NEW DELHI — Delhi enacted a weeklong citywide lockdown on Monday, as infections and deaths in India hit new daily records and several local governments, including in the national capital, reported shortages of oxygen, beds and drugs.
India reported more than 272,000 cases and 1,619 deaths on Monday, as a second wave of the coronavirus continued to spread across the country. The worsening situation has caused Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain to cancel a planned trip to the country next week, a decision the British and Indian governments announced on Monday. Britain also said that most people who have traveled from India in the last 10 days will be refused entry beginning Friday.
Arvind Kejriwal, the chief minister of Delhi, announced on Monday a citywide lockdown beginning at 10 p.m. and ending around 5 a.m. on April 26.
“Our health systems have reached its limit,” he said. “We have almost no I.C.U. beds left. We are facing a huge shortage of oxygen.”
All essential services, including grocery stores, pharmacies and food delivery, will be allowed, he said. Wedding ceremonies will be restricted to 50 people.
“If we don’t place a lockdown now, it could lead to a big tragedy,” Mr. Kejriwal said.
Also on Monday, a court in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh ordered lockdown-like restrictions in the cities of Prayagraj, Lucknow, Varanasi, Kanpur Nagar and Gorakhpur until April 26. Government offices, hotels, restaurants, shopping malls and grocery stores with more than three workers will be closed in those cities.
Last week, the state government of Maharashtra, which includes the financial hub Mumbai, banned public gatherings and ordered most businesses to close for the next few weeks after hospitals there started being overwhelmed. Its chief minister appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to use the Indian Air Force to airlift oxygen cylinders to meet the state’s demand.
The shortages have resulted in squabbles between opposition-led state governments and Mr. Modi’s government, which controls the supply of badly needed medical oxygen and drugs.
Mr. Modi and his top lieutenants have also come under pressure for holding political rallies gathering thousands of people, with almost no regard for social distancing, at a time when coronavirus cases in the country are spiraling out of control.
In other news from around the world:
Hong Kong said it would ban flights from India, Pakistan and the Philippines for two weeks starting on Tuesday after detecting its first local case involving a variant of the coronavirus. A man who tested positive on Friday, after returning from Dubai and then completing his mandatory 21 days of quarantine, is the Asian financial hub’s first case outside quarantine found to carry the N501Y spike mutation.
Airports in Australia and New Zealand were filled with emotional scenes on Monday as thousands of passengers were allowed to travel freely between the two countries for the first time in more than a year. The travel bubble, among the first of its kind in the world, establishes reciprocal quarantine-free movement between the two Pacific nations, subject to certain conditions.
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