India’s main opposition leader Rahul Gandhi has warned that unless the deadly second COVID-19 wave sweeping the country is brought under control it would devastate India as well as threaten the rest of the world.
In a letter, Gandhi implored Prime Minister Narendra Modi to prepare for another country-wide lockdown, accelerate a vaccination program and scientifically track the virus and its mutations.
Gandhi, leader of the Indian National Congress party, said the world’s second-most populous country had a responsibility in “a globalised and interconnected world” to stop the “explosive” growth of COVID-19 within its borders.
“India is home to one out of every six human beings on the planet. The pandemic has demonstrated that our size, genetic diversity and complexity make India fertile ground for the virus to rapidly mutate, transforming itself into a more contagious and more dangerous form,” Gandhi said.
“Allowing the uncontrollable spread of the virus in our country will be devastating not only for our people but also for the rest of the world.”
India’s highly infectious COVID-19 variant B.1.617 has already spread to other countries and many have moved to cut or restrict movements from India.
UK Prime Minister Boris said on Friday the government needed to handle very carefully the emergence of new coronavirus strains in India that have since started to spread in the UK.
Meanwhile tonnes of medical equipment from abroad has starting to arrive in Delhi hospitals, in what could ease the pressure on an overburdened system.
In the past week, India has reported an extra 1.5 million new infections and record daily death tolls.
Since the start of the pandemic, it has reported 21.49 million cases and 234,083 deaths.
It currently has 3.6 million active cases.
India reported another record daily rise in coronavirus cases, 414,188, on Friday, bringing total new cases for the week to 1.57 million.
Deaths from COVID-19 rose by 3915 to 234,083.
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