India Closes In on Brazil as Covid-19 Infections Cross 4 Million
Thermal screening of visitors being conducted outside an emergency ward at a hospital during a nationwide lockdown in the wake of coronavirus pandemic, in Hyderabad, Sunday, 5 April, 2020. Image used for representation. (Photo: PTI)

India Closes In on Brazil as Covid-19 Infections Cross 4 Million

India’s coronavirus cases crossed the four-million mark as the novel pathogen continues to ravage the nation that’s rapidly closing in on Brazil to become the second worst-hit country.

Now the world’s new virus epicenter, India added 86,432 infections in 24 hours, pushing the total tally to 4.02 million, according to data released by India’s health ministry Saturday. Over 69,500 people have died from the novel pathogen, making it the third-largest by number of Covid-19 deaths.

India Closes In on Brazil as Covid-19 Infections Cross 4 Million

As it crosses yet another grim milestone, India’s virus curve is showing no signs of flattening out with the pandemic threatening to overwhelm an already-overworked health care system. The stealthy pathogen is now penetrating the India’s vast rural hinterland where the majority of its 1.3 billion population lives amid sparse medical resources.

India imposed the world’s biggest lockdown as early as March but began relaxing it in phases from June after the strict measures pushed millions into poverty, destroyed jobs and forced a mass migration of daily-wage laborers on foot. As economic and social activities returned, infections surged to new heights.

The Indian government said a record 1.17 million tests were conducted within 24 hours on Thursday, taking the total number of tests past 45.5 million. But in a country of 1.3 billion people, this still amounts to one of the lowest testing rates among places with the worst outbreaks.

India has conducted around 32 tests per 1,000 people, compared to 253 tests per 1,000 in the U.S. and almost 255 per 1,000 in Russia -- which means that its epidemic is likely much bigger than what the official figures are showing.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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