Another Indian state announces lockdown as cases continue to surge

NEW DELHI, INDIA - 2021/03/24: A Health worker wearing a personal protective equipment (PPE) takes a swab sample from a passenger for coronavirus Covid-19 rapid antigen test to curb the spread of coronavirus pandemic at New Delhi Railway Station. In Delhi random testing of Covid-19 Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) and (RT-PCR), is conducted across airports, Railway and Bus station as precautionary measures to prevent and control the surge of Covid19 cases in Delhi in regards to people coming to the city from other states. (Photo by Naveen Sharma/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The state of Odisha in India’s east became the latest region to announce a two-week lockdown as the country continues to be overwhelmed by a surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths.

FILE PHOTO: A view inside the vaccination centre at a district hospital at sector 30 in Noida, India. (Photo by Sunil Ghosh/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

Close to 10 Indian states and union territories have imposed some form of restrictions, even as the federal government remains hesitant to impose a national lockdown.

States such as Delhi, Maharashtra, Karnataka and West Bengal have also imposed lockdowns while other, like Uttar Pradesh, Telengana, Assam, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan, have either imposed night curfews or weekend lockdowns.

On Sunday, India reported 392,488 new cases pushing the total cases to 19.56 million. That figure is a slight reduction to the one reported on Saturday when India recorded a total of 401,993 cases, creating another world record of new daily cases.

India has reported more than 300,000 daily cases for more than 10 days straight. Several families have been left on their own to scramble to get access medicines and oxygen.

The death toll also rose by a record 3,689 to stand at 215,542 as the nation’s health facilities, morgues and crematoriums continue to struggle to cope with the spike in numbers.

Local media outlet Indian Express newspaper reported on Sunday that the country’s COVID-19 taskforce had proposed an imposition of a national lockdown to the federal government.

Last month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said every attempt should be made to avoid another national lockdown amid fears it will have a devastating impact on the economy.

The Modi administration has faced serious criticism for allowing millions of largely unmasked people attend religious festivals and crowded political rallies in five states through March and April, after which the surge in cases began.

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