India has tightened Covid-19 restrictions as the proliferation of infections threatens the country’s strong economic recovery from the catastrophic outbreak of the Delta mutation last year.
The country’s daily new infections more than doubled to 117,100 in three days as of Friday morning, and the number of active cases surged by nearly 73% to 371,363.
The surge continued during the busy period of social events in India, such as important religious festivals and holidays, and the national wedding season.
Curfew has been imposed in the capital city of New Delhi and some states, limiting the capacity of hotels, restaurants, malls and cinemas. However, authorities believed that the Omicron variant was less life-threatening and withdrew the introduction of measures that were as annoying as the previous blockade.
“Corona raises challenges, but it cannot stall the growth process,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared in her first speech this year.
After one of the world’s toughest blockades at the start of the pandemic, India’s gross domestic product shrank by a record 24.4% between April and June 2020. Last year, it began to recover, up 8.4% year-on-year from July to September, 20.1 percent in the previous quarter, according to Official statistics.
However, restrictions to deal with recent outbreaks affect services such as hospitality and education, and ” [the economic recovery]”Dharma Kirti Joshi, Chief Economist of rating agency Crisil, said.
High unemployment and creeping price increases have hit India’s poorest people and created a difficult balance for policy makers between public health care and getting people to work, economists said.
Omicron has had low hospitalization rates so far, but experts warn that the virus is unpredictable. They are worried that India’s catastrophic second wave could be repeated last year, when Delta variants killed hundreds of thousands of people and disrupted the country’s fragile medical infrastructure.
Lancelot Pinto, a pulmonologist at PD Hinduja National Hospital in Mumbai, said most Covid patients he had seen had “very mild” symptoms.
But, “What I’m really afraid of is […] After a few weeks, a small percentage of individuals who need oxygen may find that the hospital bed is already full. He said the Covid quarantine unit had already been admitted to the hospital for other conditions, but was full of patients tested positive for the virus.
According to data from the Ministry of Health, Maharashtra, home of India’s financial capital Mumbai, is one of the countries most affected by the recent wave. The Maharashtra Prime Minister tested positive on Tuesday.
Health officials are encouraging people to vaccinate, with 64% of India’s adult population vaccinated by December and 90% being vaccinated at least once. India began inoculating children between the ages of 15 and 18 this week.
Still, the new uncertainty has aroused anxiety among businessmen.
At a small electronics store in Varanasi along the Ganges, I surrounded the owner, Pradeep Joshi, in a colorful box. This is the unsold inventory of the previous year.
“My business has revived almost 40% in the last few months, but sales have begun to decline again,” said Joshi, who distributed fans and appliances.
“Now because of the threat of Omicron, people will stick to their basic needs again,” Joshi added. He said shoppers might want appliances “but their wallets don’t allow them to buy them.”
India’s Covid cases double as Omicron threatens economic recovery
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