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India reports highest worldwide rise in daily COVID-19 cases

April 22, 2021
India reported 314,835 new COVID-19 infections on Thursday, the highest daily increase in cases worldwide since the pandemic began. — Courtesy file photo
India reported 314,835 new COVID-19 infections on Thursday, the highest daily increase in cases worldwide since the pandemic began. — Courtesy file photo



NEW DELHI — India reported 314,835 new COVID-19 infections on Thursday, the highest daily increase in cases worldwide since the pandemic began.

The country also recorded its highest number of new COVID-19 deaths at 2,104 fatalities.

The stark figures come as health care and other essential services across India are close to collapse amid a second coronavirus wave that is tearing through the country with devastating speed.

The healthcare system in the world's second-most populous nation is already buckling under severe demand in the pandemic — and now major hospitals say they are running critically short of beds and oxygen.

On Wednesday, the New Delhi High Court ordered the Indian government to divert oxygen from industrial areas to hospitals to help stem the shortage.

"You can't have people die because there is no oxygen," said the judges. "Beg, borrow or steal, it is a national emergency."

As of Thursday afternoon, Delhi had 26 vacant ICU beds, according to government data.

Several Indian states have imposed restrictions to curb the spread of the virus, even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged states to use lockdown as a last resort.

India's second most populous state of Maharashtra has announced new restrictions on Wednesday. People will be allowed to travel only for essential services or for "unavoidable events" like funerals. All private passenger transport will be allowed to operate at 50 percent capacity.

The new rules will come into force at 8 p.m. local time on Thursday and will remain in place until 7 a.m. on May 1.

India had now recorded a total of 15,930,965 cases as of Thursday, according to the India Ministry of Health. The total death toll now stands at 184,657. — Agencies


April 22, 2021
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