The Indian capital placed an immediate night curfew on Tuesday, a day after the country experienced a record coronavirus outbreak, with financial hub Mumbai following suit.
Since India passed 100,000 new cases in a single day for the first time on Monday, concern has increased.
New Delhi, which has a population of 25 million people, and other major cities have all ordered restrictions on public transportation.
The “sudden increase in Covid-19 cases” and “high positivity rate,” according to the Delhi regional government, necessitated a night curfew.
Only essential services or people traveling to and from vaccination centers will be permitted on the streets between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.
However, residents in Delhi who spoke to AFP expressed doubts about how successful the night-time restrictions would be in slowing the virus’ spread.
“Most people who are going to get Covid are going to get it in the day when they are out and about… The night curfew is not going to change anything much,” financial consultant Arvind Khanna, 62, told AFP.
“India is a very populated country and Delhi is one of the most populated cities in the world. So there really is no effective way. People just need to follow the rules — wear a mask, use sanitiser, keep the distance,” added 18-year-old student Angel Miyamoto.
On Monday, Delhi announced 3,548 new positive cases, down from nearly 9,000 in November, when it was one of the worst-affected cities in the 1.3 billion-person country.
As it tries to revive the shattered economy, the government has so far refrained from reimposing the nationwide restrictions introduced in March last year — one of the world’s toughest lockdowns.
However, Maharashtra, India’s wealthiest state, which includes Mumbai, declared a weekend lockdown and night curfew for its 110 million people on Sunday.
More than half of all new cases reported each day in the United States originate in the state.
– Critical time –
Vinod K Paul, a member of the government advisory body NITI Aayog, said late Tuesday at a health briefing that the country’s next four weeks will be crucial.
After the United States and Brazil, India has the world’s third-highest number of infections, with nearly 12.7 million cases and more than 165,000 deaths.
Since early February, when they were below 9,000, single-day infections have been on the rise.
According to an AFP database, the country has reported more than 549,000 cases in the last seven days, up 40 percent from the previous week.
Brazil registered just under 440,000 cases, while the US reported just over 453,000, both on the decline from the previous week.
According to India’s health ministry, more than 83 million vaccine shots have been given out as part of an ambitious attempt to vaccinate 300 million citizens by the end of July.
In the meantime, Delhi has requested that one-third of all vaccination sites at government hospitals be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week to speed up the vaccination process.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN