India COVID deaths hit record high as stricter lockdowns imposed

Chennai: India on Saturday reported its highest ever single-day COVID-19 death toll, as cases continued to rise and states imposed stricter lockdowns.

India’s health ministry reported 4,187 fatalities over the past 24 hours, taking the overall death toll close to 240,000. The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation estimates that India will see 1 million COVID deaths by August.

Patients who contracted the coronavirus lie in beds while connected to oxygen supplies in a hospital in New Delhi.Credit:

Though it is the world’s biggest vaccine maker, India is struggling to produce and distribute enough doses to stem the wave of COVID-19.

The country has administered over 167 million vaccine doses but its rate of inoculation has fallen in recent days and only around 2% of its 1.4 billion people have received the two doses needed to be fully immunised.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been criticised for his handling of the oxygen shortage, though the government says it is doing all it can.

Medical journal Lancet said in an editorial on Saturday Prime Minister Modi’s attempts to stifle criticism were “inexcusable.”

“India must now restructure its response while the crisis rages. The success of that effort will depend on .. implementing a public health response that has science at its heart.”

Reuters

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