India records world's biggest single-day rise in coronavirus cases

A medic administers a Covid-19 vaccine in Mumbai. Pratik Chorge  Hindustan Times via Getty Images

A medic administers a Covid-19 vaccine in Mumbai. Pratik Chorge Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Hospitals in Delhi, the capital, and elsewhere have warned that their supplies of medical oxygen given to severely ill COVID-19 patients are running low. Grieving relatives are lining up outside crematoriums where the arrival of dead bodies has jumped several times.

"Right now there are no beds, no oxygen. Everything else is secondary", Shahid Jameel, a virologist and director of the Trivedi School of Biosciences at Ashoka University, told Reuters.

The court was conducting an urgent hearing on a plea filed by Balaji Medical and Research Centre, which owns and runs various hospitals in the name of Max, stating that if supply of oxygen is not replenished on an immediate basis, the lives of the patients who are critical and on oxygen support will be endangered.

"It might become hard for hospitals here to save lives", Sisodia said in a televised address.

The latest date released by the health ministry showed there had been 295,041 new infections nationwide overnight and 2,023 deaths, India's highest in the pandemic.

The Times of India newspaper said the previous highest daily case count of 307,581 was reported in the U.S. on January 8. "After repeated requests to the UP CM/ Central government we are not able to get enough oxygen supply".

The worsening COVID-19 situation has seen a surge in the demand for medical oxygen and beds for the COVID-19 patients and many states are reporting a shortage in essential medical supplies.

Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain said there was a shortage of intensive care unit beds, with the city needing about 5,000 more than it could find.

"Patients should only be given as much oxygen as they need", Goyal told reporters.

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India's inoculation programme has also hit supply hurdles, prompting New Delhi to put the brakes on exports of the AstraZeneca shot, which is manufactured locally by the Serum Institute (SII).

While India is massive - it's the world's second-most populous country with almost 1.4 billion people - its size also presents extraordinary challenges to fighting COVID-19.

India's daily jump in cases of 314,835 surpasses previous highest one-day rise in the world by the USA in January. "Why did we fail to anticipate the second wave despite it being a global phenomena?"

In the first wave while 4.03 per cent children below 10 tested positive it is 2.97 per cent in the second wave.

Modi faces criticism that his administration lowered its guard when coronavirus infections fell to a multi-month low in February and allowed religious festivals and political rallies that he himself addressed to go ahead.

This week, Modi urged state governments to use lockdowns as a last resort.

Also, the company is unable to supply oxygen from its Rajasthan plant due to restrictions imposed by the state government.

Addressing a press conference on Wednesday, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said that now India produces 7,500 tonnes a day out of which 6,600 tonnes are being provided to the States for medical use.

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