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Sunday, December 5, 2021

COVID-19 pandemic leaves many Kenyans living in India in distress

By The Frontier Post Reporter

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Kenya has told its citizens to contact and furnish Kenya’s High Commission in India with personal information to help it update its register on how many citizens are living there.

This follows a surge in Covid-19 deaths and cases in India.

Kenyan High Commission in India in a statement, told Kenyans currently residing in India to provide their names as they appear in the passport, their passport numbers, their contacts, their physical address and location in India and their purpose of visit for accountability and decision-making processes.

The statement signed by Kenya’s High Commissioner in India, Willy Bett, assured Kenyans that the Indian Government was instituting various measures to assist in slowing down the rate of infections.

The commission also advised Kenyans in India to form WhatsApp groups to facilitate ease of communication should need arise.

Over 900 Kenyans are said to be living in New Delhi and other parts of the Asian country.

India’s Covid-19 infections rose by 346,786 on Saturday, setting a new world record for the third consecutive day, as overwhelmed hospitals in the densely populated country begged for oxygen supplies.

At least 12 families in India’s capital Delhi woke up to the news on Friday morning that someone they loved had died in the city’s Sir Ganga Ram hospital, reportedly because coronavirus patients could not get enough oxygen.

The hospital’s medical director said a severe shortfall had slowed the flow of oxygen to 25 of the sickest patients, who needed a high pressure, stable supply.

The tragedy came at the end of a week where several major hospitals in Delhi have repeatedly come close to running out of oxygen, which can help patients with the virus who need support with their breathing stay alive.

On Tuesday, it took a desperate public plea from the chief minister and an intervention from the high court for the Indian central government to organise a late night refill.

An oxygen tanker eventually arrived at Sir Ganga Ram hospital on Friday morning, shortly after a dire warning that 60 more patients were on the verge of death.

But India’s rising wave of cases is pushing its healthcare system to the brink – from the country’s richest cities to its remotest corners.

Typically, healthcare facilities consume about 15 per cent of oxygen supply, leaving the rest for industrial use. But amid India’s second wave nearly 90 per cent of the country’s oxygen supply – 7,500 metric tonnes daily – is being diverted for medical use, according to Rajesh Bhushan, a senior health official.

That’s nearly three times higher than was consumed every day at the peak of the first wave in mid-September last year.

Then, India was adding about 90,000 cases daily.

Just two weeks ago, in early April, the single-day spike was around 144,000. Now, the daily caseload has more than doubled to well more than 300,000.

“The situation is so bad that we had to treat some patients in a cardiac ambulance for 12 hours until they could get an ICU bed,” said Dr Siddheshwar Shinde, who runs a Covid hospital in Pune, a western district with India’s second-highest active caseload and third-highest death toll from the virus.

Last week, when there were no ventilators left, Dr Shinde began moving patients to other cities – unheard of in Pune, where patients usually arrive from nearby districts seeking treatment.

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