Breaks India

More than 332,000 new corona infections in India

In the past 24 hours, 332,730 new corona infections have been registered in India - more than in any other country in the world in one day. In addition, 2,263 people died of or with COVID-19, according to the Ministry of Health in New Delhi. 314,835 new infections were reported on Thursday. This means that more than a million people have been infected with the virus in the South Asian country in the past four days.

The numbers have been rising rapidly in the country with 1.3 billion inhabitants for weeks. So far, India has recorded more than 16 million infections, making it the hardest hit by the pandemic after the United States. Officially, more than 186,000 people have died in connection with the coronavirus in India. Experts assume a significantly higher number of unreported cases.

Relatives of corona patients wait in line for an oxygen bottle

The dramatic second wave of infections is bringing the health system to the brink of collapse. According to the authorities, the west and north of India and the capital New Delhi are particularly affected.

A corona patient waits in the ambulance to be admitted to the hospital in Kolkata (formerly: Calcutta)

There is a lack of hospital beds, medical oxygen, drugs and tests in the hospitals. In front of many hospitals, ambulances with corona patients are waiting in long lines for a bed to be vacated. The administrations of the hospitals urgently ask for help - as do relatives of seriously ill patients. Corona dead are piled up in crematoria and cemeteries.

Medic speaks of an apocalyptic situation

The hospitals are "200 percent full," Shuchin Bajaj made clear in a DW interview. The doctor, founder and director of the Ujala-Cygnus chain of 13 hospitals, spoke of an "apocalyptic" situation. "We have a desperate lack of beds, a desperate lack of oxygen [and] essential drugs. We turn patients away. It breaks our hearts, but there is nothing we can do." India has medical oxygen, but it does not reach the hospitals that need it most, he told Deutsche Welle.

The outdated or inadequate equipment was probably also doomed by the corona patients in a clinic in Virar near the Indian metropolis of Mumbai. 13 of them died in the intensive care unit in a fire that broke out for as yet unknown cause.

Find the cause of the fire in Virar Hospital

According to experts, the high number of new infections has several causes. For one thing, there is still widespread carelessness when dealing with the virus. At mass events for upcoming regional elections and religious festivals, a safe distance is often not observed, and face masks are not worn.

A "cleansing bath" in the Ganges on April 12th for the Kumbh Mela festival, the most important religious festival in Hinduism

On the other hand, the virus mutation B.1.617 is likely to play a role. The Indian variant is under observation by the World Health Organization (WHO). According to experts, it is a combination of the Californian, Brazilian, British and South African virus mutations.

Virus mutant B1.617 in Belgium

The variant has now also been detected in a group of 20 Indian students who traveled on to Belgium by bus after landing in Paris in April. The students are in quarantine.

The variant B.1.617 was first discovered in October in the West Indies. Above all, it carries two mutations in the virus' spike protein, which the pathogen uses to dock on human cells.

This "double mutant" has also appeared in other countries, including the USA, Australia, Israel, Singapore and Germany. Many countries have therefore issued entry bans for travelers from India or issued travel warnings.

Federal government classifies India as a high incidence area

Because of the dramatically increasing number of corona infections, the federal government will classify India as a high incidence area from Sunday. However, there are no stricter entry regulations associated with this. There would only have been additional restrictions if it had been classified as a virus variant area. The federal government initially waived this, but Health Minister Jens Spahn did not rule out such a step for the future.
The Foreign Office in Berlin called on Germans in India who are not vaccinated against Corona to "consider a temporary return to Germany until the medical supply situation has stabilized".

Canada now banned flights from India and also from Pakistan. The ban will initially apply to passenger planes for 30 days, with the exception of cargo flights.

se / sti (dpa, kna, ap, afp, rtr, dw)