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A near empty street in New Delhi as lockdown begins.
A near empty street in New Delhi as lockdown begins.
Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

India’s capital to lock down as nation’s virus cases top 15 million

New Delhi has reported 25,462 cases and 161 deaths in the past 24 hours.
Apr 19th 2021, 11:26 AM 11,714 18

New Delhi is being put under a week-long lockdown as a surge in coronavirus cases has put the Indian capital’s health system under sustained pressure.

Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said in a news conference the capital was facing shortages of oxygen and medicine.

“I do not say that the system has collapsed, but it has reached its limits,” Mr Kejriwal said, adding that harsh measures were necessary to “prevent a collapse of the health system”.

According to India’s health ministry, Delhi reported 25,462 cases and 161 deaths in the past 24 hours.

India overall reported 273,810 new infections on Monday, its highest daily rise since the start of the pandemic and has now reported more than 15 million infections, a total second only to the United States.

The health ministry also reported 1,619 deaths from Covid-19 in the past 24 hours, pushing the toll to more than 178,769.

India has the fourth highest number of deaths after the US, Brazil and Mexico – though, with nearly 1.4 billion people, it has a much larger population than any of those countries.

The soaring cases and deaths come just months after India thought it had seen the worst of the pandemic, but experts say even these figures are likely an undercount.

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Similar virus curbs have already have been imposed in the worst-hit state of Maharashtra, home to India’s financial capital, Mumbai.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has cancelled his visit to Delhi next week in the wake of the news of the virus surge.

The already-curtailed trip was postponed indefinitely, but Johnson said he planned to hold a call with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi ahead of a rescheduling “as and when circumstances allow”.

Johnson had until that point resisted demands to hold the talks, aimed at fostering closer ties with the nation, on a virtual basis amid calls to impose greater restrictions on travel to and from India.

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