Government data has shown that an additional 34,956 cases have been added in the past 24 hours, as well as a new record number of deaths per day of 687.
India is now the third most affected country in the world in terms of coronavirus cases, after having passed Russia 10 days ago. Some forecasts suggest that with its huge population and fragile health system, India could end up with the worst epidemic in the world by the end of 2021.
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The epidemic in India was considerably delayed after Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered one of the most stringent national closings in the world. But cases have skyrocketed since measures were lifted to save the country’s economy, and a number of states and cities are now reimposing their own local locks in an attempt to bring the situation under control.
The country’s total exceeded one million to reach 1,003,832 overnight, as states reported their totals on Thursday – but the benchmark was clearly missing from Health Ministry updates on social media.
Rather, the department pointed to the number of active Covid-19 cases in the country, which it said fell as a percentage of total cases to just over 331,000. It called this the “actual number of Covid cases in country today “.
And in another post on Twitter Friday morning, officials observed that, per capita, the 658 cases per million inhabitants in India were 16 times lower than those in the United States and rank the country 106th in the world.
Modi and his administration have repeatedly praised their success in closing the country early, even as outbreaks in major cities like Delhi and Mumbai threatened to overwhelm hospitals.
The government has been heavily criticized for its lack of testing in the early stages of the epidemic, but has since relaxed its strict testing criteria and is now second in the world in the number of people tested for Covid-19, behind only the states -United.
Experts warn that while the epidemics in some major cities appear to have peaked, other states have yet to experience the worst of the epidemic. Global health researcher Dr. Anant Bhan told the Associated Press that India is likely to see “a series of peaks” as the infection spreads through rural areas.
Bihar, an eastern state with a population of 128 million, one of the poorest and least developed in India, announced on Thursday a new two-week lockdown to contain the virus.
A number of states, including the most populous in Uttar Pradesh and the wealthy coastal tourist destination Goa, have ordered weekend curfews to reduce social mix while maintaining economic activity.
The city of Chennai is barely emerging from a second strict lockdown, imposed after an outbreak of cases in Tamil Nadu which saw it become the most affected southern state.
And the city of Bangalore, India’s technology hub, ordered another local foreclosure for a week starting Tuesday, after cases continued to surge.