New lockdowns for India, France amid virus

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India's state of Maharashtra is set for new COVID-19 restrictions while France has entered a four-week nationwide lockdown as both countries battle soaring cases.

Maharashtra, India's richest state, will shut shopping malls, cinemas, bars, restaurants and places of worship from Monday evening.

Authorities will also impose a complete lockdown at weekends, although industrial activities will be allowed to continue, state government minister Nawab Malik said.

India is in the grip of a severe second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, with 93,249 fresh infections reported on Sunday, its highest daily spike in more than six months.

Amid concerns about capacities in the health care system, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a high-level meeting in New Delhi with top government officials to assess the situation.

The virus is also surging across large parts of Europe, with France entering a third lockdown on Sunday as intensive care units fill.

French schools and non-essential businesses will be closed nationwide for four weeks as the government tries to tackle the spread of the virus and avoid overwhelming hospitals.

President Emmanuel Macron has pledged to increase the number of ICU beds while also trying to step up a COVID-19 vaccination campaign.

The number of coronavirus deaths in France rose by 185 on Sunday to a total of more than 96,000 since the start of the pandemic.

Thousands have spent the Easter holiday lining up for injections at hippodromes, velodromes and other sites as France tried to speed up vaccinations amid the rush of cases.