Families beg and barter for air as India's Covid crisis sees a hunt for oxygen

Desperate relatives of coronavirus patients in India have been forced to beg and trade for oxygen as the crisis there deepens.

The Asian country has become the epicenter of the global pandemic and reported a global record for the most infections in one day with 354,531 new cases on Sunday.

In front of a Sikh temple in the east of the Indian capital New Delhi, the street is full of vehicles full of sick or dying Covid sufferers who are desperately looking for oxygen.

So great was their desperation that they were forced to suck in air from oxygen bottles on the street that had been given free of charge by a Sikh charity.

Hospitals are so overwhelmed they have asked for oxygen, while those unable to breathe die on the street waiting for their turn.

For the fourth year in a row, the charity Sikh Khalsa Help International is providing oxygen to the people, not the government.

Kind-hearted volunteers help the charity as a second wave of Covid sweeps across the nation.

Gurpreet Singh said the charity founder Sky news : “I don’t know what the government is doing. If we can, why can’t they?”

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the coronavirus storm has rocked the nation.

A patient wearing an oxygen mask sits in an ambulance waiting to be admitted to the hospital

People carry oxygen bottles after they have been refilled in a factory

However, his government has been criticized for allowing large religious and political gatherings earlier this year when India’s cases fell below 10,000 a day.

Siddiqui Ahmad brought his 32-year-old son, Abu Sadat, to ask the charity for air after he was “turned away from everywhere”.

He is one of the thousands of Indians left to barter, beg, or borrow air, and his desperate mother said, “Nobody would help.”

Siddiqui asked the overprinted volunteers to take care of his “weak and motionless” son, and they hooked him up to an oxygen tank.

The second wave is raging through India

He’s very weak, but he’s alive – just.

The second wave of the pandemic in India resulted in one Covid-19 death every four minutes in Delhi.

Crematoria across Delhi are so full that grieving families are told they must wait now.

But the UK will provide ventilators and other vital medical supplies to help affected hospitals in India that will arrive this week.

The government confirmed that nine airline containers filled with supplies, including oxygen concentrators and ventilators, will be shipped into the country.

The first tranche of the medical equipment is expected to arrive in New Delhi on Tuesday. More deliveries from the UK’s excess inventory will be dispatched in the coming days.

The EU and America have both said they are ready to help, and so have the people of India.

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