India’s new COVID-19 infections hit a record peak for a 5th day on Monday as countries including the United States, Britain and Germany vowed to send urgent medical aid to fight the crisis overwhelming its hospitals.
Coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours jumped to 352,991, with overcrowded hospitals in Delhi and elsewhere turning away patients after running out of supplies of medical oxygen and beds.
“Currently the hospital is in beg-and-borrow mode and it is an extreme crisis situation,” said a spokesman of the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in the capital.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday urged all citizens to exercise caution and get inoculated, while hospitals and doctors have put out urgent notices saying they were unable to cope with the rush of sick people.
In some of the worst-hit cities, including the capital, bodies were being burnt in makeshift facilities offering mass services.
Television channel NDTV broadcast images of 3 health workers in the eastern state of Bihar pulling a body along the ground on its way to cremation, as stretchers ran short.
“If you’ve never been to a cremation, the smell of death never leaves you,” Vipin Narang, a political science professor at MIT in the United States, wrote on Twitter.
“My heart breaks for all my friends and family in Delhi and India going through this hell.”
On Sunday, U.S. President Joe Biden said Washington would send raw materials for vaccines, medical equipment and protective gear to India. Germany also joined a mounting list of countries vowing to send supplies.
India, with a population of 1.3 billion, has a tally of 17.31 million cases and 195,123 fatalities, after 2,812 deaths overnight, as shown by health ministry data.
However, health experts say the death count is probably far higher.