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(NEW DELHI, India.) #Coronavirus Full Report: Country hits record number of cases of over 300,000 as PM Modi is criticised for allowing religious festivals and not calling for a ‘full lockdown’ to prevent more cases #AceHealthDesk report

#AceHealthReport – Apr.23: India has reported 314,835 new cases of the coronavirus over the previous 24 hours, the highest daily increase recorded anywhere.

#CoronavirusNewsDesk – India reports global record of 314,000 new #COVID19 cases, the world’s biggest single-day rise: after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has come in for criticism for holding packed political rallies for local elections and allowing a religious festival at which millions gathered: The previous record one-day rise in cases was held by the United States, which had 297,430 new cases on one day in January, though its tally has since fallen sharply.

EXPLAINER: Why India is shattering global infection records: Posted 7h ago, updated 35m ago

Dozens of people crowd a busy marketplace in India. Some people are wearing face masks.
More than two-thirds of hospitals had no vacant beds, according to the Delhi government’s online database.(Reuters: Niharika Kulkarni)

Hospitals across northern and western India including the capital, New Delhi, have issued notices to say they have only a few hours of medical oxygen required to keep #COVID19 patients alive.

Some doctors were advising patients to stay at home, while a crematorium in the eastern city of Muzaffarpur said it was being overwhelmed with bodies, telling grieving families to wait their turn.

Meanwhile, a crematorium east of Delhi built funeral pyres in its parking lot.

From above, you look at a vacant dirt lot with multiple funeral pyres alight in it.
Mass cremation sites have been set up in response to India’s surge in COVID-19-related deaths.(AP)

“Right now there are no beds, no oxygen. Everything else is secondary,” said Shahid Jameel, a virologist and director of the Trivedi School of Biosciences at Ashoka University.

“The infrastructure is crumbling.”

Some hospitals in New Delhi had run out of oxygen and authorities in neighbouring states were stopping supplies being taken to the capital to save it for their own needs, according to the city’s Deputy Chief Minister, Manish Sisodia.

“It might become difficult for hospitals here to save lives,” Mr Sisodia said in a televised address.

More than two-thirds of hospitals had no vacant beds, according to the Delhi government’s online database. Doctors have advised patients to stay at home.

Experts fear ‘collapse of public healthcare system’

A man closes a trailer of a small truck, which carrries rows of empty oxygen canisters.
Oxygen has been in short supply as health districts conserve resources.(AP: Aijaz Rahi)

India’s second wave and similar surges elsewhere in the world raised new fears about the virus.

“COVID-19 has become a public health crisis in India leading to a collapse of the healthcare system,” assistant professor at the Division of Infectious Diseases, Medical University of South Carolina in the United States, Krutika Kuppalli, said on Twitter.

India’s total cases are now at 15.93 million, while deaths rose by 2,104 to reach a total of 184,657, according to the latest health ministry data.

Television showed images of people with empty oxygen cylinders crowding refilling facilities in the most populous state of Uttar Pradesh, as they scrambled to save relatives in hospital.

“We never thought a second wave would hit us so hard,” Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, the executive chairman of Biocon & Biocon Biologics, an Indian healthcare firm, wrote in the Economic Times.

“Complacency led to unanticipated shortages of medicines, medical supplies and hospital beds.”

India has launched a vaccination drive but only a tiny fraction of the population has had the shots.

Woman with dark hair wearing mask walking through market
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has been criticised for holding packed political rallies and allowing a religious festivals.(AP: Channi Anand)

Authorities have announced that vaccines will be available to anyone over the age of 18 from May 1 but India will not have enough shots for the 600 million people who will become eligible, experts said.

Health experts said India had let its guard down when the virus seemed to be under control during the winter, when new daily cases were about 10,000 and it lifted restrictions to allow big gatherings.

On Thursday, despite the biggest public health emergency the country has faced in a generation, people were voting in the eastern state of West Bengal for a new state assembly in an election that Mr Modi has been campaigning in.

“It’s a festival of democracy and everyone is participating. You can see the queues,” Krishna Kalyan said, a candidate from Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

Meanwhile Australia is temporarily reducing the number of flights from India by 30 per cent due to a coronavirus spike. Here’s what’s changing

Reuters/ABC/AP/

#AceHealthDesk report ……..Published: Apr.23: 2021:

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