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Weeklong lockdown imposed in India's capital amid coronavirus surge

Weeklong lockdown imposed in India's capital amid coronavirus surge
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India's capital imposed a one-week lockdown on Monday as cases of COVID-19 in the New Delhi region surge.

The lockdown, which went into effect Monday night local time, is meant to prevent the total collapse of India's health system, according to The Associated Press, which reported bodies stacked outside of crematoriums and hospitals shuttling patients around the city looking for open ICU beds.

As part of the lockdown, nonessential businesses will close and a stay-at-home order has been issued, except for essential workers. Airports and train stations will also remain open to accommodate the many workers in the country who travel to the city from villages in the countryside, the AP noted.

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“People keep arriving, in an almost collapsing situation,” said the head of one of Delhi's largest hospitals, Dr. Suresh Kumar, in a statement to the news service.

India's COVID-19 surge has now surpassed levels seen in the country last year. Approximately 273,000 new cases were reported on Sunday.

"We really don't know what the cause of the surge is. What is worrying is that entire families are getting infected. This is a completely new trend," a top health official in the state of Maharashtra, which contains Mumbai, told the BBC in February.

Fewer than 100 hospital beds with ventilators remain available in Delhi, according to the AP. The city is home to nearly 30 million people, and other major cities in the country such as Mumbai are experiencing similar spikes in case numbers.