India passed the 20 million reported coronavirus cases on Tuesday, and many more undetected, experts say, have sparked new calls for a nationwide lockdown.
With these reported numbers, India became the second country after the United States to cross 20 million infections. Although aid from other countries has started to flow, hospitals are still unable to help many seriously ill people, and families were left at expel essential oxygen.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi came under heavy criticism from many for underestimating the virus earlier this year, and on Tuesday opposition leader Rahul Gandhi said a nationwide lockdown was desperately needed, calling it “the only option ”.
Mr Gandhi accused authorities of helping the virus to spread. “A crime has been committed against India”, written on twitter.
Mr Modi has been reluctant to impose tough nationwide lockdowns like those last spring, which have remained in place for months.
While experts say the lockdown helped reduce the number of cases in the first wave of the pandemic, it triggered the largest internal migration since the partition of the country in 1947. Millions of workers have fled the cities, dealing a heavy blow to the economy.
The economy had recovered in recent months, but the current wave of disease has dampened hopes of a full recovery, and Mr. Modi urged states to consider lockdowns as “one last option.” Many states, including some ruled by Mr. Modi’s party and his allies, have issued stay-at-home orders.
Regional authorities in Bihar, eastern India, ordered a two-week lockdown on Tuesday. The southern state of Kerala also announced restrictions this week. The states of Maharashtra, Delhi and Karnataka already have closures, and many states have weekend and nighttime curfews.
Amid the scramble to try to contain the virus, the Indian Premier League announced on Tuesday that it was suspending all remaining matches of the season after several players and staff tested positive. The league had drawn intense criticism to move forward with its matches in cities that have been among the hardest hit.
Comprised of eight teams, the Indian Premier League is the largest cricket league in the world.
Since the league’s season started last month, some of cricket’s biggest stars have roamed the country in so-called bubbles and played in empty stadiums. But even strong security protocols couldn’t prevent team members from being infected. At least five people from three teams have tested positive. The competition was due to end at the end of the month.
“These are tough times, especially in India and although we have tried to bring some positivity and joy, it is imperative that the tournament is now suspended and everyone returns to their families and loved ones in these hard times, ”league said in a declaration.
India reported more than 368,000 new cases and 3,417 deaths on Monday. It has reported more than 222,000 deaths from Covid-19, although the actual numbers are probably much higher.
With help shipped from countries like the United States and Britain, weary residents hoped things could start to improve.
Eight oxygen production plants from France, each capable of supplying 250 hospital beds, have been assigned to six hospitals in Delhi and one in Haryana and Telangana, northern and southern states of India. One of the generators was installed at Narayana Hospital in Delhi within hours of being delivered, according to The time of India. Italy also donated an oxygen production plant and 20 ventilators.
As the criticism has risen Beyond the delay in sending oxygen concentrators and other equipment, the government announced on Monday that it was waiving all duties and taxes on lifesaving equipment and relief supplies that had been donated . But authorities have faced calls for greater transparency on the deployment of international aid shipments.
The Indian Red Cross receives all shipments arriving by air and then hands them over to a government agency responsible for distributing the supplies based on regional demands. The authorities have published a list of hospitals who received aid shipments, but did not specify which equipment was going where.