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India turns to ex-army medics as COVID surge sparks calls for lockdown

CoronavirusMay 09, 2021 12:46PM ET
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4/4 © Reuters. Relatives react as healthcare workers pull a stretcher carrying the body of a person who died from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at a mortuary in Ahmedabad, India, May 8, 2021. REUTERS/Amit Dave 2/4

By Abhirup Roy and Aishwarya Nair

MUMBAI (Reuters) -India will recruit hundreds of former army medics to support its overwhelmed healthcare system, the defence ministry said on Sunday, as the country grapples with record COVID-19 infections and deaths amid calls for a complete nationwide lockdown.

Some 400 medical officers are expected to serve on contract for a maximum of 11 months, the ministry said in a press release, adding that other defence doctors had also been contacted for online consultations.

COVID-19 cases and deaths have been hitting records every two or three days. Deaths rose by more than 4,000 for a second consecutive day on Sunday. (Graphic on global cases and deaths) https://tmsnrt.rs/34pvUyi

Many Indian states have imposed strict lockdowns over the past month while others have announced restrictions on public movement and shut down cinemas, restaurants, pubs and shopping malls.

But pressure is mounting on Prime Minister Narendra Modi to announce a nationwide lockdown as it did during the first wave last year.

The Indian Medical Association (IMA) called for a "complete, well-planned, pre-announced" lockdown instead of sporadic night curfews and restrictions imposed by states for a few days at a time.

"IMA is astonished to see the extreme lethargy and inappropriate actions from the ministry of health in combating the agonizing crisis born out of the devastating second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic," it said in a statement on Saturday.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, a top White House coronavirus adviser, said on Sunday he has advised Indian authorities they need to shut down.

"You’ve got to shut down. I believe several of the Indian states have already done that, but you need to break the chain of transmission. And one of the ways to do that is to shut down," Fauci said on ABC's "This Week" television program.

Modi is battling criticism for allowing huge gatherings at a religious festival and holding large election rallies over the past two months even as COVID-19 cases were surging.

The health ministry reported 4,092 deaths over the past 24 hours, taking the overall death toll to 242,362. New cases rose by 403,738, just shy of the record and increasing the total since the start of the pandemic to 22.3 million.

India on Saturday reported its highest ever single-day COVID-19 death toll of 4,187. The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation estimates that India will see 1 million COVID-19 deaths by August.

With an acute shortage of oxygen and beds in many hospitals and with morgues and crematoriums overflowing, experts have said the actual numbers for COVID-19 cases and fatalities could be far higher than reported.

The world's largest vaccine-producing nation has fully vaccinated just over 34.3 million, or only 2.5%, of its 1.35 billion population as of Sunday, according to data from the government's Co-WIN portal. (Graphic on global vaccinations) https://tmsnrt.rs/3tUM8ta

Support has been pouring in from around the world in the form of oxygen cylinders and concentrators, ventilators and other medical equipment.

India turns to ex-army medics as COVID surge sparks calls for lockdown
 

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Comments (10)
ismail chhaya
ismail chhaya May 09, 2021 12:10PM ET
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come in india and see how people are suffering from covid...
danny Levine
danny Levine May 09, 2021 12:10PM ET
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the media have a tendency to exaggerate facts
Gabriel Hillary
Gabriel Hillary May 09, 2021 12:10PM ET
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government are now working towards it
Kaveh Sun
Kaveh Sun May 09, 2021 12:08PM ET
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The country is in the panic mode.
danny Levine
danny Levine May 09, 2021 10:29AM ET
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for those pushing for lockdowns: you're doing more harm than good! yes you save thousands of lives from covid. but millions will die from starvation and other acute diseases. remember india has 1.4 billion people. covid is such a non issue for then!
Lars Kok
Lars Kok May 09, 2021 10:29AM ET
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Where du you get your insight on India? Trump?
danny Levine
danny Levine May 09, 2021 10:29AM ET
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Lars Kok I'm simply stating facts
John Tierney
John Tierney May 09, 2021 8:42AM ET
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Sent in by China. China fears indias potential dominance
perplexed76 .
perplexed76 . May 09, 2021 8:42AM ET
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no, indians are aryans not asians.
nar singh
nar singh May 09, 2021 6:32AM ET
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godi media only public false news reality is more pathetic, people not going to hospital after covid +ve report God may save the India
ismail chhaya
ismail chhaya May 09, 2021 5:46AM ET
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india is almost 90% lockdown..only some small villages is open..all business are closed restriction states also....only grocery and medical are open...but our stock market rising day by day...
Eudon Hickey
Eudon Hickey May 09, 2021 5:42AM ET
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Crisis actors being used in this picture.I wish there can be severe punishment for fake news
Kelly Mayer
Kelly Mayer May 09, 2021 4:51AM ET
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Fear sells. If covid hadnt found India this time around, covid numbers would have become obsolete. As well as the media. India has one of the lowest covid mortality per million in the world. 10x less than the US. But so many new cases will only make global mortality percentages plumet to sub 1%, which is where it is at if you consider the most important statistic per country - mortality per million. Check it out and put it side by side with the total population of any given country. Will *****your mind.
Murali Brahmandam
Murali Brahmandam May 09, 2021 3:53AM ET
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lock down works;
mcdo jamie
mcdo jamie May 09, 2021 3:53AM ET
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hello dear
danny Levine
danny Levine May 09, 2021 12:50AM ET
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lockdown has never worked. not sure why would it work this time
 
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