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India Reports 159,000 New COVID-19 Cases, Increases Restrictions

The India confirmed this Sunday 159,632 new cases of coronavirus detected in the last 24 hours, in full swing of the third wave of the disease fueled by the rapid spread of the omicron variant, while the authorities increase restrictions.

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With today’s data, the total number of cases since the beginning of the pandemic reaches 35.5 million in just under two years, according to the Indian Ministry of Health.

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The speed with which the disease is spreading in India is much higher than previous waves of the virus, which in the past took months to pass the 100,000 barrier, but this time it took less than two weeks.

The Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR), the main medical body in the Asian country, indicated this week that the metropolises are the sources of greatest spread, and that “omicron is the predominant circulating strain.”

The basic reproductive value (R0), which estimates the speed with which a disease can spread in a population, was recorded at 4 this week. According to this, each person with the active virus has infected four other healthy people.

This is almost twice the speed with which the coronavirus spread during the devastating second wave of COVID-19 in India between March and May, which brought this nation of 1.35 billion people to a peak of more than 400,000 infections and more than 4,500 deaths per day.

On this occasion, the authorities estimate that the disease could reach its peak between 500,000 and a million patients every 24 hours.

Several regions of the country have increased restrictions due to the fear that an increase in cases will also cause an increase in hospitalizations, saturating the installed capacity of their fragile health system.

The Delhi government ordered a weekend curfew that went into effect last Friday night and will remain in effect until 5 a.m. on Monday.

The state of Maharashtra has banned gatherings of more than five people, the closure of schools and universities, and will limit the use of public transport to only vaccinated people.

“We are again at a time when we are fighting a wave of COVID-19. Without discussing how dangerous this new variant may or may not be, let’s ensure the safety of others, ”Maharashtra’s head of government Uddhav Thackeray said on Twitter.

Maharashtra, of which the financial city of Mumbai is the capital, has been hit by the coronavirus like no other region in India, and its inhabitants have been under lockdown, curfews and restrictions for most of the past two years. .

In India, 483,790 people have died from the coronavirus, 327 of them in the last 24 hours.

The hope of the authorities is that the high level of vaccination of the population together with the rate of herd immunity will significantly reduce the number of hospitalizations and serious cases.

The country’s vaccination campaign has inoculated more than 631 million people with two doses of the vaccine in almost a year, and at least 885.6 million with one.

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