India crosses 4 million Covid-19 infections with record daily jump

New Delhi, Sep 5 (efe-epa).- India’s Covid-19 caseload saw a new record jump of nearly 86,500 fresh infections on Saturday, taking its overall tally well past the 4-million mark and making it the third country with that grim distinction after the United States and Brazil.

India has now recorded a total of 4.02 million Covid-19 cases, which include 69,561 deaths due to the virus, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally, adding 86,432 new infections and 1,089 fatalities in the last 24 hours since Friday morning.

The South Asian nation has registered over 80,000 new Covid-19 cases for the third day in a row.

With the continuing surge in daily infections, the country of 1.3 billion people is now moving close to surpassing Brazil as the world’s second worst-hit country by the pandemic.

Brazil has 4.09 million cases with over 125,500 death. The US remains the worst-hit country with over 6.2 million infections and 187,708 fatalities, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker.

India has continuously recorded the world’s highest daily totals for more than four weeks now, roughly adding over 65,000 cases per day.

The number of overall infections has also accelerated faster than any other country in the past two months.

The last one million cases were recorded in just 13 days, compared to 16 days that Indian took to reach the 3 million mark, recorded on Aug 23, up from 2 million cases on Aug. 7.

However, India’s Covid-19 mortality rate of nearly 1. 75 percent is among the lowest in the world.

“Not only is the death rate in India lower than the global average and progressively decreasing (the current figure is 1.74 percent), but also a very small group of active cases, less than 0.5 percent, need assisted respiration”, the Indian federal health ministry said in its latest assessment of the situation.

The ministry said there had been an “unprecedented upsurge” in India’s daily testing capacities.

For two successive days, more than 1.17 million daily tests were conducted, taking the total number of tests done since the pandemic to 4.77 million, carried out in 1,647 testing laboratories across the country, the government said.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the nodal agency to fight the virus, has also allowed on-demand testing for the infection.

The national research agency said it has simplified the testing process and given more freedom and flexibility to local authorities to facilitate enhanced ease of testing for the people.

“For the first time, along with more simplified modalities, the updated guidelines provide for ‘on-demand’ testing to ensure higher levels of testing,” the health ministry said.

But several seroprevalence studies carried out by health authorities in cities such as New Delhi suggest that the impact of Covid-19 is much greater than what official figures show.

The coronavirus has severely affected economic growth due to the strict restrictions to contain its outbreak enforced between Mar. 25 and June 8.

The country’s economy shrank by nearly a quarter in the April-June period amid an unprecedented decline in consumer spending, private investments, and exports during the lockdown period.

The record 23.9 percent decline in GDP in the first quarter from a year earlier has sparked fears that India, which was the world’s fastest-growing large economy until a few years ago, could witness a first full-year contraction in four decades. EFE-EPA


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