India’s Covid-19 deaths has risen by more than 4,000 for a second consecutive day as calls for a nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the virus mounted.
The health ministry reported 4,092 deaths over the past 24 hours, taking the overall death toll to 242,362. New cases rose by 403,738, just shy of the record and increasing the total since the start of the pandemic to 22.3 million.
India now has over 3.7 million active cases and 1,83,17,404 recoveries.
India has been hit hard by a second Covid-19 wave with cases and deaths hitting record highs every other day. With an acute shortage of oxygen and beds in many hospitals and morgues and crematoriums overflowing, experts have said the actual numbers for Covid-19 cases and fatalities could be far higher.
The Supreme Court constituted a 12-member national task force to streamline oxygen allocation and to ensure that essential drugs and medicines are available to medical facilities.
Many Indian states including Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Delhi and Kerala have imposed strict lockdowns over the past month to stem the surge in infections while others have announced restrictions on public movement and shutdown cinemas, restaurants, pubs and shopping malls.
Meanwhile, World Health Organization’s Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan warns a Covid-19 variant spreading in India is more contagious and may be dodging vaccine protections, contributing to the country’s explosive outbreak, reports AFP.