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India's Covid-19 cases pass 20m mark, opposition wants ‘full lockdown’

SATARA/AHMEDABAD: Indian opposition leader Rahul Gandhi called for a nationwide lockdown as the country's tally of coronavirus infections surged past 20 million yesterday, becoming the second nation after the US to pass the grim milestone.

The country currently has 3.45 million active cases. Yesterday, India reported 357,229 new cases over the last 24 hours, while deaths rose 3,449 for a toll of 222,408, Health Ministry data showed.

"The only way to stop the spread of Corona now is a full lockdown... GOI's inaction is killing many innocent people," said Mr Gandhi of the Congress party on Twitter, referring to the Government of India.

FALLOUT

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government is reluctant to impose a national lockdown because of the economic fallout.

Meanwhile, a court in India's capital New Delhi has become the last hope for many hospitals struggling to get oxygen.

A two-judge bench of the Delhi High Court has been holding almost daily videoconferences to hear petitions from hospitals invoking India's constitutional right to protection of life.

The court's intervention has saved lives, lawyers said.

On Sunday, with just 30 minutes of oxygen left for 42 virus patients at Sitaram Bhartia hospital, officials approached the Delhi court as a "last resort" for help, lawyer Shyel Trehan said.

The judges ordered the Delhi state government to immediately arrange supplies.

"Oxygen cylinders arrived soon after the hearing, and a tank arrived a few hours later," the lawyer said. - REUTERS

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