INDIA will lock down its capital New Delhi for a week from yesterday night in a bid to control a raging coronavirus outbreak, as the hard-hit United States passed a hopeful milestone of giving at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose to half its adults.
Although there was good news from Australia and New Zealand as well as the two neighbours that opened a travel bubble which would allow people to travel without a mandatory quarantine, infections are skyrocketing in India, however, with hospitals running out of beds and the government forced to reimpose economically painful restrictions again.
According to Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal, the capital’s health system is at a tipping point.
“If we don’t impose a lockdown now, we will be looking at a bigger disaster. Businesses would be shut and movement around the city of 20 million limited to essential services,” Kejriwal said.
The new Delhi lockdown is coming after 1.3 billion people reported a record high of 273,810 infections yesterday for the fifth consecutive day of more than 200,000 cases.
But the restrictions followed similar measures in other parts of India, including in the western state of Maharashtra, home to financial capital Mumbai with the surge overwhelming the healthcare infrastructure in many parts of India, and authorities are scrambling to free up hospital beds and secure additional supplies of oxygen and treatment drugs.
It will be recalled that India has the world’s second-highest caseload with more t0han 15 million known infections with health workers bracing for yet another spike as millions of pilgrims attend a religious festival and ongoing regional elections draw huge rallies.