New Delhi’s new virus cases hit record high

NEW DELHI (AP) — India has reported 45,903 new coronavirus cases, with its capital recording the highest single-day rise in infections since the pandemic began.

The Health Ministry yesterday also reported 490 deaths in the past 24 hours, taking total fatalities in the country to 126,611.

New Delhi’s increase of 7,745 cases comes during a recent surge the government has attributed to crowding in markets during the ongoing festive season, winter weather and high air pollution.

The capital’s air quality levels are plummeting to the “severe” category. A recent government report projected New Delhi may see up to 15,000 daily cases in the winter months.

India has counted more than 8.5 million cases since the pandemic began, the second-highest total behind the United States (US).

A motorist drives along a road near the Ghazipur landfill site amidst heavy smog in New Delhi. PHOTO: AFP

Meanwhile, in Colombo, Sri Lanka, police since yesterday enforced mask and social distancing requirements and punished violators as other anti-virus measures are eased to reduce the economic pain.

Police spokesman Ajith Rohana said police have arrested 120 people for failing to wear face masks and maintain social distance in public places during the last 10 days. Coronavirus rules introduced last month carried punishment of a LKR54 fine, six-months imprisonment or both.

“From today onwards, we will strictly enforce this law and will arrest those who defy these rules,” Rohana said.

Passenger trains resumed operating after nearly two weeks and the government lifted a curfew that had been in effect in the capital Colombo and its suburbs. Only pockets where infections are high will remain under isolation with no one permitted to enter or leave the locality.

The government said even though the threat of the coronavirus hasn’t subsided, the region must be opened up because the economy can’t sustain continued closure.

Sri Lanka has counted 13,929 COVID-19 patients with 35 deaths since the pandemic began, and both figures have been increasing due to two recent clusters that account for more than 9,900 of the total infections.