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India records 3,998 new virus deaths, its highest in a month

42,015 new cases reported; country sees more than 45,000 cases of ‘black fungus’ in last two months; No state reported any death due to shortage of oxygen, insists government


India reported on Wednesday 42,015 new coronaviru­s infections in the last 24 hours, while daily deaths jumped to 3,998, their highest since June 12, health ministry data showed.

India’s tally of infections stands at 31.22 million, with a death toll of 418,480, the data showed.

On Tuesday, India had recorded lowest fatalities in almost four months.

According to the Union Health Ministry, a total of 36,977 people were discharged in the last 24 hours, taking the total discharge to 3,03,90,687 till date from hospitals and health centres as the virus continued to infect less than one lakh people over the last 43 days.

According to the health ministry, a total of 41,54,72,455 COVID-19 vaccine doses were administer­ed in India, including 34,25,446 in the last 24 hours.

The total number of samples tested so far has reached 44,91,93,273 on July 20 including 18,52,140 samples tested on Tuesday.

Meanhwile, India recorded more than 45,000 cases of the deadly “black fungus” over the last two months, the health ministry said, as a nationwide outbreak sweeps through COVID-19 patients.

The country’s junior health minister Bharati Pravin Pawar told parliament on Tuesday that over 4,200 people had died of the fungus -- scientific name mucormycos­is.

The infection was previously considered very rare but cases have ballooned during the pandemic, usuallystr­ikingpatie­ntsaterrec­overyfromc­ovid-19.

It is a highly aggressive disease and surgeons have been forced to remove eyes, the nose and jaw from patients to stop it spreading to the brain. The death rate is over 50 per cent. According to government data, the highest number of cases were reported in the western state of Maharashtr­a at 9,348.

India dealt with just 20 cases a year on average before the pandemic, with only people with severely compromise­d immunity at risk, including those with high blood sugar levels, HIV or organ transplant recipients.

Experts have atributed the recent rise to the excessive use of steroids to treat COVID-19.

The Indian government declared the fungus an epidemic in May as cases shot up and social media has been flooded with desperate pleas for medicines to treat the illness.

Government data tabled on Tuesday suggested infection numbers peaked during May and June and have since substantia­lly decreased.

But the Hindustan Times newspaper reported on Monday that there had been a rise in cases among children in the northern state of Rajasthan.

Meanwhile, under atack from the Congress and other opposition parties over the government’s reply in Parliament that no death was reported due to oxygen shortage, Prime Minister Narendra Modiled Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday said that no state government has sent any data on deaths due to lack of oxygen.

The saffron party also slammed Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and the opposition parties for doing politics over Covid deaths. Addressing a press conference, BJP spokespers­on Sambit Patra said, “No state has sent any data on deaths due to shortage of oxygen. No state has reported any death due to lack of oxygen.”

Referring to Union Minister of State for Health Bharati Pravin Pawar’s reply in the Rajya Sabha,

Patra said “The minister categorica­lly said that health is a state subject, the Centre only collects data sent by states and there are guidelines issued for reporting deaths. The states and Union Territorie­s provide the data of Covid cases and deaths to the Centre on a regular basis. Not a single state or UT, however, in their report mentioned any death due to shortage of oxygen,” Patra said.

Patra slammed Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and the Aam Aadmi Party for creating confusion over the sensitive issue of COVID-19 deaths.

“It was condemnabl­e that at a time when everyone should unite to win the batle against coronaviru­s disease, some political leaders are playing dirty politics,” he said.

Calling the Congress leader a Twiter troll, Patra said, “Whether it is a pandemic or issue of vaccine, he lied and spread confusion on every topic. This is what Rahul Gandhi has done while acting as a Twiter troll.” Referring to the affidavits of the Delhi and Maharashtr­a government­s, Patra said both the administra­tions informed the high courts that not a single death was a result of shortage of oxygen.

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People greet each other after offering Eid Al Adha prayers at Jama Masjid Khairuddin in Amritsar on Wednesday.
Agence France-presse ↑ People greet each other after offering Eid Al Adha prayers at Jama Masjid Khairuddin in Amritsar on Wednesday.

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