India coronavirus infections near 4m, closes in on Brazil - GulfToday

India coronavirus infections near 4m, closes in on Brazil


A health worker screens people for symptoms of COVID-19 in Dharavi, one of Asia's biggest slums, in Mumbai, India, on Friday. AP

India reported a daily jump of 83,341 coronavirus infections, taking its tally to 3.94 million, health ministry data showed on Friday, as it closes in on Brazil as the world's second-most affected nation from the virus.

India’s health ministry on Friday also reported 1,096 deaths in the past 24 hours, taking total fatalities up to 68,472.

India’s case fatality rate of 1.75% is well below the global average of 3.3%, the ministry said. Experts have questioned whether some Indian states have undercounted deaths.

VirusPatientIndiaNurses check the temperature of a COVID-19 patient at a hospital in Mumbai. AFP

India added nearly 2 million coronavirus cases in August alone. Pune, Mumbai, New Delhi and Chennai are its worst-hit cities, but new hot spots continue to feed surges in cases in rural areas of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and other states.

In a country of 1.4 billion people, only those places most affected by the virus remain under lockdown. People are crowding markets and other public spaces with potential safety measures like masks and social distancing largely unenforced.

Justifying lifting of lockdown restrictions while infections are surging, Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said the testing capacity has been ramped up and safety procedures put in place.

"While lives are important, livelihoods are equally important,” Bhushan said.

Asia's worst-hit country is now just around 60,000 cases behind Brazil, which has around 4 million confirmed cases, according to a Reuters tally. The United States is the worst affected nation, with more than 6 million cases.

MetroDelhiSecurity personnel man a security checkpoint during a media preview as the Delhi Metro network prepares to resume services. AFP

India has logged the world's largest daily caseload every day for almost a month as Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government pushes to open up the economy to prevent further damage from the pandemic.

Its economy performed worst in the April-June quarter among major economies globally, as the pandemic crippled businesses and forced India's 1.3 billion people to stay indoors for a majority of the quarter.

However, deaths in India from COVID-19 have remained relatively low. The ministry said on Friday 1,096 people died from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, taking the toll to 68,472.

Globally, 863,863 have died from the disease, out of a total caseload of 26.15 million.


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