India struggles to contain massive surge in cases of COVID-19

23 Apr 21

India is struggling to control a massive surge in COVID-19 cases, with an alarming 1.5 million new cases reported over the last week. The country’s second surge has brought the total caseload past 15 million, second only to the United States globally.  

However, fewer than a quarter of all deaths in India are registered, which means that current estimates of the COVID-19 fatality rate fall far short of the true picture.  

Many Indian cities are struggling to manage a chronic shortage of hospital beds, with several cities reporting that they have nearly run out of hospital beds, especially in ICU departments. Places of worship, sports complexes and even railway coaches have been converted into makeshift hospitals in order to keep up with the demand.  

There are also serious shortages of medical equipment including oxygen and the anti-viral drug, remdesivir, across the country, putting further pressure on the already stretched healthcare system.  

“The populations that we work with in India are some of the most marginalised and vulnerable, who have had limited access to clean water and PPE for each outbreak, and are now among those with the least ability to access timely medical attention,” said Chanthea Nou, Caritas Australia’s Program Coordinator for Cambodia and India. 

“It’s vital that we respond quickly to ensure that our program participants are supported through this second wave of COVID-19, and that they receive the support they need to rebuild their lives afterwards as well.”   

The steep increase of cases is related to what is believed to be a new "double mutant" variant of the coronavirus which transmits faster. 

Caritas Australia works with our partner, Caritas India, to provide support to the most marginalised and vulnerable. Caritas Australia is accepting donations to help support vulnerable communities in Asia through the Asia Emergency Appeal.  

Visit caritas.org.au or call 1800 024 413 toll free to provide much needed support.    

   

Media contact: Jessica Stone  jessica.stone@caritas.org.au  

caritasmedia@caritas.org.au.  

Note: 

Chanthea Nou, Caritas Australia’s Program Coordinator for Cambodia and India is available for interview. 

Anjan Bag, Caritas India’s Manager for Humanitarian Response and Disaster Risk Reduction is available for interview.