India’s cases cross 4.6M after record surge

NEW DELHI (AP) — India’s confirmed coronavirus tally crossed 4.6 million after a record surge of 97,570 new cases in 24 hours.

India yesterday also reported another 1,201 deaths, taking total fatalities to 77,472.

Infections are growing faster in India than anywhere else in the world and it is the second worst-hit country behind the United States (US). Experts said India’s limited and restrictive testing has masked the actual toll even as daily tests have been ramped up to over one million.

The Health Ministry said over three-fourth of reported COVID-19 cases have either recovered or been discharged. The country’s recovery rate was at 77.7 per cent. “The gap between the percentage of recovered cases and active cases is progressively growing wide,” the ministry said.

Meanwhile, cases in the western state of Maharashtra, home to financial capital Mumbai, passed one million as the virus continues to surge unabated through its rural and urban areas.

Maharashtra is the worst affected state with over 28,000 COVID-19 fatalities. Nowhere has been the virus more deadly than in Maharashtra, where it has killed 2.8 per cent of those with confirmed infections, well above the national mortality rate of nearly 1.7 per cent.

The pandemic has been economically devastating for India. Its economy contracted nearly 24 per cent in the second quarter, the worst among the world’s top economies.

Meanwhile, Australia’s COVID-19 death toll surpassed 800 after Victoria state reported six more deaths yesterday and prepared to ease some of the tough restrictions. Victoria, the hardest-hit by a viral resurgence in the country, also reported 37 more cases in the past 24 hours.

The national death toll stands at 803, with 716 of those in Victoria. It was Victoria’s ninth consecutive day of fewer than triple-digit cases, meaning some areas of the state can move closer to easing restrictions on travel and lifestyle.

State Premier Daniel Andrews said, “We are poised to be able to take not just one, but potentially two, steps as early as next week.” About five million Melbourne residents remain subject to a lockdown curfew between 8pm and 5am.

A commuter drives along a deserted road during a day-long state-imposed lockdown as a preventive measure against Covid-19 in Kolkata, India. PHOTO: AP