Coronavirus cases have seen a sharp rise in India in the past couple of days. In the past 24 hours, India reported 81,466 patients who were infected with the deadly virus. The number is close to what was being reported in September 2019 when cases hovered between 80,000+ and 90,000.
Officials are warning the second wave of coronavirus could be more dangerous than the previous one. Officials are also worried that the second wave has seen more daily active cases than the first one. The most-affected state Maharashtra is contemplating imposing a full state-wide lockdown. Pune has closed hotel, malls and religious places for the next seven days. The Maharashtra district has also put in place a curfew from 6 pm to 6 am during the period. Similarly, restrictions have been imposed in many parts of Punjab where Covid-19 cases are rising rapidly.
MP has announced a partial lockdown every Sunday in 12 districts, including the capital city of Bhopal. Gujarat has extended night curfew by two hours in four cities till March 31. Officials and ministers have warned that considering the spurt in cases, the country's health infrastructure could be crippled. Here are five instances when government officials or ministers flagged major concerns over the deteriorating Covid-19 situation in India.
- Maharashtra CM recently said considering the seriousness of the situation, the state government is devising a plan to put in place curbs "similar to a lockdown". "There should not be any kind of confusion among the people once a lockdown is announced," he said.
- Senior NITI Aayog Member Vinod Kumar Paul said on March 30 that "if the cases are more, they will eventually overwhelm the system". Admitting the situation is becoming bad to worse, he termed it a "serious concern". "In some states in particular, there is a huge cause of worry. No part of the country should be complacent," he said.
- Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope on Wednesday said there's a chance that lockdown will be imposed if cases keep on rising at the same pace. "Today, there is no shortage of beds, medicines, and doctors. If the number of cases keeps rising, then, we'll have to take a decision," Tope told ANI.
- As per the health ministry, eight States, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Punjab, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh continue to show a steep rise in the COVID daily new cases. The ministry recently said a "double mutant" variant of coronavirus has been detected in over 10,000 samples analysed across 10 national labs. Apart from the 'double mutant variant', three major variants, also known as 'variants of concern' or VoCs, that have spread across the UK, South Africa and Brazil, have also been detected in India.
- As per scientist Manindra Agrawal from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur, Covid-19 cases could rise to the peak level in April. He said: "There is some uncertainty in predicting the peak value of daily new infections because of the sharp rise. Currently, it is coming to 1 lakh infections per day, but this can go up or down. But the timing remains the same between April 15-20."