U.S. ban makes India’s epidemic worse

The latest data from the Federal Ministry of Health of India shows that the country’s new crown pneumonia epidemic has worsened at an alarming rate in the past two days-an average of 10,000 confirmed cases and 60 deaths per hour have been added. As of the 20th, India ranks behind the United States with 15.32 million confirmed cases and more than 180,000 deaths. It has become the second most severely affected country in the world. Images of overcrowded hospitals and overwhelmed crematoriums have appeared in the world’s major media. The Modi government regards expanding the scope of vaccination as a “life-saving straw,” but the reality is that the United States’ export ban on vaccine raw materials will force India’s vaccine production line to suspend production within a few weeks. “India blocked the capital and the United States reached the vaccination milestone.” Reading headlines like the media, India should be very worried. “The widening of the immune gap damages the interests of all mankind. If the vast number of developing countries are struggling in the epidemic, how can the United States stand alone?” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin issued a “soul torture” on the selfish behavior of the United States on the 20th. .

The crematorium turned around, the iron frame was burnt

The wind and rain were raging in New Delhi. Mohammed Shamim stopped tiredly and glanced at another ambulance carrying the deceased of the new crown pneumonia. The grave-digger’s workload has increased significantly in the past few weeks. The scene described by AFP on the 20th took place in a cemetery in the Indian capital. According to reports, crematoriums across India have to be overloaded because of the surge in deaths from the new crown pneumonia. An electric furnace in Ahmedabad has been used for 20 hours a day for nearly two weeks, and the chimney collapsed. Since there was no time for the furnace to cool down, the iron frame in another electric furnace in Surat burned. In some parts of Lucknow, there is a shortage of wood materials, and relatives who have died during cremation must prepare their own firewood and have to wait in line for 12 hours. A person who couldn’t wait started to burn the body in the nearby park.

From the end of last year to the beginning of this year, some Indians believed that the epidemic was about to end, but now, it has launched a second round of offensive in a more violent way. On the 19th, India added 274,000 new confirmed cases, setting a record for the highest number of new cases in a single day since the epidemic, and it was the tenth record in 11 days. On the 20th, data from the Indian health department showed that in the past 24 hours, the country has reported a total of more than 259,000 confirmed cases. Although the increase has fallen slightly from the previous day, the spread of the epidemic has not been controlled. The positive test rate in the capital, New Delhi, is over 30%.

Even though it has been shocking, the above figures are still suspected to not truly reflect the severity of the epidemic in India. According to Reuters, the number of cremations and burials in some major cities in India far exceeds the number of officially reported deaths. Bramar Mukherjee, professor of biostatistics and epidemiology at the University of Michigan in the United States, studied the first wave of the epidemic in India and concluded that the actual number of infections in the country is 11 times the official figure, and the number of deaths is 2 higher than the reported figure. To 5 times.

Delhi Chief Minister Kejriwal announced on the 19th that a six-day “blockade” would be implemented from 10 o’clock that night. He warned: “I’m not saying that the medical and health system has collapsed, but it has indeed reached its limit.” Such a situation occurs in many parts of India, where oxygen, ICU beds and treatment drugs are extremely scarce. On the 20th, the news18 website of India used a video to report “a shocking medical apathy”. Due to a shortage of beds, a patient with COVID-19 was asked to wait outside the hospital for several hours until he died on a stretcher. At that time, the Minister of Health of Jharkhand State was inspecting the hospital.

After Delhi announced a short-term blockade, local citizens began to rush to the streets to buy daily necessities. Online, if the order is not placed in the first time, the page will quickly jump to the “out of stock reminder” status. India’s “Economic Times” reported that alcohol consumption has exponentially increased. Giri, Director-General of the Federation of Alcoholic Beverage Industries of India, said: “The uncertainty of the trend of the epidemic has caused people to doubt how long the lockdown will last in the future, and panic buying will naturally follow.”

Indian media angrily denounced the US for “vaccine mafia behavior”

In response to the epidemic, Indian Prime Minister Modi has presided over 5 special meetings within a week. On the 20th, he held a video conference with vaccine manufacturers again. The Ministry of Health of India announced on the same day that from May 1st, the scope of vaccination will be further expanded to all people over the age of 18. In the future, local states can also purchase vaccines directly from vaccine manufacturers. The Press Trust of India quoted analysts as saying that doing so may push up the price of vaccines and exacerbate the “vulnerable position of vaccination” at the bottom of society.

But compared with the “stuck neck” in the United States, this is not a big problem. The Indian Scroll website reported on the 20th that if the United States does not provide 37 key raw materials, India’s new crown vaccine production line will stop production within a few weeks. The world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, Punawala, CEO of the Serum Institute of India, recently “begged” US President Biden on Twitter to lift the ban on raw material exports to India.

“This is a vaccine mafia action!” India’s ZEE News Network was angry at the US’s approach. The “Indian Express” reported that after taking office, Biden immediately invoked the “National Defense Production Act” to prohibit the export of key materials used to produce vaccines to ensure that vaccine manufacturers such as Pfizer in the United States can obtain sufficient supply of raw materials to achieve all-weather production.

An anonymous source told the “Indian Express” that Indian Foreign Minister Jason Su and US Secretary of State Brinken talked on the phone on the 19th to talk about the US ban on the export of vaccine raw materials. According to sources, the Biden government expressed its understanding of India’s needs and said it would give “appropriate consideration” to the issue of vaccine raw materials. The Press Trust of India said that during the White House’s briefing on the epidemic on Monday and the subsequent regular press conference, the Indian Serum Institute’s call for the United States to lift the ban was asked twice, and the White House spokesperson did not respond.

The British “Financial Times” stated that the Modi government not long ago declared that India is the “pharmacy of the world”, but now it is busy ensuring more vaccines for domestic use. “The faltering supply of vaccines from India is bad news for the world.” CNN said, the director of the African disease control agency warned that India’s control of vaccine exports could be “disastrous” for the African continent. “China urges the United States to shoulder its due international responsibilities.” Wang Wenbin said on the 20th that according to relevant statistics, the United States is currently the world’s second largest producer of new crown vaccines, but very few vaccines are exported. According to the US Axios News Network, while billions of people around the world are anxiously waiting for vaccines, 30 million doses of vaccines are “ashes” in Ohio warehouses.

For the economy, India still does not plan to block nationwide

The United States, New Zealand, Pakistan and other countries have tightened travel restrictions on India to varying degrees. Beginning Friday, India has been included in the travel “red” list by the United Kingdom. The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government announced that it will implement the “fuse mechanism” for regional flights starting on the 20th, prohibiting all civil airliners from India to Hong Kong from landing, and the measures will last for 14 days. Hong Kong’s “Sing Tao Daily” reported that a passenger plane arrived in Hong Kong from New Delhi on April 4, and the passengers on the plane became ill during the 21-day quarantine period. At least 53 people have been diagnosed.

British Prime Minister Johnson announced on the 19th that he would cancel his visit to India originally scheduled for next week and instead hold talks with Modi via video. The British “Times” stated that the implementation of this ban, no matter how reasonable it is, will not be welcomed by India. The Hindu newspaper reported that in the previous weeks, plans to visit India by the President of Rwanda, the Prime Minister of Denmark and the Australian Foreign Minister had all been cancelled. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga was originally scheduled to visit India after Johnson, but it is now unclear whether it will be possible.

Regarding India’s current epidemic situation, the Wall Street Journal quoted public health experts as saying that the new mutant virus is more contagious and India’s relaxation of vigilance is the reason. For example, recently, tens of thousands of people participated in political rallies in West Bengal, and most of them did not wear masks. Thousands of Hindus bathed in the Ganges during the Big Hu Festival this month. The BBC commented that in nightclubs, shopping malls, gyms, and even crowded festivals, things were business as usual in India a few months ago, and it did not seem to be in the midst of an epidemic. Now this country has to pay the price.

However, the Indian government still does not plan to adopt nationwide blockade measures. The Hindustan Times quoted people familiar with the matter as saying on the 20th that Indian Finance Minister Sitharaman said in a closed-door meeting that the government’s top priority is to expand India’s medical infrastructure and maintain the growth momentum of economic recovery. Blocked again within the scope”.