May 1 (UPI) — India on Saturday reported 401,000 COVID-19 cases in a single day — a new global record — amid slow vaccine rollout and a shortage of oxygen supplies.
Cases recorded over the previous 24 hours marked the first time any country has surpassed 400,000 cases in a day, CNN reported.
The new record brings India’s total number of cases since the pandemic began to over 19.1 million with 211,853 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins global tracker.
Saturday also marked the 10th consecutive day of daily cases surpassing 300,000, figures from the Indian Ministry of Health shows, and the fourth day in a row reported daily deaths exceeded 3,000.
According to Bloomberg’s COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker, the vaccination rate is about 25 times faster in countries with the highest incomes compared to the lowest.
More than 1.13 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, enough to vaccinate 7.4% of the global population, Bloomberg reported. But India, a developing nation, lags behind wealthier countries in vaccine access with only 13.6% of the world’s vaccinations and 17.7% of the world’s population compared to wealthier China with 22.2% of the world’s vaccinations and 18.2% of the world’s population.
The United States still leads the world in the highest number of cases at more than 32 million and the highest number of deaths at over 576,000, but Bloomberg’s COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker shows only 2% of India’s population has been fully vaccinated compared to 30.5% fully vaccinated in the United States.
India announced earlier this month that it would ramp up its vaccinations by allowing everyone above age 18 to get vaccinated started Saturday, but some states said they have been unable to start such vaccinations due to shortage of doses, the Times of India reported.
Worsening the situation, some hospitals in India are running out of oxygen supplies making it a scarce commodity and resulting in long lines in capital New Dehli with no guarantee of being able to get oxygen, CNN reported. Oxygen supplies from international aid started to arrive Tuesday, but help was stalled by the time needed for the supply distribution and the building of oxygen plants.
In the Batra hospital in New Dehli, a shortage of oxygen supply killed 12 COVID-19 patients, including a senior doctor, Hindustan Times reported.
Further complicating the crisis, in a COVID-19 hospital ward in India’s Gujarat state, a fire broke out early Saturday killing 18 people and damaging equipment and furniture, according to CNN.
In Australia, the health ministry announced a temporary pause on travelers from India entering the country if they have been in India within 14 days of departure. The temporary pause in travel will take effect Monday and will be reconsidered on May 15.
Failure to comply with the temporary pause may result in a penalty of up to five years in prison under Australia’s Bio Security Act.
“The government does not make these decisions lightly,” Minister for Health Greg Hunt said in a statement. “However, it is critical the integrity of the Australian public health and quarantine systems is protected and the number of COVID-19 cases in quarantine facilities is reduced to a manageable level.”
Pakistan has restricted flights to slow the spread of COVID-19. A government agency announced on Twitter Saturday the country has decided to reduced inbound international flights by 20% from May 5-20.
The United States plans to halt travel from India starting Tuesday, the White House press secretary Jen Psaki announced Friday.
Globally, there were more than 877,000 new COVID-19 cases and 14,500 deaths Friday, bringing the overall number of confirmed cases to 151.5 million and deaths to 3.18 million.