Bangladesh and Components of India Look to Lockdowns Amid Surges

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NEW DELHI — As a brand new wave of coronavirus infections grips the densely populated area of South Asia, dwelling to 1 / 4 of the world’s inhabitants, Bangladesh on Saturday introduced a second lockdown and officers in Mumbai, India’s largest metropolis, mentioned they had been on the verge of declaring one.

The authorities in Bangladesh mentioned the nation of 165 million folks would go right into a weeklong lockdown starting on Monday to curb the unfold of the virus. The nation shut down for 2 months beginning in March final 12 months.

Bangladesh on Friday registered almost 7,000 instances in 24 hours, the very best because the unfold of the virus within the nation final 12 months. The day by day demise toll has been round 50 for the previous week, however what has significantly alarmed officers is the excessive check positivity price, with 24 % of virus assessments carried out coming again constructive.

Farhad Hossain, Bangladesh’s state minister for public administration, advised the native information media that “industries and factories will stay open,” however would function in shifts and comply with strict well being protocols. The exceptions gave the impression to be geared toward decreasing the financial affect and avoiding the type of exodus of laborers that led to a humanitarian disaster in India final 12 months.

Infections have additionally been rising sharply in Pakistan, which has struggled to supply vaccines for its inhabitants, and in India, the place a vaccination drive is simply now choosing up tempo — regardless of the nation being dwelling to one of many world’s largest suppliers of vaccines.

Just some weeks in the past, India was a significant exporter of the AstraZeneca vaccine, and it was utilizing that to exert affect in South Asia and around the globe. However as infections soared, the nation determined to chop again on exports and is now holding again almost the entire 2.4 million doses that the Serum Institute of India, the non-public firm that is without doubt one of the world’s largest producers of the AstraZeneca vaccine, makes every day.

India on Saturday recorded its largest single-day spike in instances since September, with authorities officers reporting almost 90,000 instances and 714 deaths over the previous 24 hours. Single-day figures typically include anomalies, however the nation’s seven-day common of latest instances, a extra dependable gauge, has been rising sharply since early March.

Practically half of deaths and new infections in current weeks have been traced to the state of Maharashtra, dwelling to Mumbai, the nation’s monetary hub.

Uddhav Thackeray, the state’s chief minister, warned in a televised tackle on Friday {that a} lockdown was imminent if folks continued with their relaxed angle. Even when persons are vaccinated, he famous, safety from an infection will not be absolute.

“The vaccine is like an umbrella within the rain,” Mr. Thackeray mentioned. “However what we face proper now could be a storm.”

As instances rise, regulation enforcement officers throughout India are adopting stringent measures, together with fining violators who don’t put on masks. India has additionally expanded its vaccination drive, now administering over three million jabs a day.

However the authorities’s messaging is at instances contradictory, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and lots of senior officers proceed to carry large rallies in a number of states the place native elections are underway.

The federal government has additionally allowed an enormous monthlong Hindu competition to go forward on the banks of Ganges River. A million to 5 million persons are anticipated to take part within the festivities within the metropolis of Haridwar every day, officers say.

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