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Daughter gives Covid-infected mum mouth-to-mouth amid India crisis

Desperate daughter gives her Covid-infected mother mouth-to-mouth in a vain attempt to save her life at overwhelmed Indian hospital as country’s case toll nears 20million

  • Daughter filmed giving her mother mouth-to-mouth resuscitation in attempt to save her life at Indian hospital 
  • Elderly patient brought to overwhelmed hospital ‘on her death bed’, and died before medics could reach her 
  • Comes amid brutal second wave of virus that saw the country report 368,147 cases and 3,417 deaths today
  • In a possible sign of anger at the government’s handling of the crisis, Prime Minister Modi’s party lost a state election in West Bengal to one of his fiercest critics

This is the moment a desperate daughter gave her Covid-infected mother mouth-to-mouth resuscitation in a vain attempt to save her life at an overwhelmed hospital in India amid the country’s brutal second wave of Covid. 

Footage taken at a hospital in northern Uttar Pradesh state on Saturday shows two daughters standing over a stretcher where their mother is laying motionless.

With no doctors in sight, one of the daughters gives her mother mouth-to-mouth while the other watches, though she was unable to save the elderly woman’s life.

Doctors said the patient was brought to the hospital ‘on her death bed’ and by the time medics were able to attend to her, she had already died.

India is suffering through the world’s worst second wave of Covid, and has today reported 368,147 new cases – the 12th straight day where cases have been over 300,000, taking the country’s overall toll to just shy of 20million.

Another 3,417 deaths on Monday takes the country’s overall toll to 218,959 – now the world’s third-highest after the US and Brazil, though analysts warn the true toll is likely more than double and could by up to ten times higher.

This is the moment a daughter gave her Covid-infected mother mouth-to-mouth at a hospital in Uttar Pradesh, northern India, shortly before she died as medics were unable to attend to her due to the overwhelming number of patients

India is suffering the world’s worst second wave of Covid, with infections rising close to 20million and more than 3,000 people dying each day – though analysts warn that figure is likely a dramatic under-estimate

Relatives carry the body of a victim who died due to the Covid-19 into a cremation ground in Delhi for their last rites

Relatives cremate the body of a person who died due to Covid in Giddenahalli village on the outskirts of Bengaluru

Bodies of Covid victims are burned at a cremation ground in Giddenahalli village on the outskirts of Bengaluru

India is now reporting a seven-day average of more than 350,000 Covid cases (left), while the average number of deaths over the last week has risen to nearly 3,500 – which most believe is an under-estimate (right)

There has been an outpouring of fury at the government’s handling of the crisis as oxygen runs low and the health system collapses – and on Sunday that anger seemed to manifest at the ballot box, as Prime Minister Modi’s party lost a state election in West Bengal to one of his fiercest critics.

State chief minister Mamata Banerjee defeated Modi’s right-wing BJP party to keep control of the state, which was one of Modi’s top election targets and where he appeared at rallies several times leading up to the vote.

However, the BJP did expand its presence in West Bengal from three to 80 seats to become the main opposition party, and held power in the nearby state of Assam.

Covid infections in India have soared by around eight million since the end of March, according to official data which many suspect are a considerable underestimate. 

India’s underfunded health care system is under severe strain, with fatal shortages of beds, drugs and oxygen leaving some to die awaiting treatment in long queues outside hospitals in capital New Delhi and other cities.

Twenty-four people died in one hospital overnight on Sunday in the southern state of Karnataka after the hospital ran out of oxygen, press reports and sources said, though the district administration denied that shortages had caused the deaths.

Another 12 died on Saturday in a hospital in the capital New Delhi after it ran out of oxygen, reports said.

Several hospitals sent out desperate appeals for oxygen on social media overnight, with deliveries arriving only in the nick of time.

One children’s clinic in Delhi raised the alarm on Twitter over a shortage of oxygen that has reportedly left around 25 to 30 newborns and children at risk.

‘Oxygen is a basic requirement of a hospital and a consistent supply has not been assured. We are constantly firefighting,’ the head of the Madhukar Rainbow Children’s Hospital Dr Dinesh told the Indian Express daily. 

But the country’s health ministry has offered a glimmer of hope, reporting that positive cases relative to the number of tests conducted fell on Monday for the first time since at least April 15.

India’s coronavirus cases may peak between May 3-5, according to a mathematical model from a team of scientists advising the government, a few days earlier than a previous estimate as the virus has spread faster than expected.

Federal and state authorities have been scrambling to get extra oxygen to hospitals, including by sourcing it from industry and sending special ‘Oxygen Express’ trains.

Foreign assistance has also been pouring in, including from Germany and France, which this weekend sent medical equipment including oxygen-generating plants.

‘Out there the hospitals are full. People are sometimes dying in front of the hospitals. They have no more oxygen,’ German ambassador Walter J. Lindner said.

Adding to the pressure on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Supreme Court on Sunday ordered the government to rectify the oxygen situation in Delhi by midnight (1830 GMT) on Monday.

The surge has been blamed in part on new virus variants and the government having allowed huge religious and political gatherings in recent months.

Health ministry data on Monday showed that India had added around 370,000 new infections in the previous 24 hours as well as 3,400 deaths.

The total caseload is now 19.9 million with 219,000 deaths.

Per capita, however, the rates remain much lower than many other countries.

Brazil, for example – which has a population less than a fifth the size of India’s – has recorded almost 410,000 deaths and the United States around 575,000.

India’s vaccination drive is also faltering, with around 15.7 million shots administered so far, equating to just over one percent of the population of 1.3 billion people. 

At least 11 states and union territories have imposed some form of restrictions to try and stem infections, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is reluctant to impose a national lockdown, concerned about the economic impact.

Relatives and friends lower the coffin of a person who died due to Covid at a graveyard in New Delhi

A patient suffering from Covid-19 is treated with free oxygen at the Gurdwara Damdama Sahib in New Delhi, India

Oxygen tankers are seen on a special ‘Oxygen Express’ train as it arrives in Hyderabad, India

India is attempting to vaccinate its way out of the current crisis and has invited everyone over the age of 18 to have a shot, despite states warning that they do not have enough doses

‘In my opinion, only a national stay at home order and declaring medical emergency will help to address the current healthcare needs,’ Bhramar Mukherjee, an epidemiologist with the University of Michigan said on Twitter.

‘The # of active cases is accumulating, not just the daily new cases. Even the reported numbers state there are around 3.5M active cases.’ 

The spike in infections is India’s biggest crisis since Modi took office in 2014. Modi has been criticised for not taking steps earlier to curb the spread and for letting millions of largely unmasked people attend religious festivals and crowded political rallies in five states during March and April.

A forum of scientific advisers set up by the government warned Indian officials in early March of a new and more contagious variant of the coronavirus taking hold in the country, five scientists who are part of the forum told Reuters.

Despite the warning, four of the scientists said the federal government did not seek to impose major restrictions to stop the spread of the virus.

It remains to be seen how his handling of the crisis might affect Modi or his party politically. The next general election is due in 2024. 

Leaders of 13 opposition parties on Sunday signed a letter urging Modi to immediately launch free national vaccination and to prioritise oxygen supply to hospitals and health centres.

Several states have postponed widening a vaccination drive for adults that was to start on Saturday due to a lack of vaccines. The national health ministry says states have 10 million vaccines stockpiled and 2 million more coming in the next three days.

Despite being the world’s biggest producer of vaccines, India does not have enough for itself – undermining a plan to ramp up and widen inoculation from Saturday. Only about 9% of its 1.4 billion people have had a dose.

India has struggled to increase capacity beyond 80 million doses a month due to lack of raw materials and a fire at the Serum Institute, which makes the AstraZeneca vaccine.

In an attempt to speed up the vaccine drive, the country is now in talks with Pfizer about fast-tracking approval of its Covid jab – which has not yet been approved for use in the country.

Indians were dancing in the streets on Sunday as the results of five state elections were announced amid a deadly second wave of coronavirus infections and deaths. Pictured: Congress party supporters celebrate in Kolkata, West Bengal

Five Indian states named winners from elections held in March and April that were seen as a test of the impact the devastating second wave of the pandemic is having on support for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Pictured: Congress party supporters in Siliguri, West Bengal

Congress party supporters flash the victory sign in Siliguri, West Bengal on Sunday after the incumbent chief minister’s party defeated Modi’s BJP

CEO Albert Bourla revealed the talks in a post on LinkedIn on Monday, while also announcing a donation of medicines worth more than $70 million to India.

‘Unfortunately, our vaccine is not registered in India although our application was submitted months ago,’ he said.

‘We are currently discussing with the Indian government an expedited approval pathway to make our Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine available for use in the country.’

Meanwhile international aid has been pouring into India.

Britain will send another 1,000 ventilators to India, the government said on Sunday. Prime ministers Boris Johnson and Modi are scheduled to talk on Tuesday.

The Indian COVID-19 variant has now reached at least 17 countries including Britain, Switzerland and Iran, leading several governments to close their borders to people travelling from India. 

Over the border in Pakistan, the government closed land crossings with Iran and Afghanistan for travellers and slashed international flights amid fears the country could soon find itself in a similar situation.

Border restrictions were announced Sunday as the country prepared to mark the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, which usually sees the mass movement of people between cities and villages as well as the return of migrant workers and overseas Pakistanis for celebrations.

Pakistani officials have anxiously watched the coronavirus crisis unfolding in neighbouring India.

The Civil Aviation Authority said Saturday that from Wednesday, 80 percent of flights would be suspended for two weeks, mainly from the Middle East, until mid-May when the Eid holidays are over.

Foot crossings with Iran and Afghanistan would also be sealed, the country’s coronavirus task force said, adding that trade would be exempt.

Flights and land crossings with neighbouring India – reeling from a devastating outbreak with hundreds of thousands of new cases a day – were closed before the pandemic because of political tensions.

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