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India’s COVID advisors say Modi government ‘ignored’ their warnings

In India, a group of scientists advising the Narendra Modi government on the coronavirus says it warned of a new and more dangerous virus variant back in March, but that the government ignored their warnings.An international relief effort to help India deal with its devastating second wave of COVID-19 infections is gathering pace.

Countries ranging from Germany and France to Taiwan and Russia are sending aid. But India’s vaccine roll-out is being hampered by a shortage of shots, and new cases and deaths are still hitting record levels. People lie in the corridors of a hospital in Madhya Pradesh. Those with a bed are hardly better off without oxygen.

Relatives can only watch as their loved ones run out of breath. Precious oxygen is delivered to a hospital in Delhi under police escort. But it comes too late. Eight people died waiting. Medical supplies are flying in. From Germany, ventilators. And from Russia, vaccines. Once a vaccine exporter, India is now desperate for imports. Several states have run out of vaccines, even as the inoculation campaign expands to all adults.

Those who wait to get a shot know they’re the lucky ones. Sikh devotees in Punjab cram together in a shrine. Religious gatherings have been partly blamed for India’s coronavirus outbreak. Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi joined the crowds. Some Indians blame his leadership for the crisis. Across India, anger burns like so many funeral pyres.

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