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India released $ 6.7 billion in loans on Wednesday to help its asphyxiated health sector counter the second wave of Covid-19 which has ravaged the country with more than 20 million infections since the start of the pandemic .
The Central Bank of India announced on Wednesday May 5 that $ 6.7 billion in loans would be released to vaccine manufacturers, hospitals and healthcare companies to help counter the second wave of Covid -19 which ravages the country.
“The immediate goal is to preserve human life and restore livelihoods by any means possible,” said Shaktikanta Das, Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
“The devastating speed with which the virus affects different regions of the country must be offset by rapid and far-reaching actions,” said Shaktikanta Das, who did not recommend nationwide containment, restrictions that have already been put in place in areas severely affected by the virus.
The move is intended to improve access to emergency health care during the pandemic by making it easier for banks to provide cheap loans to hospitals, oxygen makers and even the sick, said the governor of the RBI, adding that these loans would be available until March 31 of next year.
In the last 24 hours, India has counted 3,780 deaths and 382,000 new infections. The Asian giant has reached more than 222,000 deaths and nearly 20.3 million infections since the start of the pandemic, a toll that some experts consider largely undervalued.
This second wave of Covid-19, attributed in particular to religious and political gatherings authorized in recent months, as well as to the inaction of the Narendra Modi government, is undermining the dilapidated and underfunded Indian health system.
Despite international aid flowing in, hospitals, short of oxygen reserves, medicines and beds, are struggling to overcome the influx of Covid-19 patients, some finding death at their doorstep. Parks and car parks have been turned into makeshift crematoriums to cope with the influx of the dead.
>> To read: Covid-19: the battle for oxygen in India
The Indian government claims to have sufficient oxygen reserves but their delivery to hospitals is disrupted by transport problems.
New Delhi is also counting on its massive vaccination campaign, extended to all adults, which began in January with 160 million vaccines administered to date on a population of 1.3 billion inhabitants.
But India faces a shortage of vaccines, linked to supply problems.
The G7 under pressure for a more equitable distribution of vaccines
The divide is therefore widening between the rich countries, where the progress of the vaccination campaigns allows a gradual lifting of the restrictions in place against the Covid-19, while the poor countries are still sorely lacking in vaccines.
In London, called by the World Health Organization (WHO) to show solidarity in the face of the pandemic, the G7 countries are discussing on Wednesday ways to ensure a more equitable distribution of anti-Covid vaccines.
The Covax sharing system with poor countries, which is mainly supplied with AstraZeneca vaccines, is slipping: it has delivered only 49 million doses in 121 countries and territories, against a target of 2 billion in 2021.