Daily US Times: India’s daily coronavirus death toll surpassed 4,000 for the first time on Saturday, with the Indian state of Tamil Nadu becoming the latest state to announce a complete lockdown to curb surging infections. More people are dying in the Asian nation than at any stage of the pandemic.
Indian health ministry reported a record 4,187 Covid-related deaths for the previous 24 hours, as well as more than 400,000 new coronavirus infections for the third day in a row.
India has now reported more than 21m coronavirus cases and 238,000 related deaths since the disastrous pandemic began.
The spiraling crisis is stretching the country’s health care system beyond breaking point. Oxygen, beds and medical workers are in short supply. Some Covid-19 patients are dying in waiting rooms or outside overwhelmed clinics and hospitals, before they have even been seen by a doctor.
Officials announced a two-week lockdown in In Tamil Nadu, — a day after the southern state saw its biggest daily spike in coronavirus infections, with 26,465 cases reported on Friday.
Starting Monday, all non-essential shops in Tamil Nadu — including state-owned liquor stores — will be closed. Restaurants will only be allowed to takeout, while grocery stores will open from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Food delivery services in the state will also be limited.
This week, a number of Indian states have imposed complete lockdowns, from the northwestern state of Rajasthan to Karnataka in the south, despite PM Narendra Modi’s earlier warning the measure should only be considered as a last resort.
In late April, Mr Modi said: “In today’s situation, we have to save the country from lockdown. I would request states to use a lockdown as their last option. We have to try hard to avoid lockdowns and focus only on micro containment zones.”
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