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'There is no respite': India confirms another world record of Covid-19 case numbers

The country has struggled to cope with a huge surge in cases.

Relatives console each other during a cremation in Jammu, India
Relatives console each other during a cremation in Jammu, India
Image: Channi Anand/PA

IRISH AND WORLD leaders have pledged to help to India after the country confirmed another world record of daily Covid-19 case numbers last night.

The country’s healthcare system has struggled to cope with a huge surge in cases, with reports of severe oxygen and medicine shortages and families pleading for help on social media.

India recorded 349,691 new cases and 2,767 deaths in a 24-hour period up to yesterday, the highest since the start of the pandemic.

The capital New Delhi has extended its lockdown by a week in response, after it reported just under 23,000 new cases and 350 deaths.

“The havoc of corona(virus) continues and there is no respite,” Delhi’s Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a radio address that India had been shaken by a “storm” and he called on people to get vaccinated and not “get swayed by any rumour about the vaccines”.

The country has administered almost 141 million vaccines so far, but experts say the rollout needs to be significantly stepped up in the nation of 1.3 billion people.

Shocking stories of patients dying outside hospitals have also led to promises of support from the international community.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said the government was working with the European Union on a plan to provide oxygen and ventilators to India.

“There are many Indian people working in our health service. India is currently facing a terrible second wave causing suffering beyond our comprehension,” he tweeted.

The UK, France and Germany are among those who have also pledged help.

And the United States said last night that it would “immediately” make supplies of vaccine-production material, as well as therapeutics, tests, ventilators and protective equipment available to India.

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However, other countries have also imposed travel restrictions from India, amid concerns that a new variant of the virus is driving up case numbers there. 

Yesterday, Thailand banned those who had left India from entering the country, while neighbouring Bangladesh, which shares a 4,000km border with India, will halt land crossings for two weeks from today.

The Irish government is also considering adding India to the mandatory hotel quarantine list, with a decision expected in the coming days.

Contains reporting by © AFP 2021.

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