India: Expert warns of 'rapidly rising' coronavirus cases

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People across India have taken to their social media channels to ask other citizens for urgent help as hospital supplies run short. On Tuesday, Delhi’s chief minister raised alarm over the low numbers of oxygen supplies across the city’s hospitals warning they could run out within hours.

He wrote in a tweet: “Serious oxygen crisis persists in Delhi.

“I again urge centre to urgently provide oxygen to Delhi.

“Some hospitals are left with just a few hours of oxygen.”

One English tutor in south Delhi took to WhatsApp to call for urgent assistance after she noticed her elderly neighbours had worsening symptoms of Covid-19.

A message seen by the Guardian sent to a neighbourhood group chat read: “Urgent help needed. The Guptas are in pretty bad shape.

“They need oxygen but can’t find any. Please help.”

In the Maharashtra state, at least 22 people died on Wednesday in a hospital after a leak cut off its oxygen provision.

Maharashtra’s health minister, Rajesh Tope, said in a televised address: “Patients who were on ventilators at the hospital in Nashik have died.

“The leakage was spotted at the tank supplying oxygen to these patients.

“The interrupted supply could be linked to the deaths of the patients in the hospital.”

India has reported the second-highest number of cases of any nation in the world with more than 15.3m infections registered since the pandemic began.

The country was added to the UK’s red travel list this week after a new variant of the virus emerged there.

Speaking from the House of Commons, Health Secretary Matt Hancock addressed the decision to ban travellers from India from Friday, April 23, at 4am BST.

He said: “After studying the data, and on a precautionary basis, we’ve made the difficult but vital decision to add India to the red list.”

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