COVID goes out of control in India as countries promise rapid aid

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India’s coronavirus infections hit a record spike for a fifth day on Monday as countries including Germany, Britain, and the United States committed urgent medical aid to fight the virus overwhelming its hospitals.

New cases in the past 24 hours rose to 352,991, with saturated hospitals in Delhi and elsewhere started turning patients away after supplies of medical oxygen and beds ran short.

On Sunday, U.S. President Joe Biden said his country would send raw materials for medical equipment, protective gear, and vaccines to India. Germany also joined the list of countries promising to send supplies.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Sunday, asked all citizens to get vaccinated and stay cautious, while doctors put out urgent notices saying that the rush of patients was difficult to cope with. “Currently, hospitals are in a beg-and-borrow mode and we are in an extreme crisis,” said a spokesman of the Ganga Ram Hospital in New Delhi.

Read more : Cases in India hit record high

Bodies were being burnt in temporary facilities offering mass services in some of the worst-hit cities, including the capital. Social media was flooded with images of three health workers dragging a body along the ground on its way to cremation due to the shortage of stretchers. This happened in the eastern state of Bihar.

Politicians, Modi in particular, are being blamed for the scenario as they resorted to holding rallies and festivals that were being attended by thousands of people. Despite a brutal second wave of infections, packed stadiums and grounds were witnessed till a few days back.

Elections were underway in West Bengal where about 8.6m voters were expected to cast votes on Monday, in the penultimate part of the eight-phase election that is scheduled to wrap up this week.

Local elections in other parts of the country included the most populous state of Uttar Pradesh, which has on average been reporting 30,000 infections a day. Several cities have now ordered curfews, while police have been tasked to enforce mask-wearing and social distancing.

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