Sign up here for our daily coronavirus newsletter on what you need to know and Subscribe to our Covid-19 podcast for the latest news and analysis.
India added more than 100,000 coronavirus infections in the past 24 hours, a record rise that prompted its wealthiest state to order offices to work from home and close shopping malls and restaurants until April.
Maharashtra, which is home to the financial center of Mumbai and contributes around 15% of the national production, will stop all non-essential services starting at 8pm on Monday. Private offices were asked to work from home, with some allowances for banks and stock exchanges.
The country reported 103,558 new infections, according to data from the federal Health Ministry on Monday.
“There is an alarming rate of growth of Covid-19 cases and deaths in the country,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s federal government said in a statement over the weekend.
As the number of infections continues to spiral, five states in India are in the middle of Local elections with thousands of people gathered at campaign rallies, while northern Uttarakhand is marking the month-long Hindu pilgrimage. Kumbh Mela, which attracts hundreds of thousands of people to the banks of the Ganges River.
Maharashtra is the epicenter of this new outbreak, which follows an inexplicable hiatus in recent months that allowed businesses to reopen and fueled optimism among policy makers about a recovery in growth. The renewed restrictions will weigh on the central bank, whose officials will meet Monday through Wednesday to decide on monetary policy.
India’s benchmark stock index slumped and the rupee weakened on Monday, while sovereign bonds saw little change. Twelve of the 19 industry sub-indices compiled by BSE Ltd. fell, led by indicators from banks and finance companies. Shares of hotels and theater operators plummeted.
Read more: Covid’s Puzzling decline sparks shopping spree in India
|India Covid-19 Numbers:|
Asia’s third-largest economy plunged into a historic recession last year after Modi announced a sudden and strict national lockdown. Most experts attribute the resurgence of infections to residents disobeying health and safety rules after a reopening was allowed, while some officials inconclusively blame a new infectious strain of the coronavirus.
The country has made little progress in sequencing their test samples, with news reports indicating that less than 1% of the samples have been studied so far.
Maharashtra accounted for 57% of new infections in the last 14 days and 47% of deaths during the period. More than half of the state’s hospital beds are occupied, and authorities have warned that health care systems could be overwhelmed in 15 to 20 days unless the growth rate slows significantly.
– With the assistance of Abhishek Vishnoi
(Updates with market reaction in the seventh paragraph.)