04/09/2021, 17.03
INDIA
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COVID-19: fears growing in Mumbai about another great exodus

People are crowding trains out of Mumbai trying to beat any new lockdown. The railways have denied reports that it plans to stop its trains. For the fourth consecutive day, the number of cases in India tops 100,000. Despite export controls, many Indian cities are beginning to run out of vaccines.

 

Mumbai (AsiaNews/Agencies) – India is once again facing the nightmare of last year’s great exodus when millions of people left cities like Mumbai after the government lockdown threw them out of work, forcing them to return to their home villages without transportation, often thousands of kilometres away.

For the past few weeks, the country has seen a new surge in the number of COVID-19 cases. Mumbai, Maharashtra’s metropolis, is once again the epicentre of the pandemic.

Today India reported almost 132,000 new infections in last 24 hours, a record and the fourth consecutive day with the number above 100,000.

The death toll from COVID-19 also rose to 780, the highest in five months, with 376 in Maharashtra, a state that has already had 2,100 deaths since the start of April with local hospital intensive care units at a breaking point.

Under the circumstances, many fear that they will find themselves stuck in Mumbai if a new full lockdown is imposed. This explains why trains leaving the city have seen a sudden jump in the number of passengers.

In an attempt to relieve pressure, India's railways denied reports about plans to curtail or stop train services.

In response to the surge in cases, more and more Indian states have imposed night curfew in cities. India’s Union (federal) government has stepped its vaccination rollout, with vaccine currently available to everyone over the age of 45.

More than 94 million people have been vaccinated (out of a population of 1.3 billion), over 3.6 million yesterday alone.

To boost the plan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a special mobilisation for the period from 11 to 14 April.

Local governors, however, are complaining about the lack of vaccines. Although controls have virtually ended exports to meet local needs, domestic production of anti-COVID vaccines is struggling to keep up with demand.

Today, in Mumbai, as many as 50 vaccination centres were forced to close early because of a lack of doses, while other Indian states claim that they have stocks only for a few days.

The government has tried to be reassuring, noting that supplies are on the way. Johnson & Johnson has also announced that it is in negotiations with Indian authorities to provide the country with its vaccine.

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