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Unable to get ambulance, widow drives husband's body home in rickshaw in Covid-ravaged India

A woman in the Indian city of Firozabad, near Agra in the state of Uttar Pradesh, ended up taking the body of her dead husband home from a government hospital in an electric rickshaw, as she could not find an ambulance to transport him.

A woman in the Indian city of Firozabad, near Agra in the state of Uttar Pradesh, takes home the body of her husband in an electric rickshaw. Source: Associated Press

The government has been using the railroad, the air force and the navy to rush oxygen tankers to worst-hit areas where overwhelmed hospitals are unable to cope with an unprecedented surge in patients gasping for air.

At a cremation ground in the city of Farrukhabad, a local caretaker said people were failing to burn PPE kits of those who were brought in for cremation.

"I am the only one, they are after me if I ask them (to burn the PPE kits after cremation), I collect these and burn them myself," he said, as the dead keep arriving.

With Indian hospitals struggling to secure a steady supply of oxygen, and more Covid-19 patients dying amid the shortages, a court in New Delhi said it would start punishing government officials for failing to deliver the life-saving items.

Twelve Covid-19 patients, including a doctor, on high-flow oxygen, died yesterday at a hospital in New Delhi after it ran out of the supply for 80 minutes, said S.C.L. Gupta, director of Batra Hospital.

The Times of India newspaper reported another 16 deaths in two hospitals in southern Andhra Pradesh state, and six in a Gurgaon hospital on the outskirts of New Delhi because of the oxygen shortage.

India today recorded a slight drop in new infections with 392,488 from a high of 401,993 in the previous 24 hours.

It also reported 3,689 additional deaths, bringing the total to 215,542. Experts believe both figures are an undercount.