India battles one of the world’s most catastrophic COVID cases as surges cross 18m.
As India grapples with the world’s worst coronavirus crisis, fires in crematoriums continue to burn around the clock with capital New Delhi reporting one death every four minutes.
Thursday marked another grim record high with 379,257 new infections and 3,645 deaths in the previous 24 hours.
Meanwhile, a mass vaccination drive due to begin on the weekend is also facing a setback as Indians are struggling to register online.
To help cope with the country’s shortages of hospital beds and medical oxygen, allies overseas are sending equipment.
India has prioritised imports of oxygen, said Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla, adding that 40 countries had pledged their support.
“We are talking about close to 550 oxygen generating plants that are going to come in from different sources from all over the world,” Shringla told a news conference.
Two or three months into the COVID-19 crisis, Mumbai gravedigger Sayyed Munir Kamruddin stopped wearing personal protective equipment and gloves.
“I’m not scared of COVID, I have worked with courage. It’s all about courage, not about fear,” said the 52-year-old, who has been digging graves in the mega city for 25 years.
Kamruddin says he and his colleagues are working around the clock to bury COVID-19 victims. Here