India’s Health Ministry says Covid-19 has claimed the lives of over 2,000 people in India in the last 24 hours, the largest single-day tally in the country’s history.
India’s Covid-19 infections have hit a new high, rising by 295,041 in the last 24 hours, according to the numbers. A total of 182,553 people died.
India currently has 15.6 million cases, second only to the United States, which has more than 31 million infections.
Officials and doctors said that as a fast-spreading second wave of coronavirus strained medical facilities to breaking point, Indian authorities rushed to shore up supplies of medical oxygen to hospitals in the capital, Delhi, on Wednesday.
On social media, the Delhi government requested assistance, stating that major government hospitals only had enough oxygen to last another eight to 24 hours, whereas some private hospitals only had enough for four or five hours.
On Tuesday, the city of 20 million people had 28,395 new cases and 277 fatalities, the most since the pandemic started. According to the state government, every third individual tested positive for coronavirus.
India’s health infrastructure is being overwhelmed by a coronavirus “storm,” according to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“Oxygen demand has increased. We are working with speed and sensitivity to ensure oxygen to all those who need it. The centre, states and private companies, all are working together,” Modi said in a televised address to the country on Tuesday evening.
When coronavirus infections dropped to a multi-month low in February, Modi’s administration was chastised for letting religious festivities and political demonstrations, several of which he attended, move ahead.
“The situation was manageable until a few weeks ago. The second wave of infections has come like a storm,” Modi said in his speech urging citizens to take the necessary precautions.
India has started a vaccine programme, but only a small percentage of the populace has been vaccinated.
To try to stop the spread of the virus, Delhi has been placed under lockdown for six days. The western state of Maharashtra, which includes Mumbai, the financial hub, expects to enforce a strict lockdown this week to try to stem the tide of cases, according to the cabinet.
When the coronavirus was detected last year, Modi directed a strict lockdown of India’s 1.3 billion population, but his government has always been cautious of the high economic costs of tight controls.
On Tuesday, he mentioned that a lockout could never be used as a last resort.