Congress leader Rahul Gandhi called for a nationwide lockdown as the country’s tally of coronavirus infections surged past 20 million on Tuesday, becoming the second nation after the United States to pass the grim milestone.
A patient suffering from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) receives treatment inside the casualty ward at a hospital in New Delhi, India, May 1, 2021. Photo: Reuters/Danish Siddiqui
Bengaluru: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi called for a nationwide lockdown as the country’s tally of coronavirus infections surged past 20 million on Tuesday, becoming the second nation after the United States to pass the grim milestone.
India’s deadly second wave of infections, the world’s biggest surge in coronavirus infections, has seen it take just over four months to add 10 million cases, versus more than 10 months for its first 10 million. Currently, the country has 3.45 million active cases.
“The only way to stop the spread of Corona now is a full lockdown… GOI’s inaction is killing many innocent people,” Congress MP Gandhi said on Twitter, referring to the Government of India.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is reluctant to impose a national lockdown due to the economic fall out, yet several states have imposed various social restrictions.
The surge in cases of a highly infectious variant of COVID-19 has swamped the health system, drained supplies of medical oxygen vital for survival for those infected, and seen patients dying in ambulances and carparks outside hospitals.
India has postponed exams for trainee doctors and nurses in a desperate effort to fight the infections sweeping across the world’s second-most populous country.
Modi has been criticised for not moving sooner to limit the latest wave of infections and for letting millions of largely unmasked people attend religious festivals and crowded political rallies during March and April.
“What the recent weeks reveal is that both Centre and states have been woefully unprepared for the second wave,” an editorial in the Times of India said on Tuesday.
Offering a glimmer of hope, the health ministry said positive cases relative to the number of tests fell on Monday for the first time since at least April 15.