At 3.14 lakh cases, India records highest daily COVID spike in the world

Centre assures states of enough oxygen supply after Delhi HC’s harsh remarks

The government says the severity in the ongoing second wave of the contagion is about the same as the first one.

India on Thursday (April 22) made a dubious record of topping the global tally of daily COVID cases, reporting 3,14,835 new cases and fatalities of 2,104 in a single day, Health Ministry data said.

The total infections in the country now stand at 1,59,30,965 and the toll at 1,84,657.

The government on Wednesday (April 21) presented statistics to show that the severity and virulence in the ongoing second wave of the contagion are about the same as the first one. The government, for the first time, shared data on the pandemic post vaccinations. “Two to four per 10,000 breakthrough infections of COVID-19 have happened after people received the vaccine. This is a very, very low number, nothing to panic about,” said ICMR director general Balram Bhargava.

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The country faces one of the biggest health crises with the shortage of medical oxygen, hospital beds and anti-viral drug Remdesivir. The surge reported on Thursday goes past the previous highest one-day rise in the world of 2,97,430 cases recorded by the US in January, Reuters reported.

Health Minister Harsh Vardhan tweeted on April 21 saying the government has increased the quota of oxygen for seven states — Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Delhi.

National capital Delhi has been struggling with oxygen supply. The Delhi High Court on Wednesday hit out at the government, saying it seemed that “human lives are not that important for the state”. “Beg, borrow or steal. It is a national emergency,” the judges said. Several private hospitals knocked the doors of the Delhi government demanding urgent oxygen supplies.

The Maharashtra government has announced fresh curbs on office attendance, marriage ceremonies and travel. The new set of restrictions come into effect from 8 pm on Thursday and will continue until 7 am on May 1. The state on Thursday recorded 67,468 cases with 568 deaths. Neighbouring Goa has decided to enforce a night curfew till April 30.

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Maharashtra was followed by Uttar Pradesh (33,106 cases), Delhi (24,638 cases), Karnataka (23,558 cases) and Kerala (22,414 cases). The five states have recorded the biggest surge in the last 24 hours.

Voting is taking place for the sixth phase in West Bengal on Thursday with COVID protocol in place. West Bengal registered its highest single-day spike, with 9,819 people testing positive. Union Minister Amit Shah will attend three poll meetings on April 22 and CM Mamata Banerjee will hold four public meetings in north and central Bengal. Both the TMC and the BJP have announced that they will have smaller gatherings than before for the poll campaigns.