WHO says rush to hospitals worsens India COVID crisis

India health minister claims country ‘better prepared’ for second wave even as Covid deaths cross 200,000

Health infrastructure suffers serious shortage of critical medicines and hospital beds

Mayank Aggarwal@journomayank
Wednesday 28 April 2021 13:29

India’s health minister has claimed that the country is ‘better prepared’ for the second wave of Covid-19 even as total deaths due to the virus have crossed 200,000, second only to the US.

Dr Harsh Vardhan said the country is “better prepared mentally and physically with more experience” to beat the pandemic compared to 2020.

Dr Vardhan’s statement came on Tuesday while he was inaugurating a series of blood donation camps at 13 different locations in Chandigarh, Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh through a webinar.

The health minister exhorted people to donate blood at least once a year, claiming that donating blood is even more pious than visiting revered holy places.

India is in the middle of a severe second wave of Covid-19 and for the past seven days, it has recorded over 300,000 cases every day – over two million in total.

It is not just the high number of coronavirus cases that are of concern to the authorities in India but the lack of critical medical supplies, hospital beds, oxygen including cylinders and even places for the cremation of those who have died.

The health minister is under severe criticism because of problems with the health infrastructure of the country. Many users on social media have called for his resignation.

On Tuesday, India recorded over 360,000 cases, a global record, and nearly 3,300 deaths. Since the start of the pandemic, India has recorded about 18 million cases.

Dr Vardhan said the prime minister, Narendra Modi, launched the “largest Covid-19 vaccination drive in the world in January 2021 which is now being accelerated further as the vaccination of young people is about to begin from 1 May.”

He said the blood donation drive is being done before the vaccination of the youth, because “after being vaccinated it is advisable to not donate blood for two months.”

Though the health minister claimed India is better prepared for facing the pandemic this time, many countries across the world such as the US, Canada, Ireland, Thailand, and Singapore have come forward to assist it in managing the spread of the pandemic.

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