Caller in India shares absolute fear of Covid crisis as healthcare system buckles

23 April 2021, 16:13

By Fiona Jones

This caller, who has escaped the scenes in Delhi, told Shelagh Fogarty of the worsening Covid crisis in India as the country hit the world record for daily cases for the second day in a row.

India's healthcare system is buckling as a record surge in Covid cases puts pressure on hospital beds and drains oxygen supplies.

On Friday India reported 332,730 new cases of coronavirus, setting a world record for a second day running, with deaths numbered at 2,263 in 24 hours.

Caller Rishi, who is now living in Gurugram, told Shelagh: "The situation has gotten way out of control."

At first, he said, it had seemed India had gotten away with it the first wave as infection rates were low and a lot of people were flouting the rules, such as having secret parties.

Read more: Travel restrictions for passengers entering UK from India as country added to red list

"There's just real fear. Personally I've had messages from people trying to source oxygen cylinders, there's a black market for it now being sold at twenty times the price.

"Hospitals are full, people are really scared. Which wasn't there, especially in the upper middle class, beforehand," he said, "every policy change that gets introduced gets done very differently, there's just no warning.

"I have no doubt that something will be announced over this weekend and Delhi will be locked down for even longer."

He told Shelagh that despite all this there are "too many loopholes" to restrictions and the state and central Government are not giving help.

He continued that there has been "a lot of political posturing going on" and leadership has been "absolutely" lacking.

"It's farcical, this should have been looked at before," he said, "it's not a new stat that oxygen is running out...There is no direction, nobody knows what's happening. Nobody has any confidence in the people to get us out of this."

Passengers on flights into the UK from India must now enter hotel quarantine as the country is officially added to the UK's coronavirus travel red list.

As of 4am on Friday, people returning from India must quarantine in a Government-approved hotel for 10 days, while anyone who is not a UK or Irish resident or a British citizen will be banned from entering the country if they have been in India in the previous 10 days.

Four airlines asked for a total of eight extra flights to arrive at Heathrow before the 4am cut-off, however it is understood Heathrow declined the airlines' requests to ensure existing pressures at the border were not exacerbated.

The restrictions come in response to mounting concern about the number of coronavirus cases in India and the emergence of a variant of the virus.