Wednesday, 20 October 2021

New lockdowns ordered as India virus cases near one million


PATNA: One of India’s most impoverished states went into lockdown, but near-normal traffic on Patna’s streets showed the difficulty of corralling over 125 million people.

The lockdown in the northern state bordering Nepal started as India reported more than 600 deaths in the previous 24 hours, and the Red Cross warned the virus was spreading at “an alarming rate” across south Asia.

With India’s caseload on course to hit one million on Friday or Saturday – and fatalities approaching 25,000 – local authorities across the country are reimposing restrictions that have only recently been lifted.

Bihar, a largely rural state with feeble health infrastructure, went into a 15-day lockdown at midnight, a day after IT hub Bangalore – home to 13 million people — shut down for a week.

All schools, clubs, temples and non-essential businesses were ordered to close in Bihar, but construction and agricultural activity allowed to continue.

“We have not faced such a situation in my life before, it is really a horrible experience,” said Radhika Singh, a housewife in her late 40s as she jostled to buy rice and lentils Wednesday before the lockdown started.

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