India reports record coronavirus cases, embassies warn on stretched hospitals
From Alasdair Pal
NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India reported a record number of new coronavirus cases and a death toll of more than 400 people in the past 24 hours on Monday as foreign embassies warned citizens in the country that hospitals may not have beds for them.
According to the Federal Ministry of Health, the 15,000 new cases brought India to more than 425,000, only behind the USA, Brazil and Russia.
Since the first case in India in January, almost 14,000 people have now died from the disease caused by the virus.
The death toll in India remains low compared to countries with a similar number of cases, but public health experts fear that hospitals will not be able to cope with an increase in cases.
The German embassy sent messages to its citizens living in New Delhi, warning them that "there was little chance" of being hospitalized for treatment of the coronavirus and other critical care needs.
The embassy was not an order to evacuate the country, but to check whether India remained safe depending on individual circumstances, said a diplomat.
The German report follows Ireland and suggests that its citizens leave India due to the availability of hospital beds.
A dashboard run by the government of the State of Delhi showed that more than 7,000 hospital beds for coronavirus patients were available on Monday, although most of them were in a handful of state hospitals. Patients looking for beds questioned the accuracy of the data.
Despite the peak of infections, which is expected to be weeks or months away, Prime Minister Narendra Modi loosened most of the curbs of an almost three-month ban on June 8 to alleviate the economic problems.
(Reporting by Alasdair Pal in New Delhi; editing by Angus MacSwan)
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