India’s second COVID wave is devastating the country with more than 300,000 new cases reported daily. In just one 24-hour period—between 26–27 April—2,771 people died from COVID-19. These figures are bringing India’s death toll precariously close to 200,000.

India’s total COVID-19 cases are rapidly approaching 20 million.

By comparison, Australia has had 910 deaths and fewer than 30,000 cases in total since March 2020.

‘The true numbers of cases and deaths are likely to be higher than those provided by authorities, with many people avoiding testing or struggling to access it. It is reported that many deaths in rural areas also go unregistered,’ said Roshan Mendis, Director of Asia Pacific Baptist Aid (APBAid), one of Baptist World Aid’s partners in India. ‘Virologists say they expect the rate of infections to continue to increase for another two to three weeks.’

Speaking on Chanel Nine’s Today Show on Tuesday, Baptist pastor Tim Costello said, ‘We know in New Delhi that there’s barely a family that hasn’t been touched by COVID – and it is raging, and it is so apocalyptic and scary.’

Costello is the Executive Director of Micah Australia—a coalition of Australian Christians and of whom Baptist World Aid is a member. Micah Australia recently launched their #EndCovidForAll campaign to encourage the Australian government to provide vital support to vulnerable nations.

‘The real truth is that the world is connected by an invisible virus. We say with End COVID For All that “None of us are safe until all of us are safe”. . . this [the situation in India] is the most dangerous phase and why the world has to act together. We now need to do absolutely everything to help our Indian friends,’ Costello said.

Dealing with the sheer number of dead has been described in many news reports as a nightmare. Funeral pyres fill the streets and requests have allegedly been made to cut down trees in city parks for wood. Dignity for the dead, the dying and the living has disappeared.

Baptist World Aid is currently speaking with our Indian partners about their specific needs so we can determine the most effective response.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has been reported in publications including Al Jazeera and the Guardian, as saying India’s recent surge in COVID-19 is the result of ‘a “perfect storm” of mass gatherings, more contagious variants and low vaccination rates’ but that complacency has also played a part, particularly around the new variants.

‘Fuelled by the new double and suspected triple variants, case numbers and deaths of those infected by COVID-19 in India continue to rise astronomically,’ Mendis said.

Echoing Costello, he added, ‘Globally, the pandemic shows no sign of easing, with the virus devastating country after country. The situation in India is a bleak reminder that none of us will be safe until everyone is safe.’

 

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