This Saturday (1st), India recorded more than 400,000 new confirmed cases of coronavirus, an unprecedented mark that shows the severity of the pandemic in the country.
Authorities have reported 401,993 new cases in the past 24 hours, the highest number in the world, after ten consecutive days of more than 300,000 cases. Deaths increased by 3,523, bringing the total number to 211,853 nationwide, according to data from the health ministry.
The new record comes as the government launches the adult vaccination campaign – already marked by reports of dose shortages in some states.
Despite being the world’s largest producer of Covid-19 vaccines in the world, India has a limited number of doses available, exacerbating the already overcrowded scenario of hospitals and morgues.
The state of West Bengal was unable to start vaccinating adults between the ages of 18 and 45 on Saturday due to a lack of doses and urged the national government to provide the amount needed to serve the population.
Delhi State Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday (30) asked residents not to queue at vaccination centers, saying doses would arrive in the coming days. In Odisha, few people were able to get vaccinated, while the state received 150,000 doses.
In various parts of the country, bodies have been burned at pyres on trails in front of crematoriums after family members could not find a place to cremate them. Meanwhile, Covid-19 patients continue to arrive in overcrowded hospitals, without beds to receive further hospitalizations. Families struggle to obtain supplies such as medicine and oxygen, which are scarce.
In the midst of that scenario, the country’s capital, New Delhi, has announced that it will extend the containment currently in place for an additional week. Travel restrictions are said to end on Monday (3), but the increase in cases in the city of 20 million people is accelerating at a dizzying rate.
According to official data from the Ministry of Health, New Delhi recorded 27,000 new cases and 375 deaths on Saturday. But the city has few tests available and the actual death toll could be much higher.
The national government and state authorities are under arrest for lowering their guard at the start of the year and authorizing large events with crowds, such as religious holidays and political rallies, which have encouraged the spread of the virus.
The number of daily infections has increased since early April, but by early March a summit of scientists had already informed the government, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, that a new variant of the virus was circulating in the country. .
Even with the warning, political rallies and religious holidays were held, with millions of participants not wearing masks.
The total number of Covid cases in India has exceeded 19 million. With the arrival of the second wave, India has reported around 7.7 million cases since the end of February, according to a Reuters estimate. In contrast, the country took nearly six months to reach the previous 7.7 million cases.
The surge in the number of cases led US President Joe Biden to impose travel restrictions on India on Friday, barring travelers from entering except those of US nationality.
Australian officials have said residents and citizens who have been in India within the previous 14 days from the date they plan to return to the country will be banned from entering Australia from Monday (3); those who disobey will face fines and jail time.
Other countries and territories that have imposed travel restrictions on India include the UK, Germany, Italy and Singapore – while Canada, Hong Kong and New Zealand have suspended commercial flights with the India.