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’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.
Nurses 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.
Security 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.
In terms of fatalities, India is the most affected country with nearly three-quarters of total deaths in the region – 67,376 deaths from 3,853,406 cases.
Latin American countries are bracing for difficult weeks ahead as the disease spreads rapidly across the region, even as much of the world exits lockdowns that have wrecked economies and stripped millions of their jobs.
More than 138,000 Americans have died from COVID-19, a toll that experts warn will likely surge following recent record spikes in case numbers and an alarming rise in hospitalizations in many states.
MoHAP also noted that an additional 1,217 individuals had fully recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries to 527,519.
The latest precautionary measures must be observed, and performers and entertainers should be vaccinated against Covid-19.
On Monday the health ministry said around 280,000 cases and 4,106 deaths were confirmed in the last 24 hours. Both numbers are almost certainly undercounts.