Update – India posts record daily rise in COVID-19 cases of 401,993

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NEW DELHI, May 1 (CDE/Reuters) – A Maltese man who contracted COVID-19 while in India to adopt a baby girl died yesterday moments before being air lifted to Malta.

Ivan Barbara, 47, was due to arrive in Malta on Friday evening where he would have been transferred to the hospital’s intensive care unit for treatment in isolation. His wife has also contracted the virus.

India posted a record daily rise of 401,993 new coronavirus cases on Saturday as the country opened up its mega vaccination drive to all adults, although several states warned of acute vaccine shortages.

India, the world’s biggest producer of COVID-19 vaccines, has a limited number of shots available domestically, worsening a grim second wave of infections that has left hospitals and morgues overflowing while families scramble for increasingly scarce medicines and oxygen.

“We hope that we will get vaccines tomorrow or the day after … I ask you to please not queue up at vaccination centres on Saturday,” the Chief Minister of the hard-hit state of Delhi, said in on Friday.

Hundreds of people were seen queuing across Ahmedabad, the main commercial city in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state of Gujarat to get vaccinated.

A fire in a hospital in some 190 km (115 miles) north of Ahmedabad killed 16 coronavirus patients and two staff, the latest in a series of deadly accidents at hospitals.

Across the country deaths from COVID-19 jumped by 3,523 over the past 24 hours, taking the total death toll to 211,853, according to health ministry data.

The total number of cases has topped 19 million. As the second wave has picked up steam, India has added about 7.7 million cases since the end of February, according to a Reuters tally. In contrast, it took India nearly six months to add the previous 7.7 million cases.

(Reporting by Sankalp Phartiyal, Adnan Abidi in New Delhi, Amit Dave in Ahmedabad Editing by Stephen Coates and Richard Pullin)

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