Fire Strikes Covid Hospital Ward in India as U.S. Imposes Travel Restrictions

A lethal hospital fireplace in western India within the early hours of Saturday added to the distress within the nation because it battles new international data in a staggering second wave of coronavirus instances.

The blaze ripped by means of a Covid-19 ward within the metropolis of Bharuch, killing a minimum of 18 individuals — 16 of them sufferers, two of them well being care employees — officials told local news outlets. Efforts have been underway to find out the fireplace’s trigger, and fireplace division officers stated a brief circuit may need led to the blaze.

The episode got here as the USA introduced that it could start restricting travel from India subsequent week as a surge of infections and deaths overwhelms the South Asian country, which continued its catastrophic run of record coronavirus transmissions on Saturday with greater than 400,000 new reported instances and three,500 deaths. No different nation has surpassed 400,000 reported instances in a single day.

The second wave in India has crammed hospitals and left individuals dying as they wait to see docs. Family members of the sick are sharing pleas on social media for oxygen, medicine and other scarce supplies. There have been greater than 19 million confirmed instances in India and greater than 211,000 deaths, in line with a New York Times database. Consultants say the true numbers are probably much higher.

The nation’s well being system — fragile and underfunded even in regular instances — is displaying indicators of pressure. The hearth in Bharuch, in Gujarat State, got here on the heels of a number of current accidents in Indian hospitals which have claimed the lives of coronavirus sufferers.

A separate fireplace this week killed four people at a hospital in Surat, one other metropolis in Gujarat. Not less than 22 Covid-19 sufferers died at a hospital a few days earlier in the neighboring state of Maharashtra when a leak lower off their oxygen provide. And two days later, a fire at another hospital in Maharashtra left a minimum of 13 Covid-19 sufferers lifeless.

On Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered condolences to the households of the victims in Bharuch. Gujarat’s chief minister, Vijay Rupani, stated the state authorities would give about $5,300 in assist to every sufferer’s household.

The USA joined nations together with Australia, Britain and Canada in curbing journey from India. The U.S. restrictions, that are anticipated to take impact on Tuesday, is not going to apply to residents or everlasting residents of the USA, their spouses or minor kids or siblings, or to the mother and father of residents or everlasting residents who’re underneath 21.

These exempt from the ban should nonetheless adjust to earlier requirements for international travelers, together with a adverse take a look at consequence for the virus earlier than touring and once more upon getting into the USA from India. They have to additionally quarantine if they don’t seem to be vaccinated.

Beginning on Monday, Australia will bar all travelers, together with its personal residents, from getting into if they’ve been in India through the earlier two weeks, with violators topic to jail phrases and heavy fines. Officials acknowledged that the measure was “very drastic” however stated it was essential to hold Australians protected.

The USA and different governments have pledged their help to India because it grapples with the world’s gravest coronavirus disaster for the reason that pandemic started. The White Home press secretary, Jen Psaki, stated on Friday that navy cargo planes had begun the primary deliveries of emergency provides promised by the Biden administration.

On Saturday, India expanded vaccinations to all individuals over age 18, however many states stated that they’d not have the ability to meet the demand because of a lack of doses. Lower than 2 % of India’s 940 million adults have been absolutely vaccinated, in line with a Times database.

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