Published: 2021-04-26 21:26
Last Updated: 2021-05-17 13:15
Monday, the World Health Organization (WHO) Chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus voiced alarm at India's record-breaking wave of coronavirus cases and deaths, noting the WHO was rushing to help address the crisis.
"The situation in India is beyond heartbreaking," Ghebreyesus told reporters.
Ghebreyesus' comments came as the country of 1.3 billion battles a catastrophic COVID-19 wave that has overwhelmed hospitals working at full capacity.
The recent surge in cases has seen patients' families taking to social media to beg for oxygen supplies and empty hospital beds, and has forced New Delhi to extend their week-long lockdown.
"WHO is doing everything we can, providing critical equipment and supplies," Ghebreyesus said.
According to him, the WHO said it had sent 2,600 of its experts from various programs, including polio and tuberculosis, to work with Indian health authorities to assist in their response to the pandemic.
India has become the latest hotspot of the pandemic that has claimed the lives of over three million worldwide, even as richer countries take steps towards a return to a 'normal life' with sped up vaccination programs.
The US and Britain rushed ventilators and vaccine materials to help India weather the devastating crisis, while a range of other countries also pledged support.
Ghebreyesus lamented that global new case numbers have been rising for the past nine weeks straight.
"To put it in perspective," he said, "there were almost as many cases globally last week as in the first five months of the pandemic."
India, which has recorded over 195,000 deaths, registered 2,812 new deaths and 352,991 new infections on Monday alone -- its highest tolls since the start of the pandemic.