India’s health minister, Mansukh Mandaviya, on Sunday urged states to tap into a $3.1 billion Covid-19 emergency fund set aside by the central government last July — of which only 17% has been spent.
The threat of a new wave fueled by the Delta and Omicron variants was underlined on Monday when India reported 33,750 new Covid-19 cases — more than four times the 7,031 daily cases reported just a week ago, the ministry said. of Public Health.
Of the new cases Monday, 1,700 were from the Omicron tribe, a month since India reported its first case of the variant on Dec. 2.
“Because the Omicron variant is highly transmissible, a high wave of cases could overwhelm the medical system,” Mandaviya said on Sunday.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said last month that oxygen supply has increased and more intensive care beds are available in the country. However, Mandivya said Sunday more should be spent on telemedicine, ICU beds, staff, oxygen and ambulances.
Fallen peak: Cases have risen exponentially in the country’s two largest cities, New Delhi and Mumbai.
On Sunday, the national capital, Delhi, reported 3,194 new infections, a more than 10-fold increase from the 290 cases reported on the same day last week. Mumbai reported 8,063 new cases on Sunday night, nearly nine times the 922 infections it reported last Sunday.
According to Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, only 82 oxygen beds were occupied on Sunday, with 37,000 available. In Mumbai, local government chief Iqbal Chahal said 90% of hospital beds in the city were empty.
Large gatherings: As many as 14 states and union territories have Covid restrictions in place, but large political rallies wearing lax masks continue.
On Sunday, Kejriwal held a public rally in the state of Uttar Pradesh with thousands of attendees where he criticized the Covid management of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government during India’s devastating second wave last year. The BJP, including Prime Minister Modi, have also held several such large public gatherings with lax social distancing.
Total cases: India has registered a total of 34,922,882 Covid cases and 481,893 deaths, according to the Ministry of Health. At least 90% of the country’s adult population has received one dose of a vaccine, while 65% have taken both doses.
India started vaccinations for children aged 15-18 on Monday.