323,000 new cases: India wilts under worst-ever COVID-19 outbreak

People sit in a waiting area to receive a dose of COVISHIELD, a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine manufactured by Serum Institute of India, at a vaccination centre in Ahmedabad, India, April 2, 2021.

India on Tuesday hit record numbers of COVID-19 infections worldwide for the sixth day, as health systems buckled under the pressure, with shortages of medical oxygen and hospital beds causing more deaths.

A total of 323,144 new cases and 2,771 deaths were registered, Health Ministry data showed, taking the caseload to 17.6 million cases and the death tally to 197,894.

In the worst-ever outbreak, India has been logging over 300,000 cases since Thursday, when it surpassed the previous highest one-day spike of around 300,300 cases in the United States in January.

The country has also been seeing its highest daily number of deaths over the past week.

Doctors in New Delhi, the worst-hit among the Indian cities, have described how critical patients are dying on the streets for lack of hospital beds or medical oxygen.

The oxygen crisis was blamed for 14 more deaths in four states including Maharashtra, the worst-affected state, the Times of India daily reported.

Even as several nations pledged support, the first shipment of COVID medical supplies including 100 ventilators and 95 oxygen concentrators arrived from Britain on Tuesday, the Foreign Ministry said.

India, the worst-affected country worldwide after the U.S., is in the grip of a second deadly wave that began mid-February.

The actual number of cases and deaths was likely to be higher than the numbers provided by authorities, with many people avoiding testing and many deaths going unregistered.

Several countries had suspended flights from India, including Australia, Malaysia and Netherlands.

Meanwhile, Germany, Italy and Bangladesh had issued similar bans.(dpa/NAN)