An patient with an oxygen mask is on a bicycle at COVID-19 Hospital for treatment, among the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Ahmedabad, India, April 26, 2021.
Amit Dave Reuters
India reported a record daily increase of 401,993 new cases of coronavirus on Saturday, as the country opened its huge desire for vaccination to all adults, although several countries warned of an acute shortage.
This was the first time that the daily number of cases in India exceeded 400,000 after 1
The world’s largest vaccine maker, Covid-19, has a limited number of photos exacerbating the grim second wave of infections that have engulfed hospitals and morgues as families struggle for scarce drugs and oxygen.
Hundreds of people were spotted queuing for vaccinations in Ahmedabad, the main trading city in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state of Gujarat.
The chief minister of the severely affected state of Delhi on Friday asked people not to line up at vaccination centers, promising that more vaccines would arrive “tomorrow or the day after tomorrow.”
The eastern state of India, Odisha, said on Friday that it had received a shipment of 150,000 shots, but would only allow a few people to receive shots due to locking restrictions preventing movement.
A fire at a hospital about 190km (115 miles) south of Ahmedabad killed 16 coronavirus patients and two staff members, the latest in a series of fatal hospital incidents.
Modi expressed his condolences to the families of the victims of hospital fires on Twitter, hours after he posted photos of himself praying at a Sikh temple in the capital, New Delhi.
Some experts blame mass religious gatherings and political rallies for the gravity of the second wave in India, which caught the government unprepared.
A forum of scientific advisers set up by the Modi administration warned Indian officials in early March of a new and more contagious version of the coronavirus that lingers in the country, five scientists who are part of the forum told Reuters.
Despite the warning, four of the scientists said the federal government was not trying to impose severe restrictions to limit the spread of the virus.
Millions, largely unmasked, attended religious rallies and election rallies held by Modi, leaders of the ruling Bharatiya Janata party and opposition politicians.
The total number of Covid cases in India has exceeded 19 million. As the second wave picked up steam, India added about 7.7 million cases since the end of February, according to Reuters. In contrast, it took India nearly six months to add the previous 7.7 million cases.
The increase in cases has prompted US President Joe Biden to impose new restrictions on travel to India on Friday, banning most US citizens from entering the United States.
Australian officials have said that residents and citizens who have been in India within 14 days of the date they plan to return home will be barred from entering Australia from Monday, and those who do not comply will be face fines and imprisonment.
Other countries and territories have also imposed similar travel restrictions on India, including Britain, Germany, Italy and Singapore, while Canada, Hong Kong and New Zealand have suspended all trade with India.