India’s new coronavirus infections hit a record peak for a fifth day on Monday, as countries including Britain, Germany and the United States pledged to send urgent medical aid to help battle the crisis overwhelming its hospitals.
Infections in the last 24 hours rose to 352,991, with overcrowded hospitals in Delhi and elsewhere turning away patients after running out of supplies of medical oxygen and beds.
A stark symbol of the crisis are the overwhelmed graveyards and crematoriums, stacked to the brim with the dead. Deaths rose by 2,812 in the past 24 hours, bringing total fatalities to 195,123, the Health Ministry said — though the number is believed to be a vast undercount.
Krishna Udayakumar, founding director of the Duke Global Health Innovation Center at Duke University, said it would be impossible for the country to keep up with needs over the coming days as things stand.
“The situation in India is tragic and likely to get worse for some weeks to months,” he said, noting that a “concerted, global effort to help India at this time of crisis” is desperately needed.
The White House said the U.S. is “working around the clock” to deploy testing kits, ventilators and personal protective equipment, and it would seek to provide oxygen supplies as well. It said it would also make available sources of raw material urgently needed to manufacture Covishield, the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine made by the Serum Institute of India.
“Just as India sent assistance to the United States as our hospitals were strained early in the pandemic, we are determined to help India in its time of need,” President Joe Biden said in a tweet.
-From Reuters, The Associated Press and CBC News, last updated at 11:30 a.m. ET
What’s happening around Canada
WATCH | N.S. to see new restrictions as COVID-19 cases jump:
As of 11:05 a.m. ET on Monday, Canada had reported 1,183,470 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 85,247 considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 23,997.
In hard-hit Ontario, health officials Monday reported 3,510 new cases of COVID-19 and 24 additional deaths. Hospitalizations in the province stood at 2,271, with 877 people in intensive care units due to COVID-19-related illness.
Quebec health officials reported 889 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday and eight additional deaths. COVID-19 hospitalizations stood at 664, with 167 people in intensive care.
Across the North, Nunavut on Monday reported nine new cases of COVID-19. “There remain 47 active cases of COVID-19 in Nunavut,” Premier Joe Savikataaq said on Twitter, with 42 of them in Iqaluit. Health officials in Yukon and the Northwest Territories had not yet provided an update for the day.
Nova Scotia on Monday reported 66 new cases of COVID-19 — a new high for the province, which recently tightened up restrictions and boosted fines for violations. Premier Iain Rankin and Dr. Robert Strang, the province’s chief medical officer of health, are expected to provide a briefing later in the day.
Health officials in New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island had not yet provided updated information on Monday.
In the Prairie provinces, Manitoba reported 259 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, with no additional deaths. In Saskatchewan, health officials reported 249 new cases of COVID-19 and two additional deaths.
WATCH | Doctors sound the alarm as Alberta ICUs near capacity:
Alberta, meanwhile, reported 1,437 new COVID-19 cases and three new deaths on Sunday. There were 594 people in hospital with COVID-19, including 140 in intensive care.
Facing rising case numbers, council in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo — which includes the Fort McMurray area — passed a motion to declare a local state of emergency “to support efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.” Students from elementary through to high school in Fort McMurray are moving online, with students set to return to the classroom on May 10, officials said.
In British Columbia, health officials will provide updated figures covering the weekend later Monday.
-From CBC News and The Canadian Press, last updated at 11:05 a.m. ET
What’s happening around the world
As of early Monday morning, more than 147.2 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University. The reported global death toll stood at more than 3.1 million.
In the Asia-Pacific region, confirmed coronavirus infections in the Philippines surged past one million on Monday in the country’s latest grim milestone, as officials assess whether to extend a monthlong lockdown in the Manila region amid a deadly spike or relax it to fight an economic recession, joblessness and hunger.
Pakistani authorities, meanwhile, are racing against time to add more beds and ventilators at hospitals amid a surge in deaths and coronavirus infections. Authorities have started summoning troops to ensure people don’t violate physical distancing rules, according to Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad. Pakistan said it will be forced to impose a nationwide lockdown if the COVID-19 situation does not improve this week.
In Europe, Germany’s coronavirus infection rate rose at the weekend despite stricter restrictions and Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said he did not expect moves to ease curbs before the end of May.
Much of Italy is reopening after weeks of strict coronavirus lockdowns, with museums welcoming the public and bars and restaurants open for outdoor, sit-down service.
Despite appeals for physical distancing, public transport in Rome and Milan was jammed as high schools were allowed to operate at least 70 per cent in-person learning starting Monday.
In the Americas, Mexico’s top diplomat travelled to Moscow on Sunday for a visit with Russian officials, his office said, amid talks to hammer out plans for Mexico to bottle Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine domestically after delays in shipments.
In Africa, South African researchers will on Wednesday resume a study further evaluating the efficacy of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine in the field, after it was temporarily suspended along with use of the shot in the United States.
In the Middle East, Israel and Bahrain have agreed to recognize each other’s vaccination programs and let people who have had shots travel without restriction between the countries.
-From Reuters and The Associated Press, last updated at 11:30 a.m. ET