India’s Covid cases climb above 24 million with mutant threatens world

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India’s Covid caseload rose above 24 million on Saturday with 326,000 new cases reported in the last 24 hours on Monday as the World Health Organization (WHO) has termed the situation in India “hugely concerning”.

The South Asian country, which is battling with highly infectious coronavirus mutant first detected in the country and spreading across the globe, reported 3,980 deaths due to COVID in a single day with hospitals facing oxygen shortage.

The country’s cumulative COVID-19 recoveries have surpassed 20 million with 353,000 patients recuperating in a day, NDTV reported.

The Indian B.1.617 Covid strain has been detected in cases in eight countries of the Americas, including Canada and the United States, said Jairo Mendez, a WHO expert.

People contracted the variant included passengers who reached Panama and Argentina from India or Europe.

In the Caribbean, cases of the Indian variant have been found in Aruba, Dutch St Maarten and the French department of Guadeloupe.

The Indian strain of virus has also been found in in Britain and Singapore, forcing nations to ban flights from India.

“These variants have a greater capacity for transmission, but so far we have not found any collateral consequences,” Mendez said. “The only worry is that they spread faster.”

Videos circulating on social media show people mourning their loved one on roads and in hospitals which are overburdened since the second wave of the pandemic hit the country.

People are forced to wash up bodies in the Ganges, the river that flows through Uttar Pradesh, as crematoriums are overwhelmed and wood for burning bodies is in short supply.