A top scientific adviser to the Indian government has warned that the country would inevitably face further waves of the coronavirus pandemic as nearly 4,000 people die in one day.
India’s key scientific advisor, K Vijay Raghavan, warned on Wednesday that the country should be ready for a third wave even after the infection rates plummeted.
“Phase 3 is inevitable given the high levels of viruses circulating,” he said at a press conference.
“But it is not clear when this phase 3 will take place … We should prepare for new waves.”
Relatives of a COVID-19 patient argue with a police officer to admit him to the emergency room at Holy Family Hospital in New Delhi [Danish Siddiqui/Reuters]India reported a record 412,262 new COVID-19 cases and 3,980 deaths on Thursday, with infections in the world’s second largest nation rising over 21 million and a total of 230,168 fatalities, according to the Department of Health.
However, medical experts say the actual numbers could be five to ten times the official numbers. The country added 10 million cases in just over four months after taking more than 10 months to hit its first 10 million.
The surge in infections has been accompanied by a dramatic drop in vaccinations due to delivery and delivery problems, despite India being a major vaccine maker.
At least three states, including Maharashtra, home of the commercial capital Mumbai, have reported vaccine shortages and closed some vaccination centers.
Long queues with vaccines left in front of two centers in the western city, and some of those waiting pleaded for the police to open their gates earlier.
The government said production capacity for the antiviral drug Remdesivir, which is used to treat COVID-19 patients, has tripled from 3.8 million vials a month ago to 10.3 million vials per month.
However, daily tests fell sharply to 1.5 million, after peaking at 1.95 million on Saturday, according to India’s state council for medical research.
Meanwhile, the outbreak continues to spread.
In a weekly report, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that almost half of the world’s reported coronavirus cases and a quarter of deaths in India are due to beds and oxygen.
Many people have died in ambulances and parking garages, waiting for a bed or oxygen, while morgues and crematoriums struggle to cope with a seemingly unstoppable flow of bodies.
11 people died overnight in a hospital near the southern city of Chennai after the pressure in the oxygen lines dropped, the Times of India reported on Thursday, in a number of similar incidents at the latest.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has been widely criticized for failing to act earlier to suppress the second wave after religious festivals and political rallies drew tens of thousands of people in recent weeks and became “super-spreader” events .
The opposition has called for a nationwide lockdown, but the government is reluctant to impose one for fear of the economic consequences, despite several states imposing social restrictions.
As a final step, the eastern state of West Bengal, where voters defeated Modi’s party in an election last week, suspended local trains and limited working hours for banks and jewelry stores to limit infections.
In the remote state of Mizoram on the Myanmar border, beds are so scarce in its largest coronavirus hospital that all victims of other diseases have been told to leave the hospital, government official Dr. ZR Thiamsanga.
Only three of a total of 14 ventilators were still available.
“In my opinion, a full lockdown is needed to control the situation,” he told Reuters from the state capital, Aizawl.
The central bank asked banks on Wednesday to give some borrowers more time to repay loans as the crisis threatens an emerging economic recovery.
Women mourn a relative in a mass crematorium on the banks of the Ganges in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh state [Ritesh Shukla/Getty Images]Amid government criticism of patients dying outside of hospitals, oxygen and equipment shipments have arrived from the US, France, the UK, Russia and other countries in the past few days.
Two “Oxygen Express” trains with liquid oxygen arrived in the capital New Delhi on Wednesday, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said on Twitter. More than 25 trains have distributed the oxygen supply across the country.
The government says supplies are adequate, but transportation problems have hampered distribution.
The National Center for Disease Control (NCDC) said Wednesday that the UK COVID-19 strain is more dominant in northern India, while the new Indian variant B.1.617 is more common in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Gujarat.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has called for “urgent” international action to prevent “worsening human catastrophe” across South Asia.
The case of Nepal was highlighted, which stated that “many hospitals are full and overcrowded” with COVID-19 patients.
With 57 times as many cases as a month ago, 44 percent of the tests in Nepal were positive. Cities near the Indian border are unable to cope with the growing numbers of treatment seekers while only 1 percent of the population is fully vaccinated.