The Health Ministry also reported 75,809 new cases, raising India’s tally to nearly 4.3 million — second only to the United States and maintaining an upward surge amid an ease in nationwide restrictions to help mitigate the economic pain. The country’s death toll now stands at 72,775.
India has been reporting the highest single-day caseload in the world for more than a month.
The rise in cases is partly due to increased testing. The number of daily tests conducted across the country has risen to more than a million. Nearly 3.3 million people in India have recovered from COVID-19 so far.
The pandemic has been economically devastating for India. Its economy contracted nearly 24% in the second quarter, the worst among the world’s top economies.
Despite over 2 million new cases in the past month and the virus spreading through the country’s smaller towns and villages, the Indian government has continued relaxing restrictions to try and resuscitate the economy.
On Monday, the Delhi Metro, which serves India’s sprawling capital, New Delhi, and adjoining areas, resumed operations after remaining shuttered for more than five months. The commuters were scarce and stations deserted. Only asymptomatic people were allowed to board the trains, with masks, social distancing and temperature checks mandatory.
When Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered everyone in the country to stay indoors, the whole economy shut down within four hours. Millions lost their jobs instantly and tens of thousands of migrant workers, out of money and fearing starvation, poured out of cities and headed back to villages. The unprecedented migration not only hollowed out India’s economy but also spread the virus to the far reaches of the country.
The virus has already deepened misery in the country’s vast hinterlands and poorer states, where surges have crippled the underfunded healthcare system and stretched resources.
© 2020 The Canadian Press