India has registered a record new 78,761 coronavirus cases, the world’s highest single-day increase since the pandemic began, just as the government began easing restrictions to help the country’s battered economy.
The surge raised India’s tally to more than 3.5m, and came as the government announced the reopening of subways in Delhi. A limited number of sports and religious events will also be allowed from next month.
A country of 1.4 billion people, India has the fastest-growing daily coronavirus caseload of any country in the world. It has reported more than 75,000 infections for the fourth consecutive day.
One of the reasons is testing: India conducts nearly 1m tests every day, compared with 200,000 two months ago.
A significant feature of India’s Covid-19 management, however, is the growing rate of recovered patients. On Sunday, the recovery rate reached nearly 76.5%.
The health ministry credited its strategic policy of “testing aggressively, tracking comprehensively and treating efficiently” in supervised home isolation and hospitals.
But fatalities continue to mount and soon India will have the world’s third-largest death toll, after the US and Brazil, even though it has had far fewer deaths than those two countries.
India is reporting about 1,000 deaths a day. So far, more than 63,000 Indians have died from the disease.
Even as eight Indian states remain among the worst-hit regions and contribute nearly 73% of the total infections, the virus is spreading fast in the vast hinterlands, with health experts warning that the month of September could be the most challenging. Earlier this week, members of a small secluded tribe in the remote Andaman and Nicobar islands tested positive for the coronavirus.
So far, the biggest contributor to the new surge has been the western state of Maharashtra, home to the commercial capital of Mumbai. It alone has accounted for more than 24,000 deaths and nearly 21% of all cases.
India’s economy – the fifth largest in the world – has been severely hit by the pandemic. But despite the surging number of cases the prime minister, Narendra Modi, and his team have been pushing for a return to normalcy to ease the pain.
On Saturday, the federal government said the crowded subway, a lifeline for millions of people in Delhi, would reopen gradually from 7 September. Schools, colleges and cinemas will remain closed until the end of September.
Devoted problem solver. Tv advocate. Avid zombie aficionado. Proud twitter nerd. Subtly charming alcohol geek.