India on Thursday passed eight million coronavirus cases, with the world’s second-worst-hit country bracing for a possible second wave ahead of winter and a series of religious festivals.
There have now been 8,040,203 cases and 120,527 deaths across the country of 1.3 billion people, according to the latest government figures.
The United States has seen 9.1 million cases and more than 230,000 deaths.
India has one of the world’s lowest death rates and ministers have highlighted the slowing number of new infections in recent weeks.
But authorities are preparing for a new surge after Diwali, the country’s most important religious festival on November 14.
“All states need to be careful during the coming festive season. This caution must be exercised for the next three months at least,” Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said.
France, Germany impose fresh drastic curbs
France was preparing to begin a new month-long national lockdown as Germany imposed drastic new curbs, with European leaders set to meet Thursday to discuss the explosive spikes in coronavirus infections on the continent.
The dramatic lockdown decision from French President Emmanuel Macron came after worrying infection spikes in Europe that have forced governments to contemplate reinstating punishing stay-at-home orders.
“All of us in Europe are surprised by the spread of the virus,” Macron said in another televised address to the nation during which he stressed that the second lockdown would be less severe than the first.
Bars and restaurants are to be closed until at least the start of December, travel between regions will be limited, and citizens will need an authorisation form to leave their homes, he said.
Sri Lanka capital under lockdown
Sri Lanka’s capital will go back into lockdown from Friday following a surge in coronavirus cases.
The South Asian island nation of 21 million people has reported more than 9,200 COVID-19 infections, with over half detected in the past three weeks after more than a thousand garment factory workers tested positive.
Around 5.5 million people living in the capital Colombo and two neighbouring districts would be only allowed to move around for essential services, health officials said.
The lockdown for three days could be extended depending on the pace of infections, they added.