June 22, 2020 / 12:40 PM / 16 days ago

India reports record coronavirus cases, embassies warn on stretched hospitals

Workers prepare a bed at a recently constructed quarantine facility for patients diagnosed with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Mumbai, India, June 22, 2020. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India reported a record number of new coronavirus cases on Monday and a death toll of more than 400 people in the past 24 hours as foreign embassies warned their citizens in the country that hospitals might not have beds for them.

The 15,000 new cases brought India’s total to more than 425,000, behind only the United States, Brazil and Russia, according to data from the federal health ministry.

Nearly 14,000 people have now died from the disease caused by the virus since the first case in India in January.

The death toll in India remains low when compared to countries with similar numbers of cases but public health experts fear its hospitals will be unable to cope with a rise in cases.

The German embassy sent messages to its citizens living in New Delhi warning them that there was “little to no chance” of admission to hospital for treatment for coronavirus as well as other intensive care needs.

The message was not an order to evacuate the country but to consider whether India remained safe depending on individual circumstances, a diplomat said.

The German advisory follows Ireland in suggesting that its citizens leave India due to the availability of hospital beds.

A dashboard run by the Delhi state government showed more than 7,000 hospital beds were available for coronavirus patients on Monday, though most of those were in a handful of government hospitals. Patients looking for beds have questioned the accuracy of the data.

Despite the peak of infections projected to be weeks if not months away Prime Minister Narendra Modi relaxed most curbs of a near three-month lockdown on June 8 in order to ease economic pain.

Reporting by Alasdair Pal in New Delhi; Editing by Angus MacSwan

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