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India records 368,000 new coronavirus cases as catastrophic surge continues

The surge has pushed India’s already fragile and underfunded health system to the brink.

INDIA HAS RECORDED 368,147 new coronavirus cases and 3,417 deaths as a catastrophic surge sweeps through the country.

The latest numbers came after leaders of 13 opposition parties urged the government to launch a free vaccination drive and ensure an uninterrupted flow of oxygen to all hospitals.

Several hospital authorities over the weekend sought court intervention over oxygen supplies in New Delhi, where a lockdown has been extended by a week in an attempt to contain the wave of infections.

“Water has gone above the head. Enough is enough,” said the New Delhi High Court, adding it would start punishing government officials if supplies of oxygen allocated to hospitals are not delivered.

Today, 24 Covid-19 patients died at a government-run hospital in the southern state of Karnataka amid reports of an oxygen shortage.

It was unclear how many died due to a lack of oxygen, but the chief minister ordered a probe into the incident.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has been severely criticised over its handling of the surge, which has pushed India’s already fragile and underfunded health system to the brink.

Massive election rallies organised by his Bharatiya Janata Party and other parties as well as a giant Hindu festival on the banks of the Ganges may have exacerbated the spread, experts said, adding that new variants could also be increasing cases.

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Modi’s party on Sunday suffered a resounding election defeat in a key state, West Bengal, failing to dislodge its firebrand chief minister Mamata Banerjee.

It retained power in north-eastern Assam state but lost in two southern states.

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