Rahul calls for national lockdown as India cases top 20m, IPL suspended
NEW DELHI, May 4: Indian opposition leader Rahul Gandhi called for a nationwide lockdown as the country's tally of coronavirus infections surged past 20 million on Tuesday, becoming the second nation after the United States to pass the grim milestone.
India's deadly second wave of infections, the world's biggest surge in coronavirus infections, has seen it take just over four months to add 10 million cases, versus more than 10 months for its first 10 million. Currently, the country has 3.45 million active cases.
On Tuesday, India reported 357,229 new cases over the last 24 hours, while deaths rose 3,449 for a toll of 222,408, health ministry data showed. Medical experts say actual numbers in India could be five to 10 times higher than those reported.
"The only way to stop the spread of the coronavirus now is a full lockdown [...] GOI's inaction is killing many innocent people," Congress MP Gandhi said on Twitter, referring to the Government of India.
But the glitzy Indian Premier League, the world's richest Twenty20 cricket tournament, had carried on in empty stadiums, sparking criticism that it was inappropriate under the circumstances.
Organisers said they did not want to compromise the safety of staff and players, including some of the world's biggest cricket stars from India, Australia, England and New Zealand. "These are difficult times, especially in India and while we have tried to bring in some positivity and cheer... it is imperative that the tournament is now suspended," they said in a statement. -AFP