The country also reported the highest daily death toll for the ninth straight day, adding 2,767 deaths in the last 24 hours.
The country of 1.3 billion has registered over a million new cases in the past three days, bringing the total number of pandemics to 16.9 million registered cases of the coronavirus, including 192,311 deaths.
The skyrocketing Covid-19 infections are devastating India’s communities and hospitals. Everything is in short supply – beds in the intensive care unit, medication, oxygen and ventilators. Corpses pile up in morgues and crematoriums and authorities have been forced to carry out mass cremations in makeshift locations. Just six weeks ago, the Indian health minister said the country was “in the final” of the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, Sunday’s numbers, which are the highest number of cases recorded in a single day anywhere in the world, according to a CNN list of numbers from John Hopkins University, tell a different story.
India’s second wave, which began in mid-March, comes as the country makes progress with its vaccination program. On Saturday, the Ministry of Health announced it had administered more than 140 million doses of vaccines against Covid-19 – and 2.4 million of them in the last 24 hours.
Despite giving the most coronavirus vaccines in the world to the US and China, India ranks among many countries on per capita vaccination, according to CNN data.
The country announced on Monday that people aged 18 and over would be eligible for a Covid-19 vaccine from May 1. Private vaccination providers can also bill and provide vaccines.
In his monthly radio program, the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi emphasized the importance of a vaccination on Sunday and described the second Covid-19 wave as a “storm” that “shook the nation”.
“I speak to you at a time when Covid-19 is testing our patience and ability to endure pain. Many of our loved ones left us prematurely. After successfully mastering the first wave, that was Nation’s morale high. It was confident. But this storm shook the nation, “said Modi.
While state ministers and local authorities had warned of the second wave and prepared measures since February, there seems to have been a leadership vacuum within the central government, in which Modi has remained largely silent until the last few weeks.
On Saturday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken sent his support to the Indian people.
“Our hearts go out to the people of India amid the terrible Covid-19 outbreak,” said Sec. Blinken has tweeted. “We are working closely with our partners in the Indian government and will be quick to provide additional support to the people of India and the heroes of Indian health care.”
The Biden government is under increasing pressure to lift export restrictions on supplies, which Indian vaccine manufacturers say are needed to boost production.
Adar Poonawalla, CEO of the Oxford-AstraZeneca-developed Serum Institute of India, which manufactures Covishield, called on President Joe Biden to lift the embargo that former President Donald Trump put under the Defense Production Act at the start of the pandemic. Restrictions under Biden have continued since February to stimulate domestic vaccine production.
“If we really want to unite on behalf of the vaccine industry outside of the US to fight this virus, I humbly ask you to lift the embargo on US commodity exports to allow vaccine production to increase. Your government has the details,” he tweeted .
Private companies in India are stepping in to curb the lack of oxygen
As Covid-19 cases rise and India continues to suffer from severe oxygen starvation, private companies are stepping in to offer their assistance.
On Saturday, Sahil Barua, co-founder and CEO of Indian courier company Delhivery, announced that the company would work with its airline partners to import oxygen concentrators and other essentials.
“We fly charter flights to India with oxygen concentrators and other essential supplies and can add more capacity if needed,” wrote Barua on LinkedIn.
Several industrial players are also redirecting oxygen production to address the shortage.
The Indian steel authority, together with the private steel giant Jindal Steel and Power and the Tata Group, the country’s largest industrial group, has supplied the affected states with oxygen.
“Tankers that have been refilled with liquid medical oxygen and shipped from our oxygen facility. We will overcome the oxygen starvation,” tweeted Naveen Jindal, chairman of Jindal Steel and Power, in one of several such posts.
“Medical oxygen is critical to the treatment of Covid-19 patients. In response to the national emergency, we are delivering 200-300 tons of liquid medical oxygen to various state governments and hospitals every day. We are together in this fight and we are sure to win . ” it !, “Tata Steel, a subsidiary of the group, tweeted on April 18th.
The Tata Group also posted photos on Twitter of four cryogenic oxygen containers imported from Singapore that were flown in by the Indian Air Force on Saturday. They are importing 24 cryogenic containers to carry liquid oxygen and alleviate oxygen starvation in the country, according to an April 20 tweet.
On Thursday, the Indian Ministry of the Interior issued an order banning the supply of oxygen for industrial purposes.