India's Covid-19 tally surged past 17.99 million with the world's biggest one-day spike of 360,960 cases while the death toll due to the viral disease crossed the 200,000 mark with 3,293 fatalities recorded during the same period, according to the latest data released by the Union ministry of health and family welfare on Wednesday.
India, which is only second to the United States in terms of the total number of Covid-19 cases, has been reporting over 300,000 new infections daily for the past one week amid a scarcity of health infrastructure. The active cases in the country stand at 2,978,709, which accounts for 16.34% of the total confirmed cases. A total of 17,23,912 samples were tested for coronavirus disease across the country on Tuesday.
The figures come days before the nation is set to launch the third phase of the Covid-19 vaccination drive under which all adults, where all citizens above the age of 18 years will be eligible to take the jab. Some states, including Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Punjab and Rajasthan, however, said they won't be able to begin the inoculation campaign on May 1 due to 'shortage' of vaccines stock.
As the nation battles the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a meeting with top officials to review the situation in the country in terms of oxygen availability, medicines, health infrastructure, etc. "The PM instructed the officials to work closely with state governments to start the PSA Oxygen plants at the earliest," his office said in a statement.
Several nations have pledged support to India amid the Covid-19 second wave crisis. US president Joe Biden on Monday spoke to PM Modi and assured that his country will be sending machinery to manufacture vaccine and also vaccines at a later stage. "We're sending immediately a whole series of help that he (Modi) needs, including providing remdesivir," Biden added, referring to his phone call with Modi.
Meanwhile, Australia has also offered assistance, including 500 ventilators, as part of its initial support package. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that more medical equipment, including 100 oxygen concentrators, will be procured and shipped to India over the next week.The Indian Air Force (IAF) also airlifted nine cryogenic oxygen containers from Dubai and Singapore and has brought them to the Panagarh air base in West Bengal, according to an official statement issued on Wednesday.