For a country that is the largest vaccine manufacturer in the world, India’s vaccination drive has only been delivered to a small 4.8% of its 1.3 billion population.

India reported a skyrocketing record number of daily Covid-19 cases for the fifth day in a row.

On Monday, India saw a new global high for daily coronavirus cases at 352, 991, and another 2,767 deaths, however it is believed true figures are higher. Labs are overrun and it’s taking up to three days for test results to come back.

As the country’s second wave shows no signs of slowing down, people have turned to the black market in a desperate bid to buy essential medicines and oxygen cylinders.

Concerns around skyrocketed prices – inflated by 10 times original sales value in some cases, and questionability about the reliability of the drugs being bought on the black market.

Hospitals across numerous cities have run out of beds, people have been forced to find ways to get treatment for sick patients at home.

A grim picture

Hospitals have been overloaded for almost a week now They’ve been turning away even the most critical patients due to a shortage of beds and acute oxygen shortages have overwhelmed the country’s health care system.

As the country scrambles desperately with it’s never-seen-before healthcare crisis deepening it’s grip, desperate crowds have been gathering outside hospitals in major cities crying for help. Delhi’s highest court has publicly criticised the central government for its handling of the oxygen crisis.

The government has allowed seven firms to manufacture remdesvir in India and they have been told to ramp up production.

As several promises of adequate supply from the government have failed to show, many have questioned how the drugs ares available in the black market. It’s thought there is a leakage in the supply system which the regulators haven’t been able to plug.

Biggest vaccine manufacturer in the world

The relatively slow pace of vaccinations has added to India’s current Covid-19 surge.

For a country that is the largest vaccine manufacturer in the world, India’s vaccination drive has only been delivered to a small fraction of the population. Just 132 million vaccine doses have been administered to the country’s 1.3 billion population.

The worst affected state is Maharashtra, also India’s richest, and home to Mumbai. It’s been a Covid hotspot since the start of the pandemic, and has reported 67,468 deaths, more than any other state.

Some experts say new, more infectious virus variants, in particular a “double mutant” variant that originated in India, are largely responsible for the spike in cases, but many also blame the politicians.

In recent weeks, the government has come in for criticism for holding packed political rallies, including by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, for local elections.

Relaxed social distancing measures have contributed to the resurgence. Large religious festivals and election rallies, at which millions gathered, were allowed to take place with few precautions.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government ordered an extensive lockdown in the early stages of the pandemic but has been wary of the economic costs of more tough restrictions.