Why don't we ban begging in India?

"Begs, borrows or steals!" : Why call for the courts to steal oxygen in India

Pramod Walukar is desperate, she feels completely helpless. “I had brought my brother food to the hospital, but while we were talking, the oxygen supply went off. Two hours later he was dead, ”the 42-year-old told the Indian news agency PTI. "He begged me for help while he was choking, but there was nothing I could do."

In the clinic in Nashik, India, 150 corona patients were being treated - around two dozen were ventilated. After a leak in the oxygen tank, there was no longer any supply for the patients, and at least 24 people died. Chaos broke out in the clinic: relatives grabbed oxygen bottles from the beds of the recently deceased in order to save their sick. Doctors and nurses tried to reanimate the dying. Seriously ill patients were loaded into rickshaws and taxis to look for another hospital, but to no avail.

Record number of new infections every day worldwide

India's corona crisis continues to worsen. The country reported 314,835 new infections on Thursday - more than has ever been registered in one day anywhere in the world. In addition, there were 2,104 corona deaths, more than India has ever had to complain about in one day.

At the same time there is a lack of everything: hospital beds, medical oxygen, medication, tests. In front of many hospitals there are long lines of ambulances with corona patients waiting for a bed to be vacated. The New Delhi Higher Regional Court asked the central government to stop oil refineries and other industries that use oxygen in production and to deliver the scarce reserves to hospitals. “Beg, borrow or steal! This is a national emergency, ”demanded the judges.

[If you want to have the most important news from Berlin, Germany and the world live on your mobile phone, we recommend our app, which you can download here for Apple and Android devices.]

The number of total corona infections since the beginning of the pandemic in India rose to almost 16 million. India is the country hardest hit by Covid-19 after the USA. A large antibody study from December 2020 that was recently published comes to the conclusion that only just under 20 percent of the Indian population have already gone through a corona infection. Hopes that the population would develop herd immunity had turned out to be premature.

For a long time, the authorities preferred to believe those studies that assumed an infection rate of over 50 percent, as had been determined in some slums in the Indian financial metropolis of Mumbai. The myth of herd immunity not only fitted well with the picture of falling case numbers, but also with the desire to get the economy going again.

In the cricket stadiums, games were held in front of thousands of spectators. The Hindu Kumbh Mela Festival with millions of believers who made a pilgrimage to the Ganges was organized as planned and the election for the parliament in the state of West Bengal with 91 million inhabitants was not postponed.

In view of the rapidly increasing number of corona infections, the capital New Delhi and other parts of the country have been in a tough lockdown again since the beginning of the week. As a year ago, thousands of migrant workers from the metropolises made their way back to their villages because they feared they would be stranded in the city without work, food and money. It is now again assumed that with the migrants, more corona infections will be carried from the city to the countryside, where there is hardly any medical care.

The USA, Great Britain, France and other countries have now imposed entry bans on flights from India. Experts expect the new corona wave to peak in mid-May. So far, only around 2.5 percent of the Indian population have been fully vaccinated. The government approved vaccinations for all Indians aged 18 and over from May 1st, but there is a lack of vaccine.

Now new: We give you 4 weeks of Tagesspiegel Plus! To home page