, the government said on Sunday. “Oxygen plants in every district to ensure adequate oxygen availability… An important decision that will boost oxygen availability to hospitals and help people across the nation. (sic),” PM Modi said in a tweet. He told officials to ensure that these plants are made functional as soon as possible.
Worldwide, more than 14 crore people have contracted the virus since the first case was reported from China’s Wuhan over a year ago; 30 lakh people have died.