India reports record daily death toll from COVID-19

A health worker swabs a passenger for a Covid test at a train station in Gauhati on Monday

India's daily news cases are showing a rising trend. "The second wave of injuries came like a storm", he said in a televised address to the country. As of Tuesday morning, there were a total of 20,31,977 active cases across the country, with daily infections reaching over 2.50 lakh for the fourth consecutive day.

Recent weeks have seen mass gatherings including millions attending the Kumbh Mela religious festival, political rallies as well as lavish weddings and cricket matches against England.

"In most hospitals in Delhi, oxygen is available for the next 8 to 12 hours only".

The Indian Army on Tuesday said it is converting its base hospital in Delhi to an exclusive COVID-19 facility for armed forces personnel as well as veterans. The Delhi government is in talks with the Central government and has requested the Centre to ensure a smooth and timely supply and procurement of oxygen to Delhi.

The western state of Maharashtra, home to the financial capital Mumbai, also plans to impose a stringent lockdown this week to try to halt the rise in cases, the cabinet said.

The crisis in hospitals has left people fighting for beds, oxygen and medicines, and doctors said the shortages will inevitably lead to more deaths.

Leading these states was Delhi, with 28,395 fresh infections, followed by Karnataka (21,794), Kerala (19,577), Gujarat (12,206), Rajasthan (12,201), Tamil Nadu (10,986), Bihar (10,455), Bengal (9,819), Haryana (7,811), Telangana (5,926), Jharkhand (4,969), Odisha (4,761), Uttarakhand (3,012), Jammu and Kashmir (2,030) and Goa (1,160).

Delhi's lockdown prompted tens of thousands of migrant workers to flee the megacity, in scenes reminiscent of the national shutdown a year ago that inflicted economic and human misery.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson just cancelled a trip to India scheduled for next week, while the United Kingdom has put India on its "red list" of countries-banning entry to most people coming from there. Hong Kong and New Zealand have banned flights from the country.

India began the world's biggest vaccination drive in January, but has reported a shortage of shots. Vaccines may be less effective against this variant.

The active cases in the country registered a steady increase for the 40th day in a row to cross the 20-lakh mark, comprising almost 13 per cent of the total infections, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate has dropped to 86 per cent.

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