India’s capital blockade in the midst of a catastrophic virus surge

New Delhi — New Delhi imposed a week-long blockade on Monday night to prevent the collapse of the Indian capital’s health system, officials said it had been pushed to the limit amid the explosive surge in the coronavirus case.

In the familiar scene of surges elsewhere, ambulances jumped from hospital to hospital on weekends trying to find an empty bed, and patients lined up outside the medical facility waiting to enter. Each corpse.

“People continue to arrive in almost collapsed situations,” said Dr. Suresh Kumar, who heads Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital, one of New Delhi’s largest hospitals for treating COVID-19 patients.

Person in hospital
People are standing on the social distance markings created at a public hospital in Jammu, India on April 19, 2021. (ChanniAnand / AP Photo)

According to Kumar, he needs oxygen most desperately. However, Prime Minister Albind Keziwar told reporters that new rigorous measures were imposed to “reached the limits” and “prevent the collapse of the health care system.”

Just months after India thought the worst pandemic had occurred in India, the virus is now spreading faster than any other time, medical statistics at the University of Michigan tracking infection in India Said scholar Brammer Mukeljee.

As India is a major vaccine producer, this surge has had a devastating impact on India and has had a major impact on global efforts to end the pandemic, but delays the export of shots abroad. It has been forced to do so, especially hindering campaigns in developing countries. Serum Institute of India, CEO of the world’s largest vaccine maker, asked US President Joe Biden on Twitter last week to lift the U.S. sanctions on the export of the raw materials needed to make shots. ..

Increasing cases occur amid a recession in global vaccination campaigns and an exacerbation of the crisis in many places outside India, including Brazil and France. Over the weekend, the global death toll from the coronavirus passed a staggering 3 million on Saturday.

India reported more than 270,000 infections on Monday. This is the highest daily increase since the pandemic began. Currently, more than 15 million infections and more than 178,000 deaths have been recorded. Experts agree that even these numbers can be underestimated. As the number of incidents increased, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson canceled his trip to New Delhi.

In a city with a population of 29 million, there are less than 100 beds with mechanical ventilation and less than 150 beds available to patients in need of critical care. Similar strains can be found in other parts of the vast country. There, fragile health care systems have been underfunded for decades, unable to prepare for the current surge, and hospitals are buckling under the pressure of increasing infections.

In Himalayan Jammu, northern India, the weekly average of COVID-19 cases increased 14-fold last month. In Telangana, South India, home to the city of Hyderabad, where most Indian vaccine makers are based, the weekly average of infections has increased 16-fold over the past month.

Meanwhile, campaigns continue in West Bengal, eastern India, where there is also a surprising increase, and experts fear that crowded rallies could catalyze the spread of the virus. Top leaders of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, have launched extensive campaigns to win polls in the region.

Indian spray disinfectant
On April 19, 2021, members of the disaster response team sprayed disinfectants in Hyderabad, India, as a precautionary measure against COVID-19. (Mahesh Kumar A./AP Photo)

In contrast, in New Delhi, authorities are once again beginning to impose strict measures. The Indian capital was closed over the weekend, but authorities are now extending it for a week. All stores and factories will be closed except those that provide important services such as grocery stores. People are not expected to leave the house, except for a few reasons, such as seeking medical care.

They are allowed to travel to airports and train stations. This is different from the previous blockade, where thousands of migrant workers were forced to walk to their home villages.

The previous severe blockade, which lasted several months last year, left a deep scar. Since then, politicians have even hesitated to mention the word. When similar measures were imposed in Maharashtra, the home of Mumbai’s financial capital, authorities recently refused to call it a blockade. These limits last for 15 days.

Delhi official Keziwar urged calm, saying this would be “small,” especially among migrant workers who suffered particularly during the last closure.

However, many were afraid that it could lead to financial ruin. Amrit Tripasi, a New Delhi worker, was among the thousands who returned home in the blockade last year.

“We will starve,” he said, if the current measures were extended.

By Aijaz Hussain and Aniruddha Ghosal