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India’s largest cities closed when the number of new COVID-19 cases reached 200,000 – The Diplomat


India’s two largest cities have imposed strict restrictions on travel and one intends to use hotels and banquet halls to treat coronavirus patients as new infections in the country occur. into 200,000 people last Thursday amid a severe surge straining a fragile health system.

Cases and deaths soared just months after India said it had seen the worst of the pandemic – and forced it to delay vaccine exports abroad. India is a major producer of COVID-19 shooters, and the pivot to focus on domestic demand has weighed on global efforts to end the pandemic.

New Delhi has announced home orders over the weekend, though essential workers will be able to move if they have a permit from the local government. Restaurants, shopping malls, gyms and spas will be closed. The theaters will be closed on weekends, but can operate on weekdays at one-third capacity.

Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi’s top elected official, says that despite the rise in infections, 5,000 beds are still available in the capital and more capacity is being added. However, more than a dozen hotels and wedding halls have been ordered to be converted into a COVID-19 center, where doctors from nearby hospitals will treat moderately ill patients.

“The increase is alarming,” said SK Sarin, a government health specialist in New Delhi.

The moves in the capital come after similar measures were taken in the state of Maharashtra, where the financial capital, Mumbai, was hit hardest. The bustle of India’s biggest city eased after the government shut down most industries, businesses and public venues on Wednesday night and put a limit on people’s movements for 15 days. However, travel by train and plane is still allowed.

In recent days, the city has seen an exodus of frightened day laborers, backpacking and rushing onto overcrowded trains.

Dozens of other towns and cities have also imposed curfew at night.

The increase in cases is weighing on hospitals in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and several other states, where many people report oxygen shortages. Imran Sheikh, a resident of the city of Pune in Maharashtra, said he had been asked to provide a separate oxygen tank to a relative who is receiving COVID-19 treatment.

Cremation and burial facilities in the most heavily affected regions have difficulty coping with the growing number of bodies that reach final rituals, according to Indian media reports.

Shahid Jamil, a virologist, said recent local and state elections with massive political protests and a massive Hindu festival in which hundreds of thousands of devotees bathe the Ganges river. event has super large pervasive power.

200,739 new infections were recorded on Thursday, double the number of daily cases recorded during the previous peak, in September. The Ministry of Health also reported 1,038 COVID-19 deaths in the past 24 hours, pushing the number of deaths to more than 173,000.

The number of Indian cases is 14 million, second after the United States. The country ranks fourth in terms of deaths behind the United States, Brazil and Mexico – with nearly 1.4 billion people, a much larger population than any other country. Even these numbers may be too low, experts say.

As it struggles with top-ups, India is ramping up vaccination. The health ministry said the total number of vaccinations surpassed 114 million with more than 3 million doses injected on Wednesday.

When infections began to plummet in India in September, many concluded the worst was over. Masks and social detachment have been abandoned. When the cases started to rise again in February, the authorities were still in turmoil.

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