Covid patients 'dying on the pavement' outside hospitals in India as doctors fear infections will hit 500,000-a-day
24th April 2021

COVID patients are "dying on the pavement" outside hospitals in India – as doctors fear infections will soon hit 500,000 per day.

Doctor Harjit Singh Bhatti said the crisis was now "horrific" as the country fights the "world's worst" coronavirus outbreak, with dying Covid patients lined up on stretchers.

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Dr Bhatti told ITV: "I have never seen this type of situation in my whole medical career.

"From last 10 years I am practicing medicine, I have not seen this type of situation where people are dying on the roads.

"They are not able to get better. They are not able to get oxygen."

The doctor described the tragic feeling of relief he has when the death of a patient means there is an extra bed for someone else.

He said: "Even with my best possible efforts, I'm not able to provide that care to all my patients. And I am seeing that if I am treating one patient, then many of my patients are left untreated, or they are not able to get that adequate amount of attention, which they have to get.

"So even, I said this in my social media profiles also, I said that sometimes it is situation of grief and relief.

"Like I grieve for my patient who lost their life, but I also have relief for those patients who will get their bed. So it's a type of very, very worrisome and very alarming situation."


Virologist Shahid Jameel warned that India may record 500,000 cases per day by the first week of May.

He told BBC Radio 4: "People who do modelling studies do suggest that India will hit a peak somewhere towards the end of the first week of May, and we may climb up to about 500,000 cases per day, possibly more."

India's fatality rate means that there could be 5,700 deaths per day at the peak.

India has set global records for coronavirus case numbers and deaths for the last three days running.

There were 346,786 new Covid cases in the past 24 hours, while an additional 2,624 deaths across India were recorded in the same time period.

The World Health Organization has described the situation in India as a "devastating reminder" of the destruction that the coronavirus could cause.

Dr Sumit Ray said patients were dying "within minutes" of arriving at hospital due to a lack of oxygen and beds.

He told the BBC: "Almost every hospital is on the edge. If oxygen runs out, there is no leeway for many patients.

"Within minutes, they will die. You can see these patients: they're on ventilators, they require high-flow oxygen. If the oxygen stops, most of them will die."


Boris Johnson pledged to support India in its fight against the Covid surge.

The PM said: "We're looking at what we can do to help and support the people of India, possibly with ventilators.

"Thanks to the ventilator challenge, the huge efforts of British manufacturers, we're better able now to deliver ventilators to other countries.

"But also possibly with therapeutics, dexamethasone, other things, we'll look at what we can do to help."

Boris was forced to cancel a trip to New Delhi this weekend.

The surging Covid cases are pushing health services in India to the limit, with medical oxygen scarce and hospitals understaffed and overflowing.

Intensive care units are full with nearly all ventilators in use, leaving doctors no choice but to plead for help on social media.

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