April 23 (UPI) -- India set another record for new COVID-19 cases within a 24-hour period as medical officials scrambled to meet oxygen demands in the nation's hospitals Friday.
India reported 332,921 new cases -- the highest figure any country has recorded in a single day since the start of the pandemic -- and 2,263 deaths Thursday. According to a New York Times analysis, the country has seen a 160% increase in cases and a 197% increase in deaths over the past two weeks.
The spike in cases and hospitalizations is pushing hospitals' oxygen supplies to the limit as more and more patients are ventilated.
The medical director at Delhi's Sir Ganga Ram hospital said 25 people died overnight after a shortage decreased flow to those who needed high pressure oxygen, according to BBC News.
Hospital workers have issued desperate pleas for more oxygen to treat patients, with some also experiencing a shortage of medicines and beds.
India's Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said earlier this month that the country has about 55,000 tons of oxygen in reserve and can produce some 7,700 tons of oxygen daily. Less than a week later, the government told the Delhi High Court that the country was using 8,800 tons of oxygen each day, The New York Times reported.
The BBC said hospitals in Uttar Pradesh in the north have started putting up signs saying they're out of oxygen, while oxygen refilling centers in Hyderabad have hired bouncers to handle growing crowds.
Earlier this week, nearly two dozen patients at the Dr. Zakir Hussain Municipal Hospital in Maharashtra state died after a leak cut off oxygen to patients for about half an hour.
The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered the government to establish a national distribution plan and import some 55,000 tons of oxygen.