India passes 20 million cases amid oxygen shortage

A woman breathes with the help of an oxygen mask in Ghaziabad. (AFP or licensors)

India continues to be ravaged by the invisible enemy that is Covid-19.

Harrowing scenes have shown patients dying in ambulances while grieving relatives look on.

Hospitals cry out for more oxygen supplies and extra beds. In New Delhi, medical centres have been taking to social media in order to get supplies.

Burying the dead is also a cause for concern, as officials try to find more sites for cremations due to the overwhelming wave of Covid deaths.

Cases on Tuesday, May 4, surged past 20 million, with 357,229 new cases reported in the last 24 hours.

Health ministry data also showed that the virus has claimed the lives of 222,408 people in the country.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is resisting a national lockdown due to economic concerns, but opposition leader Rahul Gandhi is pressing for the country to be shut down in order to save lives.

However, amid this grim situation, the federal health ministry offered a glimmer of hope on May 3, saying that Covid-19 cases in some regions were plateauing and that cases could peak by Wednesday.

While cases continue to rise in India, there has been a drop in the number of people being vaccinated due to problems with delivery and supplies.

Even the country’s richest state of Maharashtra was experiencing vaccine shortages.

India’s government has been accused of complacency over its vaccine strategy. It has also refused to allow companies such as Pfizer to register its vaccine in India while it insists on carrying out local trials for foreign jabs.

The government is said to be in talks with Pfizer about approval for its shot.

As the Covid crisis continues unabated in India, international aid is arriving. Medical equipment from the United States landed on May 4, which included 545 oxygen concentrators.

The UK, France and Germany has also pledged aid for the country.