Death toll in India passes 3,000, total cases reach 100,000

New Delhi, May 19 (efe-epa) .- Indian authorities on Tuesday said they had detected more than 100,000 coronavirus cases and 3,000 related deaths since the outbreak as the country 1.3 billion people remain in a gradually easing lockdown until at least the end of the month.

India’s health ministry said the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the Asian country had increased to 101,139 while the number of deaths stood at 3,163.

The western state of Maharashtra, home of Mumbai, is the worst affected region in the country, with about 34 percent of all cases, while New Delhi has reported almost 10 percent.

The health ministry said the country had 58,802 active cases, of which 2.9 percent were being treated in ICU.

India has been improving its ability to carry out coronavirus tests and reached a “record number of 108,233 samples” on Monday, according to health authorities, although it remains one of the countries with the lowest levels of testing in relation to the size of its population, with almost 2.5 million tests carried out so far.

In recent days, Indian authorities have reported an increase of some 5,000 cases per day, while they have been easing restrictions to relax one of the world’s strictest lockdowns and reopen economic activity.

From Monday buses and rickshaws can be seen again on the roads of India’s major cities shortly after the home affairs ministry published the new lockdown rules as the shutdown was extended — for the fourth consecutive time — until the end of this month.

De-escalation rules allow stores to reopen although large shopping malls will remain closed, as well as most office buildings across the country.

Flights, road transport and rail services were closed on March 25, when the government announced a nationwide lockdown, leaving millions of migrant labourers from the rural world trapped in large cities.

Some of them tried to reach their homes by walking but most were forced to remain in the city.

In recent weeks, special trains were commissioned to take back stranded migrant labourers.

However, the home affairs ministry said in a statement that the number of trains had not been enough, which increases the “suffering” the migrants were experiencing.

“In order to mitigate the distress of migrant workers, I would be grateful if the following measures could be implemented (…) operation of more special trains by proactive coordination between States and with Ministry of Railways,” read a statement from the Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla. EFE-EPA


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