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US, Britain send emergency supplies to virus-stricken India

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The US and Britain rushed ventilators and vaccine materials to India Monday as the country battles a catastrophic, record-breaking coronavirus wave that has overwhelmed hospitals and set crematoriums working at full capacity.

A surge in recent days has seen patients’ families taking to social media to beg for oxygen supplies and locations of available hospital beds, and has forced the capital New Delhi to extend a week-long lockdown.

The country of 1.3 billion has become the latest hotspot of a pandemic that has killed more than three million people, even as richer countries take steps towards normality with quickening inoculation programmes.

Irfan Salmani told AFP he had been going from hospital to hospital around Delhi for the past three days, searching for oxygen for his sister.

“I’ve never seen anything so terrible,” he said. “I’ve been trying non-stop.”

“What can I do?… I’ve just been facing rejection after rejection.”

France, Germany and Canada have also pledged support to India, which has driven increases in global case numbers in recent days, recording 352,991 new infections and 2,812 deaths on Monday — its highest tolls since the start of the pandemic.

Creaking health facilities in poorer countries were exposed Sunday when more than 80 people died as fire ripped through a Baghdad hospital for Covid-19 patients, sparking outrage and the suspension of top Iraqi officials.

Thailand enforced new restrictions Monday after a record daily death toll over the weekend, while the capital of neighbouring Cambodia has been under lockdown for 12 days as cases spike.

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