Mumbai grave digger works 24 hours as deaths soar

It's the middle of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, but Sayyed Munir Kamruddin is working too hard to fast this year...

... because he's a grave digger in Mumbai, working 24-hour shifts, as India coronavirus death toll soars.

India reported 3,645 new deaths on Thursday (April 29), the country's deadliest day so far.

"It's Ramadan and I can't fast. It's summer and my work is hard, we work 24 hours every day. It's so hot. I'm thirsty for water. I need to dig graves, cover them with mud, carry dead bodies. With all this work, how can I fast?"

Infections in the country have hit 300,000 positive tests a day for the past week. Hospitals, crematoriums and cemeteries are overwhelmed.

Kamruddin has been digging graves in Mumbai for 25 years. At the start of the crisis, he wore personal protection, but he gave up two or three months in.

"I realised it's nothing," he says.

He may not be able to fast this year, but Kamruddin says his faith keeps him going.

India's recorded COVID deaths surged past 200,000 this week, but experts believe the true toll in the nation of 1.3 billion people to be much higher.