Watch the State: COVID-19 India public archive

By Watch The State

3 May 2021

Artwork by Madpaule_diaries

Set up by The Polis Project, Watch the State (WTS) documents, analyzes and aims to understand state violence.

As part of our ongoing documentation work, we have been covering the COVID-19 crisis in India since March 2020. We regularly share and amplify information relating to state violence through our Twitter and Instagram handles. In April 2021, the #COVID19SecondWave broke out. The reports that continue to emerge suggest that there is gross government mismanagement, negligence and incompetence resulting in an unprecedented public health emergency.

The health infrastructure has completely crumbled, medicines and hospital beds are not sufficient to cover the growing demand and, worst of all, there is an acute shortage of oxygen supply in the country. COVID-19 vaccines are also scarcely available, despite the fact that India is one of the largest vaccine manufacturers in the world. Although the central government decided that everyone from 18 to 44 years of age can be vaccinated from 1 May 2021 onwards, there is a big disparity in prices between the central and state governments.

The COVID-19 testing facilities are overburdened and patients are dying outside hospitals while waiting for treatment. Hospitals in New Delhi are approaching the Courts to ask for uninterrupted oxygen supply. Internal migrant workers, who are afraid of another sudden lockdown are moving back to their villages and towns often without any government support in terms of rations or monetary aid. At the same time, senior leaders (including the Prime Minister and the Home Minister) held electoral rallies with huge crowds while the Kumbh Mela, a Hindu religious pilgrimage, took place in April with millions of devotees attending.

As people are increasingly unable to rely on the Government, Twitter and social media have become the COVID-19 helpline where helpless citizens ask for help and provide mutual support. The Uttar Pradesh state government has threatened action against hospitals and individuals who put up notices about the lack of oxygen, hospital beds and essential life-saving medicines during this emergency, and First Information Reports are being filed against those asking for medical help on Twitter. Similarly, Twitter and Facebook have been censoring content that is critical of the Indian Government and its COVID-19 management.

In order to maintain a lived memory of the present, WTS is collecting through various reliable news sources and sharing on social media these instances of state violence. On 22 and 29 April 2021, however, the Watch the State Twitter handle was temporarily restricted by Twitter. The account was restored a few hours later, but this incident made us acutely aware of the censorship measures that social media platforms take as a result of government orders.

Watch the State: COVID-19 India public archive is an ongoing effort to document and collate the state violence in relation to the COVID-19 crisis in India. We aim to archive reports on state violence to preserve public memory.

Artwork by d.e.e.m.u.k

Saturday 24 April 2021 

As COVID-19 devastates India, deaths go under countedThe New York Times

By Jeffrey GettlemanSameer YasirHari Kumar and Suhasini Raj

“India’s coronavirus second wave is rapidly sliding into a devastating crisis, with hospitals unbearably full, oxygen supplies running low, desperate people dying in line waiting to see doctors — and mounting evidence that the actual death toll is far higher than officially reported.”

*

Twitter takes down tweets from MP, MLA, Editor criticizing handling of pandemic upon government request- Medianama

By Aroon Deep and Aditya Chunduru

Twitter has complied with government requests to censor 52 tweets that mostly criticized India’s handling of the second surge of the COVID-19 pandemic. These tweets, which are now inaccessible to Indian users of the social media website, include posts by Revanth Reddy, a sitting Member of Parliament; Moloy Ghatak, a West Bengal state minister; actor Vineet Kumar Singh; and two filmmakers, Vinod Kapri and Avinash Das.” 

*

Six patients die at Amritsar hospital due to oxygen shortage- The Wire

By Press Trust of India

“Six patients died at a private hospital due to the shortage of oxygen, hospital authorities said. 5 of the 6 patients were infected with COVID-19, they said. “Despite the district administration being repeatedly asked to extend help, no one turned up to do the needful,” Sunil Devgan, the chairman and managing director of Neelkant hospital, alleged.”

*

At government request, twitter takes down some tweets critical of official COVID-19 handlingThe Wire

By The Wire

“Twitter has withheld from public view around 50 tweets in India, a good chunk of which criticized the manner in which the Narendra Modi government has handled the COVID-19 pandemic. India is currently in the midst of a brutal ‘second wave’, with daily infections passing 300,000, and the total number of daily deaths running over 2,000.”

*

“A government officials “advisory”, breezily addressed to “All Social media platforms”, is all it takes for Twitter India to summarily suspend handles—without assigning a reason and without pointing to the content that “Big Brother” has a problem with.”

Source: Churumuri

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Oxygen shortage | 20 COVID-19 patients die in Delhi’s Jaipur Golden HospitalThe Hindu

By The Hindu

“As many as 20 critically-ill COVID-19 patients died at Jaipur Golden Hospital in the national capital on 23 April night due to low oxygen supply. On the morning of 24 April, the hospital had oxygen for only 45 minutes and they sought urgent government help.”

*

VIDEO: “Day after day the staff works here, knowing full well that if their families get sick, even they will struggle to find medical care. There is helplessness and anger. Report by @yogital

By Mohammad Zubair

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“Will hang that man”: High Court on anyone obstructing oxygen supplyNDTV

By Arvind Gunasekar

“If anyone obstructs oxygen supply, “we will hang that man”, the Delhi High Court reportedly said today as it heard a hospital’s petition over shortage of oxygen for seriously-ill Covid patients. The court termed the massive rise in cases as a Tsunami.”

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“As per Gujarat Samachar report, 100 people died in the last 24 hours due to COVID-19 in Vadodara alone. Government’s official figure is 9.”

Source: Mehul Devkala

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Gurgaon Max hospital SOS: ‘Only 2 hours of oxygen left’Indian Express

By Sakshi Dayal  

“A day after Gurgaon’s Artemis Hospital put out an SOS tweet stating they had only 3 hours of oxygen left for their patients, another private hospital in Gurgaon, Max Hospital, has put out a similar message on the social media platform today, stating it has less than 2 hours of oxygen supply left and appealed for help.” 

*

‘Unfolding disaster’: How foreign media is covering India’s COVID-19 crisisNewslaundry

By Newslaundry

“As the pandemic continues to batter India, exposing its collapsing healthcare system, the international media is sounding alarm, and conveying the utter desperation of the situation in a way that the Indian mainstream media has largely failed to do.”

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Bengal: ECI slaps FIRs, show cause notices against candidates violating COVID-19 normsThe Wire

By The Wire

“The Election Commission of India (ECI) till Friday lodged First Information Reports (FIR) against 13 candidates for allegedly violating COVID-19 safety protocols and issued show cause notices to 33 others contesting the West Bengal assembly elections in the remaining seventh and eighth phases for the same reason, an official said.”

 *

Hospital to crematorium: A teenage COVID-19 victim’s last journeyNewslaundry

By Supriti David

“A young woman sees my press card and walks over. Her sister was admitted three days ago, she says, and she and her brother-in-law have been waiting outside since. Why are they waiting, I ask, they won’t be allowed in to see her? “In case she needs anything,” she replies. “What if they run out of oxygen and we have to get it for her at a moment’s notice?” ” 

*

COVID-19 patients struggle to get into Ahmedabad hospitals even as bodies keep coming outThe Caravan

By Chahat Rana

“On the night of 17 April, Jadiben Chunnilal rushed her 60-year-old husband, Chunnilal, to the trauma center of Ahmedabad’s Sheth Vadilal Sarabhai General Hospital in an autorickshaw. As she and her son struggled to move Chunnilal to a stretcher, security guards outside the trauma centre surrounded them and refused them entrance. “This is a COVID-19 hospital, you will have to find a bed elsewhere,” the guard told them.” 

*

Friday 23 April 2021 

As bodies pile up, India’s leaders face rising public anger over second COVID-19 waveCNN

By Jessie Yeung, Manveena Suri and Swati Gupta

“As the curve shows no sign of flattening, people of India have been forced to wonder where the nation’s leaders are. While many state governments and local authorities had flagged the risk of a second wave and begun preparations, the vacuum of leadership in the central government became clear as the Prime Minister retained his silence on the situation until a few weeks ago. Public anger seems to spilling online with hashtags like #ResignModi, #SuperSpreaderModi, and #WhoFailedIndia. Suffering on the ground continues as people find it hard to find beds and oxygen, and are left to wonder what the Government was doing for a year.”

*

Now hunger stalks India as country’s COVID-19 crisis deepens The Telegraph 

By Joe Wallen

“As the second wave surges, economic precarity is leaving millions in the country hungry.  The draconian two-month lockdown from March to June last year pushed an estimated 400 million Indians into further poverty and resulted in around 32 million Indians dropping out of the country’s burgeoning middle-class. Migrant workers, left without a security net last year, have been unable to recuperate the losses. Pavements are suddenly lining up with people looking for food, with one poll suggesting there has been a 50 per cent increase in people requesting food aid in the city since the latest lockdown began.”

*

VIDEO: “Dead bodies of COVID-19 patients being cremated at a crematorium in Lucknow, India.” 

By Ashutosh Tripathi

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“There were few crucial weeks in February and March when cases were just starting to rise. Let’s zoom in on these 4 weeks and see how the early signals were missed, valuable time was lost and Indians were led to believe that they were immune to COVID-19.​​​​​​​”

By SamSays

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The Guardian view on Modi’s mistakes: A pandemic that is out of controlThe Guardian

By Katherine Viner and Randeep Ramesh

“Squaring responsibility on the the state governments to clear the mess, Prime Minister Modi is deflecting from a disaster of his own making. From continual rallies despite rising cases, to unpreparedness in terms of vaccine roll out. Advice of epidemiologists has been ignored by the administration from the beginning.”

*

Uttar Pradesh’s COVID-19 victims have been left to fend for themselvesThe Wire

By Sharat Pradhan

“Oxygen shortages in Uttar Pradesh abound as hospitals struggle to keep patients alive and black marketing continues ceaselessly across the state. Instead of creating state regulated outlets, the Chief Minister resorted to only give verbal threats to black marketeers. Undue efforts of some mandarins to falsely project low counts have not helped as crematoriums, cremation grounds and graveyards are overflowing with bodies of those who were unable to arm themselves to battle it out with the deadly virus. Fudging of data becomes clear as crematoriums report over a 100 deaths on a day when the official toll reported only 21 deaths in Lucknow.” 

​*

“The biggest news from Gujarat is that in less than a week, recovery rate in Gujarat has dropped by over 10 percent. This is scary. Gujarat COVID-19 figures on 23 April are 13,804 news cases and 142 deaths in the last 24 hours. Detailed communique attached.”

Source:  Deepal Trivedi

​*

On the road, again: Migrant laborers are leaving cities as COVID-19 disrupts work The Caravan 

Video by Shahid Tantray

“After a horrifying exodus without any social safety nets, migrant workers find themselves in precarious positions once again as the second wave surges.” ​​​​​​​

​*

In Uttar Pradesh, oxygen is now exclusive for hospitals. Patients in home isolation not getting any The Print 

By Jyoti Yadav and Prashant Srivastava 

“An order passed by Yogi Adityanath govt on 21 April prohibits the supply of oxygen to individuals, “except for those in serious conditions”. While allegedly done to prevent black marketing, the order has led to helplessness and anger on the streets as people are unable to find oxygen for ailing family members. This has further led to policing of people trying to source supply, with Zafar Abbas being arrested after taking a cylinder for his father, spending nearly seven hours in the local police station.”

​*

Delhi crematoriums operate at maximum level to keep up with rising deathsClarion India

By Manu Singhvi

“With a rising number of cases, Delhi crematoriums have had to revise their cremation capacity 3 times in the last 2 weeks, many crematoriums even having to double their capacity.” 

​*

COVID-19 fallout? Gujarati papers are filling up with obituariesNewslaundry

By Newslaundry

“As deaths from COVID-19 mount in Gujarat, newspapers are filling up with obituaries. The state reported 13,105 new coronavirus infections and 137 deaths on 22 April but it’s widely suspected to be undercounting them. A look at the Rajkot editions of 2 leading Gujarati papers on Friday only reinforces the suspicion: 8 of the 20 pages of Sandesh and 4 of Divya Bhaskar’s 14 pages are dedicated to obituaries. Yet, Rajkot has reported a total of 354 COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic began last year. “

​*

Kin drags patient on stretcher while carrying his oxygen cylinder- The Quint

By Maaz Hasan

Video Edit by  Mohd. Irshad Alam

“Frightening visuals from this week as kin of patients had to drag oxygen cylinders while aiding ailing patients. While many couldn’t find proper hospitalization or care, others accused the hospitals of medical negligence which led to untimely deaths, while hospitals allege that there is no oxygen shortage and the hospital is functioning properly.”

*

Oxygen shortage : Hospitals should first approach GNCTD nodal officer, says Delhi High CourtLive Law India

By Shreya Agarwal

“With 2 more hospitals moving the Delhi High Court for medical oxygen for COVID-19 patients citing shortage, the court today directed that the hospitals and nursing homes must exercise the option of approaching the Nodal Officer of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi before approaching the Court – even as the Delhi Government alleged that red tape-ism was being practiced by the Central Government in dealing with the issue. An advocate appearing for one of the hospitals later said the Nodal Officer has not picked up the call.”

*

Through live telecast of PM meet, Kejriwal wanted to publicly convey Delhi’s grim COVID-19 situation – Newslaundry

By Ayush Tiwari

“The chief minister’s address did not sit well with unnamed “government sources” who later told ANI that Kejriwal had “descended to a new low” and his monologue “was not meant for any solution but for playing politics and evading responsibility.” “

*

India’s giant second wave is a disaster for it and the world: The government’s distraction and complacency have amplified the surge- The Economist 

By The Economist

“While India had hoped to be the world’s vaccine supplier, the second wave has affected supplies to vaccines across the world. The Serum Institute, which manufactures AstraZeneca, has defaulted on commitments to Britain, the European Union and COVAX. With a shoddy track record for accountability, Modi’s rallies in the Bengal elections aggravated the spread of the disease. The vaccine policy was not geared to serve a large population and the current rate of vaccinations remains insufficient in the face of the catastrophe.”

*

Centre failed to anticipate second COVID-19 wave despite warning signals: ResearcherTelegraph India

By G.S. Mudur

“Despite big indications from research and notes of caution expressed by experts, the center failed to anticipate the second wave and omitted to take steps that could’ve mitigated the devastation. Emphasizing that undue blame cannot be accorded to public behavior, it was the political leaders and the experts guiding them who could not translate data into cautionary messages as super spreader events like rallies and Kumbh continued. A health expert, requesting anonymity, said “this is not a government that tolerates dissent. If the experts don’t tolerate (the official) line, they’d be out. The buck stops with whoever is elected.” “

*

Indian Government used faulty data to claim few infections post COVID-19 vaccination – Bloomberg Quint

By Rukmini S. 

“The central government has claimed that only 2-4 persons in every 10,000 vaccinated with either of the two COVID-19 vaccines being used in India are seeing breakthrough infections, when a vaccinated person gets infected. However, this is based on incomplete data. For nearly 3 months after vaccination began, the government’s COVID-19 test form, used by both government and private laboratories, did not check if those being tested had been vaccinated. Cases of post-vaccination infection would therefore not have been detected and recorded, our ground investigation and review of documents shows.”

*

A nightmare on repeat: India is running out of oxygen again – BBC

By Janhavee Moole

“Twenty-five families in India’s capital Delhi woke up to the news that someone they loved had died in the city’s Sir Ganga Ram hospital, reportedly because coronavirus patients could not get enough oxygen. The hospital’s medical director said a severe shortfall had slowed the flow of oxygen to 25 of the sickest patients, who needed a high pressure, stable supply.”

*

‘This is hell.’ Prime Minister Modi’s failure to lead is deepening India’s COVID-19 crisis – Time 

By Rana Ayyub

“Dr. Jalil Parkar, one of India’s leading pulmonologists, wears his exhaustion on his face. In between treating patients at the COVID-19 intensive care unit of Mumbai’s prestigious Lilavati Hospital, Parkar appears regularly on TV to give updates on the current, devastating second wave of the pandemic that is killing thousands of Indians.” 

*

COVID-19 in prisons: Consider shifting undertrials to less crowded correctional homes, Bombay High Court to state – Live Law India

By Sharmeen Hakim 

“In a bid to decongest overcrowded prisons in the state of Maharashtra and therefore prevent the spread of coronavirus in the prisons, the Bombay High Court has directed all the Judicial Magistrates to pass an order on applications seeking transfer of an inmate within 48 hours of the application being filed.”

*

Mass cremations begin as India’s capital faces deluge of COVID-19 deaths – Reuters

By Danish Siddiqui

“Delhi resident Nitish Kumar was forced to keep his dead mother’s body at home for nearly two days while he searched for space in the city’s crematoriums – a sign of the deluge of death in India’s capital where coronavirus cases are surging.”

Thursday 22 April 2021  

 (TRIGGER WARNING)

VIDEO: Delhi’s COVID-19 catastrophe: Ground report on Delhi’s COVID-19 catastrophe – BBC 

By Yogita Limaye

*

India’s COVID-19 task force did not meet in February, March despite surge, say members – Caravan Magazine

By Vidya Krishnan

“Even as India suffered its most calamitous surge of the pandemic, the country’s national scientific taskforce on COVID-19, which is supposed to advise the central government on its response to the pandemic, did not meet even once during February and March, according to its members.”

*

Watch | At Delhi’s crematoriums, the true scale of the COVID-19 tragedy unfolds – The Wire

By Yaqut Ali

“India is in the midst of its second wave of COVID-19, which has seen record numbers of new daily cases and daily deaths due to the viral disease. The Wire‘s Yaqut Ali reports from the Nigambodh crematorium in Delhi, where the true scale of this tragic crisis is evident. Ambulances carrying dead bodies line up as far as the eye can see and people lament that no hospital was able to provide access to oxygen, leading to the death of their relatives and friends.”

*

‘Centre found napping’: Leading dailies slam government’s response to COVID-19 second wave – The Wire

By The Wire

“As India’s COVID-19 crisis deepens with a mad scramble for hospital beds, essential drugs and medical oxygen being reported from across the country, leading English newspapers in their editorials have highlighted how the Central and state governments have failed spectacularly in ramping up health infrastructure after India saw a dip in the number of cases towards the end of last year.”

*

‘System has collapsed’: Global media minces no words on India’s COVID-19 crisis –  The Wire

By The Wire

“India has hit the grave milestone of the highest ever single-day spike in COVID-19 cases in the world since the pandemic began, and the world appears to have taken note, not just of the numbers but the crises that have accompanied them. News outlets across the world have focused pieces – ranging from op-eds to detailed reports – on India’s situation and the lack of governance in key aspects that led to it.”

*

How the Modi government overestimated India’s capacity to make COVID-19 vaccines – The Wire Science 

By Neeta Sanghi

“The total number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered around the world stood at  928.68 million on 20 April 2021, according to Our World in Data. India had administered 127.13 million doses, behind only the US, with 213.39 million, and China, 195.02 million. Some 40 percent of the US population, versus only 8 percent of the Indian population, had received at least one dose.”

*

“More than 300,000 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours in India, some hospitals overwhelmed, COVID-19-related deaths jump a record 2,104 (and that’s just those identified and counted). Meanwhile, print newspaper front pages.”

By Rasmus Kleis Nielsen

Image from Karthik Srinivasan

*

“Total number of vaccines provided by the union government to each state up to 14 April 2021. Information received through Right to Information (RTI) filed by Commodore Lokesh Batra” 

By Nitin Sethi

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With over 0.315 million new COVID-19 cases in 24 hours, India creates a global record – The Wire

By The Wire

“India’s reporting of 0.315 million new cases in the last 24 hours is the highest for any country in the history of the COVID-19 pandemic. The growth in the number of cases remains exponential. However, the fountainhead of cases may be shifting out of Maharashtra: the state is still reporting a five-digit number of new cases every day, but the seven-day rolling average of its active cases has been negative on nine days since 8 April.”

*

55 percent of COVID-19 patients in India had to use connections to get ICU beds: Survey – The Swaddle

By Devrupa Rakshit

“More than half of COVID-19 patients in India were forced to use their social clout and connections to secure ICU beds for treatment, a new survey has found. Conducted by Local Circles, the survey received more than 17,000 responses and encompassed 309 districts across the country.”

*

‘If you don’t take action, we will’: Calcutta HC raps Election Commission for ‘handling’ of West Bengal polls amid COVID-19 surge – The Free Press Journal 

By The Free Press Journal

“Calcutta High Court observed that the Election Commission (EC) is “not doing enough” to control the spread of the virus in West Bengal during the state Assembly polls which is being held in eight phases. The Court said that “The EC is empowered to act, but what is it doing about polls in these COVID-19 times? The EC is just passing circulars and leaving it to the people. But the EC has implementing authority.””

*

How grave is India’s oxygen emergency? Worse than the government admits – Scroll.in

By Arunabh Saikia

“On 22 April, major hospitals in the national capital nearly ran out of oxygen for the third consecutive day. Oxygen cylinders were looted in a Madhya Pradesh town. Uttar Pradesh put restrictions on individual purchase of oxygen cylinders at a time when breathless COVID-19 patients have been unable to find hospital beds. An oxygen leakage in Maharashtra left 22 patients dead. States traded charges over oxygen blockades.”

*

India’s COVID-19 shortages spur black market for drugs, oxygen- Yahoo!News

By Ammu Kannampilly, Abhaya Srivastava and Uzair Rizvi 

“Dire medicine and oxygen shortages as India battles a ferocious new COVID-19 wave mean boom times for profit gougers, although some young volunteers are doing their best to help people on Twitter and Instagram. In the eastern city of Patna, Pranay Punj ran from one pharmacy to another in a frantic search for the antiviral medication remdesivir for his seriously ill mother.”

*

Coronavirus: Why is India suffering fastest pace of infections?- Independent

By Samuel Osborne

“India is suffering the world’s fastest pace of coronavirus infection and the highest daily increase in cases, pushing it further into a deadly health care crisis. The country of nearly 1.4 billion people has confirmed 15.9 million cases of infection, the second highest after the United States, and 184,657 deaths. While some 2.7 million doses are given daily, that still accounts for less than 10 percent of people who have gotten their first shot.”

*

India sets a global record for daily infections – The New York Times 

By Shashank Bengali

“As cases worldwide reach weekly records, a substantial proportion of the new infections are coming from India, a sobering reminder that the pandemic is far from over, even as infections decline and vaccinations speed ahead in the United States and other wealthy parts of the world.”

Wednesday 21 April 2021  

India exported nearly 9,300 metric tonnes of oxygen in FY21 despite pandemic rolling on – News18 

By News18

“With the supply of oxygen low across the country and state government demanding more supply from the Centre, official data shows that nearly 9,294 metric tonnes (MT) of Oxygen was exported by India in just the first three quarters of the 2020-21 financial year.”

*

For India’s poor, lockdown policing adds to pandemic hardships – Al Jazeera

By Al Jazeera

“Poor Indians are bearing the brunt of pandemic policing as the country struggles to contain a deadly second wave of COVID-19 cases by imposing stricter curfew rules and curbs on movement, rights have advocates said. Hawkers, slum dwellers, food couriers and migrant workers are most likely to fall foul of lockdown rules – from fines for failing to wear a face mask or being out in the street to having roadside stalls closed down, according to unions and activists.”

*

‘We will eat sookhi roti and namak, but at least we will be home’ – Gaon Connection

By Arvind Shukla

“Tired, hungry, thirsty and anxious men and women clutching wailing children and hastily packed bags, got off packed buses, at the Kaiserbagh bus depot in Lucknow. They were returning from Delhi where a weeklong lockdown, announced by the Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, came into force last night at 10 pm and will continue up to 5 am on Monday 26 April.”

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For Mumbai’s poor, it could be a second wave of hunger: A loss of daily wages due to COVID-19 restrictions leaves the urban poor dependent on charity – The News Minute

By Kavitha Iyer

“As a ferocious second wave of COVID-19 in Maharashtra forced another round of closures, mini-lockdowns in various districts and then lockdown-like curbs from 14 April, pleas for help have begun to slowly trickle in, mainly from those who depend on daily earnings for food and survival. On 20 April, Maharashtra recorded 62097 new COVID-19 cases, taking the total number of cases to 39,60,359, with a mortality rate of 1.56 percent, higher than the all-India mortality rate of 1.18 percent.”

*

24 COVID-19 patients dead after oxygen leakage in Nashik – The Telegraph

By The Telegraph

“At least 24 COVID-19 patients on ventilator support died on 21 April due to an interrupted supply of medical oxygen at a civic-run hospital at Nashik in Maharashtra caused by the leakage of the gas from a storage plant, officials said. A senior civic official said of the 150 patients admitted to the hospital, 23 were on ventilator support at the time of the incident while the rest were on oxygen support.”

*

VIDEO: “Outside Shardaben hospital in Ahmedabad, a mother is sitting on the road with her COVID-19 positive son, as the hospital staff refuses to let them in. The guidelines state that entry can’t be allowed unless the patient comes in a 108 ambulance.” 

By Pratik Sinha 

*

‘The system has collapsed’: India’s descent into COVID-19 hell – The Guardian 

By Hannah Ellis-Petersen

“The country has descended into a tragedy of unprecedented proportions. Almost 1.6 million cases have been registered in a week, bringing total cases to more than 15 million. In the space of just 12 days, the COVID-19 positivity rate doubled to 17 percent, while in Delhi it hit 30 percent. Hospitals across the country have filled to capacity but this time it is predominantly the young taking up the beds; in Delhi, 65 percent of cases are under 40 years old.”

*

India’s plan to fragment the vaccine market across the states is mind-bogglingly bad economics – Scroll.in

By Ashish Kulkarni and Murali Neelakantan

“Vaccine manufacturers will now be able to play off one Indian state against the other. The rich will get their vaccines, at the cost of the poor. Consider this simple question: what did the government actually get for INR 45 billion? What is the opportunity cost of the grant given to Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech when there were many perfectly viable, legal alternatives?”

*

VIDEO: “A COVID-19 patient calls his son and says that he is going to die as there is no one in the COVID-19 ward to take care of him in Uttar Pradesh’s Shahjahanpur Medical College. His son was not allowed to meet him or even make a video call. This is what his son says after his death.” 

By Kanwardeep Singh

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India’s devastating second wave: ‘It is much worse this time’ – Financial Times

By Benjamin Parkin, Jyotsna Singh, Stephanie Findlay and John Burn-Murdoch

“Every night funeral pyres blaze on the banks of the Ganges, a grim symbol of the ferocious COVID-19 wave sparking a health crisis and human tragedy in India that is far surpassing anything seen last year. Patients are dying while their families search in vain for hospital beds. Supplies of oxygen and medicines are running low, leading to robberies of drugs from hospitals. Crematoriums and burial grounds cannot cope with the sheer number of corpses.”

*

In Bengaluru, volunteers are stepping up to help overburdened government helplines – The News Minute

By Prajwal Manipal

“Teams managing helplines in Bengaluru are fielding hundreds of such requests every day from people looking for oxygen cylinders, medicines like Remdesivir, and access to ambulances and hospital beds. One of Saqib’s colleagues, Ekramulla Sharieff, also connected to the Emergency Response Team, says the 14 volunteers managing their helplines received 1,600 phone calls on Monday alone. “Most of the calls were people desperately looking for oxygen cylinders or hospital beds and in some cases the oxygen saturation levels were below 85,” Ekramulla says.”

*

Ventilator shortage: ‘Make in India’ devices not picked up by government – Business Standard

By Arindam Majumder, Twesh MishraShreya Jai and Shivani Shinde

“As India battles the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, several state governments are grappling with a shortage of ventilators, primarily because domestic manufacturing and supply of ventilators dwindled after the initial push by the Center last year. With hospitals unwilling to take ‘Made in India’ ventilators, the government curtailed the requirement it had originally envisaged in 2020.”

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Vinay Srivastava’s death shows Uttar Pradesh’s healthcare system has collapsed – Newslaundry

By Akanksha Kumar and Martand Singh

“In a series of tweets, Vinay, 65, a journalist of 35 years, noted that his oxygen level was falling precipitously and begged for help to get admitted in a hospital, including from chief minister Adityanath. The help never came and he soon died. His death, almost live tweeted, exposed the collapse of Uttar Pradesh’s healthcare system and the callousness of its functionaries.”

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Indian journalist Siddique Kappan hospitalized after contracting COVID-19 – Committee to Protect Journalists 

By Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)

“Kappan collapsed in the Mathura Jail on 20 April, where he is held pending trial, and today he tested positive for COVID-19, according to news reports and Wills Matthew, Kappan’s lawyer, who spoke with CPJ in a phone interview. Kappan has a high fever and has been admitted to K.M. Medical College, a privately run hospital in the city of Mathura, where he remains in state custody, Mathews told CPJ.”

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Reporter’s Diary: My oxygen level is 52, My oxygen level is 31… a timeline of Vinay Srivastava’s death of COVID-19- Goan Connection

By Mithilesh Dhar Dubey

“Senior independent journalist Vinay Srivastava of Lucknow took to Twitter to give a minute-by-minute account of his fast-deteriorating health and declining oxygen levels and plead for medical help, while the government system kept pressing him for more information.”

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Disruption in oxygen supply kills 22 COVID-19 patients in India- Al Jazeera

By Al Jazeera

“Disruption in the supply of medical oxygen has killed at least 22 patients in a hospital in western India’s Maharashtra state, officials have said. Suraj Mandhare, an official in the Nashik district of Maharashtra, said an oxygen tanker leaked outside a hospital in the city, halting its supply for about half an hour. He said the supply of oxygen has since resumed to other patients.”

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Uttar Pradesh’s unprepared district hospitals now frontline as Lucknow turns away COVID-19 patients- The Print 

By Jyoti Yadav

“Uttar Pradesh districts adjoining the capital city of Lucknow are battling a double crisis — an already stretched medical infrastructure pushed beyond limits amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the additional burden of patients streaming in from Lucknow after being unable to find hospital beds in the city. However, district hospitals too are turning them away, either due to unavailability of beds or because hospitals are saving them for local residents.”

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How Kerala is managing its medical oxygen supply- The News Minute

By Sreedevi Jayarajan 

“As several states in India are facing acute shortage of medical oxygen in the second wave of the pandemic, Kerala has reported a surplus of medical oxygen stock. In the past week, Kerala sent medical oxygen tankers to Goa, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, to meet the demands of their hospitals which are filling up with COVID-19 patients.”

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VIDEO: “COVID-19 patients are seen sleeping on streets and pavements outside hospitals, begging the medical authorities to treat them out in the open in Karnatakas’s Bidar. This happened after the hospital experienced a severe bed shortage and could not accommodate them.”

By Mirror Now

Tuesday 20 April 2021  

Non-stop cremations cast doubt on India’s counting of COVID dead- Reuters

By Alasdair Pal

“Gas and firewood furnaces at a crematorium in the western Indian state of Gujarat have been running so long without a break during the COVID-19 pandemic that metal parts have begun to melt. “We are working around the clock at 100 percent capacity to cremate bodies on time,” Kamlesh Sailor, the president of the trust that runs the crematorium in the diamond-polishing city of Surat, told Reuters.”

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India’s decision to liberalise vaccine sales likely to push up prices – and block access to millions Scroll.in 

By R. Ramakumar

“Despite being fully aware of a potential vaccine shortage, the union government had held back permissions for new vaccines, such as the Sputnik V, to be used in India. Instead, it relied disproportionately on the ability of two private companies – the Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech – to ramp up their production capacities.”

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Hope and heartbreak on Indian COVID twitter – Bloomberg Quint 

By Priya Ramani

“On 18 April, Press Trust of India reported that Uttar Pradesh (U.P.) registered its highest single-day rise in COVID-19 cases and fatalities—30,596 and 129 respectively. As Twitter burned with images of cremations in U.P., and as the administration in Ghaziabad began constructing funeral platforms on pavements, everybody knew these fatalities were a gross underestimation.”

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Kumbh 2021: Astrology, mortality and the indifference to life of leaders and stars – The Wire

By Shuddhabrata Sengupta

“The last Kumbh Mela was in 2010. The actual due date for the Kumbh was 2022, not 2021. So why did the Government of India and the Government of Uttarakhand not cancel the event? Because the center and state chose to appease astrologers rather than look after public health.”

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COVID-19: Crematoria, graveyards running out of space in Bhopal – Newsclick 

By Kashif Kakvi

“Nearly 1,000 bodies have been disposed of with COVID-19 protocols in April so far in Bhopal. Yet, the Madhya Pradesh government data says less than 50 people have died in the period.”

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India’s Modi scorned over reckless rallies, religious gathering amid virus mayhem – Reuters

By Krishna Das and Aftab Ahmed

“India is currently recording more new cases of coronavirus than any other country, and this week it is expected to rise above the high tide of the epidemic seen in the United States. Yet Modi and his ministers have campaigned heavily ahead of state elections.”

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Twitter is a COVID helpline now. What does it say about India’s healthcare systems? – Newslaundry

By Tanishka Sodhi

“As coronavirus infections surge, people are increasingly turning to social media for emergency help. “It says a lot about the condition of this country if people have to beg for medicines or beds on a social media app.””

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India’s second COVID wave is completely out of control – The New York Times 

By Ramanan Laxminarayan

“Complacency and lack of preparation by the Indian government pushed the country into an unprecedented crisis. A lethal, fast-paced second wave of the coronavirus pandemic has brought India’s health care systems to the verge of collapse and is putting millions of lives and livelihoods at risk.”

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As cases peaked, 22 states/UTs’ COVID vaccination rates fell – IndiaSpend

By Shreya Raman

“Over the last week, India administered about 2.7 million doses on average per day, down from 3.6 million during the previous week. The new vaccination policy shifts the monetary burden of vaccinating under-45s on to state governments, who must now also compete with private buyers for purchase of scarce vaccine doses, whose prices manufacturers are now free to raise.”

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Key virus strain found in October but its gene study stalled; a new variety appears – The Indian Express 

By Amitabh Sinha and Kaunain Sheriff M

“A third mutation in the B.1.167 has been identified and experts are hoping that this time, given the alarm bells ringing all around, the pace of intervention and follow-up picks up. The Indian-origin double mutant strain of the coronavirus, B.1.167, that many experts say could be behind the rapid climb of the second COVID-19 wave, was first detected way back on 5 October last year through genome sequencing of a virus sample.”

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Criticism over export of COVID-19 vaccines rejected by Jaishankar. He said that those criticising the export of vaccines are short-sighted and irresponsibleThe Wire 

By Press Trust of India (PTI)

“External affairs minister S. Jaishankar strongly rejected criticism over India’s export of COVID-19 vaccines, saying there were global commitments for a variety of reasons including the procurement of raw materials for production of the jabs.”

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India is seeing a terrifying second wave of COVID-19: As families beg for help on social media, the government plays politics Foreign Policy

By Kunal Purohit

“India is hurtling toward a health emergency. Many of the top hospitals in New Delhi said that they had only a few hours of oxygen supplies left, even as the city recorded over 28,000 fresh infections and 277 deaths in one day. There have been nearly 1 million new recorded cases in the previous four days. India now has the highest number of daily coronavirus infections in the world.”

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Aadhaar-based facial authentication to be used for India’s vaccination drive, not facial recognition: Infosys chairman Nandan NilekaniMoneycontrol

By Swathi Moorthy

“What will be used is facial authentication where they compare your photograph with your Aadhaar number. It is no different than fingerprint authentication, iris or OTP (one time password) authentication. Now we have to aim for 5-10 million vaccines a day and hence the transaction time is very important.”

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Revoke my suspension, let me serve COVID patients: Kafeel Khan to Uttar Pradesh government – Hindustan Times

By Rajesh Kumar Singh

“Doctor Kafeel Khan was suspended after he was accused of medical negligence during the August 2017 oxygen shortage tragedy that resulted in the deaths of children at BRD Medical College.”

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No place for you’: Indian hospitals buckle amid virus surge AP News

By Aniruddha Ghosal and Neha Mehrotra

“Tests are delayed. Medical oxygen is scarce. Hospitals are understaffed and overflowing. Intensive care units are full. Nearly all ventilators are in use, and the dead are piling up at crematoriums and graveyards. India recorded over 250,000 new infections and over 1,700 deaths in 24 hours, and the United Kingdom announced a travel ban on most visitors from the country. Overall, India has reported more than 15 million cases and some 180,000 deaths — and experts say these numbers are likely undercounted.”

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Bus ferrying migrants from Delhi to Tikamgarh overturns, 3 dead – The Quint

By The Quint 

“On Tuesday 20 April, a bus ferrying laborers from Delhi to Tikamgarh in Madhya Pradesh overturned at Jhorasi ghati in Gwalior district, The Indian Express reported. At least three people have been declared dead and seven are reportedly injured in the incident.”

Monday 19 April 2021

Vadodara BJP leaders object to Muslim volunteers at crematoriumThe Indian Express

By Aditi Raja

“Since the outbreak of the pandemic in Vadodara, Muslim volunteers have been at the forefront of performing COVID-19 cremations in cases where families of the deceased have refused to come along or been unable to join due to quarantine.”

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India struggles with COVID-19 count, bed shortage but political rallies continue – Deccan Herald

By Reuters, Bengaluru

“India’s daily COVID-19 cases jumped by a record 273,810 on Monday as the health system crumbled under the weight of patients, bringing total infections closer to that of the United States, the world’s worst-hit country. Despite soaring infections, politicians continued to hold mass rallies across the country for state elections.”

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COVID-19: How India failed to prevent a deadly second waveBBC

By Soutik Biswas

“India is now in the grips of a public health emergency. Meanwhile, in a parallel universe the world’s richest cricket tournament was being played and tens of thousands were following leaders to election rallies and attending the Kumbh Mela.”

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Telangana downplays COVID-19 cases again, this time by 66 percent – The New Indian Express 

By Express News Service

“The actual number of COVID-19 cases in Telangana could be twice that of the numbers dished out by the state government in its daily media bulletin. The number of cases reported by district-level health officials is being drastically slashed by the Government before announcing it to the media.”

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In Hyderabad, desperation and distress as hundreds queue up to buy remdesivir The News Minute

By Mithun MK

“With a shortage of Remdesivir in Telangana, many traveled from other districts to purchase the vials in Hyderabad.”

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The coronavirus pandemic has left more than 3 million dead around the world. Cases are rising rapidly. In India, this surge is not a wave but a wall – The Washington Post

By Joanna Slater

“More than a year after the pandemic began, infections worldwide have surpassed their previous peak. The average number of coronavirus cases reported each day is now higher than it has ever been. “Cases and deaths are continuing to increase at worrying rates,” said World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.”

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Government has not procured ventilators ordered from industry: Maruti Suzuki chairman RC Bhargava – CNBC TV18

By CNBC TV18

“The Maruti Suzuki Chairman said that the Government has not procured ventilators that were ordered from the industry in general. Maruti had manufactured ventilators in collaboration with AgVAHealthcare, and these were yet to be procured.”

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Nine things BJP leaders said recently about the pandemic – but shouldn’t have The Wire

By Jahnavi Sen

“Time may have passed, but our leaders’ understanding of how this virus spreads and what measures need to be taken to curb it does not seem to be benefiting from science, the experiences before them or even common sense. Making remarks ranging from flippant and insensitive to downright dangerous, BJP leaders have led the pack on “what not to say in the middle of a pandemic.””

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Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal has announced a week-long curfew in Delhi which comes into force from tonight Gaon Connection 

By Amit Pandey

“The announcement of a week-long curfew in Delhi is causing panic and making migrant workers look for transport to rush back to their villages.”

Sunday 18 April 2021 

Why Lucknow, UP’s top district in vaccinations, lost its edge during and after ‘Tika Utsav’ – The Print

 By Jyoti Yadav

“On 5 April, Lucknow recorded around 18,000 vaccinations in a day. Ten days later, on 15 April, the day after the end of the ‘Tika Utsav’, the number was down to 8,907. Once the best performing district in Uttar Pradesh in terms of vaccination, state capital Lucknow registered a drastic decline in COVID-19 immunisation numbers during and since the four-day ‘Tika Utsav’ between 11 and 14 April.” 

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India is running out of oxygen, COVID-19 patients are dying because the Government wasted timeScroll.in

By Vijayta Lalwani and Arunabh Saikia

“It took eight months to invite bids for over 150 oxygen generation plants costing just INR 200 billion. Six months later, most still aren’t up and running.”

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In Ghaziabad and other districts, data on the ground disproves Uttar Pradesh’s “zero COVID-19 deaths” claim – The Wire

By Ismat Ara

“The Uttar Pradesh government is massively undercounting COVID-19 deaths in the state. The disparities between the UP government’s official death count from COVID-19 in Agra, Bareilly, Ghaziabad and Jhansi and what cremation ground officials are saying is huge.”

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COVID-19 deaths in Gujarat far exceed government figures – The Hindu

By Mahesh Langa

“In Gujarat, there are several such cases of COVID-19 patients missing from the list of those infected as hospital authorities mention other conditions as the primary cause of death and not COVID-19.”

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From the Kumbh to Ramzan, contrasting court orders in COVID-19 times – The Wire

By Purushottam Anand and Anshuman Singh

“While the Bombay High Court said public health cannot be sacrificed at the altar of a right to observe a festival like Ramadan, and the Delhi High Court permitted only 50 devotees to pray at a mosque, the Uttarakhand High Court didn’t even consider the possibility that the Kumbh could be called off.”

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Oxygen shortage rings alarm bells at Delhi’s hospitalsThe Indian Express

By Astha Saxena and Mallica Joshi

“There are 17,752 beds for COVID-19 patients in the capital, out of which 2,824 are available. On the other hand, of the 4,147 ICU beds, only 48 are available. The surge in bed occupancy has meant an increase in the need for uninterrupted oxygen supply.”

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“Where are ambulances, COVID-19 hospitals?”: Family of Uttar Pradesh journalist who died without treatment The Print 

By Jyoti Yadav

“Hospitals in Uttar Pradesh were not admitting anyone without a reference letter from the Chief Ministers Office, even if they had a COVID-19 positive certificate.”

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Young and infected: COVID-19’s new patients as India battles huge surge – Yahoo! News

By Glenda Kwek, Nivrita Ganguly and Nishant Saxena

“At the start of the year, India thought it had beaten the pandemic and had kicked off a mass vaccination drive. Face masks and social distancing were cast aside and huge crowds flocked to religious festivals and election rallies. But in hospitals, doctors started warning of a rise in cases, including a new phenomenon – younger patients for a disease usually viewed as riskier for older adults.”

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Maharashtra government vs. the BJP over Remdesivir hoarding –NDTV 

By Purva Chitnis, Edited by Anindita Sanya

“Remdesivir for COVID-19 patients, which is currently in short supply, has become the political flashpoint between the Maharashtra government and the opposition BJP.”

Saturday 17 April 2021

Three hours in an understaffed Bharuch hospital with dying COVID-19 patients – The Caravan

By Chahat Rana 

“Bharuch General Hospital is the largest government-run COVID-19 care center in Gujarat’s Bharuch district. It has 70 beds, most of which are attached to oxygen supply. On 16 April, there was only one doctor at the hospital, a 26-year-old junior resident and five nurses. That day, the hospital had seventy-two patients, almost all of whom had severe COVID-19 symptoms.”

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Varanasi: Cremation, burial grounds show about 50 percent of COVID-19 deaths aren’t officially recorded – The Wire

By Ismat Ara

“An analysis by The Wire based on COVID-19 records at Varanasi’s Harishchandra crematorium, local inputs from the Manikarnika crematorium and rough data from graveyards indicate that at least 50 percent of deaths due to the disease in the second wave haven’t made it to Uttar Pradesh’s official bulletins between 1-15 April 2021.”

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Gujarat: 34 passengers from Haridwar test COVID-19 positive at Ahmedabad – Times of India

By Himanshu Kaushik 

“At least 11 percent of the 313 passengers tested at the Sabarmati station were tested positive to the coronavirus. These passengers had returned after attending the Kumbh Mela in Haridwar.”

Friday 16 April 2021

“Government hospitals in 20 districts of Gujarat do not have a single CT Scan machine, says Gujarat Samachar’s news report. In the last two years, the state government has purchased one CT Scan machine.”

Source: Deepak Patel

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‘Dead bodies all over’: Lucknow funerals tell a story starkly different from Uttar Pradesh government’s claims- The Print

By Jyoti Yadav

“On 15 April, Yogi Adityanath’s government’s health bulletin said Uttar Pradesh recorded 104 COVID-19 deaths in 24 hours. But Lucknow alone saw 108 funerals that day, and this was just at crematoriums and not cemeteries.”

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India: migrant workers leave cities as COVID-19 measures bite Al Jazeera

By Al Jazeera

“The Maharashtra government, home to Mumbai, imposed lockdown-like curbs to check the spread of the virus. It closed most industries, businesses and public places and limited the movement of people, but didn’t stop bus, train and air services. An exodus ensued, with panicked day laborers hauling backpacks onto overcrowded trains leaving Mumbai. The migration is raising fears of the virus spreading in rural areas.”

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