India posts record 330,000 new Covid-19 cases, 2,300 deaths

New Delhi, Apr 23 (EFE).- India Friday reported nearly 330,000 Covid-19 infections, recording the world’s highest daily tally for the second day in a row as its fragile healthcare system collapses under the viral catastrophe.

Daily deaths from the virus also jumped by 2,263, a record for the second-worst hit nation in the world, to reach a total of 186,920, the federal health ministry data showed.

The new 332,730 cases recorded in the last 24 hours from Thursday took the overall tally since the pandemic to 16.2 million cases, the second-highest after the United States with 31.9 million infections.

Infections spread out more rapidly in the second wave than the last year’s peak when India recorded nearly 100,000 cases a day in September.

Daily cases began to dip from October onwards to reach less than 10,000 infections a day in February this year when the government and people in India celebrated their victory over the virus.

The second wave began in late February when the daily cases started to jump again.

The pace got alarmingly high recently, with the country adding nearly 1.2 million cases in just four days from Tuesday.

Deaths also rose by nearly 10,000 in the last five days, with many of the fatalities attributed to depleting medical oxygen supplies in hospitals treating Covid-19 patients across the country.

Health centers have warned that they were running perilously low on oxygen supplies, affecting the treatment of severely ill patients in intensive care units.

To help alleviate the crisis, the central government Thursday issued new orders to allow free circulation of oxygen supplies between states without imposing “restrictions on manufacturers and suppliers.”

But health centers in the most affected regions of Maharashtra in the west and the capital New Delhi repeated their warnings on oxygen and critical medical supplies amid a surge in active cases that has reached 2.4 million.

Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, one of the main health facilities in New Delhi, said a worsening crisis in the capital’s hospitals was unfolding.

In an SOS sent Friday morning, the hospital its oxygen supply could run only for two more hours that put 60 patients at risk.

“(Some) 25 sickest patients have died in last 24 hours. Oxygen will last another two hours. Ventilators and BiPAP (ventilators for invasive treatment) not working effectively,” the hospital said.

The facility warned that a “major crisis likely” ad said it was now resorting to manual ventilation in ICUs and emergency.

Local broadcaster NDTV reported that two hours later after the SOS, oxygen tankers arrived at the hospital.

The dangerous surges in the number of infections and deaths have forced several regions, including Delhi and Maharashtra, to impose confinement measures and curb the rise.

The Indian capital recorded over 26,000 cases and more than 300 deaths in the last 24 hours, setting a new record for the city of over 20 million people.

It came amid a near full occupancy of intensive care unit beds in government and private hospitals across the city.

Maharashtra, home to India’s financial capital of Mumbai, in the west, continues to be the worst hit by the second wave, with nearly 67,500 new cases and 570 deaths.

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