India records world’s largest daily increase in virus cases

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NEW DELHI – India on Sunday recorded a new record of 78,761 coronavirus cases, the world’s highest single-day peak since the pandemic began, as the government began to ease restrictions to help the struggling economy. The surge brought India’s total to over 3.5 million and came when the government announced the reopening of the metro in the capital New Delhi. It has also progressed with limited sporting and religious events starting next month.

A country of 1.4 billion people, India now has the fastest growing number of coronavirus cases of any country in the world. It reported more than 75,000 infections for the fourth day in a row. It also saw the biggest one-day increase since August 4.

One reason is the testing: India now performs nearly one million tests per day, up from 200,000 just two months ago.

An important feature of the management of COVID-19 in India, however, is the increasing rate of recovered patients. On Sunday, the recovery rate reached nearly 76.5%.

The Department of Health has credited its strategic policy of “aggressive screening, comprehensive follow-up and effective treatment” in supervised home isolates and hospitals.

But deaths from COVID-19 continue to rise and soon India will have the third highest death toll, after the United States and Brazil, even though it has had far fewer deaths than these two countries.

India is now reporting around 1,000 COVID-19 deaths every day. So far, more than 63,000 Indians have died from the disease.

Even though eight Indian states remain among the worst-affected regions and contribute nearly 73% of total infections, the virus is now spreading rapidly in the vast hinterlands, with health experts warning that September could be the month of more difficult. Earlier this week, members of a small, isolated tribe on the remote Andaman and Nicobar Islands tested positive for the coronavirus.

The main contributor to the new wave so far has been the western state of Maharashtra, home to the commercial capital of Mumbai. It alone accounted for more than 24,000 deaths and nearly 21% of all cases.

India’s economy – the fifth largest in the world – has been hit hard by the pandemic. But despite the surge in cases, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his team lobbied for a return to normalcy to ease the pain.

The federal government announced on Saturday that the crowded metro, a lifeline for millions of people in New Delhi, will gradually reopen from September 7. Schools, colleges and cinemas remain closed until the end of September.

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