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The Impact of India’s Surging COVID-19 Infection Rate Will be Felt Throughout the Developing World

Members from the Disaster Response Force (DRF) of Telangana State, wearing protective gear spray disinfectant on a street against the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus in Hyderabad on April 19, 2021. NOAH SEELAM / AFP

A massive surge of COVID-19 infections in India threatens to make worse what was already a difficult situation for developing countries in Africa and around the world in their efforts to contain the pandemic. A record 274,000 infections were reported yesterday, a figure that experts believe severely understates the true extent of the crisis given the lack of testing facilities around the country.

Given the enormous size of India’s population and what now appears to be an uncontrolled blaze of infections spreading fast across the country, the COVID-19 situation in South Asia is already having severe consequences in countries as far away as Kenya.

3 Ways The Surging COVID Crisis in India Will Impact Africa

There are also important geopolitical considerations to this latest crisis, given that India was seen as a pillar in the U.S.-led effort to rival China’s successful vaccine distribution efforts, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region. Now, any hope that India will produce a billion jabs for use in developing countries is no longer relevant.

With the U.S. and Europe still on the sidelines in terms of vaccine distribution to the Global South and Covax hampered by the Indian export ban, the overwhelming majority of developing countries in Africa and elsewhere will likely have to rely more on Russian and Chinese vaccine providers, at least in the short term.

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