05/03/2021, 09.52
INDIA
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Delhi, almost 20 million cases of Covid19

Hospitals full, shortage of oxygen cylinders, overcrowded crematoria, improvised pyres to burn the dead. Criticism of Prime Minister Modi. Vaccines in short supply.

New Delhi (AsiaNews / Agencies) - More than 300,000 new cases of coronavirus have been registered in India today, bringing the total number to almost 20 million (19.93 million), and the deaths to 218,959.

Several experts believe the real number is in all likelihood at least 10 times higher.

The hospitals are full and the ill are being stationed in front of the buildings; there are no oxygen cylinders and the crematoria are overcrowded, so much so that many pyres to burn the dead are lit in improvised places.

Several states are trying to curb the spread of the pandemic with restrictions, but the central government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is reluctant to impose a national lockdown, seen by many as the only way to reduce the infection.

Modi is at the center of a storm of criticism for having failed to roll out a program to prevent the soaring infection rate. Last year's lockdown - on jobs and transport, with hundreds of millions of migrants left without jobs, wages and homes - is also criticized as an impromptu and ineffective step.

Despite the rising contagion curve, Modi allowed elections in five states and let millions of people celebrate Hindu religious festivals such as Kumbh Mela.

Analysts expect political consequences for Modi in the 2024 general election. Meanwhile, his party was defeated in West Bengal, although the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) won in Assam.

Several states have postponed the vaccination campaign scheduled for May 1st due to lack of vaccines. Despite being a leading country in the production of vaccines, India has preferred to sell them abroad, reducing their use at home. So far only 9% of the population of 1.4 billion.

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