India reports around 393,000 new coronavirus infections today

India reports around 393,000 new coronavirus cases today
A volunteer uses an oximeter to check the oxygen level of a man before providing oxygen support for free, amidst the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), outside a Gurudwara (Sikh temple) in Ghaziabad, India, April 30, 2021. -REUTER
  • India reports around 393,000 new coronavirus cases today on sunday
  • India enlarges its vaccination programme to all adults on Saturday.
  • Social media platforms have been full of dire pleas from people looking for oxygen cylinders, medicines, and hospital beds. 

India gets more international aid for its battle against coronavirus as the South Asian nation fought to contain one of the world’s worst coronavirus outbreaks with nearly 393,000 new infections reported Sunday.

India expanded its vaccination drive to all adults on Saturday, but many of its states are struggling with shortages even with an export freeze for shots manufactured in the country.

Rises in Brazil and Canada also underscored the relentless threat of the pandemic, with the Covid-19 death toll approaching 3.2 million even as many nations rise their vaccination drives.

Prolonged queues were seen at vaccination centres in cities across India on the weekend, with people eager to be inoculated against a disease that has swamped the country´s healthcare system and even crematoriums and graveyards.

“We are here early in the morning to get vaccinated… I left my three-year-old at home to get vaccinated,” said Megha Srivastava, 35, at a private vaccination centre in the capital New Delhi.

“It is a necessity now. We are seeing so many people testing positive.”

Social media platforms have been full of dire appeals from people looking for oxygen cylinders, medicines, and hospital beds as the Covid-19 wave causes widespread shortages.

India reported 392,000 new cases and almost 3,700 Covid-19 deaths on Sunday.

The grim situation triggered many nations including the United States, Russia, and Britain to dispatch emergency supplies including oxygen generators, face masks, and vaccines.

Aid from France arrived at India on Sunday, including eight oxygen generator plants and 28 ventilators, adding to the 120 ventilators from Germany that reached on Saturday.

New Delhi, one of the hardest-hit parts of the country, stretched its lockdown by a week on Saturday.

Anthony Fauci, the top US pandemic advisor, said in comments issued Saturday that India should go into lockdown to fight this wave.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi´s government has opposed imposing a national closure but many states have imposed severe restrictions.

´We´re tired and exhausted´

Recognized global infections are approaching 152 million, and new waves have also stirred many countries in the Americas.

Brazil, the worst-hit Latin American nation, has crossed 400,000 Covid-19 deaths — second only to the United States, with many of its hospitals pushed to the brink of collapse.

And in Canada, the epicentre is in the most populous province Ontario, where the surge has been so intense that the government sent in the military and the Red Cross to help care for critical patients.

Ontario´s healthcare system is nearing the breaking point, said intensive care nurse Farial Faquiry at Toronto´s Humber River Hospital.

“We´re stretched thin,” Faquiry told AFP.

“We´re tired and exhausted. Just exhausted.”

Many health professionals and caregivers are also frustrated with citizens who have not followed precautions.

“I think we all feel we have been let down a little bit by society,” said physician Jamie Spiegelman.

Canada´s vaccine rollout has also stumbled because of supply issues, unlike its southern neighbour the United States which has given at least one dose to more than half its adult population.

But concerns are growing there too about the inoculation programme hitting a wall — the people most eager to get their shots have already done so.

Protests against restrictions 

Despite the Covid-19 threat in sharp focus because of the outbreaks in Brazil and India, populations in many parts of the world are growing weary of virus measures.

Anti-restriction protesters gathered in several European countries on Saturday, including Finland, Sweden, Belgium, and Germany.

In Belgium, currently in a second national lockdown, police fired water cannon and tear gas on Saturday as they cleared a crowd of several hundred such protesters at a park in Brussels. There were 15 arrests and two police officers were hurt.

A protest in Helsinki drew around 300 participants and resulted in about 50 arrests, Finnish police said.

Stockholm saw between 500 and 600 people march against the curbs.

And despite the worrying spike in Canada, tens of thousands of people marched in Montreal against virus restrictions.

Some demonstrators were arrested at the start of the march, according to an AFP journalist, with signs in the crowd expressing opposition to face masks and curfews.