India surpasses 100,000 daily virus cases as politicians continue to hold large rallies

India surpasses 100,000 daily virus cases as politicians continue to hold large rallies

People on a beach in Mumbai, India on April 4, 2021. REUTERS / Francis Mascarenhas

NEW DELHI, Apr 5 (Reuters) – India posted a record rise in COVID-19 infections on Monday, becoming the second country, after the United States, to record more than 100,000 new cases in one day, as politicians organize crowds. electoral rallies that raise fears of a further spread of the virus.

Hospitals in the worst affected state, Maharashtra, are overflowing with patients. Maharashtra reported a record 57,074 new cases overnight.

Daily infections in the country have increased 12-fold since a multi-month low was reached in early February, when authorities relaxed most restrictions and people stopped wearing masks and following social distancing.

With 103,558 new infections, India has already registered 12.6 million cases, the highest number after the United States and Brazil, according to data from the Ministry of Health.

India has recorded the highest number of infections in the last week in the world. Some infectious variants of the virus may have played a role in this second spike, according to some epidemiologists.

Deaths increased by 478, which remains one of the lowest death rates in the world, bringing the total to 165,101.

Although cases have increased exponentially in almost a dozen states, politicians and ministers continue to speak at election rallies attended by tens of thousands of people without masks in confined spaces.

The health minister of the northeastern state of Assam, who is currently voting to elect a new government, was ridiculed on social media over the weekend after saying there was no need for masks in his state and that wearing them hurts some businesses such as Beauty salons.

The state of Maharashtra will begin closing shopping malls, cinemas, bars, restaurants and places of worship starting Monday night. Authorities will also impose a total lockdown on weekends as experts are concerned about a shortage of intensive care beds in hospitals, especially in their smaller cities.

(Information from Rama Venkat Bengaluru and Neha Arora in New Delhi; written by Krishna N. Das; edited by Himani Sarkar and Michael Perry, translated by Tomás Cobos)

Melissa Galbraith
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