A man from Maharashtra, who has been running around trying to get medical help for his ailing father, has made a heart-rending plea. "Give him a hospital bed, or just kill him with an injection," said Sagar Kishore Naharshetivar, who has made a round of several hospitals in two states -- Maharashtra and Telangana -- in a little more than 24 hours.
All the healthcare facilities overwhelmed with a sudden inflow of patients, all the hospitals in Chandrapur - 850 km from Mumbai, were closed for 24 hours. Throughout the day, elderly people were seen lying in ambulances parked outside the local hospital.
Near one such ambulance where his father lay coughing, NDTV spoke to Mr Naharshetivar.
"I have been on the move since 3 pm yesterday. First I went to the Warora hospital, then the one in Chandrapur. Then we went to private hospitals as there were no beds," he told NDTV.
At 1.30 in the night, they went to Telangana. "We reached Telangana around 3 am. But there were no beds there either. Then we came back in the morning. We have been waiting here since," he said, pointing to the ambulance with its rudimentary facilities.
24 घंटे चक्कर लगाए, कहीं बेड नहीं!— Puja Bharadwaj (@Pbndtv) April 14, 2021
बुज़ुर्ग मरीज़ के बेटे की गुहार, ‘या बेड दो या इंजेक्शन देकर मार दो!'
महाराष्ट्र के चंद्रपुर का हाल. pic.twitter.com/ZzxhlnzdZL
After so many hours, his father's oxygen is now running out, he said. "Either you make a bed available for him, or you kill him with an injection. I cannot take him home like this and you have no beds available".
Over 24 hours on Monday, Chandrapur reported 850 fresh cases of Covid. Six persons have died. Altogether, there are 6,953 active cases.
Maharashtra, which has been grappling with the worst of the outbreak, has been struggling to find beds, ventilators, oxygen and medication for hundreds of desperately ill patients.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has already asked for the army's help to tackle oxygen and medicine shortage. "We are using (oxygen stocks) to the hilt. I told PM (Prime Minister Narendra Modi), looking at the condition, that in the coming days we will need oxygen," he said.
On Tuesday, Mr Thackeray announced a series of restrictions that stopped short of a lockdown. Everything barring essential travel and services has been banned for the next 15 days. Shopping centres, malls, film shoots, beaches will be shut. Curbs will remain for hotels and restaurants though home delivery and takeaways will be allowed.
On Wednesday evening, Maharashtra logged 58,952 new cases and 278 COVID-19 deaths over a 24-hour period.