India Braces for COVID-19 Curbs as Infections Hit 6-month High

April 3, 2021 Updated: April 3, 2021

MUMBAI—India’s biggest cities braced for stricter lockdowns and other COVID-19 curbs on Saturday as infections hit a six-month high, as a month-long surge continued in the country.

India’s richest state, Maharashtra, accounted for more than half of the 89,129 new cases reported by the national health ministry in the last 24 hours, with a record 47,827 infections.

The state’s chief minister warned citizens of a lockdown if cases continued to rise at their current rate, saying medical infrastructure would be inadequate in a couple of weeks.

People wearing masks as a preventive measure against the spread of the COVID-19, crowd at a wholesale vegetable market during early morning in Mumbai, India, on April 1, 2021. (Sujit Jaiswal/AFP via Getty Images)

In the southern state of Karnataka, home to India’s tech capital Bengaluru, authorities ordered gyms to be closed, barred functions at religious places and told cinema halls, bars, pubs and restaurants to limit the number of people allowed in.

India’s capital, New Delhi recorded more than 3,500 cases, its highest this year, but its chief minister ruled out another lockdown for now.

Daily coronavirus cases have surged from around 15,000 in early March to 88,000 or so at the start of April.

The south Asian nation recorded 89,129 new infections and 714 deaths, the ministry said. That was the biggest daily rise since Sept. 20 and the most deaths since Oct. 21, according to a Reuters tally.

India virus outbreak
A health worker (C) takes a nasal swab of a resident as an elderly looks on during a COVID-19 RT PCR and Rapid Antigen test, at a market in Mumbai, India, on Nov. 23, 2020. (Indranil Mukherjee/AFP via Getty Images)

By Shilpa Jamkhandikar