Coronavirus Pandemic

Covid-19: India’s daily coronavirus death toll sets new record

Filed on April 24, 2021 | Last updated on April 25, 2021 at 12.36 am

Twenty patients died in one night at one New Delhi hospital suffering from oxygen shortages, medical officials said.

India's daily coronavirus death toll set a new record on Saturday as the government battled to get oxygen to hospitals overwhelmed by the hundreds of thousands of new daily cases.

Twenty patients died in one night at one New Delhi hospital suffering from oxygen shortages, medical officials said. A Delhi court said that the new pandemic wave had become "a tsunami".

Queues of Covid-19 patients and their fearful relatives were growing outside hospitals in major cities across India, the world's new pandemic hotspot, which has now reported nearly one million new cases in three days.

Another 2,624 deaths were reported in 24 hours, taking the official toll to nearly 190,000 since the pandemic started.

More than 340,000 new cases were also reported, taking India's total to 16.5 million, second only to the United States.

But many experts are predicting the current wave will not peak for at least three weeks and that the real death toll and case count are much higher.

Germany, Kuwait and Iran on Saturday followed the UAE, Britain and New Zealand in restricting travel from the country.

Stung by criticism of its lack of preparation ahead of the wave of infections, the central government has organised special trains to get oxygen supplies to the worst-hit cities.

The Indian Air Force was also being used to transport oxygen tankers and other supplies around the country and to bring oxygen equipment from Singapore. One 'oxygen express' carrying 30,000 litres for hospitals arrived in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh state, where armed guards were waiting to escort trucks that would carry the oxygen to hospitals. - AFP

Lucknow has been one of the worst-hit cities, with hospitals and crematoriums inundated with patients and bodies. Officials said the liquid oxygen would only be enough for half a day's needs.

In Delhi, the city government said it would begin setting up buffer stocks of oxygen.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said "the government should take over all oxygen plants through the army".

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