For the 12th day in a row, India announced more than 300,000 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of cases to just under 20 million, while Covid-19 deaths increased by 3,417.
According to health ministry data, India’s overall infections have increased by 368,147 in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of infections to 19.93 million and the total number of deaths to 218,959.
Medical experts estimate that the actual number of 1.35 billion people in the country is five to ten times higher than the official figure, as reported in Asia1 news.
The Resurgence of The Virus
As the country deals with the surge in cases, hospitals have filled up, medical oxygen supplies have run out, and morgues and crematoriums have been overburdened.
At least 11 states and union territories have introduced some kind of restriction to try to stop the spread of the disease, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is wary of imposing a national lockdown because of the economic consequences.
On Twitter, Bhramar Mukherjee, an epidemiologist at the University of Michigan, said, “In my view, only a national stay-at-home order and declaring a medical emergency can help to resolve the existing healthcare needs.”
“Not only the regular new cases, but the total number of active cases is growing. According to the reported figures, there are approximately 3.5 million active cases.”
Since Modi took office in 2014, the increase in infections has become India’s most serious problem. Modi has been chastised for failing to act sooner to stem the spread of the virus, as well as for allowing millions of mostly unidentified people to attend religious festivals and crowded political rallies in five states in March and April.
Five scientists who are members of the forum told Reuters that a government-created forum of scientific advisors warned Indian officials in early March that a new and more infectious version of the coronavirus was spreading across the world.
Despite the alert, four scientists said the federal government had not sought to enforce significant restrictions to stop the virus’s spread.
It’s unclear how his handling of the crisis would impact Modi’s or his party’s political prospects. In 2024, the next general election will be held. Modi’s party was defeated in India’s West Bengal state in Sunday’s election, despite winning the neighboring state of Assam.
On Sunday, leaders of 13 opposition parties signed a letter urging Modi to begin free national vaccination as soon as possible and to prioritize oxygen supply to hospitals and health centers.
Owing to a shortage of vaccinations, some states have delayed a vaccination campaign for adults that was set to begin on Saturday. According to the national health ministry, states have 10 million vaccines on hand, with another 2 million due in the next three days.
Despite being the world’s largest manufacturer of vaccines, India does not have enough for its own use, undermining a campaign to increase and broaden vaccination coverage starting on Saturday. Just about 9% of the country’s 1.4 billion population have received a dose.
Manufacturing Shortage of Vaccines
Due to a shortage of raw materials and a fire at the Serum Institute, which manufactures the AstraZeneca vaccine, India has struggled to increase capacity beyond 80 million doses per month. India has received a flood of international assistance.
The government announced on Sunday that Britain would send another 1,000 ventilators to India. Boris Johnson and Narendra Modi, the prime ministers of the United Kingdom and India, are expected to meet on Tuesday.
At least 17 countries have now received the Indian Covid-19 version, including the United Kingdom, Switzerland, and Iran, prompting some governments to close their borders to citizens traveling from India.
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