As India’s coronavirus caseload approaches 1 million, lockdowns are being reimposed in parts of the country as governments try to shield the health system from being overwhelmed.
India on Wednesday reported nearly 30,000 new virus cases and 582 more deaths, raising its totals to more than 936,000 cases and over 24,000 fatalities. The actual numbers, like elsewhere globally, are likely far higher due to limited testing and poor surveillance, experts say.
A two-week lockdown that starts Thursday has been imposed in Bihar, an eastern state with a population of 128 million that is marred by a fragile health system. Since Saturday, Bihar has recorded over 1,000 cases each day, despite limited testing.
Nearly 2.5 million poor migrant workers who had been stranded during India’s initial lockdown of the entire country have returned to the state after they lost their jobs in large cities.
In Bangalore, a key technology hub in southern India where offices for major tech companies like Amazon and Apple are located, the government ordered a weeklong lockdown that began Tuesday evening.
The initial boost that India’s economy received in June after the nationwide lockdown was relaxed is being halted by these localized lockdowns in high-risk areas, experts say.
Economic indicators like labor participation rates and electricity consumption are down this month compared to June, according to the Center for Monitoring Indian Economy, an independent think-tank.