India’s Coronavirus Death Toll Surpasses China’s

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India’s Coronavirus Death Toll Surpasses China’s

India’s coronavirus death toll overtook neighbouring China’s on Friday, with 175 new deaths recorded in 24 hours taking the total to 4,706, according to data from the health ministry.

The world’s second-most populous nation is emerging as a new hotspot with record jumps in new cases in recent days as hospitals are overwhelmed with patients.

It recorded 7,466 new cases, raising the total number of infections to 165,799, with western Maharashtra state – the financial hub of Mumbai – accounting for 36 percent of cases and 42 percent of deaths.

Patients share beds

Nearly a fifth of the country’s coronavirus cases is in the financial hub of Mumbai making it the worst-hit city in the country. There are more patients than hospital beds in the city of 18 million with reports of health officials being overworked.

Patients have been waiting for hours, days even for a bed, shunted from hospital to hospital, with many dying as they waited on a bed.

Video clips shared on social media showed patients sharing beds or lying on the floor and in some cases oxygen cylinders were split at Mumbai’s Sion hospital, which is located close to the densely populated slum of Dharavi.

Authorities fear a spike in cases at Dharavi – which is home to an estimated 700,000 to one million people crammed in a roughly five-square-kilometre area.

Amid reports of a shortage of beds, the city unveiled plans for “jumbo” facilities to ease the strain.

Ashwini Bhide, of Mumbai’s civic corporation, said a 5,000-seater stadium that was converted into a 500-bed quarantine facility last month had “served the city to a huge extent”.

“Hinging upon that experience, new facilities are planned,” Bhide told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Mumbai’s municipal authority last week said it had ordered public officials to take control of at least 100 private hospital beds in all 24 zones in the city to make more beds available for coronavirus patients.

Creaking healthcare system

Experts say India’s densely packed cities and its creaking healthcare system are ill-prepared to handle the biggest health crisis of modern times.

The federal government’s data from last year showed there were about 714,000 hospital beds in India, up from about 540,000 in 2009.

https://www.aljazeera.com

India has 0.5 beds for every 1,000 people, according to the latest data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). In contrast, China has 4.3 hospital beds for every 1,000 people, and the United States has 2.8, according to the latest OECD figures.

 

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China, where the deadly virus emerged late last year, reported no new deaths or new suspected cases on Friday, with the death toll still at 4,634 and a total of 82,995 infections.

Even though the number of cases is surging, India has steadily loosened its lockdown to lessen the significant effect the pandemic is having on the economy – and the country’s poor who have been the hardest hit.

Millions of India’s poor, including migrant workers, have suffered from the strict lockdown, with many in cities losing their jobs, going hungry and struggling to return to their home villages.

Some have walked or cycled hundreds of kilometres home in the harsh summer heat, with dozens dying from exhaustion or in accidents along the way.

India’s Coronavirus Death Toll Surpasses China’s

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