India’s largest city closed due to 200,000 new COVID-19 cases

New Delhi — India’s two largest cities impose strict restrictions on mobility, one with over 200,000 new infectious diseases on Thursday amid a catastrophic surge that is straining vulnerable healthcare systems As planned to treat COVID-19 patients using hotels and banquet halls.

The surge in cases and deaths occurred just months after India believed it had experienced the worst of the pandemic, forcing it to delay the export of vaccines abroad. India is a major producer of COVID-19 shots, and its pivot of focusing on domestic demand weighs heavily on global efforts to end the pandemic.

New Delhi has announced a weekend stay-at-home order, but key workers can move around with a pass from the local government. Restaurants, malls, gyms and spas will be closed. The cinema closes on weekends, but on weekdays it can be operated at one-third of its capacity.

Arvind Kejriwal, an official elected in the highest elections in Delhi, said that despite the rise in infectious diseases, 5,000 beds are still available in the capital, adding more capacity. However, more than 12 hotels and wedding reception halls were still ordered by doctors from nearby hospitals to convert to a COVID-19 center to treat moderate illnesses.

SK Sarin, a government health expert in New Delhi, said:

The move of the capital took place after similar measures were imposed in Maharashtra, home of the financial capital Mumbai. The hustle and bustle of India’s largest city has diminished after authorities closed most industries, businesses and public places on Wednesday night and restricted the movement of people for 15 days. However, travel by train or plane was still allowed.

Recently, the city has seen a panicked outflow of day laborers carrying backpacks and flocking to crowded trains.

On April 15, 2021, a healthcare professional took a cotton swab sample of a child and tested it for COVID-19 at a public hospital in Neuda, a suburb of New Delhi, India. (Altaf Qadri / AP Photo)

Dozens of other towns and cities also impose curfew.

The surge in cases weighed heavily on hospitals in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, and several other states. Oxygen tank shortages have been reported in many states. Imran Sheikh, a resident of the city of Pune, Maharashtra, said he was asked to supply his oxygen tank to relatives receiving COVID-19 treatment.

According to Indian media reports, cremation and burial sites in the worst-affected areas found it difficult to cope with the increase in bodies arriving for the Last rites.

Virgologist Shahid Jamil said a large political rally was held in recent local and state elections, and the Hindu festival, which bathed hundreds of thousands of believers on the Ganges, was a major event. ..

The 200,739 new infections recorded on Thursday are about twice the number of cases recorded per day at the last peak of September. The Ministry of Health has also reported 1,038 deaths from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, resulting in more than 173,000 casualties.

India has 14 million cases, second only to the United States. It ranks fourth in death toll after the United States, Brazil and Mexico, but has a population of about 1.4 billion, far more populous than any of these countries. Experts say that even these numbers are likely to be underestimated.

By Ashok Sharma