World Covid-19 in India: new restrictions in Bombay after an increase in contamination
Experts feared India's farming protests would be COVID superspreader events. Poverty, misinformation and a younger population may explain why cases plummeted instead.
Mass gatherings such as the farmers' protests didn't become the superspreader events experts feared. COVID cases have steadily fallen, raising hopes the country is close to achieving herd immunity. One expert says misinformation may have been an "accidental game changer" at encouraging mingling. Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories. When Indian farmers began gathering to protest in November 2020, at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, experts predicted these would be superspreader events.
The Indian state most affected by Covid-19, including its capital Bombay, imposed new restrictions on Monday without rule out the idea of another confinement, due to the increase in contaminations while the vast vaccination campaign is late.
The strongest epidemic upsurge has been recorded in recent weeks in the western state of Maharashtra of 110 million people. This region, which is home to Bombay, the economic capital of India, is also the most bereaved, with nearly 52,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
The number of new daily infections in Maharashtra is catching up to levels seen in October at the height of the pandemic. As a result, restrictions came into effect on Monday, including a ban on all religious, social and political gatherings.
Mould in rental homes under the spotlight as family claims health problems from mouldy house
For most people, household mould is not a major issue, but for a minority, it can have a serious impact on their health if left unchecked.But, Sudha Narthakumar and her family say that exposure to mould has brought chronic health problems and mounting bills, including one quote to remediate their furniture and other belongings at a cost of almost $29,000.
State Prime Minister Uddhav Thackeray said on Sunday "worried about the severity of a second wave if it were to strike the state".
"The simple mantra (principle) is to wear a mask, to respect discipline and to avoid confinement. We will review the situation in the next eight days to decide on confinement," he added.
The harsh confinement imposed on India last March has been relaxed so widely, that Indian families have once again been able to invite glitzy weddings and cricket tournaments to be held in public, even though the number of participants is still capped.
India peaked at more than 97,000 daily infections in September, before falling to just under 9,000 in early February but, according to data from the Ministry of Health, there was an increase Monday to 14,000 new cases in total .
India: BJP’s rise in former communist bastion has Muslims worried
India’s West Bengal – home to 100 million people – has seen rising Hindu nationalism, prompting concerns among Muslims.Around the same time, authorities in the state of West Bengal – about 900km (559 miles) away – fenced a two-acre (0.8-hectare) land parcel in a sleepy neighbourhood of Hooghly district and barred all entry.
Currently, the country has only 150,000 active Covid-19 cases, according to government data.
India is the second most affected country in the world in terms of number of contaminations after the United States, with a population of 1.3 billion, ie four times the number. More than 11 million cases and 156,000 deaths have been recorded there since the start of the pandemic.
- "The main focus" on the vaccine -
In New Delhi, the capital of 20 million inhabitants, there were only 46 new cases and two deaths on Monday.
For the vegetable seller Radhekrishna Negi, business is back to normal. "I'm sick of the corona. I suffered so many losses last year," he told AFP, "for me, corona is over. I'm no longer afraid of the virus now. My family is fine, I am fine, there is no need to worry. "
On the other hand, other residents say they are still concerned about the virus. "If we look at the situation around the world, wherever they have let their guard down the cases have increased further," said Gaurav Kumar, 44, sales and marketing officer. "We cannot afford to take this lightly considering the size of our population and the recent history of cases."
Experts puzzled by dramatic fall in coronavirus cases in India
Experts say herd immunity or pre-existing protection from the virus are among several reasons for sudden drop in cases.But infections began to plummet in September, and now the country is reporting about 11,000 new cases a day, compared with a peak of nearly 100,000, leaving experts perplexed.
"Everyone seems to believe that the corona has disappeared from our country. Me, I do not believe it", underlines Seema Arora, a 30-year-old housewife, "people are stupid".
For Anand Krishnan, professor at AIIMS Delhi hospital, it is too early to say that a new wave is brewing, but he believes that "the main emphasis" should be placed on respecting barrier gestures such as masks and on vaccines.
India began to vaccinate health workers in mid-January and wants 300 million people to be vaccinated by July, or 600 million doses. But at the current rate of 11.1 million vaccines administered, this could take several years.
For his part, Adar Poonawalla, boss of the world's largest vaccine manufacturer Serum Institute of India (SII), on Sunday called on countries awaiting supply of Covid-19 vaccines to be "patient", having received the order to prioritize India's "enormous needs". Asked by AFP, a spokesperson for the company declined to comment on this information.
02/22/2021 11:53:43 - New Delhi (AFP) - © 2021 AFP
India v England: Is Sardar Patel Stadium the biggest cricket ground in the world? .
The Sardar Patel Stadium is set for its first international match since it's refurbishing as it hosts the third Test between India and England on Wednesday . Commonly known as the Motera Stadium, it officially holds the record as the world's biggest cricket ground, with a seating capacity of 110,000. It is a remarkable increase from the previous capacity, with its record attendance of 54,000 in 2011 when India defeated Australia in the World Cup quarter-finals. It will also mark the second time that India has hosted a day/night test match.