India’s Covid-19 toll exceeds 200,000 after record spike on deadliest day

New Delhi, Apr 28 (EFE).- The toll due to Covid-19 crossed a grim milestone of 200,000 in India Wednesday after nearly 3,300 new deaths marked the deadliest day of the pandemic amid strained healthcare resources due to the second wave of the virus outbreak.

The overall caseload also rose by a record number of nearly 361,000 new infections registered in the last 24 hours from Tuesday morning, the health ministry data showed.

It was the seventh day in a row that the country, the second-worst hit by the virus after the United States, reported more than 300,000 daily cases, accumulating nearly 2.4 million infections in a week.

India, the world’s second-most populous country and home to some of the densely populated cities with below-par healthcare infrastructure, now has nearly 18 million infections and 201,187 deaths due to the virus.

The World Health Organization in its weekly epidemiological report, said India had recorded almost 40 percent of the global Covid-19 cases in the last one week, calling the South Asian country an epicenter of the pandemic now.

As Covid-19 hit patients desperately looked for beds in choked hospitals struggling due to perilously low supplies of vital medicines and life-saving medical oxygen, the government has turned to its armed forces for help with the pandemic.

The Indian army claimed that it had created several covid facilities on a war footing to provide extensive medical assistance to veterans and their dependents at many places.

A hospital in the cantonment area of the capital New Delhi was converted into a covid wellness center for critical care to all patients.

The army said the hospital would have 650 covid beds, of which 450 will be oxygenated.

The Intensive Care Unit will be enhanced from 12 to 35 ICU beds by Thursday.

The next phase of expansion will see the capacity being augmented to 900 oxygenated beds by mid-June.

The government Wednesday said fertilizer companies across the country would contribute 50 metric tons of medical oxygen per day for seriously ill Covid-19 patients every day.

The move comes against the backdrop of a shortage of life-saving oxygen across the country, especially in Delhi, one of the worst-hit regions in India.

The federal government has also waived customs duty and health tax on the oxygen import and equipment related to the gas for three months.

The country is also getting oxygen from Canada, Dubai, and Singapore.

India is in the midst of its worst health crisis worsened by political gatherings for regional elections and mass assemblies for religious festivals like the weeks-long Kumbh Mela, or pitcher festival that saw millions of Hindus coming together on the banks of the Ganges.

Social media channels are flooded with images of mass cremation at crematoria across the country.

Some cities have created makeshift crematoria in parks and parking lots.

TV footage from the city of Beed in the western state of Maharashtra showed bodies crammed into an ambulance for cremations.

India’s capital recorded a total of 24,149 new infections and 381 deaths in a single day, the highest death rate in the city of about 20 million inhabitants.

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