South Africans in India being urged to get vaccinated, says SA ambassador

India's COVID-19 casualties have been reaching record-breaking figures for the past week.

FILE: Family members, with help from the municipal staff, transfer the bodies of the patients who died of the COVID-19 coronavirus disease from the ambulance at a crematorium in Bangalore, India, on 15 April 2021. Picture: Manjunath Kiran/AFP

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's ambassador to India, Sbu Ndebele, said that the embassy was in touch with South African citizens in that country, mostly students, to ensure they got vaccinated as soon as possible.

India's COVID-19 casualties have been reaching record-breaking figures for the past week.

Its total COVID-19 caseload has passed the 18 million mark, with over 379,000 of those infections recorded over the last 24-hour reporting cycle.

Mass vaccination programmes for all citizens over the age of 18 were set to start this weekend and the country hopes this will alleviate pressure on overburdened health facilities.

Seriously ill patients are queueing outside facilities as healthcare workers battle with a massive shortage of medical oxygen and hospital beds.

Ndebele said that there were many lessons to learn: "There is a message for us: to keep our guard up and not to relax for a moment. This is a killer that nobody in our lifetime has experienced."

Gravediggers are working around the clock to bury the dead and hundreds more are being cremated in makeshift pyres in parks and parking lots.

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