With one in six COVID cases globally, India races past Brazil to No 2 spot

Amid infection fear, Haridwar sees massive crowds for ‘Kumbh Mela’ even as demand for ventilator and ICU beds rises in Maharashtra’s Pune

India now accounts for one in every six daily COVID-19 infections worldwide. On Monday the country (April 12) yet again reported a record daily tally of 168,912. With the new cases, India has gone past Brazil, for an overall tally of 13.53 million, data compiled by Reuters shows, placing it second after the US, with 31.2 million.

The number of fatalities in the last 24 hours was 904, as per the Union health ministry. The total number of cases now stands at 1,35,27,717.

Amid a surge in the number of infections, around 10 lakh devotees have thronged the banks of the Ganga to join in the Kumbh Mela – a once in 12-year event – in Uttarakhand’s Haridwar.

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In the worst-hit Maharashtra with 63,294 new infections on Sunday, the state government has postponed board exams for Class X and XII. “Given the current COVID-19 situation in Maharashtra, we’ve postponed state board exams for Class Xth & XIIth. The present circumstances are not conducive for holding exams. Your health is our priority,” state Minister of School Education Varsha Gaikwad posted on Twitter.

Mumbai municipal authorities have said they will operationalise 1,100 additional DCHC/DCH COVID beds, including 125 ICUs, in the next seven days. Any patient calling the Ward War Room for a COVID bed between 11pm and 7am will be referred to a particular jumbo field hospital. On arrival, a suitable bed will be allotted to the patient after assessing his medical condition.

The demand for ventilator and ICU beds has been rising since the last month. The civic administration has been struggling to allocate beds for them and as on April 12, Pune authorities reported there was no single ventilator or an ICU bed.

Also read: Haridwar Kumbh: COVID protocol in place, but fear of case spike looms large

Experts have blamed religious festivals, political rallies and full-throttle opening up of the economy for the sharp surge in cases.

In Delhi, the city government is taking steps to increase the number of beds in private and government hospitals. “Held a review meeting… We’re taking several steps to increase beds in both private and government sectors. Urge everyone to cooperate: follow COVID protocols, don’t rush to hospital unless necessary and go and vaccinate if you are eligible,” Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted.

On April 12, the Gujarat High Court, hearing a PIL on the COVID-19 situation in the state, said it is not satisfied with the government’s policy. The court said the number of people at weddings can be capped at 50, booths can be set up in housing societies and religious centres can be used as COVID care centres/isolation facilities. The court asked why remdesivir injections were not available at every COVID hospital.

Also read: Ten states show steep rise in daily COVID-19 cases

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