India on Friday posted yet another record daily rise in coronavirus cases as hospitals across the country run out of beds and oxygen.
A United States military plane has brought the first emergency supplies as part of a huge international aid operation to help the country battle its devastating surge.
Here are the latest updates:
Scientists ask PM to release key epidemiological data
Indian scientists and researchers have asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for access to data that could help research the spread of the coronavirus, news agency Bloomberg reported.
The Indian Council of Medical Research has granular data on all residents who’ve been tested so far, but the access is restricted.
“The ICMR database is inaccessible to anyone outside of the government and perhaps also to many within the government,” almost 300 scientists wrote.
“While new pandemics can have unpredictable features, our inability to adequately manage the spread of infections has, to a large extent, resulted from epidemiological data not being systematically collected and released in a timely manner to the scientific community.”
India’s ex-Attorney General Soli Sorabjee dies at 91
Soli Sorabjee, a passionate human rights lawyer, died of COVID-19 on Friday, according to local reports.
He was being treated at a private hospital in New Delhi.
Sorabjee was born in Mumbai in 1930. He started his practice in 1953, and in 1971 he was designated senior counsel by the Supreme Court.
He was the chairman of the UN Sub-Commission on Promotion and Protection of Human Rights from 1998 to 2004, while he also was appointed UN Special Rapporteur for Nigeria in 1997.
Vaccination centres close in Mumbai
All vaccination centres in India’s financial capital of Mumbai have been shut for three days due to a shortage of vaccines, said authorities, as the country posted another record daily rise in coronavirus cases.
India is the world’s biggest producer of vaccines but does not have enough stockpiles to keep up with the second deadly COVID-19 wave, despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government plans to vaccinate all adults starting May 1. Only about 9 percent of India’s 1.4 billion people have received a vaccine dose since January.
Modi is scheduled to meet cabinet of ministers on Friday as the wave of infections cripples the nation’s health system and threatens to impact major businesses as absenteeism grows with staff falling sick or taking leave to tend to sick relatives.
What we know about Indian COVID variant
Scientists are studying what led to an unexpected surge in infections and particularly whether a variant of the novel coronavirus first detected in India is to blame.
The variant, named B.1.617, has been reported in some 17 countries, raising global concern.
Find out the basics here.
India posts record daily rise in COVID cases
India has posted a record daily rise in coronavirus cases of 386,452, while deaths from COVID-19 jumped by 3,498 over the last 24 hours, according to health ministry data.
India has added about 7.7 million cases to its total case load since the end of February, when its second wave picked up steam, according to a Reuters news agency tally.
In contrast, it took India nearly six months to add the previous 7.7 million cases.
First US emergency aid arrives in India
A Super Galaxy military transporter carrying more than 400 oxygen cylinders and other hospital equipment and nearly one million rapid coronavirus tests has landed at New Delhi’s international airport as the Indian capital battles a major pandemic crisis.
#JustArrived from @USAID to India: the 1st batch of life-saving medical supplies containing oxygen cylinders generously donated by the state of California, Rapid Diagnostic Test kits, pulse oximeters, & N95 masks to meet the urgent needs of the Indian people. #USIndiaDosti @WHNSC pic.twitter.com/sh0htp9ZSy
— USAID India (@usaid_india) April 30, 2021
The delivery, which flew in from the Travis military base in California, followed talks this week between US President Joe Biden and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“The United States is delivering supplies worth more than $100 million in the coming days to provide urgent relief to our partners in India,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Thursday.
US officials said the special flights, which will also bring equipment donated by companies and individuals, will continue into next week.
Delhi reports highest ever single-day deaths
India’s capital has reported its highest ever deaths on a single day due to COVID-19, Indian media reports said.
Government data shows 395 patients died in the last 24 hours in the city, which reported 24,235 new coronavirus cases during the same period.