Indian mega-cities drive Covid-19 surge, prevent curve from flattening

New Delhi, July 21 (efe-epa).- India, a country with some of the most densely populated cities worldwide, has been focusing on its major metropolitan regions to try and flatten the Covid-19 infection curve, which continues to rise with more than 1.15 million cases of the disease registered already.

The western state of Maharashtra, which has the country’s biggest financial hub Mumbai as its capital, had registered 318,696 coronavirus cases by Tuesday, having overtaken the total number of infections in countries like Spain (264,836) and the United Kingdom (296,644).

According to official data, the state has reported a case fatality rate of 3.77 percent, considerably higher than the national average of 2.44 percent.

The port city of Mumbai, with a population of around 12 million, has alone reported 102,423 cases and 5,755 deaths so far, taking the fatality rate for the metro to above five percent.

The rapid spread of coronavirus among its populous neighborhoods catapulted the financial capital to the top of the list of the cities with the highest infections and it became one of the regional capitals worst-affected by the pandemic worldwide.

A seroprevalence study of the national capital Delhi released Tuesday to find out the number of Covid-1p infected people found that almost six months after the epidemic broke out, around 23.48 percent of the residents have been exposed to the virus.

The study was released by the Indian health ministry.

With the capital registering 123,747 confirmed Covid-19 cases officially including 3,663 deaths, the study revealed that a large number of infected people remain asymptomatic.

The government said the study results reflected the “proactive efforts taken by the government to prevent the spread of infection,” although warning that a significant proportion of the population was still vulnerable to the disease.

“Therefore, the containment measures need to continue with the same rigor,” the health ministry said in a statement.

According to epidemiologists, a 70 percent seroprevalence is needed before an effective level of immunity can be developed in the population.

India, with a population of more than 1.3 billion, has continued to witness close to 37,000 new Covid-19 cases per day during the past week, with the total number of infections jumping from 900,000 to 1,155,191 by Tuesday, as per health ministry data.

The figures show that 28,084 people have died from the epidemic in the country so far, with 587 deaths registered in the last 24 hours.

As of Tuesday, in terms of coronavirus cases, India was only behind Brazil, which has reported 2.1 million infections and the United States, with more than 3.8 million cases, according to the tracker maintained by the US-based Johns Hopkins University.

Despite the contagion showing no signs of abating, India ordered easing of lockdown measures on June 8, when the country had reported a little over 256,000 cases.

The authorities have explained the gradual return to normalcy as per their convenience, presenting a recovery rate of 62.7 percent, with 724,578 patients having recovered so far, as evidence of a positive outcome.

The country entered its second phase of opening up on July 1, permitting all open-air activities except in designated containment zones, while places with a high concentration of people, such as the metro, bars, theaters, and gyms, remain closed.

A night curfew continues to be enforced across the country.

The Indian civil aviation authorities have announced the resumption of international flights through “air bubbles,” allowing flight connections with selected countries under specific security measures. EFE-EPA


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