The Borneo Post (Sabah)

India daily virus cases double in ten days

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India’s daily coronaviru­s caseload has doubled in ten days, with more than 200,000 new infections logged Thursday as authoritie­s grapple with shortages of vaccines, treatments and hospital beds.

Having let its guard down with mass religious festivals, political rallies and crowds at cricket matches, India is experienci­ng a huge second wave, with almost two million fresh infections this month alone.

This week, it overtook Brazil to become the country with the second-highest number of cases worldwide.

In the past day it also recorded over a thousand deaths, health ministry data showed, taking its total to 175,000, although on a per capita basis India is far behind many other countries.

After a lockdown a year ago caused widespread misery and one of the sharpest downturns of any major economy, the central government is desperate to avoid a hugely unpopular second shutdown.

But many states are tightening the screws, in particular Maharashtr­a and its capital Mumbai, which this week introduced tougher restrictio­ns for its 125 million people.

This has prompted many migrant workers to flee Mumbai and other cities in the state, in scenes reminiscen­t of the exodus from Indian towns and cities a year ago when the government halted all activity almost overnight.

Hospitals around India are now struggling to cope, running short of beds, oxygen and coronaviru­s medicines like remdesivir.

India’s drive to vaccinate its 1.3 billion people has also hit obstacles, with just 114 million shots administer­ed so far and stocks running low, according to local authoritie­s.

The government has also put the brakes on the Serum Institute – the world’s largest maker of vaccines by volume – exporting to other countries.

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