India’s total number of COVID-19 cases has dramatically risen to over 18 million as of 29 April, with more than 300,000 cases reported for seven straight days and with no immediate signs of slowing down. These have been the highest numbers of reported cases and deaths since the pandemic started, and medical experts believe that the numbers are even higher with many cases not reported from rural areas. The reported national fatality rate is at 1.11%, with medical supplies running out especially oxygen, and that people have been resorting to the black market. Hospitals and crematoriums alike are overwhelmed, and hotels and railway coaches are being converted into critical care facilities to make up for the shortage of hospital beds. It is predicted that after Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state in India, will emerge as the next COVID-19 hotspot in the country. The state may report over 1.9 million daily cases by the end of April. Maharashtra and Gujarat in the west, Haryana in the north, and Madhya Pradesh in central India are all facing an oxygen shortage. In the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, some hospitals have put “oxygen out of stock” boards outside, and in the state capital Lucknow, hospitals are asking patients to move elsewhere.
ACT India Forum has convened and agreed to raise an appeal, and the initial intervention will be to support people that are sick at home or quarantined with cash to buy their medicines and other emergency needs. Implementing members will also focus on communicating to the communities about infection prevention and control including information on vaccines, and they will be working with churches and other faith leaders to this end.
A Global Coordination Call is being organized by the ACT Secretariat on Monday, 03 May 2021 to understand the needs and coordinate a timely and efficient ACT response.