'They are worried, they feel helpless': Indian community in Wales fear for families as coronavirus deaths surge in India

  • Watch the report by ITV Cymru Wales journalist Charanpreet Khaira

As India faces a devastating surge in coronavirus infections, Indian communities in Wales have spoken of their worry for family members still living in the country.

On Wednesday, India surpassed the bleak milestone of 200,000 recorded deaths with fears the figure could be much higher.

The Welsh Government says it is working ''on a four nations basis'' to urgently provide medical supplies to the country, where the health system is said to be on the verge of collapse.

Niru and Prabhat Kumar have many relatives living in India Credit: ITV Wales

In Cardiff, the India Centre has been offering help to those who are anxious about their relatives and the situation in the country.

Niru Kumar, Chair of the centre, said: ''We have set up a support plan here and people come, sometimes in the evening, sometimes in the daytime.

''They come for prayer and the support system is here.

''They are worried, they feel so helpless not to be able to go there and share their anxiety, so they are very helpless.''

Infections in India have surged Credit: PA

Mrs Kumar and her husband Prabhat, both in their seventies, also have many family members living in India and share the feeling of helplessness felt by many in the community.

Some members of their family are currently in self-isolation with the virus.

''It's very stressful,'' she said.

''We are on the phone every day, two, three times to find out about their welfare.''

They also share the grief felt by many, having lost their nephew during the first wave of infections. Only two of the nephew's sons were able to go to the funeral.

''He was very unfortunate and we felt it very bad,'' Mr Kumar said.

Mrs Kumar added: ''It was very sad not to be there in person to support the family.''

The British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO), have been fundraising to send vital medical supplies to India.

Chair of BAPIO, Professor Keshav Singhal, said he is "extremely concerned" about the current situation.

''It is frankly alarming,'' he said.

''I don't want to come across as alarmist but the fact of the matter is in India they are having 350,000 new cases every day and some immunologists expect the peak to reach 30 million every day at some point in the worst case scenario, though most say it's likely to be up to 8 or 9 million every day.''

A new variant of Covid-19, known as the Indian variant, has been found in the country with scientists still investigating whether this has been behind the surge in cases there.

In Wales, cases of this new variant have also been found.

Professor Singhal said: ''The Indian variation has a double mutation, and there is some suggestion that it may be more resistant to the effects of the vaccine so there is a cause of concern

''I wouldn't say this is a cause for concern for the UK, for the simple reason that we are testing and tracing and genome sequencing these very effectively.

''But for the whole world the Indian variant could be a cause for concern.''