India recorded a fresh daily high Monday of over 273,000 coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours.
The western state of Maharashtra and capital New Delhi continued to record a large number of cases. Figures show that Maharashtra saw over 68,000 new infections and New Delhi more than 25,000 in the past 24 hours.
With cases rising, there have been reports of shortages of beds, medical oxygen supplies and treatment drugs like remdesivir in various parts of the country.
Delhi’s Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said Sunday evening that New Delhi is facing an acute shortage of oxygen.
“In view of sharply increasing cases, Del [Delhi] needs much more than normal supply. Rather than increasing supply, our normal supply has been sharply reduced, and Delhi’s quota has been diverted to other states,” he wrote on Twitter. “Oxygen has become an emergency in Delhi.”
The government said late Sunday that it has taken a number of steps including prohibiting the supply of oxygen for industrial purposes by manufacturers and suppliers in order to meet the requirement of oxygen, which has witnessed a “manifold hike.”
There have been reports of shortages of medical oxygen from some states and union territories, the government said in a release.
The country’s Railways Ministry also announced that it is gearing up to transport liquid medical oxygen and oxygen cylinders across the key corridors and the railway would run ‘Oxygen Express’ trains.
“To facilitate the easy and smooth transport of oxygen across the country, a ‘Green Corridor’ is being created to fast track the movement of ‘Oxygen Express’ trains. This will ensure the supply of medical oxygen in bulk and rapidly to patients,” said the statement.
The railways have also announced that they have utilized several coaches for COVID-19 isolation beds as cases rise across the country.
“Railways can set up >3 lakh [300,000] isolation beds across the country on states’ demand,” Railways Minister Piyush Goyal wrote on Twitter.
Since Thursday, the country has been registering more than 200,000 infections daily. Earlier this month, it recorded 100,000 cases over a 24-hour period for the first time since the pandemic began last year.