Coronavirus: India's daily cases remain over 3L; outbreak continues unabated
On Tuesday, India witnessed a slight dip in coronavirus infections, reporting 3.23 lakh new cases. The test positivity rate also declined from 25.1% the previous day to 19.5%. Curiously, the states reporting the highest number of new infections conducted fewer tests, causing a drop in their daily count. Experts fear India is "significantly under-reporting" both infections and deaths. Here are more details.
India reports 1,76,36,307 cases, 1,97,894 deaths
According to the Union Health Ministry, till Tuesday morning, India reported a total of 1,76,36,307 COVID-19 cases. The death toll has reached 1,97,894. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 1,45,56,209 patients have recovered, while 28,82,204 cases involve active infections. In the past 24 hours alone, India recorded 3,23,144 new infections and 2,771 fresh fatalities. 14,52,71,186 vaccine doses have been administered so far.
Maharashtra reports 48,700 new cases
Maharashtra, India's worst-hit state, reported 48,700 new cases, the first time in three weeks that infections dropped under 50,000. However, the state conducted only 2,22,475 tests and the positivity rate remained a high 21.8%. The cumulative number of infections has now climbed to 43,43,727, including 6,74,770 active cases. Meanwhile, 524 more fatalities pushed the death toll to 65,284.
Over 20,000 new cases in Delhi
In the national capital of Delhi, the daily positivity rate rose again to 35%. The city reported 20,201 new cases with 57,690 tests. The cumulative number of cases has reached 10,47,916, including 92,358 active cases. 380 more deaths also brought the fatality count to 14,628.
Active cases cross 3 lakh in UP
Uttar Pradesh, which is expected to be the next hotspot after Delhi and Maharashtra, reported 33,574 new cases, marking a positivity rate of 19%, the highest so far. The state recorded 249 more fatalities, which pushed the death toll to 11,414. The cumulative number of cases in the state has now reached 11,20,176, which includes 3,04,199 active cases.
Healthcare system pushed to its brink
Across India, nearly all states and union territories are facing a critical situation. A shortage of medical oxygen, hospital beds, and other supplies has been reported from several parts of the country. In the worst-hit cities, bodies are being cremated in makeshift facilities in parks and parking lots. With hospitals pushed beyond capacity, critically ill patients are either turned away or housed outside hospitals.
Australia suspends flights from India
Australia on Tuesday became the latest country to pause direct passenger flights from India until May 15. Notably, three Australian cricketers also cut short their Indian Premier League (IPL) season to return home. The United States Chamber of Commerce has warned that the Indian economy could falter due to COVID-19 and create a drag for the global economy.
Indian Army to join efforts to combat COVID-19
Late on Monday, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat said that oxygen would be released from armed forces reserves and retired medical personnel would join struggling health facilities. Separately, the United Kingdom, Germany, and the US have pledged aid to India. A shipment of supplies from the UK—including 100 ventilators and 95 oxygen concentrators—reached Delhi earlier in the day.
US to prioritize India for vaccine aid
On the other hand, the US is looking to prioritize India for assistance with doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine, sold as 'Covishield' in India. The US has said that it will share 60 million doses of the vaccine with other countries.