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Selasa, 04 Mei 2021

India's coronavirus infections cross 20 million as experts warn of worse days to come - ABC News

India's tally of coronavirus infections has surged past 20 million, boosted by 357,229 new cases over the past 24 hours.

Deaths rose 3,449 for a total toll of 222,408, health ministry data showed.

India has become the world's second nation, after the United States, to pass the grim 20 million milestone for infections.

It took the South Asian country just over four months to add 10 million cases, versus more than 10 months for its first 10 million.

COVID-19 infections and deaths are mounting with alarming speed in India with no end in sight to the crisis.

A top expert has warned that the coming weeks in the country of nearly 1.4 billion people will be "horrible".

The true figures are believed to be far higher — the undercount an apparent reflection of the troubles in the healthcare system.

The country has witnessed scenes of people dying outside overwhelmed hospitals and funeral pyres lighting up the night sky.

Infections have surged in India since February in a disastrous turn blamed on more contagious variants of the virus as well as government decisions to allow massive crowds to gather for Hindu religious festivals and political rallies before state elections.

A patient suffering from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) receives treatment.
India's official average of newly confirmed cases per day has soared from over 65,000 on April 1 to about 370,000.(

Reuters: Danish Siddiqui

)

India's top health official, Rajesh Bhushan, refused to speculate last month as to why authorities were not better prepared. Many people are dying because of shortages of bottled oxygen and hospital beds or because they cannot get a COVID-19 test.

India's official average of newly confirmed cases per day has soared from over 65,000 on April 1 to about 370,000, and deaths per day have officially gone from over 300 to more than 3,000.

Dr Ashish Jha, dean of Brown University's School of Public Health in the US, said he was concerned that Indian policymakers he had been in contact with believed things would improve in the next few days.

"I've been … trying to say to them, `If everything goes very well, things will be horrible for the next several weeks. And it may be much longer,'" he said.

Dr Jha said the focus needed to be on "classic" public health measures: targeted shutdowns, more testing, universal mask-wearing and avoiding large gatherings.

The death and infection figures are considered unreliable because testing is patchy and reporting incomplete.

For example, government guidelines ask Indian states to include suspected COVID-19 cases when recording deaths from the outbreak, but many do not do so.

'Enough is enough'

The New Delhi High Court has announced it will start punishing government officials if supplies of oxygen allocated to hospitals are not delivered.

"Enough is enough," it said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's party has countered criticism by pointing out the underfunding of health care has been chronic.

But this was all the more reason for authorities to use the several months when cases in India declined to shore up the system, said Dr Vineeta Bal, of the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research.

But the country "didn't even do that".

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2021-05-04 07:02:37Z
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