News ID: 302303
Published: 0222 GMT April 19, 2021

New Delhi imposes lockdown under US COVID-19 vaccine raw materials embargo

New Delhi imposes lockdown under US COVID-19 vaccine raw materials embargo
A view of Sarojini Nagar Market during a weekend curfew imposed in the Indian capital, New Delhi, on April 17, 2021.

New Delhi imposed a weeklong lockdown to prevent the collapse of the Indian capital’s health system, which authorities said had been pushed to its limit amid an explosive surge in coronavirus cases.

In scenes familiar from surges elsewhere, ambulances catapulted from one hospital to another, trying to find an empty bed over the weekend, while patients lined up outside of medical facilities waiting to be let in. Ambulances also idled outside of crematoriums, carrying half a dozen dead bodies each, AP reported.

“People keep arriving, in an almost collapsing situation,” said Dr. Suresh Kumar, who heads Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital, one of New Delhi’s largest hospitals for treating COVID-19 patients.

The surge is devastating for India and has weighed heavily on the global efforts to end the pandemic since the country is a major vaccine producer but has been forced to delay exports of shots abroad, hampering campaigns in developing countries, in particular.

In a sign of the high stakes, the chief executive of Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest maker of vaccines, asked US President Joe Biden on Twitter last week to lift the US embargo on exporting raw materials needed to make the shots.


US vaccination


In the US, over half of the adults have now received at least one shot. More than two in five Republicans have said they would avoid getting vaccinated if possible, suggesting that Biden has not succeeded in his effort to depoliticize the vaccines.

The rise in new cases comes amid setbacks in the worldwide vaccination campaign and deepening crises in many places beyond India, including Brazil, France and Germany. Over the weekend, the global death toll from the coronavirus passed a staggering 3 million people Saturday.

In Europe, Germany held a national memorial service on Sunday for its nearly 80,000 victims of the coronavirus pandemic, putting aside deep divisions over COVID restrictions to share the pain of grieving families.



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