India’s coronavirus cases cross 18m, US to send $100m supplies

MUMBAI: India reported a record rise in coronavirus cases and deaths over the last 24 hours on Thursday, with its overall caseload rising above 18 million.

With 379,257 new cases and 3,645 new deaths, India’s total number of cases and deaths are now at 18.38 million and 204,832, respectively, according to health ministry data.

Indians are struggling to register online for a mass vaccination drive set to begin at the weekend as the country’s second wave of coronavirus is worsened by shortages of hospital beds and medical oxygen. The record surge in infections has prompted an increasingly urgent response from allies overseas sending equipment.

The United States is sending supplies worth more than $100 million to India to help it fight a surge of COVID-19 cases, the White House said in a statement.

The supplies, which will begin arriving and continue into next week, include 1,000 oxygen cylinders, 15 million N95 masks and 1 million rapid diagnostic tests, the statement said.

The United States also has redirected its own order of AstraZeneca (AZN.L) manufacturing supplies to India, which will allow it to make over 20 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine, according to the White House.

“Just as India sent assistance to the United States when our hospitals were strained early in the pandemic, the United States is determined to help India in its time of need,” the White House said in a fact sheet outlining the aid.

India’s death toll from the coronavirus pandemic surged past 200,000 on Wednesday, worsened by shortages of hospital beds and medical oxygen.