Covid: India sets another infection record as USA shows concern

India's crematoriums and burial grounds are being overwhelmed by the devastating new surge of infections

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs says that as a gesture of solidarity with the people of India, Pakistan has offered to provide relief support including ventilators, oxygen supply kits, digital X-ray machines, PPEs and and related items.

At the city's Bhadbhada Vishram Ghat crematorium, workers said they cremated more than 110 people on Saturday, even as government figures in the entire city of 1.8 million put the total number of virus deaths at just 10. In a similar initiative to address the oxygen shortage, Tata Steel also announced that it will supply 200-300 tons of liquid medical oxygen to various state governments and hospitals.

Jitender Singh Shunty, who runs a non-profit medical service in India's capitol, said that 78 bodies were cremated in a single day at one location on Tuesday He said a year ago, the maximum number of bodies he helped cremate in one day was 18.

"We can not let our guard down", Italy's Health Minister Roberto Speranza said, as national Covid-19 restrictions were beginning to ease on Monday.

The situation is equally grim at unbearably full hospitals, where desperate people are dying in line, sometimes on the roads outside, waiting to see doctors.

The Finance Ministry's CBIC, on April 24, directed its field officers to clear all import consignments, including life-saving drugs and oxygen equipment that is used in COVID-19 treatment, on the highest priority amid a surge in infections across the country. Hospitals and patients alike are struggling to procure scarce medical equipment that's being sold on the black market at an exponential markup.

"All of the country's oxygen plants should immediately be taken over by the government through the army", he said.

Currently, there are 25,52,940 active cases of COVID-19 in the country.

The government ramped up its efforts to get medical oxygen to hospitals using special Oxygen Express trains, air force planes and trucks to transport tankers.

India's government has confirmed it asked Twitter to block tweets that were critical of the authorities' handling of the crisis, saying the tweets had contained misinformation and were against Indian law.

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China said that it is in discussion in helping India control its surge in cases.

His Hindu nationalist government is trying to quell critical voices.

World Health Organization emergencies director Mike Ryan said reducing transmission in India would be a "very hard task" but the government was working on limiting mixing between people, which he said was essential.

Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah as well as opposition politicians this month took part in mass election rallies in five populous states with tens of thousands of supporters who were not wearing masks or social distancing.

Dr Paul did not respond to a Reuters request for comment.

The US Chamber of Commerce on Friday called on the Biden administration to send millions of AstraZeneca vaccine doses in storage to India, Brazil and other hard-hit countries.

Meanwhile neighbouring Bangladesh has announced that it will close its border with India from Monday to prevent the spread of the virus.

Delhivery's co-founder Sahil Barua announced in a Linkedin post: "We are flying charters into India with oxygen concentrators and other essential supplies and can build more capacity on-demand".

The White House says it will immediately provide raw materials for vaccines to Indian vaccine manufacturers.

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