Sunday, September 27, 2020
Home Europe Coronavirus: India infections top five million mark

Coronavirus: India infections top five million mark

Published

image copyrightReuters

image captionHealthcare officials have been carrying out oxygen level testing across India

The number of confirmed coronavirus infections in India has surpassed five million, officials say, the second-highest in the world after the US.

The virus appears to be spreading much faster in India than any other country, with daily cases crossing 90,000 for the five days up until Tuesday.

More than 80,000 people have died, amid reports of shortages of intensive care beds and oxygen supplies.

But the death rate is lower than in many countries with a high caseload.

The rise in infections comes as the government continues to lift restrictions throughout the country to try to boost an economy that lost millions of jobs when the virus hit in March.

Gyms are the latest to reopen, while schools, colleges and cinema halls remain shut. But most workplaces and markets are back to normal, and many cities are permitting restaurants and bars to resume serving alcohol, which is likely to increase crowds.

How did India get here?

In the initial stages of Covid-19, India appeared to be doing fairly well, imposing a strict lockdown, but the virus then hit megacities like Mumbai and the capital, Delhi, before surging in smaller cities and rural areas.

Despite the increase, the government has eased restrictions to recover from the effects of an early lockdown – between March and June – that hit the economy hard.

As India opens up and people return to work, Covid-19 cases have been surging. Some 600,000 cases were added just last week.

image copyrightEPA

image captionDespite the increase, the government has eased restrictions

India’s caseload now stands at 5,020,359 after it added 90,123 cases in the last 24 hours.

Although the virus has spread to every corner of the country, including the remote tribe in India’s Andaman islands, the bulk of the caseload is coming from five states.

Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra and India’s most populous state Uttar Pradesh also account for more than 60% of the active cases.

But the rise in case numbers is partly also a reflection of increased testing – India has been conducting more than a million tests a day.

What about reported oxygen shortages?

With the rise in number of cases, demand for oxygen has risen exponentially recently.

Hospitals and care centres have been consuming up to 2,700 tonnes of oxygen every day this month, compared with 750 tonnes in April, according to data obtained from All India Industrial Gases Manufacturers Association.

image copyrightGetty Images

image captionLarge hospitals depend on liquid oxygen with backup cylinders

Oxygen manufacturers say the demand for industrial oxygen has also shot up because more factories are now reopening.

The states seeing a worrying uptick in infections – Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh – are suffering the most. It is a lives-versus-livelihoods question that India is grappling with now,

BBC India correspondent Soutik Biswas reports

.

India will now need to increase capacity to make sure that both industries and patients do not suffer, our correspondent adds.

Most oxygen plants are built near cities and big towns. So supplies to far-flung districts where Covid-19 patients are filling hospitals have to be sent by special lorries carrying cryogenic tanks – India has some 1,500 such vehicles.

Many areas – the capital, Delhi, for example – do not have a single oxygen manufacturer, and all supplies have to come from neighbouring regions.

Read more about how the pandemic has affected India

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisment -

Most Popular

Proud Boys draw smaller-than-expected crowd to Portland as city hopes for calm

Organizers said they expected as many as 10,000 people to turn out. Yet the actual crowd was far smaller, and the event in a grassy park near the Columbia River started breaking up after just 90 minutes — significantly less than the hours of rallying that were initially planned.In that time, demonstrators preached their hatred…

Trump boasts at Pennsylvania rally that Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett will defend ‘God-given rights’

CLOSE President Donald Trump has selected federal appeals court Judge Amy Coney Barrett to be his third nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. USA TODAYWASHINGTON — Fresh from announcing his third pick to the Supreme Court, President Donald Trump lauded nominee Amy Coney Barrett as “a brilliant legal mind” and promised supporters in Pennsylvania late Saturday…

US city warned over brain-eating microbe in water

Image caption Residents of Lake Jackson have been urged not to use tap water Residents of Lake Jackson, Texas, have been urged not to use tap water because it might be contaminated with a deadly brain-eating microbe.The local water authority warned of the potential contamination of its supply to the town - home to about…

Van der Breggen wins women’s road race

Venue: Imola, Italy Dates: 24-27 SeptemberCoverage: Live on BBC Two, BBC Red Button, BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport website and app and through Connected TVs.Dutchwoman Anna van der Breggen became a double world champion by winning the women's road race at the Road World Championships in Italy.She becomes just the second rider to win both the…