Bodies fill the banks of the Ganges, WHO warns of the danger of the Indian variant

COVID-19 variants India became a global problem after bodies were found on the banks of the Ganges.

Dozens of bodies believed to be victims of COVID-19 have been spotted on the banks of the Ganges in northern India.

The pandemic has spread rapidly across India's vast rural hinterland, overwhelming local health facilities as well as crematoriums and cemeteries.

Local official Ashok Kumar said about 40 bodies were found in the Buxar area, near the border between Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, India's two poorest states.

“We have directed the officials to deal with the bodies by either burying them or cremating them,” Ashok said.

Ashok said some of them were swollen, some of the bodies were partially burnt and appeared to have been in the river for several days.

Residents said they believed the bodies were thrown into the river because the cremation site could no longer accommodate them or because families could not afford wood for the cremation ceremony.

“This is a complete shock to us,” said local resident Kameshwar Pandey.

According to reports, the total number of bodies found on the river bank in Buxar and surrounding areas could be as high as 100.

According to official statistics, around 4,000 people die every day in India as a result of the coronavirus. The total number of deaths has reached almost 250,000.

India recorded more than 750,000 new cases over the weekend, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. This brings the total number of cases to over 22 million.

However, many experts believe the actual number of daily cases could be many times higher, citing admissions to crematoriums.

This is happening now primarily because the current surge has spread beyond major cities to rural areas. There are not many hospitals there with a poor data collection system.

Call for the implementation of a nationwide lockdown

The number of coronavirus infections and deaths in India has been consistently hitting daily record highs for weeks.

In addition, health authorities also reported an increasing number of cases of black fungus infection in people recovering from COVID-19, exacerbating the crisis.

Many states have imposed strict lockdowns over the past month, while others have restricted movement and closed cinemas, restaurants, pubs and shopping malls.

But Prime Minister Narendra Modi is under great pressure to announce a nationwide lockdownlike last year, during the first wave of infections.

Internationally, there have been calls for a nationwide lockdown in India, including from White House health adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci. The demand is supported by domestic organizations such as the Indian Medical Association.

Narendra Modi has faced a storm of criticism for allowing large gatherings at religious festivals and holding a series of massive election rallies over the past two months even as cases rose.

New Delhi is entering its fourth week of lockdown, with tighter restrictions such as the closure of train services from the city's outskirts as residents struggle to find increasingly scarce hospital beds and oxygen supplies.

“This is not the time to be complacent,” said Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

WHO: Variant from India is classified as a global problem

The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced that the coronavirus variant first identified in India last year is classified as a variant of global concern. Some preliminary studies suggest the virus variant spreads more easily.

The B.1.617 variant is the fourth variant considered a global concern and requires more detailed tracking and analysis. Other variants include those discovered in Great Britain, South Africa and Brazil.

“We are classifying this as a variant of concern at a global level,” said Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s technical lead for COVID-19.

“There is some information that suggests an increase in transmission capacity.”

This variant has spread to other countries. Many countries, including Australia, have decided to restrict or limit entry from India.

“Despite the increased transmissibility that some preliminary studies have shown, there is still a need for more information about this virus variant as well as its derivatives and any sub-derivatives,” said Dr. Van Kerkhove.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the WHO Foundation has launched a fundraising appeal to purchase oxygen, medicines and personal protective equipment (PPE) for health workers.

Produced by Mariah Papadopoulos ABC News article

This news is a collaboration between and ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). Matters relating to text, photographs, graphics, videos and all news content are the responsibility of ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).

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