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Jumat, 30 April 2021

India's COVID patients told to go to army hospitals as country hit by more shortages and record cases - ABC News

India's coronavirus cases have climbed again, prompting the army to open up its hospitals in a desperate bid to control a massive humanitarian crisis created by an acute shortage of beds, medicines and oxygen.

With 386,452 new cases in the past day, India now has reported more than 18.7 million since the pandemic began, second only to the United States.

The Health Ministry on Friday also reported 3,498 deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 208,330.

Experts believe both figures are an undercount, but it is unclear by how much.

Battling to find hospital beds, distraught people are flooding social media and messaging apps with pleas for oxygen, medicines and room in intensive care units.

India's army chief MM Naravane met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday to discuss the crisis.

Mr Naravane said the sick can approach their nearest army hospitals for help.

India hits daily global record for one week 

Rows of funeral pyres of covid victims burn in a patch of land next to a road that's being used for mass cremations
Funeral pyres of COVID-19 victims are being burned in a lot that's been converted into a crematorium in New Delhi.(

AP

)

Troops were also assisting with imported oxygen tankers and vehicles where specialised skills are required, a government statement said.

India has set a daily global record for more than a week with an average of nearly 350,000 infections.

Daily deaths have nearly tripled in the past three weeks, reflecting the intensity of the latest surge.

In the most populous state of Uttar Pradesh, a school teachers' organisation said more than 550 members died after they were infected with COVID-19 while helping to conduct local council elections this month, the Times of India newspaper reported.

Dozens of people crowd a busy marketplace in India. Some people are wearing face masks.
India is one of the world's biggest producers of vaccines.(

Reuters: Niharika Kulkarni

)

Experts have blamed the surge on new, more contagious virus variants and mass public gatherings such as political rallies and religious events that were allowed to continue.

On Thursday, millions voted in state elections in West Bengal with little or no regard to social distancing.

In the southern state of Karnataka, Revenue Minister R Ashoka said nearly 2,000 coronavirus patients under home care have switched off their phones and cannot be traced.

Police were trying to track them as they might be seeking hospitalisation on their own, he said.

In central Madhya Pradesh state, three villages in Balaghat district have pooled money to convert buildings into COVID-19 care centres.

They have purchased oxygen concentrators and started admitting patients. Government doctors are visiting the facilities twice a day.

Aid from more than 40 countries being sent 

India plans to step up a faltering vaccination drive by allowing all adults 18 and older to get their jabs from Saturday. It has so far administered 150 million vaccine doses, according to the Health Ministry.

Since January, nearly 10 per cent of Indians have received one dose, but only around 1.5 per cent  have received both, though India is one of the world's biggest producers of vaccines.

Health Minister Harash Vardhan expressed hope that assistance being sent by over 40 countries will plug the shortage in medical supplies.

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Many stranded Australians in India are desperate to get home

Australia is sending a range of goods to help. It will send 500 ventilators, as well as 1 million surgical masks, 500,000 P2 and N95 masks, 100,000 goggles, 100,000 pairs of gloves and 20,000 face shields.

More than 9,000 Australians in India want to come to Australia, with 650 of those considered vulnerable.

But many are left stranded after last week's decision by Australia's National Cabinet to reduce flights — both commercial and repatriation — from India by 30 per cent.

The US is sending more than $100 million worth of items, including 1,000 oxygen cylinders, 15 million N95 masks and 1 million rapid diagnostic tests.

Japan said Friday it will send 300 ventilators and 300 oxygen concentrators in response to the Indian government request.

France, Germany, Ireland have also promised help, and Russia sent two aircraft carrying oxygen-generating equipment.

The Indian air force also airlifted oxygen containers from Singapore, Dubai and Bangkok.

AP/ABC

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2021-04-30 05:39:15Z
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