India struggled to contain one of the world’s worst coronavirus outbreaks with nearly 400,000 new infections reported Sunday, as more international aid arrived in the South Asian nation to help end the crisis.
India expanded its vaccination program to all adults on Saturday, but many of its states are struggling with shortages despite an export freeze for shots produced in the country.
Long queues were seen at vaccination centers in cities across the nation at the weekend, with people desperate to be vaccinated against a disease that has overwhelmed the healthcare system and even crematoriums and graveyards.
“We are here early in the morning to get vaccinated. I left my three-year-old at home to get vaccinated,” said Megha Srivastava, 35, at a private immunization center in the capital New Delhi.
“It is a necessity now. We are seeing so many people testing positive.”
Social media platforms have been flooded with desperate pleas from people looking for oxygen cylinders, medicines and hospital beds as the Covid-19 wave causes widespread shortages.
India reported more than 392,000 new cases and nearly 3,700 Covid-19 deaths on Sunday, which is a new single-day record.
The dire situation prompted many nations including the US, Russia and Britain to send emergency supplies including oxygen generators, face masks, and vaccines.
Aid from France reached India on Sunday, including eight oxygen generator plants and 28 ventilators, adding to the 120 ventilators from Germany that arrived a day earlier.
New Delhi, one of the hardest-hit parts of the country, extended its lockdown by a week on Saturday, and the eastern state of Odisha has also ordered a shutdown.
Anthony Fauci, the top US pandemic advisor, said in comments published Saturday that the whole of India should go into lockdown to fight this wave.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has resisted imposing a national shutdown but many states have imposed heavy restrictions.
A growing list of countries have cut flights from India, with Nigeria on Sunday banning entry to all travelers who have been in the country in the last two weeks, though Nigerians and those transiting in India will be exempt.