Punit Paranjpe / AFP via Getty Images
India’s total reported cases of coronavirus have exceeded 9 million – a milestone so far only crossed by the United States.
But new infections appear to be declining in India, with 45,882 new cases reported on Friday compared to daily figures, which were more than double in September.
Some scholars have questioned the reliability of India’s test regime and set.
India’s case load reached 9,004,365 on Friday. It is the second highest in the world behind the United States, which according to Johns Hopkins University has confirmed 11,717,951 cases. Brazil is number three with almost 6 million cases, but the number of deaths is higher than India.
Because India’s population is so large, almost 1.4 billion, the country’s infection rate remains per capita. Population much lower than these countries. About 0.6% of the population of India has tested positive for coronavirus since the pandemic began.
The Indian capital New Delhi remains a hotspot along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state of Gujarat, where a curfew has been lifted over the weekend in the city of Ahmedabad.
In Delhi, an increase in infections has coincided with the Hindu festival season when families gather in large groups, and a subsequent increase in air pollution, which researchers say exacerbates the transmission and severity of COVID-19. Local authorities fly with extra doctors from other states and order intensive care beds at private hospitals because public hospitals are almost full. On Friday, the fine imposed on people caught without wearing a mask in public quadrupled to 2,000 rupees (about US $ 27).
But other restrictions have been lifted across India as the government struggles to revive the economy. Most markets, cinemas, restaurants and gyms are open. Schools remain closed in Delhi but open in many other states.
Last March, India introduced the world’s largest coronavirus lock-in with just a few hours’ notice, as the country’s case load was relatively low. Modi credits this action with maintaining the early spread of the virus.
But it left many Indians, especially the working poor, in desperation after factories and public transportation were closed. Amid reports of famine, the government reversed the course and lifted its lockout in early June. India’s economy fell by almost 24% during that period. Its central bank confirmed this month that for the first time in its democratic history, the country has gone into recession.