COVID-19 cases near a million in India; lockdowns reimposed 

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Sample collection at a dispensary in New Delhi. — Courtesy photo
Sample collection at a dispensary in New Delhi. — Courtesy photo

NEW DELHI — India’s coronavirus caseload is approaching 1 million with a surge of 29,429 in the past 24 hours, prompting authorities to reimpose lockdowns in high-risk areas in nearly a dozen states.

The new confirmed cases took the national total to 937,844. The health ministry on Wednesday also reported another 582 deaths for a total to 24,327.

A two-week lockdown was imposed Wednesday in eastern Bihar state, where nearly 2.5 million migrant workers have returned home after losing jobs in other parts of the country and further spread the virus.

India’s key southern technology hub, Bengaluru, where the offices of Microsoft, Apple and Amazon are located, was also put under a weeklong lockdown Wednesday.

About a dozen other states, including Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Assam, have also put high-risk areas in lockdown, allowing only essential food supplies and health services.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the situation in the national capital was “under control”, but warned against complacency. Addressing the media, Kejriwal said 20,000-23,000 tests were being conducted everyday, and there was no shortage of beds to treat patients.

India’s Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said he expected the coronavirus cases to peak in various parts of the country at different times. He said more than 280,000 samples are being tested every day in the country, taking the total to nearly 12 million. — Agencies


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