BENGALURU: India on Friday (Apr 30) reported a record daily rise of 386,452 new COVID-19 cases, while the death toll jumped by 3,498 in 24 hours, according to health ministry data.
India has added about 7.7 million cases to its total caseload since the end of February, when its second wave picked up steam, according to a Reuters tally.
In contrast, it took India nearly six months to add the previous 7.7 million cases.
The explosion in infections, blamed in part on a new variant of the virus, as well as mass political and religious events, has overwhelmed hospitals with dire shortages of beds, drugs and oxygen.
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Experts said the country’s best hope to curb its second deadly wave of COVID-19 was to vaccinate its vast population. On Wednesday, it opened registrations for everyone above the age of 18 to be given jabs from Saturday.
But India, which is one of the world’s biggest producers of vaccines, does not have the stocks for the estimated 600 million people becoming eligible.
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The government’s chief scientific adviser K Vijay Raghavan said in an interview with the Indian Express newspaper that the government could have done more to prepare for the second wave.
“There were major efforts by central and state governments in ramping up hospital and healthcare infrastructure during the first wave … But as that wave declined, so perhaps did the sense of urgency,” he said.
But “it is just not possible to amplify the capacities of a public health system within a year to a level that would be sufficient to cope with what we are seeing now”, he added.
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