India’s coronavirus infections rose by 346,786 overnight, the health ministry said on Saturday, setting a new world record for the third consecutive day, as overwhelmed hospitals in the densely-populated country begged for oxygen supplies.
India is in the grip of a rampaging second wave of the pandemic, hitting a rate of one COVID-19 death in just under every four minutes in Delhi as the capital’s underfunded health system buckles.
The government has deployed military planes and trains to get oxygen from the far corners of the country to Delhi. Television showed an oxygen truck arriving at Delhi’s Batra hospital after it issued an SOS saying it had 90 minutes of oxygen left for its 260 patients.
“Please help us get oxygen, there will be a tragedy here,” Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a conference on Friday.
The crisis is also being felt in other parts of the country, with several hospitals issuing public notices that they don’t have medical oxygen. Local media reported fresh cases of people dying in the cities of Jaipur and Amritsar for lack of the gas.