Modi Says Virus Is Rapidly Spreading in India’s Rural Areas
A woman carries food along a road after visiting a state-run ration store in Banda District, Uttar Pradesh. (Photographer: Prashanth Vishwanathan/Bloomberg)

Modi Says Virus Is Rapidly Spreading in India’s Rural Areas

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Covid-19 was spreading rapidly in rural areas and asked villagers in the world’s second-most populous nation to take precautions.

“You should take required steps at the family and community level to save yourself from the virus,” Modi said to a gathering of farmers virtually on Friday, adding state governments are making efforts to stop the spread of infections.

Villagers should not ignore symptoms such as cough, fever, vomiting and must isolate themselves, undergo testing and consult doctors, Modi said.

The second wave of Covid-19 has been acute in towns and cities, including New Delhi and Mumbai, where the infections have strained India’s health system and overwhelmed crematoriums and hospitals, forcing people onto social media in a desperate search for oxygen and life-saving medicines. The spread of infections to rural areas, where about 70% of country’s 1.3 billion population live, poses even more of a challenge because remote areas lack health care infrastructure.

India has reported more than 300,000 daily infections for 22 consecutive days, highlighting the country’s slide into the world’s worst health crisis. One research model is predicting deaths could almost quadruple to more than a million by end-July from the current official count of less than 300,000.

The situation is worse in states where massive voter rallies were held during recent multi-phase elections, said Alok Mukhopadhyay, chairman of the Voluntary Health Association of India, a non-profit organization that has links with more than 4,500 health and development institutions in India.

“It’s a quite alarming situation in rural areas,” Mukhopadhyay said, based on the information he has been receiving throughout the country. “The spread is more fierce than the first wave.”

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

BQ Install

Bloomberg Quint

Add BloombergQuint App to Home screen.