India virus cases pass 7m amid complacency warnings

ADEZE OJUKWU with Agency Reports

India’s confirmed coronavirus cases surpassed seven million on Sunday, with a number of new infections, dipping in recent weeks.

Health experts warn of mask and distancing fatigue among the populace.

This is according to reports from Associated Press(AP).

‘The Health Ministry registered another 74,383 infections in the past 24 hours.’

India is expected to become the pandemic’s worst-hit country in coming weeks, overtaking the United States(US), where more than 7.7 million infections have been reported.

The ministry also reported 918 additional deaths, taking total fatalities to 108,334.

Some experts say though that India’s death toll may not be reliable because of poor reporting and health infrastructure and inadequate testing.

India saw a steep rise in cases in July and added more than two million in August and another three million in September.

But it is seeing a slower pace of coronavirus spread since mid-September, when the daily infections touched a record high of 97,894.

Meanwhile medical practitioners have warned about the potential for the virus to spread during the upcoming religious festival season, which is marked by huge gatherings in temples and shopping districts.

A crucial factor will be people wearing masks and maintaining a safe distance.

With the economy contracting by a record 23.9 percent in the April-June quarter, leaving millions jobless, the Indian government is continuing to relax lockdown restrictions that were imposed in late March.

The government in May announced a $266 billion stimulus package, but consumer demand and manufacturing are yet to recover.

India aims to provide vaccines to 250 million people by next July, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said last week.

He said ‘the government was planning to receive 450 million to 500 million vaccine doses and would ensure equitable access.’

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