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COVID-19 Crisis In India: The Latest News and Updates

India continues to grapple with a widespread second wave of COVID-19. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the country has reported over 28 million cases of the virus, and more than 300,000 deaths. Experts have warned, however, that these figures are likely underestimated, as many families struggle to access medical care and hospitals continue to be overwhelmed with patients. 

We’ve created this page to provide you with the latest news and updates on the ongoing crisis in India, particularly for Australians with family and friends in the country. This is what we know: 

COVID-19 infection rates have started to decline

The daily rate of new COVID-19 infections has seen a decline in recent days. On 26 May 211,298 cases were recorded, compared with 412,431 on 12 May. Experts are hoping this is a sign that the second wave has peaked and the curve is flattening. 

India’s second wave has uncovered new variants of COVID-19

Colloquially known as the “Indian” variants, B.1.617 and B.1.1.7 are new strains of COVID-19 first found in India. These are the variants of the virus that have spread rapidly in India, and are now being detected in other countries around the globe. 

These variants can be transmitted within a day of infection, compared to six to seven days of infection with previous strains. 

India’s health system continues to be overwhelmed

ChildFund India country director Nellam Makhijani says: “The new surge has nearly crippled the medical infrastructure, resulting in shortages of hospital beds, oxygen, and other critical medical supplies. Many regions have been forced to implement weekly lockdowns and night curfews, including Delhi, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Odisha.”

The surge in COVID-19 patients is also complicating access to essential health care and treatment for other medical conditions. 

What is the current status of India’s COVID-19 vaccination rollout?

From 1 May, all Indian citizens aged over 18 years became eligible for vaccination, but the outbreak remains out of control. Over 11% of India’s population have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, with 42 million people fully vaccinated. 

The current vaccines authorised for use in India are Covaxin, Covishield and Sputnik V. 

COVID-19 restrictions remain in place across India

COVID-19 restrictions remain in place across India’s states to varying degrees. Restrictions include mask wearing, bans on mass gatherings, curfews and closures of high-risk venues. 

Despite the ongoing outbreak, New Delhi plans to relax restrictions from 31 May, a move that has been criticised by health experts as potentially disastrous. 

Stay up to date with COVID-19 in India

We’ll keep this page up to date with the latest developments in the COVID-19 outbreak in India. 

If you would like to support children and families affected by COVID-19 around the world, please make a donation to our COVID-19 emergency appeal today. 

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