New Delhi, May 8 (EFE).- India Saturday reported its highest one-day jump in Covid-19 fatalities with over 4,000 deaths as cases surged by over 400,000 for the third day in a row.
The federal health ministry data showed 4,187 people lost their lives to the virus in the last 24 hours from Friday morning, taking the overall death toll to more than 238,000.
Cases rose by 401,078, increasing the total caseload to a little under 21.9 million in the second-worst affected nation after the United States with 32.6 million infections.
Experts suggest that the government data may not present the real image of the crisis as actual Covid-19 cases and fatalities could be higher than official tallies.
The unstoppable second wave of the virus has devastated India’s fragile healthcare infrastructure amid overwhelmed hospitals and morgues.
Hospitals across India are running deadly shortages of medical oxygen and beds.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is being widely criticized for his alleged failure in stopping the second wave of the virus outbreak after his government allowed religious gatherings in March-April after the country reported less than 9,000 daily cases and 80 deaths.
Election rallies presided over by Modi and his Home Minister Amit Shah drew thousands in recent weeks without regard for social distancing measures.
The federal government people has not imposed a nationwide lockdown, fearing that the pandemic-battered economy would face more downturn.
However, many regions have enforced restrictions to curb the rapidly spreading wave, partially blamed on a “double mutant” Indian strain of the virus.
The southern state of Tamil Nadu was the latest region to announce a complete lockdown from Monday.
Karnataka, also in the south, home to India’s major tech hub of Bengaluru, extended a total lockdown on Friday.
India’s opposition on Friday urged Modi to impose a strict nationwide lockdown, warning of an explosive situation if the virus was not brought under control.
In a letter, lawmaker Rahul Gandhi, the leader of the Indian National Congress led by the Nehru-Gandhi for decades, urged Modi to prepare for another national lockdown and speed up the vaccination drive besides tracking the virus and its mutations.
“I urge you to do everything in your power to stop the needless suffering that our people are going through,” Gandhi said.
He said it was also important to understand India’s responsibility in a globalized and interconnected world.
The second-most populous country is running the world’s largest vaccination drive, but shortages of jabs have marred the campaign.
The country began its vaccination drive for frontline and healthcare workers on Jan.16.
India uses two vaccines – Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covishield, manufactured by Serum Institute of India, and the indigenous Covaxin.
The government last weekend opened the vaccination program for all above 18.