India battles record COVID surge

Beating the earth with his fists, a young man wails as the body of his father, who died after contracting COVID-19, is taken from an ambulance and lowered into a hastily-dug grave in India's capital New Delhi.

On Friday (April 16), a steady stream of ambulances arrived at the Jadid Qabristan cemetery on the outskirts of the ancient walled city, where a vast patch of waste ground was turned into a COVID-19 burial ground last year.

Mohamad Irfan who has just lost a relative to coronavirus said necessarily equipment to save patients were not readily available at the hospital.

The government said it would supply an estimated 17,000 tonnes of oxygen to a dozen states where the virus is surging, including western Maharashtra and Delhi.

Meanwhile, Indian health minister Harsh Vardhan visited coronavirus patients at a local hospital ward.

In later comments made to local media, he said that India "learned from our experiences" from fighting COVID-19 over the past year.

In central Raipur city, hundreds queued outside of a local hospital on Thursday (April 15) waiting for injections of Remdesivir, an anti-viral drug.

Supplies of it are being stepped up after reports of a widespread shortage.

India has so far injected 117 million vaccine doses, the highest globally after the United States and China, but that covers only a small fraction of its 1.35 billion people.