As Cases Rise, India Fears Another Covid Catastrophe

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Haunted by the spectre of last year’s crisis, India is bracing for a deluge of Covid-19 cases, with authorities of various megacities bringing in restrictions in a bid to keep infections in check.

Case numbers have yet to match the enormous figures seen last spring when thousands died each day and the Hindu holy city of Varanasi maintained round-the-clock funeral pyres for the mass cremation of virus victims.

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But daily infections nearly tripled over two days this week to more than 90,000, a surge was driven by the highly contagious Omicron variant that some experts worry could again see the country’s hospitals overwhelmed.

An overnight curfew has been imposed in the Delhi area that includes the capital, where weekend movement restrictions will begin on Friday evening, with all non-essential workers asked to stay home.

Tech hub Bangalore has also declared a weekend curfew while sprawling financial centre Mumbai introduced a night curfew.

“Even a small percentage of a large number of cases translates to a large number in absolute terms,” Gautam Menon, a professor at India’s Ashoka University who has worked on Covid infection modelling, told AFP.

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“This could potentially stress out health care systems to levels comparable to or worse than the second wave.”

Doctors and nurses who spoke to AFP have so far been optimistic, with fewer severe cases among those patients admitted to hospital – and with the benefit of experience.

Source: AFP

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