In India’s capital, New Delhi, thousands of commuters yesterday crowded into underground train stations and shopping malls, prompting some doctors to say that it could lead to a resurgence in COVID-19 infections.
Major Indian cities have begun lifting strict lockdowns as the nationwide tally of new infections has dropped to its lowest level in more than two months.
However, disease experts and doctors have cautioned that a race toward resuming business as usual would compromise vaccination efforts, as only about 5 percent of all 950 million eligible adults have been inoculated.
Doctors have said New Delhi’s near-complete reopening is concerning. The city’s authorities have said they would reimpose strict curbs if cases rise.
“Delhi’s top #mall saw a footfall of 19,000 people last weekend- as soon as it reopened. Have we gone totally mad?” Ambrish Mithal of Max HealthCare in New Delhi wrote on Twitter. “Wait for #COVID19 to explode again- and blame the government, hospitals, country.”
In the early hours of yesterday, New Delhi’s underground rail network put out alerts on Twitter about peak traffic and longer waits, responding to angry commuters angry about long lines.
After a strict five-week lockdown in New Delhi, authorities have fully reopened shops and malls, and allowed restaurants to have 50 percent seating. Suburban rail networks can run at 50 percent capacity and offices have been partially reopened.
However, vaccinations have slowed.
The city government said inoculation centers for people aged 18 to 44 would start shutting down yesterday, as doses were scarce.
“Delhi ought to have unlocked far more scientifically. We are inviting trouble!” Arvinder Singh Soin, a surgeon and leading liver transplant specialist, wrote on Twitter.
Nationwide, India reported 60,471 new COVID-19 infections over the past 24 hours, the lowest number since March 31, Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare data showed.
The South Asian country’s total COVID-19 caseload stands at 29.57 million, the second-highest globally behind the US.
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