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A healthcare worker collects a swab sample from a woman in Noida, India. Adnan Abidi/Reuters
India crossed the grim milestone of 9 million coronavirus cases, with 45,882 new infections recorded in the last 24 hours, the health ministry said on Friday.
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India is only the second country to cross 9 million coronavirus infections, after the United States, but cases have slowed down in the country after hitting a peak in September.
Deaths rose by 584, with the total now at 132,162, the health ministry said.
Government officials and experts have warned that the country could still see a spike after the festival of Diwali was celebrated this month.
A year ago, India had observed what Prime Minister Narendra Modi called a people’s curfew, marking the start of a chaotic nationwide lockdown in a bid to contain the virus. With 11.6 million cases, India is now the worst-affected country after the United States and Brazil.
India’s overall caseload of 12.04 million - the world’s biggest outside the United States and Brazil - had been falling steadily since a peak in late September, but increased public gatherings and travel are causing a spurt at a time when a majority of Indians are yet to be vaccinated.
The country’s tally dipped below the 60,000 mark after three days, a Reuters tally showed, with its richest state, Maharashtra, accounting for more than 31,000 of the 56,211 cases reported in the last 24 hours. Deaths in the last 24 hours stood at 271,
Deaths were at their highest since mid-December, according to a Reuters tally, with 354 people dying of the coronavirus in the last 24 hours, the ministry said, taking total mortalities to 162,468.
The Ministry stressed in a statement on Thursday that its aim to continue expanding the scope of testing nationwide to facilitate the early detection of coronavirus cases and carry out the necessary treatment.
Experts say that they were victims of the ever-more unpredictable and extreme weather that has hit South Asia in recent years caused by climate change and exacerbated by deforestation, damming and excessive development.
This came in a phone call Sheikh Mohamed received on Wednesday from the Syrian president where they also discussed the ongoing developments in Syria and the Middle East in addition to issues of regional and international interest.
Beijing has maintained a relentless zero-Covid approach with strict border closures and targeted lockdowns, even as other countries tentatively try to ease restrictions.