A recent festival in India drew hundreds of thousands in attendance at the Ganges river, despite warnings from local health authorities to avoid mass gatherings.
Health authorities reportedly decided to move their COVID-19 testing crew away from the site to avoid exposure.
“We have moved away our sampling team to avoid a stampede-like situation. We do, of course, expect cases to rise when crowds move away,” said S.K. Jha, chief medical officer of Haridwar, where the event is currently taking place.
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India is battling a record surge of COVID-19 infections as it shifts from the world’s biggest vaccine exporter to importer.
The South Asian country has breached the 200,000-mark in the daily tally of coronavirus cases on Thursday.
On Friday it recorded 217,353 additional cases raising the total number of cases to nearly 14.3 million.
Hospitals are running out of medical supplies needed such as oxygen, beds and medicine for COVID-19 patients.
Calls for a faster rollout if vaccines prompted the Indian government to fast-track the procurement of vaccines from manufacturers, Gamaleya, Pfizer and Moderna.
The second most populous country in the world will import doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine to cover as many as 125 million people.
The said move could affect not only India’s COVID-19 response but also the vaccination rollout in developing countries, particularly in Asia and Africa.
India has so far injected 117 million vaccine doses, the highest in the world next to US and China, but still a fraction of its 1.35 billion people, Reuters reported. (RA)