A brutal second wave of COVID-19 cases overwhelms India


A brutal second wave of COVID-19 overwhelms its under-funded, fragile healthcare system,amid alarming shortage of medical oxygen and beds.

On Friday, the world’s second-most populous nation reported a single-day high of 332,730 new cases and a record 2,263 deaths.

PM Modi talks to oxygen suppliers as reserves dwindle

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose government has been criticised for relaxing virus curbs too quickly, said the government was making a “continuous effort” to increase oxygen supplies, including steps to divert industrial oxygen.

Modi asked states to work together to meet the needs for medicines and oxygen, and stop hoarding and black marketering.

India hospital fire death toll rises to 14

The death toll in a devastating fire at a hospital in western India rose to 14 as authorities continue to evacuate coronavirus patients away from the facility’s premises.

According to an official from the Vijay Vallabh Hospital, a spark from an air conditioner triggered the fire, which was exacerbated by the heavy oxygen supply running in the facility’s ICU.

The bodies of victims of the fire were being cremated at a nearby crematorium.

India’s Cadila gets nod to repurpose Hepatitis C drug for COVID

India’s Cadila Healthcare Ltd has received restricted emergency use approval from local regulators to use a Hepatitis C drug as a treatment for moderate COVID-19 in adults, the drugmaker said.

The approval follows promising results from a late-stage study of the drug and comes in the middle of a massive wave of COVID-19 cases in India, which has overwhelmed its health system and left many hospitals short of critical oxygen supplies.

READ ALSO: 44 new COVID-19 cases, one dead

Cadila said patients given its therapy in clinical trials had shown a lesser need for supplemental oxygen, which is given to seriously ill COVID-19 patients to increase its supply in the blood and lungs.

China offers India assistance amid spike: Reports

China has offered assistance to India amid a worsening COVID-19 situation in the South Asian country.

According to state-run media reports, Beijing said communication is under way with India if they needed support and assistance.

“The Chinese government and people will firmly support India in its fight against the COVID19 pandemic and are willing to provide support and assistance in accordance with the needs of the Indian side,” the Global Times quoted Lijian Zhao, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, as saying.

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