New Delhi, Jun 5 (EFE).- India on Saturday registered the lowest daily number of coronavirus cases in 58 days as the country recovers from the pandemic’s second wave, which at its peak had resulted in daily caseloads of over 400,000 around a month ago.
Some regions such as New Delhi have started easing lockdowns measures as cases have decreased.
According to the health ministry, India registered 120,529 fresh infections in the past 24 hours, taking the total number of cases to around 28.6 million, as the South Asian nation continues to be the second-worst affected by the pandemic after the United States (33.3 million cases).
However, the number of deaths continues to remain relatively high, with 3,380 people succumbing to the disease in the last 24 hours and taking the total death toll to 344,082: a figure only surpassed by the US and Brazil.
The positivity rate now stands at around 5.78 percent, after crossing 20 percent in early May. The World Health Organization considers the pandemic under control if the positivity rate drops below 5 percent.
In the capital, the positivity rate has gone down to 0.5 percent and less than 500 cases were registered in the last 24 hours, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said in his daily press briefing on Saturday. This is in sharp contrast to the over 28,000 infections and a 30 percent positivity rate recorded during the second wave’s peak on Apr. 19.
At the time, the government had imposed a lockdown on the capital which has started to be eased over the past week, with construction and factories allowed to be reopened from May 31. On Saturday, more relaxations were announced.
“The Covid situation in Delhi is getting slowly better. Therefore we had decided to begin the unlock process from last week, It is important to bring the economy back on track. (…) From Monday, the lockdown will continue but we are allowing many activities to reopen,” Kejriwal said.
As part of the relaxations, 50 percent of the shops in markets and shopping malls will be allowed to open on alternate (odd and even-numbered) days, while private offices will function at 50 percent capacity, although work from home is to be encouraged. The Metro train services will also be resumed at 50 percent capacity.
The chief minister warned that a third wave of the pandemic could not be ruled out and said the government was preparing for the possibility by arranging for necessities such as medical oxygen and intensive-care hospital beds for a hypothetical daily peak of 37,000 cases, as suggested by experts.
Meanwhile the nationwide vaccination campaign continues to be rolled out as the main way of controlling the pandemic, although so far just around 45 million people have been fully immunized out of population of 1.35 billion. A total of 227 million vaccine doses have been administered since January, with 3.5 million doses given on Friday. EFE