India’s Covid-19 figures decline amid worries over virus ravaging villages
New Delhi, May 20 (EFE).- India on Thursday added fewer than 4,000 daily Covid-19 deaths for the first time in the last five days as infections rose by 276,110 amid worries that the virus was ravaging through rural parts of the country with a below par health care system.
Federal health ministry data showed that 3,874 people succumbed to the virus in the last 24 hours from Wednesday morning.
It came a day after more than 4,500 deaths, the world’s highest daily covid fatalities, were recorded for the first time.
The toll due to the virus has increased to 287,156, while the number of infections has reached 25.7 million, the second-highest after the United States with 33.8 million cases.
The health ministry said the daily infection figures were remarkably fewer than 400,000 recorded earlier this month, even as 2 million coronavirus tests were conducted on Wednesday.
It seems that India may have passed the worst of the second wave of the pandemic.
However, experts cast doubt on the official data because the virus outbreak has hit the rural areas that lack the testing and healthcare infrastructure.
Villages in India house nearly 70 percent of the 1.35 billion population.
“Even as the second wave declines, my patients from rural areas have a different story to tell — one of masses of people with fever, some dying, all without testing,” Arvinder Singh Soin, a surgeon in a top hospital near Delhi, tweeted.
“Terribly worried that there is a covid surge in rural India that is going largely unchecked and undetected.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has come under fire for his alleged failure to curb the inevitable second wave of the virus that has been devastating.
Modi’s government has drawn flak for allowing the so-called super-spreading events like weddings, local body elections, and state elections, and religious congregations like the Kumbh Mela – all without any regard to the Covid-19 code.
Modi on Thursday stressed the need to use “local experiences” and keep Indian “villages corona-free by following covid-appropriate behavior.
The prime minister was interacting with officials from across the country on the Covid-19 situation through a video conference.
“He asked the officials to devise their strategy in a rural and urban specific way and ensure that rural India is covid free,” an official statement said.
India’s vaccination drive, touted as the largest in the world, has also hit a roadblock after an acute shortage of jabs.
India has fully vaccinated just over 3 percent of its population.
Several states have put on hold the vaccination drive due to the unavailability of the stock. EFE