Calls are growing for India to impose a nationwide lockdown as new coronavirus cases and deaths held close to record highs, increasing pressure on the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The health ministry on Monday reported 366,161 new infections and 3,754 deaths, off a little from recent peaks. India’s tally of infections now stands at 22.66 million, with 246,116 deaths.
As many hospitals grapple with an acute shortage of oxygen and beds while morgues and crematoriums overflow, experts have said India’s actual figures could be far higher than reported.
The 1.47 million samples tested on Sunday for COVID-19 were this month’s lowest yet, data from the state-run Indian Council of Medical Research showed. The figure compared with a daily average of 1.7 million for the first eight days of May.
India on Saturday reported its highest ever single-day COVID-19 death toll of 4,187. The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation estimated that India will see one million COVID-19 deaths by August.
Many states have imposed strict lockdowns over the past month while others have adopted curbs on movement and shut cinemas, restaurants, pubs and shopping malls.
But pressure is mounting on Modi to announce a nationwide lockdown as he did during the first wave of infections last year.
He is battling criticism for allowing huge gatherings at a religious festival and holding large election rallies during the past two months even as cases surged.
“A failure of governance of epic and historic proportions,” Vipin Narang, a political science professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States, said on Twitter.
Ex-army medics to be hired
Meanwhile, India’s defency ministry said it will recruit hundreds of former army medics to support its overwhelmed healthcare system.
Some 400 medical officers are expected to serve on contract for a maximum of 11 months, the ministry said in a news release on Sunday, adding that other military doctors had also been contacted for online consultations…Read more>>