A deadly wave of COVID-19 is sweeping through India and medical experts are concerned about its wider global implications.
Over 200,000 people have died in the devastating second wave with the crisis compounded by a crippling shortage of vital supplies to combat the rapidly spreading virus.
Oxygen in particular is in short supply alongside vaccines. Hospitals are struggling to cope with the massive influx of cases and are forced to turn away gravely ill patients.
The country’s outdoor crematoriums are also straining to keep up with the large numbers of deceased.
India has now become the global epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic ahead of Brazil with many the UK and many other countries now coming to its aid by shipping urgently needed supplies to the stricken country.
India set a grim world record averaging over 300,000 cases daily in the past week. In one day alone over 2,600 people succumbed to the disease in horrific conditions, many of them unable to get a hospital bed.
There are reports that the fatality rates could be much higher than what the official figures state.
It was just recently that India, which has been assisting other countries with COVID-19 supplies, reported that it was getting on top of the pandemic within its borders.
The sudden change in circumstances has led the World Health Organization (WHO) to say that the situation in India was a "devastating reminder" of what the coronavirus could do.
Dr Soumya Swaminathan, the World Health Organization's chief scientist, says: "The virus doesn't respect borders, or nationalities, or age, or sex or religion," and warns that "what's playing out in India now unfortunately has been played out in other countries."
Despite being one of the world’s leading manufacturers of COVID-19 vaccines under contract with major global pharmaceutical companies, India’s own vaccination roll-out has been slow.
Less than 10% of its population have had the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and under 2% are fully vaccinated.
The current outbreak has been blamed on mass public attendance at recent cultural and religious festivals in India with limited or little social distancing and mask-wearing.
The Indian government has been heavily criticised with accusations that it had woefully mismanaged the pandemic.
Several countries have now placed a travel ban on the country.