India's disaster hangs over countries facing COVID-19 surges
SOHAG, Egypt (AP) — Countries worldwide wrestling with new coronavirus surges are trying to ensure they aren’t hit by an India-style disaster. They face many of the same risks, including large populations that have shirked restrictions and fragile health systems shaken under the strain.
In a province along the Nile in southern Egypt, hospitals have been flooded with COVID-19 patients, a main hot spot in a third spike swelling across the country. Doctors in Sohag province warn the health system there could collapse, even as the government rushes in new supplies.
“My estimate is that there is no family in Sohag that does not have a corona case,” said Dr. Mahmoud Fahmy Mansour, head of the province's doctors’ union. “We lost five physicians in one week.”
He said a scenario like India was a possibility, but “God willing, it is a very far possibility.”
Long reluctant to impose new lockdowns, Egypt’s government announced its strictest restrictions in months on Wednesday. It ordered cafés, restaurants, stores and malls to close at 9 p.m. and banned large gatherings for two weeks, as well as shutting down beaches and parks during the upcoming Eid el-Fitr holiday at the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
Egypt isn’t alone in seeing mounting new infections. Worldwide, more cases have been reported in the past two weeks than in the entire first six months of the pandemic, World Health Organization director general Tedros Adhanom said.
India and Brazil accounted for a large part of that, “but there are many other countries all over the world that face a very fragile situation,” he said. “What is happening in India and Brazil could happen elsewhere unless we all take these public health precautions.”
India has been hit by a catastrophic surge of COVID-19 infections after its prime...