Breaking: India shaken by new coronavirus ‘storm’: PM Modi
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday urged all citizens to take COVID-19 vaccines and exercise caution, saying a “storm” of infections had shaken the country.
India’s number of cases surged by 349,691 in the past 24 hours, the fourth straight day of record peaks, and hospitals in Delhi and across the country are turning away patients after running out of medical oxygen and beds.
“We were confident, our spirits were up after successfully tackling the first wave, but this storm has shaken the nation,” Modi said in a radio address.
Modi’s government has faced criticism that it let its guard down, allowed big religious and political gatherings to take place when India’s cases plummeted to below 10,000 a day and did not plan on building up the healthcare systems.
According to Press TV, hospitals and doctors have put out urgent notices that they were unable to cope with the rush of patients.
People were arranging stretchers and oxygen cylinders outside hospitals as they desperately pleaded for authorities to take patients in, Reuters photographers said.
“Every day, it the same situation, we are left with two hours of oxygen, we only get assurances from the authorities,” one doctor said on television.
Outside a Sikh temple in Ghaziabad city on the outskirts of Delhi the street resembled an emergency ward of a hospital, but crammed with cars carrying COVID-19 patients gasping for breath as they were hooked up to hand held oxygen tanks.
Delhi Chief Minister Kejriwal extends lockdown by a week
Delhi’s Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Sunday the city state would continue to be under a lockdown till May 3, as coronavirus cases rise steeply.
“A lockdown was the last weapon we had to deal with the coronavirus but with cases rising so quickly we had to use this weapon,” he said.
India’s total tally of infections stands at 16.96 million and deaths 192,311 after 2,767 more died overnight, health ministry data showed.
In the last month alone, daily cases have gone up eight times and deaths by 10 times. Health experts say the death count is probably far higher.