HOSPITAL patients in India are being forced to share beds as the country is ravaged by a "vaccine-dodging double mutant" Covid variant.

Daily cases surpassed 200,000 on Thursday – the highest anywhere in the world – as hospital workers grapple with rising infection rates.

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Two men gasping for air wearing oxygen masks were pictured sharing a bed in a government hospital in New Delhi as the country's Covid crisis continues to spiral.

At Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital (LNJP), one of India’s largest Covid-only facilities with more than 1,500 beds, a stream of ambulances ferried patients to the overflowing casualty ward on Thursday.

“We are definitely over-burdened," the hospital's medical director, Suresh Kumar, told Reuters.

"We are already working at full capacity."

Initially, the hospital had 54 beds for Covid patients in critical condition, but has been forced to increase this number to more than 300.


But still, that has proved not enough as patients of no relation are having to share beds, while bodies of the recently deceased lie outside the ward before being taken to the mortuary.

From reporting fewer than 10,000 new daily cases earlier this year, daily infections crossed 200,000 on Thursday, according to official data.

There are fears India has become "the new Brazil" as cases skyrocket amid overcrowding and complacency as a million converged for a Hindu festival. 

Hospital workers are concerned India may be a new breeding ground for mutant virus like the South American country. 


A full opening of the economy from last year’s crippling lockdown, coupled with the mass religious festivals and political rallies in states heading to elections, have fuelled the crisis.

Kumar said the LNJP hospital had some 158 Covid admissions yesterday – almost all of which were severe.

He blamed both fast-spreading new variants as well's as the behaviour of the public since the country reopened after imposing one of the world’s strictest lockdowns for almsot three months last year.

“People are not following the Covid guidelines,” he added.

“They are just careless.”

'NOWHERE NEAR FINSIHED'

It comes after a new Covid variant from India was been detected in the UK, health officials announced.

A total of 77 confirmed cases of the strain have been identified as of April 14.

Seventy-three cases are in England and four are in Wales.

The variant has been labelled as “under investigation” along with six others in the UK.

There are also four “variants of concern” that are the most alarming, including from South Africa and Brazil.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation has warned Covid's grip on the world is "nowhere near finished" as super variants are spawning a surge of new cases.

Its special envoy Dr David Nabarro, said the UK is bucking the trend with falling cases and deaths while in most parts of the globe coronavirus is rampant.

Addressing the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, Dr Nabarro said new variants will be a "regular" occurrence while the virus is still prevalent around the world.

He warned: "The pandemic is nowhere near finished.

"Each week we have seen four and a half million cases being reported and know those are an enormous underestimate.

"And we are still seeing a really significant number of deaths – nearly three million.

"What I want to stress is that the pandemic is surging forward everywhere.”

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