NEW DELHI – India marked a new high in coronavirus cases on Thursday, registering a staggering 379,257 new infections in the last 24 hours.
The Health Ministry said that overall cases have now reached 18.3 million, while the death toll stood at 204,832, including 3,645 new fatalities.
India has been registering over 300,000 daily cases since April 22, severely straining the country’s health system and leading to an acute shortage of beds, oxygen, and treatment drugs.
There have been tragic cases in the country as people have died due to the non-availability of oxygen or because they failed to get hospital beds. With the number of cases continuing to rise, a number of Indian cities have announced weekend lockdowns to curb the spread of the virus.
The capital New Delhi, which is the worst hit due to the virus and presently under lockdown, reported nearly 26,000 new cases and 368 fatalities late Wednesday.
The western state of Maharashtra has reported a record high of 985 virus-linked deaths.
With more fatalities reported across the country, cities are reporting far larger numbers of cremations and burials. A number of makeshift funeral pyres have been set up to deal with the growing cremations.
On Wednesday, the country’s death toll crossed 200,000.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is facing criticism over his government’s response to the deadly second wave, sanctioned the procurement of 100,000 portable oxygen concentrators from the Prime Minister’s CARES Fund late Wednesday.
As the country is battling its second wave, a Phase 3 vaccination drive allowing people above 18 years old to get vaccinated is all set to begin from May 1.
After the government opened registration for Phase 3 vaccination on Wednesday, the Health Ministry said that more than eight million people registered for vaccination in the initial hours.
India has so far provided nearly 160 million vaccine doses in the country.
A number of countries have come forward to provide assistance to India. On Thursday morning, Russian aircraft arrived in India with medical aid.
Russian Ambassador to India Nikolay Kudashev said Thursday morning that two urgent flights operated by Russia’s Ministry of Emergency Situations (EMERCOM) arrived in India carrying a cargo with a total weight of 20 tons.
“These are oxygen concentrators, lung ventilation equipment, bedside monitors, medicines, including Coronavir, and other essential pharmaceutical items,” he said.
The first emergency medical supplies from the UK had arrived on Tuesday. (Anadolu)