Opposition chief calls for lockdown as India’s coronavirus cases cross 20 million

The deal is expected to create more than 6,500 jobs in Britain

The deal is expected to create more than 6,500 jobs in Britain

Infections have surged in India since February in a turn blamed on more contagious variants of the virus, as well as government decisions to allow massive crowds to gather for Hindu religious festivals and political rallies before state elections.

The number of new COVID infections in India has officially passed 20 million cases, even as the government says that infection rates are coming down. Experts believe both figures are an undercount.

In the capital Delhi, an oxygen crunch has shown no signs of abating and people are struggling for treatment. Those found guilty face six months in prison or a fine.

"You can put your head in the sand like an ostrich, we will not".

"These are hard times, especially in India, and while we have tried to bring in some positivity and cheer, it is imperative that the tournament is now suspended and everyone goes back to their families and loved ones in these trying times", the IPL said in a statement. The court is hearing petitions filed by several hospitals and nursing homes struggling with irregular oxygen supplies.

The latest wave of infections since April has pushed India's health care to the brink with people begging for oxygen cylinders and hospital beds on social media and news channels.

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Dileep Kumar, a student, said he was asked by hospital authorities to shift his father to another hospital in Ghaziabad, a town on the outskirts of New Delhi, after it ran out of oxygen on Tuesday.

The Indian government has put into place a "streamlined mechanism" for allocating aid received from global actors in its ongoing fight against a deadly second Covid-19 wave. Modi said last month that it should be the last resort.

The impoverished eastern state of Bihar ordered a lockdown until May 15 to curb the virus, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said on Twitter.

India's official count of coronavirus cases surpassed 20 million on Tuesday, almost doubling in the past three months, while deaths officially passed 220,000.

Pfizer has told India there was no concern over the safety of its product, as authorities insist on small local trials for foreign vaccines despite a record surge in infections and shortage of doses.

Public forecasts by India's two current vaccine producers show total monthly output of 70-80 million doses would increase only in two months or more, although the number of people eligible for vaccines has doubled to an estimated 800 million since May 1.

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