India Calls in Army to Run Medical Facilities As COVID-19 Cases Surge

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India reported 16,000 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday (Jun 24), its highest daily increase since the outbreak began, and the government called in the army to manage new treatment centres with thousands of additional hospital beds in New Delhi, the country’s capital.

At more than 456,000 confirmed coronavirus cases so far, India is the fourth worst-hit country in the world, behind the United States, Brazil and Russia, according to a Reuters tally.

Cases are expected to keep rising as state governments ease restrictions in place since lockdown was first imposed in late March.

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New Delhi, the sprawling capital of more than 20 million people, also recorded its highest single-day increase on Wednesday, with more than 3,900 cases. Local government data showed that of the roughly 13,400 beds allocated to COVID-19 patients in the city, around 6,200 were occupied.

The federal home ministry said the city would have around 20,000 additional beds available by next week at temporary facilities run by army doctors and nurses.

These include a 10,000 bed facility hosted at a religious centre and railway coaches turned into wards.

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“Armed Forces personnel have been detailed for providing medical care and attention to COVID-19 patients housed in the Railway coaches in Delhi,” Home Minister Amit Shah said.

The city government estimates it will have 550,000 COVID-19 cases by the end of July and will require 150,000 beds by then.

 

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