The usually teeming streets of India’s commercial capital of Mumbai looked more like a scene from a post-apocalyptic movie last weekend.
On Marine Drive, which overlooks the Arabian Sea, the regular hustle and bustle was completely absent, while Dr. Dadabhai Naoroji Road, a thoroughfare that runs past one of the world’s busiest railway stations, was also eerily empty.
A motorcyclist travels along an empty Marine Drive road during a weekend lockdown in Mumbai, India, on Saturday, April 10, 2021. Maharashtra has halted all non-essential services, ordered private companies to work from home, and shut malls and restaurants through April.
Maharashtra state, where Mumbai is located, is imposing a strict lockdown from late Friday until Monday morning this month and a curfew every night to curb a surge in Covid-19 cases in India’s biggest city. The deserted avenues, with few vehicles in sight, are a sobering reminder of last year’s national restrictions that threw the economy into the worst recession in decades.
Daily infections rose to a record 168,912 on Monday, and the total tally pushed past 13.5 million to overtake Brazil and be second to only the U.S. After seemingly getting the virus under control, the world’s second-most populous nation is facing a nastier wave that’s overwhelming hospitals, triggering vaccine shortages and forcing some states to impose stay-at-home orders.
That’s an ominous sign for India, where fuel consumption still hasn’t fully recovered from last year’s national lockdown that saw oil demand fall to the lowest since 2007.