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Black market for oxygen in India amid virus surge

In India, where the number of people who have died from COVID-19 has now surpassed 200,000, a black market in oxygen has sprung up. With cylinders in hospitals running empty, businesses have been told to hand over what supplies they have for emergency medical use. India's daily deaths, which have nearly tripled in the past three weeks, also reflect a shattered and underfunded health care system. Hospitals are scrambling for more oxygen, beds, ventilators and ambulances. Footage aired by UK broadcaster Sky News has also shown families marshalling their own resources in the absence of a functioning system. The country's health ministry on Wednesday reported 3,293 deaths in the latest 24 hour period, bringing India’s total deaths to 201,187. The nation also reported 362,757 new infections - a global record - which raised the overall total past 17.9 million cases. India has the fourth most deaths, behind the United States, Brazil and Mexico. However, mortality data in the country is poor, with most people dying at home and their deaths often going unregistered. Local media have reported discrepancies between official state tallies of the dead and actual numbers of bodies in crematoriums and burial grounds. In recent days, many crematoriums have spilled over into parking lots and other empty spaces as blazing funeral pyres light up the night sky.

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