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India tops 20m COVID cases, ‘horrible’ weeks

International desk || shiningbd

Published: 12:33, 4 May 2021  
India tops 20m COVID cases, ‘horrible’ weeks

A COVID-19 patient sits connected to oxygen supply inside the emergency ward of a hospital in New Delhi [Rebecca Conway/Getty Images]

India on Tuesday confirmed more than 20 million coronavirus infections in the official total, though the figure is believed to be a vast undercount.

A vicious surge in COVID-19 cases has left the country’s healthcare system at breaking point, with hospitals running out of oxygen and nearly all hospital beds occupied.

The country has witnessed scenes of people dying outside overwhelmed hospitals and funeral pyres lighting up the night sky.

Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison has fended off accusations of racism and having “blood on his hands” as he retreated from a threat to jail Australians trying to escape coronavirus-wracked India.

Australia last week banned all travellers from India, including its own citizens, from entering the country until May 15 due to the surge in COVID-19 cases there, and warned offenders will face the maximum penalties of five years in jail and a 66,000 Australian dollar ($51,122) fine for breaking border rules.

India’s daily COVID-19 shots have fallen sharply from an all-time high reached early last month as domestic companies struggle to boost supplies and imports are limited.

Daily inoculations have averaged 2.5 million since hitting a peak of 4.5 million on April 5.

India, with the world’s biggest vaccine making capacity, has partially or fully immunised only 9.5 percent of its 1.35 billion people, according to data from the government’s Co-Win portal.

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