On Saturday, May 1, India set yet another daily global record with 401,993 new coronavirus cases, with about 3500 deaths in the past 24 hours. India is in a deep crisis, with its morgues and hospitals overwhelmed by the second wave of the coronavirus.

Morgue in Delhi

Social media has been overwhelmed with requests for oxygen cylinders, ICU beds, medication, and ventilators. There’s also been an alarming amount of evidence that suggests a huge number of cases are not being reported. In the past month, relatives of patients have taken to Twitter with their pleas for hospital beds and oxygen supplies. In spite of this, many politicians have downplayed the severity of the situation or have outrightly denied that there’s even a problem. 

Scenes from a hospital in India

Amidst the grave situation, the government has taken an authoritarian approach by suppressing local and worldwide awareness of the rapid spread of the virus. It has announced that circulating “fake news” on Covid-19 can land one in jail for a year. The centre also requested Twitter to take down tweets criticizing the government’s response to the second wave. The Uttar Pradesh police have also filed a criminal case against a man for appealing for an oxygen cylinder for his grandfather. This is an alarming violation of freedom of speech and expression.

Despite being warned about the new variant, Modi’s government did not take it seriously enough and the country saw political rallies and religious festivities take place with no precautions being taken whatsoever. The government also allowed tens of thousands of farmers on the outskirts of New Delhi, the country’s capital, to protest against new and unfair agriculture laws.

Kumbh mela 2021

India exported 66 million vaccine doses, distributing vaccines from Jan to April has left India at the mercy of others during this surge in covid 19 cases. The vaccination gap between rich and poor countries has also widened, rich nations are quickly vaccinating their civilians whereas the poor and developing countries have only been able to vaccinate a select few. 

India exported 66 million vaccines

India has requested the US to lift the ban on the export of raw materials to meet the country’s covid-19 vaccine shortage, but the US has politely declined the request, stating that they have to take care of its citizens first. This has led many critics to argue that if world leaders like Biden and Merkel are looking out for their own people, then why was Modi distributing vaccines all over the world. India’s capacity for manufacturing vaccines is limited and it has already surpassed it. There is a severe shortage of vaccines and the Prime Minister is to blame.

Rushda Elahi is a writer for Global Domestic Affairs in Jayzoq.
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