Its Coronavirus Caseload Soaring, India Is Reopening Anyway

Its Coronavirus Caseload Soaring, India Is Reopening Anyway

NEW DELHI — Its coronavirus cases are skyrocketing, putting it among the world’s most worrisome pandemic zones in recent weeks. Nonetheless, India is reopening, lifting its lockdown at what experts fear may be the worst time.

Doctors fear that the lockdown, which started over two months ago, has been eased too soon, after slowing the virus but failing to flatten the new-case curve as effectively as other nations have. If India does not find a way to curb the virus in high-risk states, epidemiologists project that its total caseload could approach a million within several weeks.

Amit Malviya, a spokesman for Mr. Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, fired back in a television interview. He accused Mr. Gandhi of not taking stronger action to contain infections in Maharashtra, India’s hardest-hit state, which is governed by a coalition that includes the Indian National Congress.

“Maharashtra is completely over the top, it’s bleeding, people are dying, the health infrastructure’s crumbled,” Mr. Malviya said. Health officials have traced nearly 40 percent of India’s cases to the state.

Questions have also been raised about whether the lockdown played a role in spreading the virus to remote areas of India.

When Mr. Modi announced the restrictions, he gave Indians just four hours to prepare before they went into effect. Millions of migrant workers were stranded in cities. With bus and train services suspended, some walked hundreds of miles to reach their villages, using dirty pieces of cloth to cover their faces. The human suffering has been staggering.

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