Two pass on and in excess of 100 test positive in Covid episode among US political staff in India

 There has been a significant Covid episode among US political staff in India with two privately utilized staff passing on and more than 

100 individuals testing positive as of late as the nation battles to adapt to a sensational flood of the destructive illness, two sources acquainted with the circumstance told CNN. 

Detailed Coronavirus case rates in India have hit worldwide highs for as far back as five successive days, clinics have run out of beds, medication, ventilators and oxygen, and thousands have kicked the bucket in the midst of an overwhelming second wave, which started a month ago.

The sources did not provide details where in the country the staff died and tested positive but the US operates five consulates in different cities and an embassy in the capital of New Delhi.

US personnel, family members and locally employed staff in India only began receiving their Covid vaccines within the past two weeks, one of the sources said. Within the past six weeks -- even as India's case rates were ticking up and staff had not yet been vaccinated -- there were two high-level trips by Biden administration officials to the country

As India breaks another global Covid-19 record and hospitals run out of oxygen, countries pledge assistance and aid

Sources told CNN that some staff were frustrated because they felt that they were not given clear information about when the US diplomatic mission would receive vaccines and they felt they were not being prioritized because many diplomatic staff in Europe and the US had already received their shots.

One source told CNN that the State Department had worked to get vaccines to locations where personnel live on campus -- including in Kabul and Baghdad -- which may have contributed to the Mission being so late in the queue. However, as one source noted, the vaccines "came too late for the two people who died ... it's horrible."

There were frustrations earlier this year from diplomats overseas about the pace at which they got the vaccines, which Secretary of State Tony Blinken acknowledged in remarks in February. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said earlier this month that as of April 18, the "department (had) completed deployment of vaccines to all of our posts abroad."

Much of the workforce is working from home due to the pandemic, sources said, and last week, the Embassy in the Indian capital of New Delhi moved to have even fewer staff work in person.

The embassy referred CNN to the State Department for comment.

A State Department spokesperson said that the "Department has no higher priority than the safety and security of its employees."

"We are closely monitoring the situation and we will take all necessary measures to safeguard the health and well-being of our employees, including offering vaccines to employees," they said.

State Department spokesperson Ned Price would not confirm the outbreak, claiming that "privacy considerations limit what we can say."

"India is enduring a deeply concerning outbreak and the entire country has been affected. We obviously do have a large diplomatic presence within India, it is tantamount to the deep engagement and partnership we have with India, but I'm not in a position to speak to any cases within our staff or embassy community," Price said at a briefing Monday.


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