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400,000 cases a day and media censorship: The latest on India’s worsening crisis.

India remains in the midst of the world's worst coronavirus wave, experiencing its deadliest day yet on Sunday. Still, even with the official numbers so catastrophically high, experts predict the death and case numbers are considerably higher than data suggests. 

With patients left gasping for air amid a great oxygen shortage, more than 40 countries have promised to send emergency medical supplies. 

In the meantime, in Australia, the Morrison Government is facing backlash for introducing massive fines and up to five years behind bars for travellers who come to Australia from India during a temporary pause, with many saying the law is racist.

Mass cremations are being held as India recorded their deadliest day yet since the COVID-19 pandemic. Image: Getty. 

Here is what you need to know about the latest on India's worsening coronavirus crisis. 

India records their deadliest day yet.

On Sunday, India saw its deadliest day of the pandemic yet with 3,689 deaths in a single day, plus 392,488 fresh infections, government data shows. This is the fourth straight day India has recorded over 3,000 deaths. 

It comes after it became the first country to cross 400,000 daily cases on Saturday.

In March, India recorded 1.2 million cases and 5,417 deaths. This is compared to April, where the country recorded 6.6 million infections and 45,000 deaths, demonstrating the ferocity of the spread of the virus. 

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Across the country, mass cremations for victims of COVID-19 are taking place.

Read: ‘I am one of the 9,000 Australians stuck in India. This is what life is like right now.’

Social media censorship.

Last week, The New York Times and Times of India reported that India's government was ordering social media giants Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to remove posts that were critical of the government's handling of the pandemic.

The platforms in-part agreed to take down the posts, by ensuring no one using the sites in India could view the content. 

One of the tweets not visible to people in India is by Moloy Ghatak, a politician in the opposition-ruled West Bengal state.

"India will never forgive PM [Narendra Modi] for underplaying the corona situation in the country and letting so many people die due to mismanagement," the tweet, now restricted in India, reads.

According to NYT, other content being censored in India include gruesome photos of dead people. India's government released a statement defending its actions, saying the content targeted created “panic about the Covid-19 situation in India by using unrelated, old and out of the context images or visuals.” 

One woman living in India at the moment tells Mamamia that what she hears from outlets in India is very different to what she sees outside her house. 

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"There are dead bodies lying on the side of the roads and there's no place to bury them. People are struggling to get oxygen. But in the news, they say everything is running smooth, everything is okay and everything is fine. But it's not. The reality is totally different," she explains.

The censorship has sparked international concern for the world's biggest democracy. 

Relatives of a person who died due to Covid-19 reacting during their last rites at Sarai Kale Khan cremation, on April 26, 2021 in New Delhi, India. Image: Getty. 

Vaccination shortage.

On Saturday, India was due to open vaccinations for all those above 18 years old, however only a handful of states were able to deliver the jabs due to a mass shortage of vaccines.

So far, less than 10 per cent of Indians have received one dose of the vaccine, and only 1.5 per cent have received their second dose.

Despite being among the world's leading producer of vaccines, India, with a huge population of about 1.4 billion, has run short and also placed a temporary hold on exports to meet the domestic demands.

Epidemiologists have been calling on Western countries, where vaccinations are continuing apace, to share their vaccines to prevent the development of new coronavirus strains from surging infections.

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People line up to receive their Covid-19 vaccines at a mass vaccination centre on April 29, 2021 in Mumbai, India. Image: Getty. 

Australia imposes hefty punishment for breaches of travel ban. 

On Saturday, Health Minister Greg Hunt announced that Aussies could face hefty fines and jail time if they breach the temporary travel ban for people trying to return home from India.

Hunt said the new measures come into effect on Monday and will be reviewed on May 15.

Under the Biosecurity Act, the maximum penalty for breaching the ban is a five-year jail sentence or a $66,000 fine. 

The Australian Human Rights Commission has asked the government to prove that its decision to fine or jail Australians is "not discriminatory," considering such measures where not introduced when America and England were experiencing catastrophic waves.  

 On Sunday, Foreign Minister Marise Payne rejected any suggestion that blocking travellers from India is racist.

If you’re in Australia, and would like to help India, here are just a few of the places you can donate to: 

  • Care India: This nonprofit organisation has 70 years' experience in providing relief to communities during disasters in India. They are currently working to provide PPE kits to existing care facilities in India and to set up temporary COVID hospitals. You can donate here
  • Ketto: This is a fundraising platform based in Mumbai, where a campaign is being promoted to get immediate access to oxygen concentrators across India. You can donate here
  • Youth Feed India and Helping Hands Charitable Trust: This fundraising platform is raising money to deliver rations to vulnerable residents of Mumbai. Their kits will feed a family of four for 15 days. Their aim is to ensure "no Mumbaikar goes to bed hungry". You can donate here

Feature image: Getty.