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India passes 20 million cases amid oxygen shortage

India passes 20 million cases amid oxygen shortage

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India has recorded more than 20 million Covid infections, but the government says that cases are “slowing down”.

The country added more than 355,000 cases on Tuesday, down from more than 400,000 daily cases on 30 April.

But testing numbers have dipped as well, sparking fears that India’s true caseload is far higher.

Case numbers, however, been consistently falling in Maharashtra state, which had driven the second wave since early April.

Meanwhile an oxygen shortage has shown no signs of abating and people in several hotspot cities, including the capital Delhi, are struggling for treatment.

India’s second wave, fuelled by lax safety protocols and massive public festivals and election rallies, has also overwhelmed its hospitals. Delays in testing, diagnosis and treatment, as well as a shortage of critical care beds and crucial drugs, has resulted in a spike in deaths too.

The country has so far reported more than 222,000 deaths due to the virus. But experts say India’s Covid death toll is vastly under-reported as official tallies don’t appear to match what people are witnessing on the ground – long lines at crematoriums, mass funeral pyres and cities running out of space to bury or cremate the dead.

Many states have introduced restrictions, from full lockdowns to night curfews. The northern state of Bihar, which has been adding about 13,000 daily cases in recent days, is the latest to announce a full lockdown -only essential services, such as government offices, groceries and hospitals, will be open.

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