India has become the raging epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic with confronting aerial photos showing mass burials being undertaken in the capital city of Dehli.
The deluge of deaths is expected to get worse after India notched a global record of 314,835 daily new Covid-19 infections on Thursday.
The country is desperately trying to replenish supplies of medical oxygen as hospitals struggle to cope with skyrocketing infections and a steady stream of patients.
Heartbreakingly, relatives of the dead have struggled to find space at crematoriums and been forced to keep the dead bodies of their loved ones at home for days, Reuters reported.
Delhi resident Nitish Kumar cremated his mother's body on Thursday (local time) in a makeshift, mass cremation facility in a parking lot adjoining a crematorium after keeping her body at home for nearly two days.
"I ran pillar to post but every crematorium had some reason ... one said it had run out of wood," he told Reuters.
New Delhi illuminated by non-stop funeral pyres
Six hospitals in New Delhi had run out of oxygen, according to a tally shared by the city government
Those who have lost loved ones in the Indian capital, where 306 people have died of Covid-19 in the last 24 hours, are turning to makeshift facilities that are undertaking mass burials and cremations in the open, usually by relatives in protective gear.
Parts of the city of nearly 22 million people have been lit up by fires burning the dead bodies.
The country's weak health infrastructure is getting crushed by a second wave of the pandemic as the world watches on.
Restrictions on arrivals from India
On Thursday, Australia announced restrictions on flights from India, cutting the number by almost a third as well as placing heavy restrictions on outbound passengers. Canada, meanwhile, has outright banned flights from India for 30 days while the UK has also banned flights from India from Friday (local time).
China has offered to help India, but it is not immediately clear what that would involve.
New, more infectious variants of the virus, in particular a "double mutant" variant that originated in India, have helped accelerate the surge, but many have also blamed politicians for fumbling the pandemic response after it looked like India had suppressed its first wave.
Health experts say India let its guard down during the winter, when daily cases were about 10,000 and seemed to be under control, and lifted restrictions to allow big gatherings.
India has seen almost 16 million official cases and 184,657 deaths, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
Authorities have announced vaccines will be available to anyone over the age of 18 from May 1, but experts say there will not be enough for the 600 million people who will become eligible.
To date, India has vaccinated more than 110 million people with at least one jab.
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