India coronavirus death toll passes China’s

NEW DELHI (AFP) – India’s coronavirus death toll passed neighbouring China’s yesterday, with 175 new fatalities in 24 hours taking the total to 4,706, according to official data.

India, home to some of the world’s most packed cities and a creaking healthcare system, is emerging as a new hotspot with record jumps in new cases in recent days.

Figures from India’s Health Ministry showed 165,799 infections, with western Maharashtra state – home to the finance hub of Mumbai – accounting for 36 per cent of cases and 42 per cent of deaths.

China, where the deadly virus emerged late last year, reported no new deaths or new suspected cases yesterday, with the toll still at 4,634 and a total of 82,995 infections.

Although the number of cases is surging, India has steadily loosened its lockdown to lessen the massive impact on the economy – and the country’s poor who have been the hardest hit.

Home Minister Amit Shah was also due to hold talks with state chief ministers to discuss a further relaxing of restrictions, press reports said.

The pandemic has killed 357,311 people worldwide, according to an AFP tally on Thursday, with the United States recording the most deaths with 101,002 fatalities.

A railway worker walks to sanitise a train at a railway station in Gauhati, India. PHOTO: AP