On Friday, India’s coronavirus caseload crossed nine million, as hospitals came under rising pressure in the capital of New Delhi and graveyards started to fill up.
According to the latest official estimates, which are generally considered as understating the true extent of illness, the world’s second hardest affected country has now now reported more than 132,000 deaths from the disease.
Over the past month, India has seen a decline in daily cases, but on average, it still reports about 45,000 new cases per day.
New Delhi has seen infections soar over half a million, facing the twin scourge of winter fog and coronavirus, with a record surge in daily cases.
The government of the mega city quadrupled fines on Thursday for not wearing a mask in an attempt to get a handle on the epidemic.
Burial room is quickly running out at one of Delhi’s largest cemeteries, gravedigger Mohammed Shamim told AFP.
At first when the virus came [out], I thought I was going to bury 100-200 people to do it. The present condition, though, is beyond my wildest thoughts,’ said Shamim.
I still have space left for 50-60 or so burials. And then? I don’t have any clue.’
In March, India enforced a tight shutdown, but as the government tries to rebuild the economy after losing millions of jobs, controls have been progressively relaxed.
Experts believe that, as with a general inability to wear masks and to maintain physical space, this has helped spread the disease.
All those limits are returning now.
Over the weekend, officials in the western city of Ahmedabad placed a full curfew.
“Only stores selling milk and medicinal products are allowed to remain open during this period,” said local official Rajiv Kumar Gupta.
“Anand Krishnan, a community medicine professor at Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences, said The rise in the number of cases is a problem, largely because it is caused by people not observing the basic protocol of corona-appropriate conduct.
Hemant Shewade, a specialist in community medicine based in Bangalore, said it was possible that cases outside major cities and towns were not taken into account in the official figures.
My guess is that in rural areas it is slowly and quietly spreading,” Shewade told AFP.”
In Delhi, as families rush to arrange hospital beds, the spectre of the epidemic wreaking havoc has come back to torment its 20 million people.
A government smartphone app revealed that over 90 percent of intensive care beds with ventilators were filled as of Thursday.
“The oxygen saturation level of my father suddenly dropped to 35pc and we rushed to the nearby hospital, but no beds were available,” Rajeev Nigam, a resident of Delhi, told AFP.
We raced from one hospital to another all night, but everywhere it was the same storey,” he said, accusing the Delhi government of being “unprepared” and “callous” in its approach.”
On social media, distressed families were making fervent appeals, tagging Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for assistance in finding beds.
Under strain to monitor the current surge, the addition of 1,400 intensive care beds was announced by Kejriwal on Thursday.
Delhi was paying the price for overcrowding during the current festive season, said Jeevendra Srivastava, an advertisement professional.
“It’s shocking that a few people still don’t take this lethal virus seriously,” Srivastava, 47, said.
“People still go without masks to busy areas. Because of this reckless conduct, nearly every other house now has a case of the virus. “