India’s Covid caseload surged to 1.66 crore with 3.46 lakh new cases in the world’s highest-ever daily surge reported by a country. In another grim record, India also saw the deadliest day of the pandemic with 2,624 deaths; 1.89 lakh people have died so far.

SOS messages are being sent out by top hospitals, patients and their family and friends amid shortage of medical oxygen and hospital beds.

Hospitals in India have launched desperate appeals for oxygen as the nation’s Covid crisis spirals. India logged over 3.32 lakh COVID-19 cases on Friday, the highest-ever daily count recorded in the world, and 2,263 deaths since Thursday. India is second only to the United States in the total number of cases reported since the beginning of the pandemic.

The national capital is the worst-hit city in the country as it has been reporting the biggest daily spikes in Covid cases this month. Delhi on Friday logged 348 Covid-linked deaths – its biggest single-day spike in the death count. The city also reported 24,331 new coronavirus cases.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has held high-level meetings to review the COVID-19 situation in the country. He has also called for utilising the industry’s full potential to meet the demand for medical oxygen in the coming days, saying there is a need to increase the availability of oxygen cylinders as well as to upgrade the logistical facilities for its transportation.

In a virtual meeting with leading oxygen manufacturers across the country, PM Modi urged the industry to utilise tankers meant to transport other gases for oxygen supply, saying the time now is not only to deal with the challenges but also to provide solutions in a very short time.

Many parts of the country have now tightened restrictions, with Delhi in lockdown and all non-essential services banned in Maharashtra.

Other countries have closed their doors to India, fearing a new variant spreading quickly in the country. The United Arab Emirates on Thursday became the latest nation to impose restrictions, while Canada halted flights from both India and Pakistan.

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