India’s quarantine of its 1.3 billion residents — the largest lockdown in the world — doesn’t seem to be flattening the curve as the country continues to see an influx of new coronavirus cases, according to a new report.
The country is more than a month into its lockdown, but new cases are on the rise with little sign of a slowdown, Bloomberg reported.
The country saw 1,909 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, the second-highest jump since it started reporting infections in January, according to the report. On Wednesday, an additional 1,702 cases were reported.
Thursday marks the country’s 37th day in lockdown, which began on March 25, when the country only reported about 600 cases.
Italy and Spain implemented their lockdowns a few weeks earlier, when their infection counts were already above 7,000, according to the report.
Despite that, they saw results much more quickly — with the daily count of new infections peaking around the 13th day in lockdown, and gradually declining from there.
India plans to considerably relax its restrictions in certain districts next week, raising concerns about how that would affect the already bleak trend, according to the report.
India’s troubling uptick in cases could reveal the limits of a lockdown in such a densely populated country, where multigenerational families in slums like Mumbai’s Dharavi often share apartments and entire neighborhoods use only one toilet, according to the report.
In addition, the scarcity of test kits means that a lot of Indians suspected to have the bug are placed into isolation without the illness being officially confirmed, Vivekanand Jha, executive director of the country’s George Institute of Global Health, told Bloomberg.
And in an even worse scenario, this means the virus could be spreading untracked in the country and the true number of cases is actually far higher than official numbers show, according to Jha.
On a promising note, however, India’s total tally of cases is still far fewer than in either Italy or Spain, and the daily growth rate is lower — indicating that the lockdown has made some degree of a difference. Just over 33,000 confirmed cases and more than 1,000 deaths have been reported there, Johns Hopkins University data shows.
Police across the country have used unusual punishments against lockdown violators — requiring some to do sit-ups, push-ups and squats, and others to write, “I didn’t follow lockdown. I am sorry” 500 times.