India sees 83,000 new cases, but numbers falling

NEW DELHI (AP) — India reported over 83,000 new coronavirus cases yesterday, showing some decline after reaching a record a week earlier.

The country has now confirmed over 5.6 million cases. The Health Ministry also reported 1,085 new fatalities, raising the death toll to 90,020. India is expected to become the world’s worst-hit country within weeks, surpassing the United States (US), where nearly 6.9 million people have been infected by the virus.

But the past week has seen some improvement in India, with the numbers dropping after a record 97,894 new cases were reported on September 16.

Indian Council for Medical Research Director General Balram Bhargava said on Tuesday vaccines with at least 50 per cent efficacy will be approved for use against the coronavirus. That is the benchmark set by the World Health Organization (WHO), as no vaccine for respiratory diseases is 100 per cent effective, Bhargava told reporters.

Meanwhile, China’s President and the leader of its Communist Party Xi Jinping cast the fight against the virus as an important exercise in international cooperation, an opportunity to “join hands and be prepared to meet even more global challenges”.

Xi took oblique potshots at the US and its foreign policies, cautioning in a United Nations (UN) address on Tuesday the world must “not fall into the trap of a clash of civilisations” — remarks played minutes after delegates heard US President Donald Trump insist that the UN “hold China accountable” for how it handled the emergence of the coronavirus.

While Xi, being prerecorded and not there, could not rebut what Trump said, his UN ambassador was in the General Assembly chamber and responded directly while introducing the Xi video.

A health worker takes a nasal swab sample to test for COVID-19 at a facility erected to screen people in Ahmedabad, India. PHOTO: AP