India on Thursday reported two lakh coronavirus cases, with a record number of infections reported so far in the country. Though countries like Britain are inching towards normality and extended vaccine rollouts, some South Asian countries are grappling with fresh — and more terrifying — virus waves.
Authorities in India are grappling with shortages of vaccines, treatments and hospital beds. According to AFP, India has let its guard down with mass religious festivals such as Kumbh Mela, political rallies in poll-bound states and IPL, the nation has this month seen two million fresh infections — a figure that looks set to continue growing.
Siddharth Chakrapani, one of the organisers of Kumbh Mela festival, said devotees “believe that Maa (mother) Ganga will save them from this pandemic”. “Our faith is the biggest thing for us,” he added.
India has now overtook Brazil to become the country with the second-highest number of cases worldwide.
With lockdown looming, millions of migrant workers streamed out of Mumbai in scenes reminiscent of the exodus from towns and cities a year ago when the government halted all activity almost overnight.
As cases mount, hospitals are struggling to cope, running short of beds, oxygen and coronavirus medicines like remdesivir. And Delhi’s much publicised vaccine drive to inoculate all 1.3 billion citizens has stumbled.
Just 114 million shots have been administered so far — and stocks are running low, according to authorities.