India scrambles for health resources as Covid-19 infections cross 18 million

New Delhi, Apr 29 (EFE).- India’s coronavirus caseload crossed 18 million after record-breaking daily infections and deaths on Thursday as authorities scrambled to ramp up the healthcare system that has collapsed under the deadly second Covid-19 wave.

The federal health ministry reported 379,257 new Covid-19 cases and 3,645 deaths in the last 24 hours from Wednesday morning.

The number of daily infections is the highest for any country since the pandemic broke out last year.

India, home to 1.35 billion people, now has more than 18.3 million cases, second only to the United States.

The number of people who have fallen prey to the disease has mounted to 204,832 in India.

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

The rapid surge in cases has kept India at the epicenter of the pandemic amid global fears that it may spread across the world if not curbed fast.

With its number of cases and deaths growing more rapidly than any other country, India is pulling resources across the world to ramp up its broken healthcare system.

Many countries offered their support to help the country tide the coronavirus storm.

Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla told reporters in Delhi that the government expected pharma products, tonnages of liquid oxygen, and oxygen-generating equipment from abroad.

The top diplomat said there had been an outpouring of assistance and over 40 countries “committed to provide us with many of the items that we need most urgently.”

“We have prioritized certain areas. Liquid oxygen is one of the areas that has been a priority. We have also seen the requirement for anything that produces oxygen, oxygen generators, concentrators, oxygen-generating equipment, cryogenic tankers, transportation equipment for oxygen,” Shringla said.

He said the country was also in urgent need of pharmaceutical products like remdesivir and tocilizumab.

“Although we produce remdesivir, but given the requirements the production has not been adequate to meet the immediate shortfall.”

He said US pharma giant Gilead Sciences had offered 450,000 doses of remdesivir while 300,000 doses of favipiravir were expected from Russia.

“We are also looking at procuring 400,000 doses of remdesivir from Egypt and also making efforts to get it from the UAE, Bangladesh, Uzbekistan.”

Amid escalating health crisis, the US government Thursday asked its citizens to leave India as soon as possible.

The State Department issued the highest level 4 travel advisory and asked Americans “not to travel to India or to leave as soon as it is safe to do so due to the current health situation in country.”

The advisory came in the backdrop of new cases and deaths that “have risen sharply throughout India to record levels.”

“Covid-19 testing infrastructure is reportedly constrained in many locations. Hospitals are reporting shortages of supplies, oxygen, and beds for both Covid-19 and non-Covid-19 related patients.”

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