India recorded over 200,000 new daily COVID-19 cases on Thursday as India’s financial capital Mumbai entered a lockdown, as hospitals struggle to cope with oxygen supply and beds.
The surge was the seventh record daily increase in the last eight days and comes as India battles a massive second wave of infections that has its epicentre in the economically significant state of Maharashtra, home to Mumbai. The western state accounts for about a quarter of the country’s total cases.
India reported 200,739 COVID-19 cases over the last 24 hours, according to health ministry data released Thursday. Deaths stood at 1,038, taking the total to 173,123.
The total case load reached 14.1 million, only second to the United States, which leads the global tally with 31.4 million cases.
Health facilities in the states of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Delhi witnessed chaotic scenes as hospitals and doctors were overwhelmed with a surge in admissions of COVID-19 patients.
“The situation is horrible. We are a 900-bed hospital, but there are about 60 patients waiting and we don’t have space for them,” said Avinash Gawande, an official at the Government Medical College and Hospital in Nagpur, a commercial hub in Maharashtra.
Hospitals in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state, Gujarat, shortage of oxygen and medicines were reported. “If such conditions persist, the death toll will rise,” the head of a medical body in Ahmedabad wrote in a letter to the Gujarat state chief minister.
India’s government said the country was producing oxygen at its full capacity everyday for the last two days and it had boosted output.
“Along with the ramped up production of the oxygen manufacturing units and the surplus stocks available, the present availability of oxygen is sufficient,” the health ministry said in a statement on Thursday.
Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of pilgrims still thronged to a religious festival in the north of the country, stoking fears of a new surge in COVID-19 cases in the region.