India reports record 4,529 daily Covid-19 deaths

By: AFP      Published: 11:54 AM, 19 May, 2021
India coronavirus
Health workers wearing PPE suits (Personal Protection Equipment) can be seen at a banquet hall turned into a Covid-19 coronavirus care centre after surge in cases in New Delhi.–AFP

India on Wednesday reported a record 4,529 coronavirus deaths in a single day even as the number of new cases in its devastating new wave fell.

The daily pandemic death toll has been rising in recent days as cases spread into rural districts with poor health facilities.

With the latest deaths, India's official toll has now risen to 283,248 behind the United States on more than 600,000 deaths and Brazil with about 440,000.

Experts say, however, that India's toll is much higher.

More than 267,000 new cases were added, taking the number of known infections to 25.5 million, second only to the United States.

At the current pace, India could overtake the United States in June.

The latest wave has ravaged India for six weeks, feeding on shortages of hospital beds, oxygen and critical drugs. Since the start of April, the number of cases has doubled and more than 100,000 people have died.

Indian authorities say that keeping new cases below 300,000 for a third straight day is a sign that the wave is easing.

"The pandemic curve is stabilising," said V.K. Paul, head of the government's Covid-19 task force.

Sudan bans travellers from India

Sudan on Tuesday banned travellers arriving from India and imposed new coronavirus restrictions including closing schools, as coronavirus cases rise.

"Entry will be prevented for all travellers arriving directly from India or through any other country after having visited India in the past 14 days," said the country's ruling council in a statement. 

Travellers from Egypt and Ethiopia will be re-tested upon arrival, it said.

India is experiencing elevated numbers of Covid-19 cases following the spread of a variant which has been classified by the World Health Organisation as a "variant of concern."

Sudan has registered 34,707 Covid-19 cases including 1,116 fatalities as of May 16.

Authorities fear the virus caseload would exceed 100,000 during the first and second weeks of June if people fail to take the necessary measures, according to the statement. 

"The Supreme Health Emergencies Committee ... ordered the suspension of all universities and schools for a month," it said. 

Mass prayers and rituals will also be put on hold.

The coronavirus has piled pressure on Sudan which is navigating a rocky political transition and struggling with economic woes following the April 2019 ouster of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir.

Its dilapidated healthcare system was already strained by acute shortages of medicines and medical supplies.

In March, the country began inoculating healthcare workers after receiving AstraZeneca vaccinations through the Covax initiative which provides jabs to poor countries.