- The nation, the world’s third-most infected, on Sunday reported 78,761 new cases in 24 hours, passing the number posted in the US on 17 July.
- The rise comes as the government continues to lift restrictions to try to boost an economy that lost millions of jobs when the virus hit in March.
- An upsurge of Covid-19 in many rural areas continues to be a major concern.
- On Sunday, global infections passed the 25 million mark, with 843,000 deaths.
- The US remains the most affected nation, closing in on six million infections, according to Johns Hopkins University research.
What’s Behind the Indian Increase?
Cardiology doctor, Manoj Kumar, told Reuters: “It is the largest one-day surge in cases worldwide and the reason behind this – because the pandemic is spreading in the rural areas.”
In the initial stages of Covid-19, India appeared to be doing fairly well, imposing a strict lockdown, but the virus then hit megacities like Mumbai and Delhi, before surging in smaller cities and rural areas.
- Despite the increase, the government has pressed ahead with easing restrictions.
- Gatherings of up to 100 people will be allowed at cultural, entertainment and sports events from next month, with face mask and social distancing measures.
- Underground train networks will also start to reopen in big cities.
Dr Rajiv Parekh, chairman of the Medanta division of peripheral vascular and endovascular sciences, told Reuters: “People thought that once the numbers started to go down, this was it, they had won the war…. everybody was out there without wearing a mask, without any social distancing.“That is something that we should not have allowed to have happened.”
On testing, virologist Shahid Jameel, who heads the Wellcome Trust/DBT India Alliance, told Agence France Presse: “Testing per million in India at 30,000 remains the second lowest in top 10 [virus-infected] countries.”
“Corona can only be defeated when you remain safe, when you fulfil the resolve of keeping a safe distance of two metres and wearing masks.
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