• Friday, Oct 22, 2021
  • Last Update : 10:21 am

India, Pakistan suffer new Covid-19 surge

  • Published at 04:25 pm March 18th, 2021
India Covid-19
File photo: Passengers stand in a queue for a Covid-19 coronavirus medical screening after arriving at a railway platform, in Mumbai on February 17, 2021 AFP

Cases rise by 35,871 in India to 11.47 million

India and Pakistan reported a big jump in new coronavirus infections on Thursday, driven by a resurgence in cases in their richest states.

While authorities in India have mainly blamed crowding and an overall reluctance to wear masks for its spike, Pakistan says the UK variant of the virus found in the country could also be a factor.

Maharashtra state, home to India's commercial capital Mumbai, reported 23,179 of the country's 35,871 new cases in the past 24 hours, and the fast-spreading contagion in major industrial areas raised risks of companies' production being disrupted.

With the worst rise in infections since early December, India's total cases stood at 11.47 million, the highest after the United States and Brazil. Deaths rose by 172 to 159,216, according to health ministry data on Thursday.

In Pakistan, 3,495 people tested positive in the past 24 hours, the most daily infections since early December. Total cases rose past 615,000. Deaths rose by 61 to 13,717.

Most of the new cases came from Pakistan’s largest and richest province, Punjab.

Pakistani minister Asad Umar said on Twitter that hospital beds were filling fast, warning of stricter curbs if rules were not followed.

"The new strain spreads faster and is more deadly,” he said on Twitter, referring to the UK variant.

India's first wave peaked in September at nearly 100,000 cases a day, with daily infections hitting a low of just over 9,000 early last month.

India and Pakistan have a combined population of 1.57 billion, a fifth of humanity.

Curbs return

Cases have been rising in Maharashtra since the reopening of most economic activity in February. Mumbai's suburban trains, which carry millions daily, also resumed.

The state of 112 million people ordered a fresh lockdown in some districts and put curbs on cinemas, hotels and restaurants until the end of the month after infections rose to a multi-month high earlier this week

New cases have more than doubled in the past two weeks in Maharashtra’s industrial towns such as Pune, Aurangabad, Nashik and Nagpur, home to car, pharmaceutical and textile factories.

"We have asked industries there to operate with minimum manpower as much possible," said a senior Maharashtra government official, declining to be named as he was not authorised to talk to the media. "Most of the IT companies have allowed their employees to work from home."

Hospital beds and special Covid-19 facilities were filling up fast, especially in Mumbai, Nagpur and Pune, said another state official.

Earlier this month, more than 80% of oxygen and intensive-care beds in Maharashtra were unoccupied.

Half a dozen other states, such as Punjab and Madhya Pradesh, have also seen a rise in cases this month.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday asked state leaders to quickly increase testing and expand vaccination to "stop the emerging second peak of corona."

India has administered more than 37 million vaccine doses since the middle of January.

79
Facebook 79
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail