NEW DELHI: India’s total coronavirus cases passed five million on Wednesday as the pandemic extends its grip on the country.
India’s coronavirus cases surged with a single-day jump of 90,123 infections in the last 24 hours, data from the federal health ministry showed. The death toll from COVID-19 is now at 82,066 with 1290 fatalities recorded in the last 24 hours.
India is only the second country in the world to cross the grim milestone of 5 million cases after the United States. India has added one million cases in less than two weeks. There were also 1,290 fresh coronavirus-related deaths in the country, taking the total to 82,066.
On Tuesday, the country had seen a slight drop in the daily figures with 83,809 new infections. It previously recorded over 90,000 cases on a daily basis for five days.
India is currently the second worst-hit country worldwide by COVID-19 and may surpass the US by end of September in terms of the severity of the pandemic.
India is now testing around a million people daily but still, many experts said that this is not enough and that the true number of infections may be far higher. India has one of the world’s most poorly funded healthcare systems and is home to some of the most densely populated cities and towns.
The sharp rise in cases is despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government imposing in late March one of the world’s strictest lockdowns, leaving tens of millions of people in the informal labour market jobless almost overnight.
The lockdown saw complete travel bans, shutting down of businesses and factories, and the flight of millions of poor migrant workers from big cities to their villages that experts said caused the virus to spread to small towns.
India’s GDP slumped nearly 24 percent in the first quarter, one of the steepest drops among major economies. The lockdown has been steadily eased even as infections soar, with schools set to open for some classes next week.