Health – Coronavirus situation in India worsens – Health

New Delhi (dpa) – The coronavirus situation in India remains tense after more than 300,000 new infections in 24 hours. According to the Ministry of Health, 323,144 new cases and 2,771 deaths with confirmed infection were reported.

The rapid increase in the number of patients has caused an overload of the emerging country’s health system. The lack of medical oxygen and hospital beds reportedly led to deaths. Several EU countries have jointly sent relief goods to this country hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

Amid the worst wave of coronavirus on record in the South Asian country, more than 300,000 new cases have been recorded every day since Thursday. This exceeds the previous daily record of 300,310 cases recorded in the United States in early January. India also reported its highest number of daily deaths last week. In the world’s second most populous country, with around 1.3 billion people, the total number of infections stands at around 17.6 million and almost 198,000 people have died so far. The number of unreported cases is likely much higher.

Doctors in the worst-hit city of New Delhi described patients in critical condition dying in the streets due to a lack of hospital beds or medical oxygen. Lack of oxygen was blamed for 14 additional deaths in four states, according to media reports. The dramatic increase in the number of deaths has already led to the saturation of New Delhi’s crematoriums. A number of funeral homes reported having to build more platforms on which to place pyres.

Experts believe that the reason for the dramatic increase in new infections is, among other things, the spread of more contagious virus variants. In addition, many people did not comply with coronavirus-related measures, for example during mass events such as regional elections and religious holidays.

Several countries, including the United States and Germany, have assured India of their support. A shipment of medical supplies arrived from Britain in the morning, India’s foreign ministry said. This included 100 ventilators and 95 oxygen concentrators. These are widely used devices in which oxygen is enriched from ambient air.

A Foreign Ministry spokesperson in Berlin said that since the end of last week they had been working “hard” on a support mission. “These include respirators, a mobile oxygen production system and medicines,” he said. The Bundeswehr will take care of the transport. No vaccine deliveries are planned.

The European Commission has announced additional aid. These include 700 oxygen concentrators from Ireland, 9,000 doses of the viral inhibitor Remdesivir from Belgium as well as oxygen and ventilators from Romania, Portugal, Luxembourg and Sweden.

Australia and Belgium have banned entry from India due to record coronavirus numbers in that country, following the example of other countries such as the Netherlands. Air services will be suspended immediately until at least May 15, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said. The situation will then be reassessed. At the same time, Morrison announced that Australia would send aid to India, including 500 ventilators and one million surgical masks.

Germany and other countries had previously severely restricted entry from India due to the B.1.617 virus variant that was initially discovered there. Lufthansa, however, wishes to maintain its air connections to India for the moment. According to its own information, the airline currently operates ten connections per week between Frankfurt and India. Additionally, freight capacities would be used for necessary transportation. According to information from the DPA, the federal government is considering temporarily and completely suspending air traffic to the country.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is currently monitoring the B.1.617 virus variant, but has not yet classified it as a concern. It is not yet clear to what extent the variant is partly responsible for the rapid increase in cases in India. Many factors could have contributed to this. It is also unclear whether the virus variant causes more severe illness and thus contributes to higher mortality rates.

© dpa-infocom, dpa:210427-99-369796/6

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