02 May 2021, India, Prayagraj: A man grieves near a relative suffering from coronavirus complications while waiting for admission at the Swaroop Rani Neharu hospital amid shortage in hospital beds and medical oxygen. Photo: Prabhat Kumar Verma/ZUMA Wire/dpa
02 May 2021, India, Prayagraj: A man grieves near a relative suffering from coronavirus complications while waiting for admission at the Swaroop Rani Neharu hospital amid shortage in hospital beds and medical oxygen. Photo: Prabhat Kumar Verma/ZUMA Wire/dpa

India saw its deadliest day of the pandemic yet with 3,689 deaths reported in the last 24 hours, as the caseload surged to 19.5 million with 392,488 fresh infections, government data showed Sunday.

This is the fourth straight day India has recorded over 3,000 deaths as the second wave of the pandemic carries on unabated and keeps setting grim new records. Altogether, 215,542 people have died from Covid-19.

India became the first country to cross 400,000 daily cases on Saturday.

It recorded 6.6 million infections and 45,000 deaths in April, compared to the little over 1.2 million cases and 5,417 deaths in March, broadcaster NDTV reported.

Health care systems are overwhelmed, and a shortage of medical oxygen has emerged as the most serious challenge.

01 May 2021, India, New Delhi: A Covid-19 patient who is suffering from breathing difficulty breaths with the help of an oxygen mask outside a Gurudwara in New Delhi. India hit record numbers of Covid-19 infections for the sixth straight day as health system buckled amid shortage of medical oxygen and hospital beds. Photo: Naveen Sharma/SOPA Images via ZUMA Wire/dpa
01 May 2021, India, New Delhi: A Covid-19 patient who is suffering from breathing difficulty breaths with the help of an oxygen mask outside a Gurudwara in New Delhi. India hit record numbers of Covid-19 infections for the sixth straight day as health system buckled amid shortage of medical oxygen and hospital beds. Photo: Naveen Sharma/SOPA Images via ZUMA Wire/dpa
Thirty-four patients died for alleged want of oxygen in hospitals in the national capital, New Delhi, and the states of Andhra Pradesh and Haryana on Saturday, the Times of India reported.

Thirty-one more with Covid-19-like symptoms and “breathing difficulties” died in a hospital in Uttar Pradesh state, the report cited authorities as saying.

The Delhi High Court has warned that it will start punishing officials if life-saving supplies of oxygen and medical supplies don’t make it to hospitals.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday held a meeting with experts and officials to tide over the oxygen and drugs crisis.

Indian Railways has converted 4,000 railway carriages into “isolation coaches” with 64,000 beds. As many as 213 coaches had been handed to various states for Covid-19 care, it said.

While the worst-affected cities and states like New Delhi and Mahrashtra are in prolonged lockdowns, states like Odisha and Haryana also announced new lockdowns to halt the spread of infections in rural areas.

India’s Covid-19 taskforce has pushed hard for a nationwide lockdown to help subdue the second wave, the Indian Express daily reported.

India opened a new round of its vaccinations on Saturday, extending coverage for all those above 18 years old, but only a handful of states were able to deliver the jabs owing to a shortage of vaccines.

FILED - Health care workers rush with an oxygen cylinder on a stretcher at Jaipur Golden hospital where at least 25 Covid-19 patient passed away the previous night due to shortage of medical oxygen. India registered 349,691 fresh coronavirus cases on Sunday, a new global record for infections on a single day, with the pandemic pushing the healthcare system to the brink and hospitals reporting deaths due to a shortage of medical oxygen. Photo: Naveen Sharma/SOPA Images via ZUMA Wire/dpa
FILED – Health care workers rush with an oxygen cylinder on a stretcher at Jaipur Golden hospital where at least 25 Covid-19 patient passed away the previous night due to shortage of medical oxygen. India registered 349,691 fresh coronavirus cases on Sunday, a new global record for infections on a single day, with the pandemic pushing the healthcare system to the brink and hospitals reporting deaths due to a shortage of medical oxygen. Photo: Naveen Sharma/SOPA Images via ZUMA Wire/dpa

Despite being among the world’s leading producer of vaccines, India, with a huge population of over 1.3 billion, has run short and also placed a temporary hold on exports to meet the domestic demands.

Meanwhile, international aid is arriving from the United States, Germany and 40 other countries that have promised support to India as its health care system is pushed to the brink and beyond.

Medical equipment including hospital-level oxygen generators and anti-viral drug Remdesivir arrived from France and Belgium on Sunday, India’s foreign ministry said.

India, the worst-affected country worldwide after the United States, is in the grip of a second wave that began mid-February.

The actual number of cases and deaths was likely to be higher than the numbers provided by authorities, with many people avoiding testing and many deaths going unregistered.

Experts attribute the rapid spread of cases to more infectious variants of the virus and people’s failure to observe safety measures. The government has also been criticized for allowing millions of people to gather for religious festivals and state election rallies since March.

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