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Restrictions imposed in several states in India as Covid-19 cases rise

Randy Mancini 7 Jan 9
Rapid antigen testing drive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Ahmedabad
FILE PHOTO: A healthcare worker collects a swab sample from a woman as others wait for their turn during a rapid antigen testing drive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at a roadside in Ahmedabad, India, January 5, 2022. REUTERS/Amit Dave

January 9, 2022

MUMBAI (Reuters) – India reported 159,632 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, as the Omicron variant of the coronavirus continues to spread rapidly in the country, nudging several state governments to impose fresh restrictions.

India’s richest state, Maharashtra, said on Saturday it would close swimming pools and gyms from Monday while schools and colleges have been closed till Feb 15 after daily cases in the state jumped to over 41,000.

The state government has said only fully vaccinated people will be allowed into private offices while limiting the capacity to 50% of the total workforce.

In the neighbouring state of Gujarat, authorities have extended night curfew hours and cancelled leave for all healthcare personnel.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will chair a meeting to review the COVID-19 situation later on Sunday, according to government sources.

The health ministry reported 327 new deaths, taking the official death toll since the start of the pandemic to 483,790. Total infections stand at 35.52 million.

(Reporting by Nupur Anand; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)