India surpasses 200000 COVID deaths amid record spike of new cases

India reports record 3,293 deaths and 360,960 new cases in the past 24 hours as the devastating second wave overwhelms its healthcare system.

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India reports record 3,293 deaths and 360,960 new cases in the past 24 hours as the devastating second wave overwhelms its healthcare system. File photo

India has surpassed the grim milestone of more than 200000 Covid deaths as a devastating second wave of infections overwhelms the country’s under-funded healthcare system.

Hospitals across the country are reporting a shortage of medical oxygen and beds. Even crematoriums are running out of space, with funerals held in parking lots, and parks turned into temporary cremation grounds.

The World Health Organization says a variant of COVID-19 feared to be contributing to a surge in coronavirus cases in India has been found in at least 17 countries.

India has reported 360,960 new coronavirus cases – it’s the biggest surge since the pandemic erupted more than a year ago – and the overall number of cases is now nearly at 18 million, according to health ministry data.

With 3,293 new deaths in the past 24 hours, the country has crossed the mark of 200000 Covid deaths. It was the first time the daily death toll crossed the 3,000 mark.

India’s total death toll at 201,187 is now only behind that of the United States, Brazil and Mexico.

Vaccine registration opens for all adults

The country Wednesday opened its COVID-19 vaccine registration for all adults. From May 1, all Indians above the age of 18 are eligible to get their coronavirus shots.

Though the country’s vaccination drive for senior citizens began in January, less than 2 per cent of its population has been vaccinated so far.

Despite India being the world’s biggest producer of vaccines – it’s called the “pharmacy of the world” – there are also concerns about the availability of COVID-19 vaccines in the country.

The World Health Organization says a variant of COVID-19 feared to be contributing to a surge in coronavirus cases in India has been found in at least 17 countries.

Meanwhile, the UN health agency said the B.1.617 variant of the virus first found in India had been detected in over 1,200 sequences uploaded to the GISAID a global, open-access database “from at least 17 countries”. “Most sequences were uploaded from India, the United Kingdom, USA and Singapore,” the WHO said in its weekly epidemiological update on the pandemic.

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