NEW DELHI: India is witnessing a rapid COVID spike because of the new Omicron variant.
India has confirmed a stunning rise in infections that has nearly trebled in the last two days, especially in its centre, resulting in the cancellation of election rallies on Thursday.
At campaign events ahead of next month’s vote, BJP’s large audiences have appeared in the country’s most populous state, with over 200 million residents and a stronghold of the governing Bharatiya Janata Party. Such huge crowds put the people at risk as chances of spreading infection increase.
By cutting the ribbon on infrastructure projects and taking part in Hindu religious rites, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reinforced the state government’s forecasts.
Several political parties have paused their public campaigns, considering the curfews imposed by several localities in response to the COVID outbreak and the alarming predictions of health experts.
A spokeswoman for the opposition Congress, Ashok Singh, announced that “all… rallies of the party” had been cancelled because of the rising number of COVID cases.
The BJP has cancelled a rally scheduled for Thursday in Noida, a satellite city of New Delhi that has experienced a recent increase in the number of rape and murder cases. Whereas a lot of parties have shifted their campaigns online.
It was expected that Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, viewed as a potential successor to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, would appear at the event in Noida. But that event was also cancelled. Party representative Manish Shukla stated, “It was cancelled for some other technical reason,” when asked why it was cancelled.
However, some BJP members are concerned about recent electioneering.
Last Monday, party congressional representative Varun Gandhi tweeted, “Imposing curfew in the night and summoning (hundreds of thousands) of people in rallies-this is beyond the comprehension of the common people.”
Last year, a massive spring viral outbreak of COVID in India claimed the lives of over 200,000 people, wreaking havoc on hospitals and cemeteries alike. The outbreak was partially blamed on the spread of diseases at political rallies, where COVID safety measures were almost non-existent.
Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi’s chief minister, stated this week that he had tested positive for COVID, only a few days after he appeared in Chandigarh’s municipal elections.
The Omicron variant of COVID-19, first discovered in India five weeks ago, is causing a huge spike in metropolitan areas, according to health specialists informing the government.
V. K. Paul, an expert on the government’s reaction to the coronavirus, said on Wednesday that “there is no space for complacency.”
System overload will occur, and people’s homes will be affected as well. In the span of a single day, India registered more than 90,000 new cases of COVID, while financial capital Mumbai saw its highest daily count yet in the pandemic.
Local media said that 125 passengers on a charter aircraft from Italy tested positive at Amritsar, the Sikh faith’s sacred city near the Pakistan border. All citizens of Delhi, except for those who are essential personnel, have been told to stay indoors this weekend.
India also started vaccinations for teenagers aged 15–18 on Monday. In the first three days, more than 12 million newly eligible teenagers received their first doses of vaccines, according to official figures.