— Gadgets

India’s coronavirus cases dip from peak as calls mount for a national shutdown

Calls have grown for India to impose a nationwide lockdown as new coronavirus cases and deaths held close to record highs on Monday, increasing pressure on the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The health ministry reported 366,161 new infections and 3,754 deaths, off a little from recent peaks. India’s tally of infections now stands at 22.66 million, with 246,116 deaths. 

As many hospitals grapple with an acute shortage of oxygen and beds while morgues and crematoriums overflow, experts have said India’s actual figures could be far higher than reported.

The 1.47 million samples tested on Sunday for COVID-19 were this month’s lowest yet, data from the state-run Indian Council of Medical Research showed. The figure compared with a daily average of 1.7 million for the first eight days of May.

Many states have imposed strict lockdowns over the past month while others have adopted curbs on movement and shut cinemas, restaurants, pubs and shopping malls.

But pressure is mounting on Mr Modi to announce a nationwide lockdown as he did during the first wave of infections last year.

An elderly man walk past closed shops during a coronavirus curfew in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir.

The situation in India has been worsened by a new variant, which is more contagious and there are fears it could potentially dodge some vaccine protections.

LightRocket

He is battling criticism for allowing huge gatherings at a religious festival and holding large election rallies during the past two months even as cases surged.

“A failure of governance of epic and historic proportions,” Vipin Narang, a political science professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States, said on Twitter.

On Sunday, top White House coronavirus adviser Dr Anthony Fauci said he had advised Indian authorities they needed to shut down.

“You’ve got to shut down,” Dr Fauci said on ABC’s This Week television show. “I believe several of the Indian states have already done that, but you need to break the chain of transmission. And one of the ways to do that is to shut down.”

The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has also called for a “complete, well-planned, pre-announced” lockdown.

New Delhi, the capital, entered a fourth week of lockdown, with tougher curbs such as the shutdown of the suburban rail network, while residents scrambled for scarce hospital beds and oxygen supplies.

“This is not the time to be lenient,” Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Sunday.

“This phase is so tough, this wave is so dangerous, so many people are dying…the priority at this hour is to save lives,” he said in a televised address.

Sri Guru Tegh Bahadar centre ready for 300 COVID-19 patients at Gurdwara Rakab Ganj Sahib, New Delhi, India.

Calls have grown for India to impose a nationwide lockdown as new coronavirus cases and deaths held close to record highs.

Late on Sunday, the northern state of Uttarakhand said it would impose curfew from Tuesday until 18 May, just days after mass religious gatherings held in the state became virus super spreading events.

Shops selling fruits, vegetables and dairy items will stay open for some hours in the morning, while malls, gyms, theatres, bars and liquor shops are among the enterprises that will be shut, the government said.

The situation in India has been worsened by a new variant, which is more contagious and there are fears it could potentially dodge some vaccine protections, the World Health Organization’s chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan told AFP on Saturday.

The Indian outbreak has spread to some of its neighbours, with Nepal reeling from a worrying spike in cases.

Because of the outbreak in the Himalayan nation, China will set up a “separation line” on the summit of Mount Everest – which straddles the China-Nepal border – to avoid possible infections by climbers from Nepal, state media reported.

Dozens have been taken ill from the Everest base camp in recent weeks.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button