New Delhi, June 25 (efe-epa).- India on Thursday marked three months since the since it imposed lockdown measures as a response to contain the coronavirus pandemic, but the number of infections have kept rising with the country on the brink of crossing the grim milestone of 500,000 infections
In the last 24-hours the country recorded nearly 17,000 new Covid-19 patients, marking a new single-day spike, officials said on Thursday.
These infections took the overall tally to 473,105 cases in a country which has become the pandemic hotspot in Asia but partially lifted the lockdown on June 8.
The authorities also recorded 418 new fatalities, taking the total number of coronavirus deaths to 14,894.
The central health ministry said it had accelerated the testing rate that now stands at over 200,000 samples per day across a country of 1.3 billion people.
The total number of tests carried out so far has reached nearly 7.6 million with 207,871 samples tested on Wednesday.
However, experts say the government has not done enough to prepare for the widespread outbreak which was expected after the easing of the lockdown.
Souradipta Chandra, the principal medical adviser to the European Union in India, questioned the government’s preparedness and its handling of the situation.
He said authorities should have “tripled, quadrupled medical facilities” in the country.
“Currently, the health system is in utter chaos. There are no beds in hospitals,” the doctor said.
“So, I guess the only thing (to say) is that you are incompetent.”
Capital New Delhi is struggling with an alarming surge in coronavirus cases and has now become the worst affected city, surpassing financial hub Mumbai.
According to official records, Delhi added 3,788 fresh cases on Wednesday, taking the total count to 70,390 in the city of nearly 19 million residents.
Mumbai, which was India’s largest Covid-19 hotspot so far, has reported 69,258 cases.
The number of coronavirus infections in Delhi has risen sharply since the government eased the nationwide lockdown.
The capital, which reported its first Covid-19 case on Mar.2, has added almost 40,000 cases in the last two weeks with over 23,000 in just the last seven days.
The capital has reported 2,365 deaths, compared to Mumbai’s 3,964.
However, experts say that the surge in Delhi could also be attributed to the spike in the rate of samples collected for testing, especially since the government approved rapid antigen tests that give results in just about half an hour. On Wednesday, the health authorities collected nearly 20,000 samples.
The average daily number of tests has increased from about 5,000 to 7,000 in the last 10 days.
The city government said it would carry out a massive survey of the entire population in the capital for detecting coronavirus infections.