India’s new coronavirus infections hit a record level on Wednesday with new 184,372 cases in the last 24 hours, health ministry data showed, taking total infections to 13.9 million. Deaths rose by 1,027, for a toll of 172,085.
After reporting less than 10,000 cases per day earlier this year, India has been the world’s worst-hit country since April 2. The government blames a widespread failure to heed curbs on movement and social interaction among the population of 1.39 billion people.
The rise in cases comes as India’s richest state, Maharashtra, the epicentre of the national second wave, is due to enter a full lockdown at midnight until the end of April to contain the spread of the virus. The state accounts for about a quarter of the country’s total coronavirus cases.
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The Gujarat government on Wednesday downplayed the long queue of ambulances carrying COVID-19 patients seen outside the civil hospital, saying the admission of patients is being carried out as per the protocols which just cannot be discarded.
The government said it was unfair to associate the queue with the efficiency of the civil hospital in handling the situation.
The civil hospital campus in Asarva area of the city houses a dedicated 1,200-bed hospital for COVID-19 patients.
Since the last week, a long queue of ambulances carrying coronavirus positive patients has been seen outside the hospital building.
During a hearing on the overall pandemic situation in the state, the Gujarat High Court recently observed that “over 40 ambulances were found queued up outside the civil hospital”.