India fights Covid-19 crisis with global aid as inoculation drive delayed

New Delhi, Apr 30 (EFE).- India Friday added a new high of more than 380,000 coronavirus infections even as dozens of countries sent urgent aid to help tackle its deepening health crisis.

The lack of adequate supplies of medicine and oxygen in overwhelmed hospitals has spiraled the crisis in the second-most populous nation, with its ambitious vaccination drive hitting a big hurdle.

The federal health ministry data showed that 386,452 new infections were reported in the last 24 hours from Thursday morning, bringing the overall caseload to more than 18.7 million since the pandemic began.

India remains the second hardest-hit nation by the virus, behind the United States that has 33 million infections.

The death toll in the second-most populous country increased to 208,330 after the virus claimed 3,498 lives over the past day.

It is marginally fewer than the previous daily death count of over 3,600 reported on Thursday.

But there are widespread speculations that the government is underreporting the Covid-19 figures.

India is at the global epicenter of the pandemic that is rapidly tightening its grip on the country, with nearly 2.5 million cases added in the last seven days.

The daily death rate has almost tripled in the past three weeks, exceeding 3,000 for the first time in the past few days.

The positivity rate has increased to nearly 21 percent, which a month ago was below six percent.

The World Health Organization (WHO) considers that the pandemic is under control in a country if the positivity rate is below five percent.

The rapid surge in cases strained its already weak health infrastructure as hospitals have been overwhelmed with an increasing number of patients amid a shortage of beds, medicines, and oxygen.

Help has been pouring out from across the globe to assist the country tide the storm.

At least 40 countries have committed to fly in critical medical supplies and equipment, raising hopes that it would help plug the shortages.

The United States has sent 1,000 oxygen cylinders, 15 million N95 masks, pulse oximeters, and one million rapid diagnostic tests.

The US embassy in New Delhi tweeted that the first of several emergency Covid-19 relief shipments from the United States arrived in India on Friday morning.

“We are committed to use every resource at our disposal, within our authority, to support India’s frontline healthcare workers,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a tweet.

Russia was among the first to fly in two aircrafts carrying oxygen generating equipment.

Earlier, Indian air force planes airlifted oxygen containers from Singapore, Dubai, and Bangkok.

Japan also said on Friday that it would send 300 ventilators and 300 oxygen concentrators after a request from the Indian government.

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