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The Financial Express

India sets Covid-19 infection record for fourth straight day

| Updated: April 26, 2021 19:30:31


India sets Covid-19 infection record for fourth straight day

India reported 349,691 new cases of Covid-19 on Saturday, the fourth day in a row the country has set a world record for daily infections during the coronavirus pandemic, according to government and scientific tallies.

The country also reported its highest daily death toll for the ninth consecutive day, adding 2,767 fatalities in the past 24 hours.

The country of 1.3 billion people has logged over a million new cases in the past three days, bringing its pandemic totals up to 16.9 million recorded cases of the coronavirus, including 192,311 deaths.

The sky-rocketing Covid-19 infections are devastating India's communities and hospitals. Everything is in short supply -- intensive care unit beds, medicine, oxygen and ventilators. Bodies are piling up in morgues and crematoriums, and authorities have been forced to hold mass cremations at makeshift sites.

Just six weeks ago, India's Health Minister declared the country was "in the endgame" of the Covid-19 pandemic.

But Sunday's numbers, which represent the highest caseload recorded in a single day anywhere in the world, according to a CNN tally of figures from John Hopkins University, tell a different story.

Health workers wearing personal protective equipment carry bodies of people who were suffering from Covid-19 outside the Guru Teg Bahadur hospital, in New Delhi, India, on April 24.

Health workers wearing personal protective equipment carry bodies of people who were suffering from Covid-19 outside the Guru Teg Bahadur hospital, in New Delhi, India, on April 24.

India's second wave, which began in mid-March, comes as the country makes headway with its vaccination program. On Saturday, the health ministry said it had administered more than 140 million doses of vaccines against Covid-19 -- and 2.4 million of those were in the past 24 hours.

Despite administering the most number of coronavirus vaccines in the world after the United States and China, India ranks lower than many countries in per capita vaccination, according to CNN data.

The country on Monday announced that those aged 18 or older will be eligible for a Covid-19 vaccine starting May 1. Private vaccination providers will also be able to charge and provide vaccines.

In his monthly radio program, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday stressed the importance of getting vaccinated and referred to the second Covid-19 wave as a "storm" that had "shaken the nation."

"I'm speaking to you at a time when Covid-19 is testing our patience and capacity to bear pain. Many of our loved ones have left us in an untimely way. After successfully tackling the first wave, the nation's morale was high, it was confident. But this storm has shaken the nation," Modi said.

While state ministers and local authorities had been warning about the second wave and preparing action since February, there appears to have been a vacuum of leadership within the central government, with Modi staying largely silent on the situation until recent weeks.

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