‘It has gotten very intense’: Local reaction to the COVID-19 crisis in India

WINNIPEG — As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to progress around the globe, India has become one of the hardest-hit areas in recent days.

On Monday, for the fourth straight day, the country set a new record for the most new cases in the world.

Ramandeep Gerwal, president of the India Association of Manitoba, said the situation is dire right now.

He said the images that have emerged from India, such as people lined up in cars waiting for oxygen, are hard to see.

“It has gotten to very intense. A lot of people are losing their lives which is not only heartbreaking for India, but the loved ones who are living outside of India as well,” said Gerwal.

During this time, Canada has cancelled all flights to India, which means loved ones in Manitoba are only able to virtually communicate with their families. Gerwal says it has led to some panic for Manitoba residents.

“Lots of bad news is coming out of India. There’s no way other than just talking to each other here. We are calling people and anybody who is going through grief. We are just calling each other and being each other’s shoulder at this point,” he said.

Gerwal said the problem in India right now is the new variant that is going around, the B.1.617 variant. He said for those being infected it is very hard to find space at a hospital.

“There’s so many people. They got to a critical state all of a sudden. Hospitals are pretty much running at their capacity,” Gerwal said.

He said the government has opened up temporary hospitals and temples have been converted to make extra space.

Gerwal added there is also a shortage of supplies because of the rising numbers

He said the association has called on the Canadian government to help India and provide any equipment that is available.

– With files from CTV’s Maralee Caruso.

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