India's Coronavirus Cases Pass 5 Million
Sumaira FH 4 days ago Wed 16th September 2020 | 09:30 AM
New Delhi, Sept 16 (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 16th Sep, 2020 ) :India's total coronavirus cases passed five million on Wednesday, health ministry data showed, as the pandemic extends its grip on the vast country at an ever-faster rate.
India has for some time been recording the world's biggest daily jumps in cases, and on Wednesday, the rise was just over 90,000 with a record 1,290 deaths.
The same goes for deaths -- 82,066 as of Wednesday, less than half the US toll of 195,000 -- with many deaths not properly recorded by authorities even in normal times.
The sharp rise in cases is despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government imposing in late March one of the world's strictest lockdowns, leaving tens of millions of people in the informal labour market jobless almost overnight.
The lockdown saw complete travel bans, shutting down of businesses and factories, and the flight of millions of poor migrant workers from big cities to their villages that experts say caused the virus to spread from urban centres to small towns.
India's GDP slumped nearly 24 percent in the first quarter, one of the steepest drops among major economies.
The lockdown has been steadily eased even as infections soar, with schools set to open for some classes on Monday -- along with tourist hotspot the Taj Mahal.
"Initially there was a fair amount of rigour in the lockdown but subsequently there was some relaxation before it was completely lifted," K. Srinath Reddy, head of health charity the Public Health Foundation of India, told AFP.
"It sent a wrong signal to the people that possibly we have got things reasonably under control and now the economy takes precedence. The virus is now infecting more people and penetrating deeper into smaller towns."