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Selasa, 27 April 2021

Foreign aid arrives in India to tackle COVID-19 crisis, nation expecting lion's share of surplus US AstraZeneca vaccines - ABC News

India has recorded more than 320,000 new cases of coronavirus, as a grim surge of illness and death weighs on the country and its sinking health system begins to receive much-needed support from foreign nations.

Tuesday’s 323,144 new infections raised India’s total past 17.6 million, behind only the United States.

It ended a five-day streak of recording the largest single-day increases in any country throughout the pandemic, but the decline likely reflects lower weekend testing rather than reduced spread of the virus.

The health ministry also reported another 2,771 deaths in the past 24 hours, with roughly 115 Indians succumbing to the disease every hour.

The latest fatalities pushed India’s deaths to 197,894, behind only the US, Brazil and Mexico.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi tweeted photos on Tuesday of the first shipment of medical aid India received from Britain. It included 100 ventilators and 95 oxygen concentrators.

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Other nations including the US, Germany, Israel and Pakistan have also promised medical aid.

The countries have said they will supply oxygen, diagnostic tests, treatments, ventilators and protective gear to help India’s crisis, which World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called “beyond heartbreaking".

'Our bowl is the largest and deepest'

The additional support comes as India expects to secure the biggest chunk of the 60 million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that the United States will share globally.

On Monday, the White House said 10 million doses could be cleared for export "in coming weeks" and the rest by June. It has not revealed potential beneficiaries, but two Indian government sources told Reuters India could gain the most.

Multiple funeral pyres of victims of COVID-19 burn at a ground that has been converted into a crematorium for mass cremation.
Delhi has been cremating so many bodies of COVID-19 victims that authorities are getting requests to start cutting down trees in city parks for kindling.(

AP: Altaf Qadri

)

The Biden administration had agreed to ship doses to India after initial reluctance, he added.

"We are not sure how many we will receive. All I can say here is, our bowl is the largest and deepest."

A relative of a patient who died of COVID-19, mourns outside a government COVID-19 hospital in Ahmedabad.
A relative of a patient who died of COVID-19, mourns outside a government COVID-19 hospital in Ahmedabad.(

AP: Ajit Solanki

)

Speaking to Reuters after a telephone conversation between Prime Minister Modi and President Joe Biden on vaccine raw materials, the second official said India was lobbying hard to get more than 35 per cent of the AstraZeneca doses.

Both officials declined to be named ahead of a formal announcement of beneficiaries by the United States.

Current wave 'extremely dangerous'

India's first "Oxygen Express" train pulled into New Delhi this week, laden with about 70 tonnes of oxygen from an eastern state.

But the crisis has not abated in the city of 20 million people at the epicentre of the world's deadliest wave of infections.

"The current wave is extremely dangerous and contagious and the hospitals are overloaded," said Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, adding that a large public area in the capital will be converted into a critical care hospital.

Delhi has been cremating so many bodies of COVID-19 victims that authorities are getting requests to start cutting down trees in city parks for kindling.

Outside graveyards in cities like Delhi, which currently has the highest daily cases, ambulance after ambulance waits in line to cremate the dead.

Burial grounds are running out of space in many cities as glowing funeral pyres blaze through the night.

"[Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government] has lit funeral pyres in every house," said one woman, mourning the death of her younger brother, aged 50.

He was turned away by two hospitals and died waiting to be seen at a third, gasping after his oxygen tank ran out and no replacements were to be had.

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Play Video. Duration: 2 minutes 34 seconds
COVID-19 is killing one person every four minutes in India.

Wires/ABC

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2021-04-27 19:40:17Z
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