India set a record for the world’s largest single-day increase in coronavirus cases.
The country, the third most infected in the world, reported 78,761 new cases in 24 hours on Sunday, exceeding the number posted in the United States on July 17.
The rise comes as the government continues to lift restrictions in an attempt to stimulate an economy that lost millions of jobs when the virus struck in March.
An upsurge of Covid-19 in many rural areas remains a major concern.
according to research from Johns Hopkins University.
What is behind the Indian increase?
India’s one-day tally on Sunday exceeded the one-day increase of 77,299 people reported by the United States on July 17.
A cardiology doctor, Manoj Kumar, told Reuters: “This is the biggest one-day increase in cases worldwide and the reason is – because the pandemic is spreading to rural areas. “
In the early stages of Covid-19, India appeared to be doing pretty well, imposing a strict lockdown, but the virus then hit mega-cities like Mumbai and Delhi, before spreading to small towns and rural areas.
Despite the increase, the government continued to ease restrictions.
Gatherings of up to 100 people will be allowed at cultural, entertainment and sporting events starting next month, with face masks and social distancing measures.
Underground train networks will also begin to reopen in major cities.
Dr Rajiv Parekh, president of Medanta’s division of peripheral vascular and endovascular sciences, told Reuters: “People thought that once the numbers started to drop, it was over, they had won the war… everything the world was there without wearing any clothes. a mask, without any social distancing.
“It’s something we shouldn’t have allowed. “
Doctors also say underreporting and limited testing remain major concerns.
The figure of 63,000 deaths in India is roughly on par with Mexico. But infections in the Central American country are only 591,000, compared to 3.5 million in India.
The Indian government collates the death toll from positive cases, but not from suspected infections.
Regarding testing, virologist Shahid Jameel, who heads the Wellcome Trust / DBT India Alliance, told Agence France Presse: “Tests per million in India at 30,000 remain second lowest in the top 10 [virus-infected] countries. “
What did the government say?
Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered his monthly radio address without mentioning the latest milestone.
He called on citizens to respect the rules and stand united in trying to defeat the coronavirus.
“It is important that every citizen is healthy and happy, and that we completely beat the coronavirus together,” Modi said.
“Corona can only be defeated if you stay safe, when you fulfill the will to keep a safe distance of two meters and wear masks. “