Mumbai streets deserted as India's biggest city braces for cyclone

INDRANIL MUKHERJEE / AFP

The Indian city of Mumbai has been placed on high alert as Cyclone Nisarga is forecast to make landfall around noon on Wednesday.

Authorities, who are already grappling with the pandemic, have been advising people to stay indoors. They've also moved nearly 150 COVID-19 patients from a recently built field hospital in Mumbai to a more secure facility.

Meanwhile, Mumbai airport has restricted operations to only 19 flights, from the earlier permitted 50.

According to the Indian weather bureau, the cyclonic storm in the Arabian Sea "is very likely to intensify into a Severe Cyclonic Storm during next 6 hours".

More than 100,000 people along the coastal border region of Maharashtra and Gujarat states have also been moved to safer locations, as the storm threatens the west coast with winds gusting up to 120kph. 

It comes as coronavirus infections in the country crossed 200,000, with the health ministry claiming that a peak could still be weeks away. So far, 5,815 people have died from the virus in the country.

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