India crosses 200,000 daily Covid-19 cases for the first time

New Delhi, Apr 15 (EFE).- India recorded over 200,000 daily cases of Covid-19 for the first time on Thursday, as it registers new record infections every day, with its mass vaccination program offering the only hope out of the crisis.

In the last 24 hours, 200,739 new infections were recorded, bringing the total to 14 million since the start of the pandemic, as India remains the second most affected nation behind the United States (31 million).

It also recorded 1,038 deaths in a day, as morgues were crowded and corpses piled up outside hospitals at different parts of the country.

Meanwhile, cremation grounds remain packed in a country that has already accounted for 173,123 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Several states, such as Maharashtra in the west, the most affected, have already imposed severe restrictions, close to total lockdown, allowing the movement of workers providing essential services.

The health ministry said in a statement Thursday that several measures have been taken to ensure the supply of oxygen to health centers across the country to avoid panic regarding its availability for coronavirus patients.

Among these measures, the ministry announced that oxygen production has been increased by 100 percent, in addition to using the reserves of steel factories, and transporting oxygen from the least affected regions to those most in need.

The authorities continue to emphasize on the need to increase testing and quarantine those infected as a key step in controlling this second wave, which has soared since February, when less than 9,000 cases were reported in a day.

So far India has carried out some 262 million tests since the start of the pandemic, 1.4 million in the last 24 hours, with laboratories also under stress.

In cities like New Delhi, private centers that conducted tests on-site within 24 hours less than a month ago, now have waiting lists of up to four days.

The only long-term way out of this crisis appears to be what has been dubbed as the largest vaccination campaign in the world, with more than 114 million doses administered since its launch in January, of which 3.3 million shots were given on Wednesday.

Until now, India has manufactured and used only two vaccines – Covishield, jointly developed by the British-Swedish laboratory AstraZeneca and Oxford University and produced by the Serum Institute of India; and the indigenous Covaxin developed by Bharat Biotech laboratory.

The Russian vaccine Sputnik V is set to become the third one used in the country after it was approved for emergency use in India earlier this week, becoming the first one that could be imported.

It will also be produced in the country in five factories with the aim of manufacturing some 850 million doses per year.

“The Government needs to urgently take steps to boost manufacturing capacity,” All India Peoples Science Network said in a statement deeming the current resources as insufficient. EFE


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