A health worker uses an infrared thermometer to check the temperature of a passenger at a railway station in Mumbai, India. Reuters
India’s richest state, Maharashtra, reported 30,535 new coronavirus infections in the past 24 hours, which could send the country’s overall cases to a multi-month high when national data is released later on Monday.
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.
Maharashtra, India’s most industrialised state and home to its financial capital Mumbai, has been accounting for more than 60% of the country’s total cases after a full-scale reopening of its economy unleashed a second wave of infections late last month.
The state recorded 99 COVID-19 deaths in the past 24 hours, a case fatality rate of 2.15%, which is higher than the national figure of around 1.5%.
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 south Asian nation recorded 89,129 new infections and 714 deaths, the ministry said. That was the biggest single-day rise since Sept.20 last year and the most deaths since Oct.21, according to a Reuters tally.
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.
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The health ministry stressed in a statement on Wednesday its aim to continue expanding the scope of testing nationwide to facilitate the early detection of coronavirus cases and carry out the necessary treatment.