As more Covid supplies arrive, India's daily death toll hits new high

Number of Covid fatalities now at over 215,000, as hospitals in Delhi issue SOS calls for oxygen aid

NEW DELHI: More emergency medical aid from foreign donors to alleviate a dire oxygen shortage arrived in India yesterday, as Covid-19 deaths in the South Asian nation rose to a new record.

India is setting almost daily records for new infections and deaths as the crisis engulfs overstretched hospitals in cities and spreads into rural regions.

The country of more than 1.3 billion people reported 3,689 deaths yesterday - the highest single-day rise yet in the pandemic, taking the overall number of fatalities to over 215,000. Just under 400,000 infections were added, bringing the total number of cases past 19.5 million.

Hospitals in the capital Delhi continued to issue SOS calls for oxygen on social media, with the latest appeal posted by a children's hospital on Twitter yesterday.

The plea came a day after up to a dozen patients died at a Delhi hospital amid an oxygen shortage, local media reported.

The dire situation prompted many nations including the United States, Russia and Britain to send emergency supplies including oxygen generators, face masks and vaccines.

Aid from France reached India yesterday, including eight oxygen generator plants and 28 ventilators, adding to the 120 ventilators from Germany that arrived a day earlier.

"We are here because we are bringing help that... will save lives," said the German Ambassador to IndiaWalter J. Lindner, as 120 ventilators arrived late on Saturday.

"Out there the hospitals are full. People are sometimes dying in front of the hospitals. They have no more oxygen. Sometimes (they are dying) in their cars."

French Ambassador to India Emmanuel Lenain said that his country wanted to show solidarity with India.

"The epidemic is still going on in one country. The world won't be safe until we are all safe. So it is a matter of urgency," he said yesterday, following the delivery of eight oxygen generator plants and dozens of ventilators from France.

The Indian Express newspaper reported yesterday that the country's Covid-19 task force has advised the federal government to impose a national lockdown.

Nearly 10 Indian states and union territories have imposed some form of restrictions, even as the federal government remains reluctant to impose a national lockdown. - AFP, REUTERS