India’s coronavirus case load surged past the 5 million mark on Wednesday, as health systems grapple with short supply of oxygen needed to treat thousands of critical patients.
India has recorded over a million infections in the past 12 days, and is the only nation in the world to have more than 5 million infections after the United States.
The health ministry reported 90,123 new infections on Wednesday. The death toll from COVID-19 is now at 82,066, the ministry said, with 1,290 fatalities recorded in the previous 24 hours.
The states of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh are some of the worst affected by the virus, as demand for oxygen has more than tripled, prompting calls for urgent attention from governments.
In India’s most populous state of Uttar Pradesh, the demand for oxygen cylinders stood at 5,000 cylinders compared with 1,000 cylinders in normal times.
The worst-affected state of Maharashtra has decided to reduce oxygen supply to neighbouring states to meet its growing demand.
According to health ministry official Rajesh Bhushan, at least 6% of India’s nearly one million active cases need oxygen support.