Coronavirus cases in India crosses 9 million

Via Aljazeera
Via Aljazeera

India's coronavirus cases crossed the nine million mark early on Friday after more than 45,000 new infections were reported, figures from the health ministry show.

In addition to more than nine million confirmed cases, according to the Ministry of Health update, some 584 deaths have been reported in the last 24 hours, bringing the number to 132,162.

India is currently experiencing a steady decline in cases from its peak in September, with less than 50,000 new infections recorded daily over the last 13 days.

Nevertheless, the city of New Delhi is seeing a massive rise in new cases.

On Thursday, officials in New Delhi quadrupled the fines for people not wearing face masks to 2,000 rupees ($27) as the government came under increased pressure to enforce another lockdown.

"We have to get a bit tougher at times when words alone don't do the trick," Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal told a news conference, even tweeting that the 20 million cities were on a "war footing."

In March, India instituted one of the world's strictest lockdowns, but the controls dealt a serious blow to the economy and have since been eased by the government.

Few people wear masks, particularly outside of large cities, and shoppers have thronged markets in preparation for a series of religious festivals in recent weeks.

While new cases in India have dipped from a high of 100,000 infections a day in September to less than half in recent weeks, authorities fear a surge in the coming weeks.

After registering an increase in cases following the Diwali festival weekend, the western city of Ahmadabad late on Thursday declared an indefinite night curfew. Approximately 47,000 cases and close to 2,000 deaths have been reported in the main town in Gujarat state.

Since June, nearly 500,000 individuals have been fined in Delhi for not wearing masks, 370,000 for breaching the laws of social distancing, and 3,500 for spitting.

The number of cases in the metropolis reached half a million this week with a record spike in daily cases and fatalities.

As a government mobile application showed on Thursday, more than 90 percent of Delhi intensive case beds with ventilators were occupied.

A choking haze and pollution that grips the city this time each year have worsened the problem.

"The level of oxygen saturation in my father dipped... and we rushed to the nearby hospital, but no beds were available," Rajeev Nigam, a resident of Delhi, told AFP.

"We ran from one hospital to another all night, but everywhere it was the same story," he said, assaulting the "unprepared" city government that is trying to expand the number of hospital beds.

Kejriwal declared this week that the number of wedding guests would be reduced to 50 and demanded authority from the central government to shut down markets if they were hotspots for viruses.

Publish : 2020-11-20 10:34:00

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