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As India fights a devastating second wave of Covid-19 that is killing thousands each day, international efforts to help tackle the crisis are hastening, with both Britain and the United States pledging aid and much-needed medical supplies.
The second wave, which began in March, has escalated rapidly, with India recording more than a million new cases in just three days. For the past two weeks, medical facilities have been running out of oxygen and ICU beds, with patients left to die at home and outside hospitals waiting for care.
On Monday, India reported 352,991 new cases and 2,812 virus-related deaths, marking the world’s highest daily caseload for the fifth straight day.
The situation is particularly dire in the capital New Delhi, which is under lockdown until May 3. The city is facing severe oxygen shortages. Delhi does not produce its own oxygen and relies on resources supplied by the central government, according to Delhi’s Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
Several Delhi hospitals tweeted SOS messages over the weekend appealing for oxygen supplies. On Saturday, at least 20 critically ill patients died after oxygen supply was delayed at one Delhi hospital.
In a tweet Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said his administration will set up 551 oxygen generation plants “in every district to ensure adequate oxygen availability.”
The central government has come under fierce criticism within the country for its handling of the outbreak, which has seen overwhelmed hospitals and residents post pleas on social media for more supplies from state and federal officials. Many have turned to the black market in a desperate attempt to save their loved ones.
Modi only addressed the nation on the situation for the first time last week, having held political rallies and largely downplayed the second wave’s urgency in the weeks before.
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