World India’s Maharashtra tightens COVID curbs as hospitals struggle
Bollywood star Akshay Kumar tests positive as India virus surge worsens
Bollywood star Akshay Kumar said Sunday he has tested positive for Covid-19, becoming the latest Indian celebrity to contract the virus as the vast nation battles a new wave of cases. "I wish to inform everyone that, earlier this morning, I have tested positive for Covid-19," the 53-year-old actor tweeted. Kumar said last year that he drinks cow urine daily to stay healthy -- a practice some Hindus believe has medical benefits, including against the coronavirus.He tweeted that he is now under home quarantine and has "sought necessary medical care".
India’s Maharashtra state has announced tighter coronavirus restrictions including in the regional capital, Mumbai, as infections surge and oxygen supplies run short.
India is experiencing a ferocious new wave of COVID-19 with about a million new cases reported in the past week.
The new restrictions will force all “non-essential” shops, malls and e-commerce deliveries to pause operations from Wednesday until May 1.
Restrictions imposed in Indian state driving COVID surge
Maharashtra, which includes India’s financial capital Mumbai, to impose lockdowns and curfews in bid to halt surge.The state, which includes the financial capital, Mumbai, will shut down malls, cinemas, bars, restaurants and places of worship from Monday evening.
Shooting for movies, television shows and advertisements in Bollywood will also grind to a halt, in what will be a blow to India’s flagship film industry.
Bars and restaurants were shut earlier this month, and public gatherings of more than five people are banned.
The new measures follow Maharashtra’s move to impose a state-wide weekend lockdown that confined the state’s 125 million people to their homes until the end of April unless shopping for food or medicine, or travelling.
“All factories/industries” barring some export-oriented units and those making items needed for essential services “must stop their operations”, a government notification said.
Acknowledging the toll that tighter restrictions will take on the economy and jobs, the state’s chief minister Uddhav Thackeray urged residents to follow the new rules, adding: “Lives are more important than livelihoods.
Warning over variants and COVID measures as cases in India surge past 100,000 a day
New cases of COVID-19 in India have surged passed 100,000 a day - the highest total of daily cases recorded in the country since the pandemic began. © Associated Press Politicians have been campaigning without COVID-19 protections More than 103,790 new cases were recorded on Sunday, taking the total number of coronavirus cases in India to over 12.5 million, second only to the United States and Brazil.Live COVID updates from the UK and around the worldWith 477 deaths recorded in the same period, the COVID-19 related death toll stands at 165,132, the fourth highest in the world.
“You have to decide if you are going to help corona or help those fighting corona,” he said in a televised speech.
E-commerce deliveries will be allowed but only for essential products, the government said.
The restrictions will jolt businesses in Maharashtra but also risk having a broader effect on the Indian economy. The state accounts for nearly 15 percent of India’s gross domestic product (GDP), making it crucial for the country’s economic recovery after months of slowdown.
India’s worst-hit state is also struggling with oxygen shortages, Thackeray said, asking Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to deploy the air force and send fresh supplies.
After a lockdown a year ago caused widespread misery and one of the sharpest downturns of any major economy, the central government is desperate to avoid a hugely unpopular second shutdown.
Is the world's vaccine powerhouse running out of doses?
As India grapples with a second wave of infections, its vaccination drive appears be struggling. A handful of states are reporting a shortage of doses even as the federal government insists that there's enough in stock. In Maharashtra, which is reporting more than half of India's new infections, the inoculation programme appears to be grinding to a halt. The local government says its current stock of 1.5 million doses will last only for three days. Vaccination centres have been shut in the state capital, Mumbai, and parts of Kolhapur, Sangli and Satara districts.
But many states are tightening the screws, in particular Maharashtra and its capital Mumbai, the epicentre of the infection spike, which has recorded nearly 87,000 infections since the start of the pandemic.
This week, India overtook Brazil to become the country with the second-highest number of coronavirus cases, with experts blaming coronavirus complacency and frustration for the case surge.
India’s drive to vaccinate its 1.3 billion people has also appeared to hit obstacles, with just 108.5 million shots administered so far and stocks running low, according to local authorities.
On Tuesday, India said it would fast-track emergency approvals for vaccines that have been authorised by Western countries and Japan. The health ministry said the decision was aimed at speeding up the use of shots made in other countries and expanding the “basket of vaccines” available for domestic use.
The ministry also said Russia’s Sputnik V had also been green-lit for emergency use.
Indian City With Over 100K COVID Patients Has Only 28 Unused Ventilators As Cases Rise .
Pune is India's hardest-hit city, but the crisis follows a national trend across the country as coronavirus cases rise and hospitals are becoming increasingly overwhelmed. Over the past week, India has averaged more than 143,000 cases per day, and deaths have now surpassed 170,000, the Associated Press reported. Your browser does not support this video India's western Maharashtra state, where Pune and the city of Mumbai are located, has recorded nearly half of those new infections in the past week.