Modi under pressure for pan-India lockdown amid soaring Covid-19 deaths

New Delhi, May 7 (EFE).- India’s opposition on Friday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to impose a strict nationwide lockdown as the country struggled amid soaring deaths due to a devastating second wave of the coronavirus.

With its healthcare crushed under the weight of an increasing number of Covid-19 patients, the country reported another record daily rise in coronavirus cases, 414,188, on Friday.

It was the second day in a row that India reported over daily 400,000 cases and brought the overall caseload to nearly 21.5 million in the country of 1.35 billion people with below-par healthcare infrastructure.

Deaths from Covid-19 rose by 3,915 to 234,083.

However, experts say actual figures could be at least 10 times the official tally.

Opposition lawmaker Rahul Gandhi, the leader of the Indian National Congress led by the Nehru-Gandhi for decades, warned of an explosive situation if the virus was not brought under control that has now threatened the rest of the world.

In a letter, Gandhi 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.

“India is home to one out of every six human beings on the planet. The pandemic has demonstrated that our size, genetic diversity and complexity make India fertile ground for the virus to rapidly mutate, transforming itself into a more contagious and more dangerous form.”

He said the double and triple mutant strains that India was currently grappling with were “only the beginning, I fear.”

“Allowing the uncontrollable spread of this virus in our country will be devastating not only for our people but also for the rest of the world.”

The highly contagious Covid-19 variant first detected in India has already spread to other countries, which has forced them to ban flights from India.

Modi is being widely criticized for his alleged failure in stopping the second wave of the virus outbreak after his government allowed religious gatherings.

Election rallies presided over by Modi and his Home Minister Amit Shah, drew thousands in recent weeks without any regard for social distancing measures.

India is running the world’s largest vaccination drive but shortages of jabs have marred the campaign.

The government last weekend opened the vaccination program for the entire population over 18.

However, to date, only 32 million people, or 2.3 percent of the population have been fully inoculated.

Even as the country remains in the tight grip of the second wave, health authorities have already warned of the need to prepare for a third.

The government’s main scientific adviser, K. Vijay Raghavan, warned at a press conference on Thursday that “a phase three is inevitable, given the high levels of circulation of the virus.”

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