India and Thailand reported record daily coronavirus cases on Thursday, as a new wave of infections, combined with a shortage of hospital beds and vaccines, threatens to slow Asia’s recovery from the pandemic, Reuters reports.
India breached 200,000 daily infections for the first time on Thursday and the financial hub of Mumbai entered a lockdown, as many hospitals reported shortages of beds and oxygen supplies.
“The situation is horrible. We are a 900-bed hospital, but there are about 60 patients waiting and we don’t have space for them,” said Avinash Gawande, an official at the Government Medical College and Hospital in Nagpur, a commercial hub in Maharashtra.
The surge was the seventh record daily increase in the last eight days and takes the total caseload to 14.1 million, only second to the United States.
Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims thronged to a religious festival in the north of the country on Wednesday, stoking fears of another surge in Covid-19 cases.
Rising infections have also put strain on the healthcare system in Manila and Bangkok.
The Philippines saw many hospitals in its capital region, home to around 13 million people, filling up, as cases rise. Confirmed coronavirus cases in the last 30 days alone reached 266,489, accounting for 30% of the country’s total infections.
Some families of Covid patients have taken to social media to share their ordeals in finding hospitals. Some travelled outside the capital to find a healthcare facility, or spent long hours in line.
Thailand reported 1,543 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, the sharpest increase since the start of the pandemic and the fourth record rise this week.
The spike has increased hospital bed occupancy rates as all positive cases have to be admitted into care under Thai rules. A total of 8,973 patients are being treated.
While the country considers lockdown measures, its neighbour Cambodia imposed a lockdown in its capital and a satellite district on Thursday as an outbreak that started in late February saw cases spike almost ten-fold to 4,874 within two months.
Bangladesh also began a week-long lockdown with strict restrictions on Wednesday as infections have reached around 7,000 cases a day in the last two weeks from below 300 in February.