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Mass cremations and funerals held as India faces deluge of COVID deaths

Mass cremations were held in India for victims who died from the coronavirus and graveyard workers said they were running out of space on Wednesday (April 28) as the country struggled to cope with the massive spike in deaths.

Distraught relatives bemoaned what they see as a slow response from authorities and limited medical assistance. They said they were neither allowed to meet their loved ones for one last time, nor were the authorities doing enough to ensure the safety of family members of those who died from the coronavirus disease.

Parmila Jain, who lost her husband to the deadly virus, wept as she said she pleaded with hospital staff to let her see her husband after he was hospitalised, but that her request had been denied.

In the Indian capital New Delhi one death from COVID-19 was being reported every four minutes and ambulances have been taking the bodies of victims to makeshift crematorium facilities in parks and parking lots, where bodies burned on rows of funeral pyres.

The second wave of infections has seen at least 300,000 people test positive each day for the past week, overwhelming health facilities and crematoriums and prompting an increasingly urgent response from allies overseas sending equipment.

The last 24 hours brought 360,960 new cases for the world’s largest single-day total, taking India’s tally of infections to nearly 18 million. It was also the deadliest day so far, with 3,293 fatalities carrying the toll to 201,187.

Experts believe the official tally vastly underestimates the actual toll in a nation of 1.35 billion, however.

(Production: Danish Siddiqui, Sunil Kataria)

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