India records over 40,000 Covid-19 cases as infections keep rising

New Delhi, Mar 20 (efe-epa).- Daily coronavirus infections continue to increase in India, as on Saturday it recorded over 40,000 cases in 24 hours for the first time since last November.

More than half of the 40,953 fresh cases recorded were from the western state of Maharashtra, according to official figures, bringing concern of a second wave of infections in the country.

The number of deaths also continued to rise at 188, but still remains far from the over 1,200 daily fatalities recorded in September.

The coronavirus has reportedly killed at least 159,370 people across the country so far.

India has recorded over 11.5 million positive cases since the start of the pandemic and is the third country with the most confirmed cases, behind the United States and Brazil.

However, the decline in infections in recent months had sparked a ray of hope among the authorities.

The South Asian country recorded fewer than 10,000 daily cases in February, compared to the nearly 100,000 infections during its peak in September.

The Indian authorities consider that the recent increase in cases has been due to people becoming lax in complying with appropriate guidelines for coronavirus prevention, according to a letter sent Friday by the Home Ministry to all the provinces.

As most restrictions imposed during the strict lockdown last year have been lifted, barring those related to international travel and measures at infection hotspots, people have started thronging markets and restaurants like before, increasing risk of infections.

The ministry has recommended greater efforts to comply with Covid-19 safety measures such as the use of masks or limiting large gatherings.

Meanwhile, the Indian government managed to complete 40 million vaccinations on Saturday, although it still remains far from its goal of immunizing 300 million people by June. EFE-EPA


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