India tightens screws as COVID-19 infections surge | Daily News

India tightens screws as COVID-19 infections surge

Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar has become India's latest high-profile personality to contract the virus.
Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar has become India's latest high-profile personality to contract the virus.

INDIA: India's worst-hit state ramped up its coronavirus restrictions as nationwide the daily infections exceeded 100,000 for the first time on Monday.

Hopes at the start of the year that the outbreak may be subsiding in the vast nation of 1.3 billion people have been dashed in recent weeks with a fresh wave that has pushed the national total to 12.5 million infections and 165,000 deaths. In Maharashtra, the worst-hit state, nearly 60,000 cases were recorded in the last 24 hours.

The region of 110 million people will also see weekend lockdowns, with gatherings of over four people banned, and private offices, restaurants, cinemas, swimming pools, bars, places of worship and public areas shut.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Government is anxious to avoid imposing a new national lockdown after a shutdown in March 2020 caused widespread human and economic misery.

Modi on Sunday chaired a high-level meeting and a statement afterwards announced an awareness campaign from April 6-14 "with emphasis on 100-percent mask usage, personal hygiene and sanitation at public places/workplaces and health facilities."

India has so far administered almost 80 million vaccine shots.

Last week, it opened up vaccinations to all those over 45 years old to speed up its flagging national inoculation drive.

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.

- AFP