Covid-19: India is partially reconfiguring itself for a weekend to try to deal with the Omicron threat

India stands ready for the Omicron threat. Faced with a new wave of Covid-19, linked to the variant, part of the country – including the capital, New Delhi – is confined for the weekend from Friday, January 7 in the evening, the authorities thus hoping to prevent the spread of ‘Omicron. Thus, in the State of Delhi, only people working in essential sectors will be exempt from movement restrictions.

The administration of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, however, has not yet declared that it is considering strict national containment, as was the case last year.

The state of Delhi had already imposed a night curfew this week, just like Bombay, the economic capital of the country, which has also implemented a night curfew, and Bangalore, the city of Indian technology.

The trauma of the spring wave 2021

The country remains haunted by the appalling wave of Covid-19 in spring 2021. At the height of the pandemic, in May, India recorded more than 400,000 new infections and some 4,000 deaths per day. No one in the country can forget the traumatic scenes experienced in hospitals overwhelmed with dying patients, lacking oxygen, crematoriums and cemeteries struggling to respond to the influx of remains.

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More than 200,000 people died from Covid-19 in India between April and June 2021 when hospitals, crematoriums and cemeteries were overwhelmed by the epidemic.

And the Omicron variant raises fears that history will repeat itself, given the exponential spread of the virus in recent days. The daily number of new infections has more than tripled in three days, climbing to more than 110,000 cases.

“These figures are indeed worrying”Gautam Menon, a professor at Ashoka University in India, who has worked on modeling the spread of the virus, told Agence France-Presse (AFP). The situation, he added “Could potentially put pressure on health systems to comparable or worse levels” than those of spring 2021.

The weakened societal infrastructure

Local officials are watching with concern the exponential increase in the number of cases. The great lockdown last year dealt a severe blow to the Indian economy and people fear the financial impact of further restrictions.

In addition, as noted by Bhramar Mukherjee, epidemiologist at the University of Michigan interviewed by AFP, the uncontrolled spread of the coronavirus could have serious repercussions in India. “As seen in the United States and the United Kingdom, the fact that a large part of the working population is ill affects the societal infrastructure and wreaks havoc. I’m afraid there will come a time in India when the same will happen. It wouldn’t take much for the system to collapse. “

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India started vaccinating adolescents on Monday and the booster campaign for people over the age of 60 will start next week.

Health workers have administered nearly 1.5 billion doses of the vaccine, almost two-thirds of the 1.3 billion inhabitants have already received two doses, according to government data. The vaccination campaign could help mitigate the impact of this new viral assault.

“Although we do not have any data yet, this could confer strong hybrid immunity against severe forms” disease, insisted Bhramar Mukherjee.

The World with AFP

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Covid-19: India is partially reconfiguring itself for a weekend to try to deal with the Omicron threat

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