More than 200,000 corona deaths now in India

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In India, the number of Corona deaths rose to more than 200,000 on Wednesday – and there is no end in sight to the wave of infections that has been going on for weeks. In the capital, New Delhi, in particular, the situation is now so desperate that parking lots are being turned into crematoriums and wood for burning the dead is running low. In view of the situation, more and more countries are sending support.

According to the Indian Ministry of Health, 3,293 deaths were recorded within 24 hours, bringing the total number of deaths to 201,187, but experts believe the number of unreported cases is high. With also 360,000 new infections within 24 hours India reached again world-wide a sad record.

The number of people infected since the start of the pandemic thus amounts to 18 million. Almost six million new cases were added this month alone. The dramatic increase in the number of infections is probably also due to the new virus variant B.1.617, which was registered in India for the first time. The country’s already poorly equipped healthcare system is on the verge of collapse in view of the rapidly rising infection figures. Medical oxygen and drugs are in short supply in numerous hospitals.

The first international aid shipments have already arrived in the country, including a hundred ventilators and 95 oxygen concentrators from Great Britain. Other countries are also joining in the relief efforts. Singapore sent planes with oxygen supplies on Wednesday.

The first flights carrying relief supplies from the United States are scheduled to reach India on Thursday. The White House on Wednesday announced $100 million (82.9 million euros) worth of goods, particularly for oxygen supply and vaccine production, for the next few days. For example, the U.S. diverted an order for production supplies for about 20,000 doses of Astrazeneca vaccine to India; supplies include 15 million N95 respirators, one million rapid tests and the drug Remdesivir.

Russia is also providing tons of aid. Russian President Vladimir Putin promised Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi a shipment of 22 tons of cargo, including 75 ventilators, 20 oxygen-generating units and 200,000 packs of medicine, during a phone call.

Modi thanked the Kremlin for the aid, according to the statement. He said both sides also welcomed the fact that Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine has been registered in India. Russia also wants to have the drug, which has been approved in more than 60 countries, produced there on a large scale. According to the report, 850 million doses of the vaccine are to be produced there from May onwards.

Meanwhile, Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe pointed out that not only medical aid was urgently needed. Support was also needed for “migrant workers and people working in other informal occupations” in view of the tough exit restrictions announced, said the organization’s president, Dagmar Purin. “The announced – and perfectly understandable – exit restrictions are causing people to fall into acute hardship. We must come to their aid with immediate measures.”

Coronavirus variant B.1.617, first discovered in India, has now been detected in at least 17 countries, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Most of the detections outside India have come from the United Kingdom, the United States and Singapore, according to the report.

The vaccine from Biontech and Pfizer is also likely to be effective against the Indian variant of the virus, according to initial estimates by the two companies. Biontech CEO Ugur Sahin said in Berlin that the relevant tests were still underway, but that he was “confident” that the Biontech/Pfizer vaccine would also be effective against B.1.617.

The Indian mutant is characterized by changes that are already known from other Corona variants, Sahin explained. The vaccine is effective against these. In total, Biontech and Pfizer have already tested more than 30 corona variants, and in almost all of them the vaccine works just as well as in the original form. Even in cases where the immune response is weaker after vaccination, it is sufficient, he added.

  • sources: vienna.at/APA/picture: source: indiatvnews.com
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