India imposes weekend curfew in capital to stem virus surge

Daily infections in New Delhi have jumped from less than 350 to over 4,000 in just a week.

India imposes weekend curfew in capital to stem virus surge

A weekend curfew will be enforced in India’s capital New Delhi as part of measures to curb soaring COVID-19 cases, officials announced on Tuesday.

India’s Health Ministry reported 37,379 new infections and 124 deaths on Tuesday, raising the overall tally above 34.9 million, including 482,017 fatalities.

Some 11,000 infections have been detected in the capital in just eight to 10 days, Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said at a news conference.

Monday’s daily figure of 4,099 cases in the capital was a massive jump from 331 just a week ago on Dec. 27.

Sisodia said all employees of government offices, except those associated with essential services, will go back to working from home.

“Offices of private companies will be allowed to operate at 50% capacity,” he said.

Experts fear the surge in New Delhi and other parts of India, particularly the western state of Maharashtra, is being driven by the omicron variant.

According to official data, nearly 1,900 omicron infections have been confirmed in the country, and Maharashtra and Delhi top the list of worst-hit states.

Several states have tightened curbs to stem rising infections, with the northern Punjab state becoming the latest to enforce a night curfew.

The deteriorating virus situation in India is of particular concern given the devastating impact of last year’s wave, which was one of the worst in the world since the start of the pandemic and pushed daily infection and fatality figures over 400,000 and 4,500, respectively.