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NEW DELHI, April 21 -- India’s daily COVID-19 cases reached a new high early Wednesday after the country registered over 295,000 infections and more than 2,000 deaths in the past 24 hours, according to Health Ministry figures, Anadolu Agency reported.
The ministry said that cases rose to a new high of 295,041, taking the country’s total to 15.6 million, while the virus-linked death toll reached 182,553, including 2,023 new fatalities -- the highest single-day toll since the pandemic began last year.
According to the statistics, the western state of Maharashtra and capital New Delhi continue to record a huge number of cases.
Nearly 29,000 new cases were registered in New Delhi, which is battling the virus while facing an acute shortage of hospital beds and oxygen supplies.
Delhi government ministers said late Tuesday that oxygen supplies at hospitals were running out.
The rising numbers of cases have also resulted in shortage of beds, medical oxygen supplies and treatment drugs like Remdesivir in other parts of the country.
The leader of the country’s main opposition Congress party, Rahul Gandhi, said late Tuesday that India is “gasping for oxygen due to the centre’s (government’s) incompetency, complacency.”
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who addressed the nation the same night, asked states to use lockdowns as a last resort and urged state governments to focus on micro containment zones.
“In today’s situation, we have to save the country from a lockdown,” he said, adding the government is making efforts to meet the increasing demand for oxygen in various parts of the country.
Modi’s government is facing a number of questions for not being able to handle the situation properly. The government has allowed political rallies and the country’s biggest religious festival to take place despite the increase in cases.
As cases continue to rise across the country, several cities have announced tough restrictions, with the New Delhi government announcing a weeklong lockdown to curb the spread of the virus. Since last Thursday, India has been registering more than 200,000 infections daily.
With more fatalities reported across the country, cities are reporting far larger numbers of cremations and burials.
On Monday, the government allowed vaccination against COVID-19 to everyone above the age of 18 from May 1.
According to official figures, over 130 million vaccine doses have been administered so far in the ongoing vaccination drive.