India now has the grim designation of having recorded least 400,000 COVID infections three times in one month. The Washington Post reports the nation announced 414,188 new cases on Friday—a global record. CNBC looks at the data another way: In the past seven days, India has recorded more than 2.7 million cases and almost 26,000 deaths. That's an average of at least 153 people dying every hour. The AP says that not even half of the country's federal states currently have coronavirus restrictions in place, and that has more and more people clamoring for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to put a tough national lockdown in place. The country's GDP shrank 23% in Q2 of last year due to the country's two-month-long lockdown, which has economic considerations factoring heavily into current moves. More:
- Among those calling loudly for the lockdown was India's main opposition leader, Rahul Gandhi. Reuters quotes a Friday letter by Gandhi that described the responsibility India has in our "globalized and interconnected world" to curb the spread of the virus. "India is home to one out of every six human beings on the planet. The pandemic has demonstrated that our size, genetic diversity and complexity make India fertile ground for the virus to rapidly mutate, transforming itself into a more contagious and more dangerous form."
- As for what Modi is doing these days, CNN has one answer: moving ahead with an extremely expensive construction project. The $1.8 billion Central Vista Redevelopment Project, as it is known, involves the expansion and construction of parliament buildings and a new prime minister's residence in the capital. Large parts of it are projected to be done by the end of 2022, with the full project done in 2026—and more than 45,000 construction workers engaged on it in the process, raising fears of COVID spread. The project has been classified as an essential service, allowing it to move forward though most other construction is on ice. The Supreme Court is expected to hear a case on the matter Friday.
- In another sign of how awful things are in the country, CNBC reports it's not just the mega-rich who are fleeing via private jet. The CEO of private jet charter company JetSetGo says booking are up 900%, and as many as 80% of customers are upper middle class. "In the last 10 days, what we have really seen is anyone who can put together the resources and the means to pool in money for a private jet, or to pool in money just to get out of the country, getting out."
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