Will the epidemic tsunami strike again? Nearly 180,000 new confirmed cases in India in a single day!

According to data released by the Indian government on the 10th, the number of newly confirmed cases of new coronary pneumonia in the country in a single day is close to 180,000. With the rapid spread of the Omicron strain, the outbreak in India has deteriorated sharply. To make matters worse, India is in "election season". The epidemic is superimposed on the election campaign, which is very similar to the "epidemic tsunami" that occurred in India last year, followed by various tragedies. Some experts and politicians worry that India may have forgotten the lessons of last year, but their calls for a postponement of the elections have been ignored by India's Election Commission, which sees elections as "the essence of democratic governance".

According to a report by the Hindustan Times on the 10th, government data showed that the country reported 179,723 new infections in a single day on Monday. This is the fourth consecutive day that India has more than 100,000 new confirmed cases in a single day, while the country's existing active cases have exceeded 700,000. India's current single-day positive rate of new coronavirus tests has reached 13.29%. The resurgence of the epidemic in India is inseparable from the high infectivity of the Omicron strain. In the past 10 days, the new strain has led to a nearly eight-fold increase in the number of new infections in a single day in India, Reuters said.

The new crown virus has "infiltrated" the Indian government and judiciary. Indian Defense Minister Singh announced on social media on the 10th that he had tested positive for the new crown virus. At least four Supreme Court judges in the country have tested positive for the new crown virus, and about 150 Supreme Court staff have been infected with the new crown virus, media such as India's AsiaNews International News Agency reported on Monday. It is reported that the Supreme Court of India has a total of 32 judges and more than 3,000 staff. In addition, more than 300 police officers in Delhi, India, have tested positive for the new crown virus. It has also been reported that hundreds of parliamentary staff in India have also been diagnosed.

India began offering booster shots to frontline workers and vulnerable seniors on Monday as the outbreak worsened. As of the 10th, about 67% of India's 939 million adults had received two doses of the vaccine. In addition, this past weekend, many places in India continued to tighten epidemic prevention measures.

However, to the confusion and dissatisfaction of some people and experts in India, the Indian government, on the one hand, strengthened epidemic prevention measures, on the other hand, insisted on holding local elections as planned, completely forgetting that because of the elections last spring, the epidemic in the country once slipped into an uncontrollable situation. . At the time, news of the collapse of India's medical system and the uninterrupted burning of cremation pyre made headlines across the country. At its peak, India's single-day death toll exceeded 4,000. At least 200,000 people died from the virus in the country between March and May last year, a figure that is thought to be grossly underestimated. According to the Washington Post, some researchers estimated that more than 4 million Indians died from the virus last spring.

Starting from February 10, state assembly elections will be held in five Indian states including Uttar Pradesh, with up to 180 million registered voters in these regions. According to the "Washington Post" report on the 9th, for weeks, there has been a fierce debate across India over whether elections should be held as scheduled. Some officials, including a Uttar Pradesh High Court judge, urged the electoral body to delay the election and ban rallies by political parties. However, India's Chief Election Commissioner Chandra announced on the 8th that after consultation with public health agencies, it was decided that five Indian states will hold elections as scheduled. He also announced that political parties need to suspend marches and rallies for at least a week until January 15, when the electoral commission will reassess the moratorium. But recently, almost every party that will participate in the election has held a huge campaign rally.

The Associated Press and other media reported on January 9 that in the past few weeks, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has traveled to several cities to address crowds at rallies. Modi's close ally, Indian Interior Minister Shah, also held car parades and rallies in Uttar Pradesh, the "battlefield state" of the election. Rivals of the Bharatiya Janata Party also ignored the epidemic prevention requirements and stepped up their campaign efforts. Last week, the Indian National Congress organized a marathon in which thousands ran without masks. There were even stampedes due to overcrowding. Delhi Chief Minister Kejriwal, leader of the Populist Party, contracted the coronavirus after holding a rally.

Several political parties in India have begun to adjust their canvassing campaigns as medical experts warn of the fast-spreading outbreak. The Congress party said it would suspend in-person rallies in Uttar Pradesh and move to virtual ones. Several other parties, including the Bharatiya Janata Party, have begun to make similar moves. However, it is not known if they will cancel all future rallies. If the Election Commission wanted to ban or limit gatherings throughout the campaign season, the agency could do it, said Kulasi, a former head of the Indian Election Commission, "but they [the Election Commission officials] lack the will. The virus is already spreading across the country. What's the point of dissemination, banning gatherings?"

In addition to political activities, India's religious holiday celebrations last year were also an important factor in the sharp deterioration of the epidemic. This year, a similar scene may repeat itself. According to AFP reports on the 10th, the Kolkata High Court on Friday rejected a doctor's request to cancel the celebration of Sagamera. Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to attend the celebrations of the Hindu festival, which began last Saturday and will culminate before the 17th. Some medical professionals believe that the celebration may trigger a super-spreading event. As of the early morning of the 11th Beijing time, the cumulative number of confirmed cases in India exceeded 35.7 million, and the cumulative number of deaths exceeded 483,000.



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