The country’s health ministry reported a record 4,187 deaths in the past 24 hours, as well as more than 400,000 new infections for the third day in a row. India has now reported more than 21 million cases and 238,000 related deaths since the start of the pandemic.
In Tamil Nadu, officials announced a two-week lockdown – a day after the southern state experienced its largest daily spike in infections, with 26,465 cases reported on Friday.
Starting Monday, all non-essential stores in the state – including state-owned liquor stores – will be closed. Restaurants can only provide take-out, while grocery stores will be open from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Food delivery services will also be limited.
A number of Indian states have imposed full lockdowns this week, from the northwestern state of Rajasthan to Karnataka in the south, despite the previous warning from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the measure should only be considered. last resort.
“In the current situation, we need to save the country from lockdown. I would ask states to use lockdown as the last option. We need to do everything possible to avoid lockdowns and focus only on micro-containment zones,” Modi said at the end of April.
India imposed one of the world’s largest and toughest lockdowns in March last year, when the country of 1.36 billion people reported just over 500 coronavirus cases and 10 associated deaths.
The national measure was announced with less than four hours’ notice and little planning, sparking a migrant crisis. It also brought the country’s economic activity to a virtual standstill and, with the shutdown of businesses, factories and construction sites, its economy contracted by 24% from April to June – the worst crisis. of India since the records began in 1996.