clearn.png
Sunday December 5th, 2021 12:22AM

Hospital fire kills 18 virus patients as India steps up jabs

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

NEW DELHI (AP) — A fire in a COVID-19 hospital ward in western India killed 18 patients early Saturday, as the country grappling with the worst outbreak yet stepped up a vaccination drive for all adults even as some states said they don't have enough jabs.

India on Saturday set yet another daily global record with 401,993 new cases, taking its tally to more than 19.1 million. Another 3,523 people died in the past 24 hours, raising the overall fatalities to 211,853, according to the Health Ministry. Experts believe both figures are an undercount.

The fire broke out in a COVID-19 ward on the ground floor of the Welfare Hospital in Bharuch, a town in Gujarat state, and was extinguished within an hour, police said. The cause is being investigated.

Thirty-one other patients were rescued from the blaze by hospital workers and firefighters and their condition was stable, said police officer B.M Parmar. Late last month, a fire in an intensive care unit killed 13 COVID-19 patients in the Virar area on the outskirts of Mumbai.

India’s government on Saturday shifted its faltering vaccination campaign into high gear by saying all adults 18 and over could get shots. Since January, nearly 10% of Indians have received one dose, but only around 1.5% have received both, although India is one of the world’s biggest producers of vaccines.

Some states have already said they don’t have enough doses for everyone, and even the ongoing effort to inoculate people above 45 is sputtering.

The state of Maharashtra has said it won’t be able to start the expanded vaccinations on Saturday. The health minister for the capital New Delhi, Satyender Jain, said earlier this week that the city doesn’t have enough doses to vaccinate people between the ages of 18 and 44.

India’s capital also extended its week-old lockdown by another week to curb the explosive surge in virus cases, tweeted Arvind Kejriwal, a top elected official.

All shops and factories will remain closed until May 9, except for those that provide essential services such as grocery stores. People are not supposed to leave their homes, except for a handful of reasons like seeking medical care or going to the airport or railroad stations. Daily wage earners and small businesses are expected to suffer a further blow to their livelihoods.

Separately, 12 COVID-19 patients, including a doctor, on high-flow oxygen died Saturday at a hospital in New Delhi after it ran out of the supply for 80 minutes, said S.C.L. Gupta, director of Batra Hospital.

Gupta said the hospital has been facing irregular oxygen supply from manufacturers for more than a week, but it exhausted it completely for the first time.

He said the hospital tank was refilled with enough oxygen for 12 hours and it will again be looking for replenishment.

The New Delhi television news channel also said an attorney for the Batra hospital complained to a New Delhi court that is hearing petitions by several hospitals on the issue.

Hospitals in the Indian capital have been complaining of emergencies caused by irregular oxygen supplies from manufacturers due to the sudden rise in demand caused by the massive spike in infections.

Faced with an unprecedented COVID-19 surge that has filled hospitals and crematoriums, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government described the pandemic as a "once-in-a-century crisis.” Modi held a Cabinet meeting Friday that discussed steps to save the country’s crumbling health system by adding hospital beds, resolving issues in production, storage and transport of oxygen and tackling the shortage of essential medicines.

In a now-familiar scene, television images showed a woman gasping for breath in her car while her family looked for a hospital bed on the outskirts of New Delhi. The 33-year-old woman couldn’t find room at three hospitals and died in the car on Friday, The Times of India newspaper reported.

Opposition Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said the Modi government completely failed to understand how to tackle the pandemic, right from the very beginning, despite repeated warnings from scientists and experts.

“They continuously ignored rising cases and were busy instead with election campaigns. They encouraged super-spreader events," Gandhi said in an interview with the Press Trust of India news agency.

The U.S. meanwhile joined a growing list of countries restricting travel from India, the White House said, citing the devastating rise in COVID-19 cases and the emergence of potentially dangerous variants.

President Joe Biden spoke Monday with Modi about the growing health crisis and pledged to immediately send assistance. This week, the U.S. began delivering therapeutics, rapid virus tests and oxygen to India, along with some materials needed for India to boost its domestic production of COVID-19 vaccines.

Additionally, a CDC team of public health experts was expected to be on the ground soon to help Indian health officials move to slow the spread of the virus.

Other nations have also sent assistance, and the Indian air force airlifted oxygen containers from Singapore, Dubai and Bangkok.

A German military aircraft with 120 ventilators departed for India on Saturday morning, and plans were being made for other flights with more supplies. Also on board was a team of 13 that will help prepare to set up a mobile oxygen production unit that will be flown to India next week, German news agency dpa said.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP World News
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Hospital fire kills 18 virus patients as India steps up jabs
A fire in a COVID-19 hospital ward in western India has killed 18 patients as the country grappling with the worst outbreak yet steps up a vaccination drive for all its adults even though some states say don’t have enough jabs
12:02AM ( 8 minutes ago )
The Latest: Broncos end 3rd round with Ohio State's Browning
The Denver Broncos wrapped up the second day of the NFL draft by using a compensatory pick to take Ohio State linebacker Baron Browning with the 105th overall pick
11:58PM ( 11 minutes ago )
SEC still most coveted conference, 3 more QBs taken
Not much changed on the second night of the NFL draft
11:52PM ( 18 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Texas voters head back to polls after congressman's death
The widow of a Texas congressman who died after contracting the coronavirus is carrying Donald Trump’s endorsement into a special election
10:55PM ( 1 hour ago )
FedEx shooting victims to be remembered at big ceremony
The eight people killed in a mass shooting at a FedEx warehouse will be remembered Saturday during a public ceremony at the football stadium where the Indianapolis Colts play
10:54PM ( 1 hour ago )
Suicide truck bomber hits Afghan guest house, killing 21
Afghan officials say the death toll in a suicide truck bombing that struck a guest house in eastern Logar province has risen to at least 21 with as many as 90 other wounded
10:41PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
Manchin pans DC statehood bill in another break with Dems
A long-shot bid to pass legislation that would make the District of Columbia the nation’s 51st state is stalling in the Senate
7:43PM ( 4 hours ago )
Mars helicopter aces 4th flight, gets extra month of flying
NASA's little Mars helicopter is getting an extra month of flying
7:11PM ( 4 hours ago )
US to restrict travel from India over COVID starting Tuesday
The U.S. will restrict travel from India starting Tuesday, citing a devastating rise in COVID-19 cases in the country and the emergence of potentially dangerous variants of the coronavirus
6:42PM ( 5 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
Auschwitz inmates' families oppose ex-PM on museum council
Relatives of former Polish Auschwitz prisoners are protesting the appointment of a top member of the country’s right-wing ruling party to an advisory council at the state-run Auschwitz-Birkenau museum in Poland
4:36PM ( 7 hours ago )
Russia blacklists 8 EU officials in retaliatory action
Russia has blacklisted eight officials from the European Union in retaliation for EU sanctions over the imprisonment of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny
4:11PM ( 7 hours ago )
Russia targets lawyer over media comments on treason case
Russian authorities have launched a criminal probe against a lawyer representing a former Russian journalist accused of treason and the team of imprisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny
4:00PM ( 8 hours ago )
AP World News
The Latest: Broncos end 3rd round with Ohio State's Browning
The Denver Broncos wrapped up the second day of the NFL draft by using a compensatory pick to take Ohio State linebacker Baron Browning with the 105th overall pick
11:58PM ( 11 minutes ago )
SEC still most coveted conference, 3 more QBs taken
Not much changed on the second night of the NFL draft
11:52PM ( 18 minutes ago )
Bieber strikes out 11, sets K record as Indians beat Chisox
Shane Bieber struck out 11, setting a major league record in the process and pitching the Cleveland Indians past the Chicago White Sox 5-3
11:50PM ( 19 minutes ago )
Hospital fire kills 18 virus patients as India steps up jabs
A fire in a COVID-19 hospital ward in western India has killed 18 patients as the country grappling with the worst outbreak yet steps up a vaccination drive for all its adults even though some states say don’t have enough jabs
11:45PM ( 25 minutes ago )
The Latest: Patriots take edge rusher Ronnie Perkins at 96
The New England Patriots used the compensatory pick it received for losing Tom Brady as a free agent to Tampa Bay as it selected Oklahoma edge rusher Ronnie Perkins with the 96th overall pick
11:25PM ( 44 minutes ago )