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Second corona wave - "India's government no longer has the situation under control"

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350,000 new infections per day, no oxygen and hardly any vaccine: the problem is homemade, says correspondent Thomas Gutersohn.

In fact, the corona pandemic in India was almost over. Nobody seemed to have expected another wave. Not the crisis teams, not the government, and not even the population.

The Hindu pilgrimage festival Kumb Mela is omitted these days - that could be one reason why the number of cases is rising again. The country with 1.4 billion inhabitants reports over 350,000 new infections for the fifth day in a row. That is a global high.

Numbers are possibly even higher

Experts warn that these numbers could be higher. Because in the current emergency, the hospitals are not in a position to correctly diagnose every patient, says Thomas Gutersohn, SRF correspondent in Mumbai.

According to newspaper reports, it is often simply written that the patient has died of cardiac arrest or an illness. Which is not declared. This also has to do with the fact that many families did not want their loved one to be considered a Covid 19 patient. "Because then they would be denied a cremation as the Indian tradition provides."

It is missing in every nook and cranny

For days now people have been brought to overcrowded, completely overloaded hospitals. The oxygen for treating Covid-19 patients is running out. Other countries have now responded and are sending oxygen bottles, ventilators and protective material to India.

Another problem: "The fact that there is not enough oxygen is driving the black market price up," explains the correspondent. "A lot of people go to get oxygen bottles for themselves outside of the city - at horrific prices, just in case you have at least oxygen if you get sick, which makes the situation of the hospitals even more difficult."

Three questions for Katrin Zöfel from SRF Wissen

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SRF News: Can it be said whether the new Indian variant is to blame for the strong second wave in India?

Katrin Zöfel: The suspicion is that the variant is to blame if a single, specific variant, like this one in India now, is so dominant and there is such a large outbreak at the same time. But basically you only see once: There is a variant that gets a lot of space on site because little is done against infections, ergo it is spreading. It cannot be deduced from this whether and how much more contagious it is. And in India the scientific support is very sketchy, even if Indian researchers can in principle.

There is simply a lack of funds. The situation is different in Great Britain. The Indian variant arrived there some time ago and the scientists see that although it is imported again and again, it has not really caught on at least so far. This suggests that it is not that much more contagious than the variants that are already there.

The Indian variant has already appeared in Switzerland. Do we need to worry?

As I said, the knowledge is still quite sketchy. But there is much to suggest that it is no more contagious or even less contagious than the British variant, which is now dominant here. So the change is probably not that big. What slows the British version also slows the Indian version: keeping your distance, wearing a mask, etc.

In that case it is not yet possible to say how well the vaccines against the Indian variant work?

No, you don't know that yet. Nobody has yet examined it properly. But you can make assumptions and compare which mutations the Indian and other variants that you already know have. Accordingly, it would be possible that the vaccination protection against B1617 no longer works as well as against the original variant. The good news, however, is that you can also fight against this: with a booster, i.e. a third dose of vaccine.

The government and the crisis teams clearly no longer have the situation under control, says Gutersohn. In India one has to speak of an "undeclared state of emergency". "It's not me who says that, said the Supreme Court a few days ago, because it is simply missing in every nook and cranny."

Vaccine import instead of production

India actually has huge capacities to manufacture vaccines against the coronavirus itself, says Gutersohn. “It's just that the government has - it must be said - overslept to place orders in the last few months. The production that is currently necessary is only being ramped up. "

The government started supporting vaccine production in India with government contributions just a week ago, the correspondent said. As a result, there is a shortage of vaccines in India and the world's largest vaccine manufacturer, the private Serum Institute of India, is even forced to import vaccines from abroad.

The development of Switzerland and India in comparison

SRF 4 News, April 26th, 2021, 12:00 p.m.; srf / eglc; sibl

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  • Comment from Markus Baumann (pierrotlunaire)
    As if “a government” can ever “control” a virus. That would mean: the virus disappears and there are no mutations. A virus like Corona is stronger than any government. At best, people can protect themselves with suitable measures. But even that does not mean that the virus is “under control”.
    Agree agree to the comment
    1. answer from Michael Fuchs (mfuchs)
      So practice differentiating yourself a little, Mr. Baumann. You are right, a (non-totalitarian) government depends on the help of the population. "In the handle" can be understood as "the health system / infrastructure are not overloaded and the numbers are only increasing slowly".
      Agree agree to the comment
    2. Show answers
  • Comment from Ueli Lang (weekly resident)
    There may well be an unreported number and given the comparatively poor hospital infrastructure, these values ​​are certainly questionable. However, one should not confuse the two curves. Switzerland is the yellow, India the red. From a purely quantitative point of view, the Federal Council should have said between mid-October and mid-January: "The BR no longer has the situation under control". The media should appear less sensational!
    Agree agree to the comment
    1. answer from Michael Fuchs (mfuchs)
      You also have, and the discussion was completely justified. https://www.srf.ch/play/tv/club/video/corona---ausser-kontrolle?urn=urn:srf:video:6414e99a-e04e-4e0f-839d-ed498d5ac08c
      Agree agree to the comment
    2. Show answers
  • Comment from Corinne Keller (Corinne Keller)
    Air pollution is extremely high in Delhi. Already in Bergamo there were indications that it can lead to more severe courses in polluted air.
    Agree agree to the comment

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