Calls for lockdown intensify as India’s surge in COVID-19 cases continues

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Calls grew for India to nod to a nationwide lockdown as new coronavirus deaths and cases held close to record highs on Monday.

As reported by the health ministry, 366,161 new infections and 3,754 deaths were seen which took India’s tally to 22.66 million with a total of 246,116 deaths. These stats have been increasing pressure on the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to lock the nation down to keep the virus from spreading.

Hospitals grapple with a shortage of oxygen and beds while crematoriums and morgues overflow, experts say that India’s actual figures are far higher than what have so far been reported.

Sunday saw 1.47 million tests for COVID-19 that are this month’s lowest yet. As per the data from the Indian Council of Medical Research, the figure is low to the daily average of 1.7 million for the first eight days of May. The number of positives from the results was not immediately clear, however.

Read more : India’s fragile healthcare system being tested out of limits as cases rise further

So far, many states have ordered strict lockdowns over the last month while those who haven’t have placed curbs on mobility and shut pubs, cinemas, restaurants, and shopping malls.

But experts have asked Modi to call for a nationwide lockdown as he did in the first wave of infections last year. He is amid criticism for keeping mum on huge gatherings at religious festivals and holding large election rallies even as cases surged.

Sonia Gandhi, the head of the main opposition Congress party, has blamed the government for evading its responsibility by leaving the vaccination process to states.

Delhi’s health minister said that the capital was running short of vaccines, with just three to four days of supplies left of AstraZeneca. By Sunday, India had fully vaccinated 34.3 million people that forms only 2.5% of its huge population of about 1.35 billion.

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