New Delhi | India’s worst-hit state by the coronavirus, which includes the megalopolis of Bombay, put new restrictions in place on Monday, as the country recorded more than 100,000 new cases for the first time in 24 hours.
The hope that had arisen earlier this year that the number of cases would finally decline has faded in recent weeks with a new wave that has brought the total of cases since the start of the pandemic to 12.5 million, and the number deaths to 165,000.
In the most affected state of Maharashtra alone, nearly 60,000 new cases have been recorded in the past 24 hours – for 110 million people.
The local authorities therefore decided on Sunday to advance the curfew from 8 p.m. to 7 p.m., to apply a lockdown on weekends, to close not only bars and restaurants, cinemas, swimming pools, places of worship and public places, but also private offices, and to prohibit any meeting of more than four people.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeks above all to avoid returning to national confinement, after that of March 2020, the consequences of which had been catastrophic for the poorest.
On the other hand, he announced a major campaign to make the population aware of the necessary barrier gestures, “with the emphasis on wearing 100% masks, hygiene measures in public places and at work, as well as in the places of care ”.
In the capital New Delhi, local authorities have ruled out any return to confinement, despite an increase in the number of cases, but police have been instructed to hand out fines to those who do not wear masks.
“People are no longer afraid of COVID. Most no longer wear masks, or do not wear them well, including many of my passengers, ”Surjit Singh, 68, a motorized rickshaw driver told AFP.
India has so far administered nearly 80 million doses of the vaccine.