India cases approach 7 million amid slower pace

NEW DELHI (AP) — India’s confirmed coronavirus cases are nearing seven million with another 73,272 reported in the past 24 hours.

The Health Ministry yesterday also reported 926 additional deaths, taking total fatalities to 107,416. The deaths have remained below 1,000 for the seventh straight day.

India is seeing a slower pace of coronavirus spread since mid-September when the daily infections touched a record of 97,894 cases. It is averaging over 70,000 cases daily so far this month, while the recovery rate exceeded 85 per cent.

But health experts warned that congregations during major festivals later this month and in November have the potential for the virus to spread.

“We have to work aggressively to make sure that during winter months and during the festive season coronavirus cases don’t rise dramatically,” a government health expert Dr Randeep Guleria said.

Experts said India’s fragile health system has been bolstered in recent months but could still be overwhelmed by an exponential rise in cases. Consumer activity is gradually rebounding and millions of factory workers who had fled cities when India imposed a two-month-long rigorous lockdown on March 25 are returning.

People walk in a market in Jammu, India. PHOTO: AP