INDIA’s novel coronavirus infections rose to almost 3.8 million on Wednesday (2), as states continued to relax rules on movement despite the surge in cases.
The country reported 78,357 new cases in the past 24 hours, according to federal health data, taking total infections to 3,769,523. Some 66,333 people have died.
India’s total cases lag only the US and Brazil, which it will overtake in days based on current trends.
Prime minister Narendra Modi ordered a nationwide lockdown in March when the country was reporting fewer than 100 daily cases, winning praise from some experts for early action but warnings from others the restrictions had been imposed too soon.
India’s economy shrank by nearly a quarter in April-June, data showed on Monday (31), much more than forecast and placing increasing pressure on policymakers to kick-start growth, despite the high number of new cases.
The chief minister of Goa, a popular tourist destination that has recently relaxed quarantine rules to attract visitors, said on Wednesday he had tested positive for the virus.
“Those who have come in my close contact are advised to take the necessary precautions,” Pramod Sawant, a member of Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, said in a tweet.
I wish to inform all that I have been detected COVID19 positive. I am asymptomatic and hence have opted for home isolation. I shall continue to discharge my duties working from home. Those who have come in my close contact are advised to take the necessary precautions.
— Dr. Pramod Sawant (@DrPramodPSawant) September 2, 2020
Authorities in the capital New Delhi are due to meet later on Wednesday to discuss the reopening of the city’s metro, despite fresh cases there sitting at a two-month high.