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News ID: 89785
Publish Date : 01 May 2021 - 20:27
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NEW DELHI (Reuters) -- India recorded more than 400,000 new COVID-19 cases for the first time on Saturday as it battles a devastating second wave, and the country’s massive new vaccination drive was hampered in some areas by shortages of the shots.
Authorities reported 401,993 new cases in the previous 24 hours, after 10 consecutive days of more than 300,000 daily cases. Deaths jumped by 3,523, taking the country’s total toll to 211,853, according to the federal health ministry.
The surge in infections has overwhelmed hospitals, morgues and crematoriums and left families scrambling for scarce medicines and oxygen. And while India is the world’s biggest producer of COVID-19 vaccines, shortages of the shots in some states hindered the opening of vaccinations for all adults.
West Bengal state was unable to start a drive aimed at adults aged between 18 and 45 due to a shortage of shots and urged the federal government to provide more supplies, a senior state health official said, declining to be named as he was not authorized to speak with media.
India has received 150,000 Sputnik-V vaccine doses from Russia and millions more doses will follow, an Indian foreign ministry spokesman said on Saturday.
Shortages of medical oxygen have plagued the medical system.
In New Delhi’s Batra Hospital, local media reported that eight people including a doctor died on Saturday after the facility ran out of oxygen.
"Delhi required 976 tonnes of oxygen and yesterday only 312 tonnes of oxygen was given. How does Delhi breathe in such a low oxygen?” chief minister Kejriwal tweeted.
At a hearing on Saturday, the Delhi high court took note of the deaths at Batra Hospital and told the federal government to make arrangements for the allocated supply of oxygen to be given to Delhi.
"Enough is enough,” Justice Vipin Sanghi said.
Desperate coronavirus patients continued to arrive at hospitals despite a shortage of beds.
A fire in a hospital about 190 km (115 miles) south of Ahmedabad killed 16 coronavirus patients and two staff, the latest in a series of deadly accidents at hospitals. read more
The Delhi government said it will extend for another seven days a lockdown it first imposed for a week on April 19.
Daily infections have soared since the start of April. Some experts blame mass religious gatherings and political rallies for the severity of India’s second wave, which caught the government unprepared.
A forum of scientific advisers set up by the Modi administration warned officials in early March of a new and more contagious variant taking hold in the country, five scientists who are part of the forum told Reuters. 
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