Dad's chilling last words to daughter before his Covid death

A woman has revealed her father’s dying last words before he passed away from coronavirus.

Barkha Dutt, a columnist for The Washington Post, tweeted her dad "lost the battle with Covid" and died on Tuesday.

"My father's last words to me were: 'I'm choking, treat me'," she tweeted.

"To all the doctors at Medanta, nurses, ward staff, security guards, ambulance drivers, my gratitude for trying so hard. My father loved to invent things, make trains, planes and of course, his grandchildren."

A Covid-19 coronavirus patient arrives for admission at the GTB hospital in New Delhi.
A Covid-19 patient gets admitted to the GTB hospital in New Delhi. Source: Getty Images

Dutt has been reporting about the Covid-19 frontline in India. She told CNN: "I have nobody left."

The journalist told CNN her dad was rushed to hospital in an ambulance which didn't have a working oxygen cylinder and feels many Indians are being "orphaned by the state".

Dutt is referring to Indians who haven't been able to get access to medical treatment despite the pandemic.

"I speak because I realise despite my devastation I was luckier than most Indians," she told CNN.

India set another global record in new virus cases on Thursday as millions of people in one state cast votes despite rising infections and the country geared up to open its vaccination rollout to all adults amid snags.

The country recorded 379,257 new infections and now has reported more than 18.3 million cases, second only to the United States.

The Health Ministry also reported 3645 deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 204,832. Experts believe both figures are an undercount, but it's unclear by how much.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a pause on flights between India and Australia until May 15. He called the scenes in India "heartbreaking".

India's deaths almost triple

India has set a daily global record for seven of the past eight days, with a seven-day moving average of nearly 350,000 infections.

Daily deaths have nearly tripled in the past three weeks, reflecting the intensity of the latest surge and the country’s already teetering health system is under immense strain, prompting multiple allies to send help.

Starting Wednesday, all Indians 18 and older are allowed to register on a government app for vaccinations, but social media were flooded with complaints the app had crashed due to high use, and once it was working again, no appointments were available.

Healthcare workers place the body of a person, who died due to the coronavirus disease, on the ground for cremation at a crematorium ground in New Delhi, India.
Healthcare workers in New Delhi prepare bodies for cremation. Source: Reuters
A family member, wearing a Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), performs the last rites for Covid-19 victims at a cremation ground in New Delhi.
A person in PPE performs the last rites for Covid-19 victims at a cremation ground in New Delhi. Source: AAP

The vaccinations are supposed to start on Saturday, but India, one of the world’s biggest producers of vaccines, does not have enough doses for everyone. Even the ongoing effort to inoculate people above 45 is stuttering.

One state, Maharashtra, has already said it won’t be able to start on Saturday.

Satyender Jain, health minister in the capital of New Delhi, also told the Press Trust of India news agency on Thursday the city didn't have enough doses to vaccinate people between 18 and 44.

Since January, nearly 10 per cent of Indians have received one dose, but only about 1.5 per cent have received both required doses.

On Thursday, Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla told reporters the country was facing an “unprecedented” surge with more than three million active cases that have pushed the health system close to collapse, causing acute shortages of oxygen and other hospital supplies.

Help is coming from overseas.

“There’s been an outpouring of, let’s say, assistance from various countries,” Mr Shringla said, adding more than 40 nations had pledged to send assistance.

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