India’s new coronavirus cases have stayed above 300,000 for a sixth consecutive day yesterday, while its armed forces pledged urgent medical aid to help battle the staggering spike in infections overwhelming its hospitals and even the crematoriums.
Many countries including the United Kingdom, Germany and the United States have pledged to send urgent medical aid, with the first shipment from the UK arriving early yesterday.
The World Health Organization chief, Tedros Gabryhesus, described the situation in the world’s second-most populous country as “beyond heartbreaking”.
Authorities in Delhi ordered a luxury hotel to be converted into a COVID-19 health facility for the exclusive use of high court judges and their families, drawing outrage in a city that has no hospital beds or life-saving oxygen for hundreds of people.
The local government said in a public notice on Monday night that it had received a request from the Delhi High Court because of the rapid rise in coronavirus infections and had reserved 100 rooms at the Ashoka Hotel for the higher judiciary.
The Delhi High court denied it had sought such treatment, and said it would quash the order unless the government modifies it.
Merck announced a deal with five makers of generic drugs in India to produce molnupiravir, an experimental antiviral similar to the COVID-19 medicine remdesivir but in a more convenient pill form.
Late-stage testing of the drug just started in the United States, and it’s unclear when the medicine might be used in India or elsewhere. A mid-stage study gave encouraging results, suggesting the drug quickly reduced virus levels when used early after infection.
Remdesivir is widely used for certain hospitalised patients but must be given as an infusion, which limits its use.
also Turkish presidential spokesman discussed the latest developments on the coronavirus outbreak with the Indian national security adviser.
Ibrahim Kalin told Ajit Doval that Ankara was ready to offer help and show solidarity with India, according to diplomatic sources who spoke on conditon of anonymity.
In Gurugram, south west of Delhi, a non-governmental organisation has set up a makeshift facility in the open, in an effort to help the patients who cannot find a bed in overwhelmed hospitals.
“We have patients who are waiting here for two days. They’re not finding any hospital. They just wanted oxygen because their doctor has advised them that,” Ishan Singh from the Hemkunt Foundation that runs the facility told British broadcaster Sky News.
He said many people have been there for several days, receiving oxygen they could not get in any of the hospitals or clinics.
China will hold a video conference with South Asian governments to discuss fighting the coronavirus and India is welcome to join, Beijing’s Foreign Ministry said, amid ongoing tensions with New Delhi over border clashes.
China organised Tuesday’s meeting with the governments of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, according to a ministry statement.
Asked about whether India was invited, Wang Wenbin, a ministry spokesman, said India was welcome to join.
Spain will send just over seven tonnes of medical supplies to India, the foreign minister said.
“Nobody will be safe until we are all safe,” Arancha Gonzalez Laya told a news conference after the weekly cabinet meeting.