© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A couple mourn as they stand next to the pyre of a relative who has died of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in a crematorium in New Delhi, India, May 10, 2021. REUTERS / Adnan Abidi
By Manas Mishra and Aishwarya Nair
BENGALURU (Reuters) – India reported a smaller spike in daily COVID-19 cases on Sunday for the third straight year, but the death toll within 24 hours was higher than 4,000, bringing the country’s death toll to 270,000.
The number of deaths rose by 4,077 while the number of infections rose by 311,170 – the smallest increase in daily cases in more than three weeks, data from the Ministry of Health showed on Sunday. The total number of infections has increased by over 2 million this week and the number of deaths has increased by nearly 28,000.
India’s massive second wave of infections began in February, putting hospitals and medical workers under pressure. In states like the richest state of Maharastra and the northern state of Delhi, cases have steadily declined after imposing severe bans.
Federal health officials said Saturday that the overall rate of positive cases per test had dropped from 21.9% last week to 19.8% this week, raising hopes that daily infections are gradually stabilizing.
However, strong waves can be seen in states like Tamil Nadu in the south and in rural areas. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday urged officials to bolster health care resources and step up surveillance in rural areas as the virus is spreading rapidly in these areas following the devastation of cities.
Corpses of COVID-19 victims were found dumped in some Indian rivers, according to Reuters in a letter from the state government in the first official confirmation of the alarming practice.
The world’s largest vaccine-producing nation fully vaccinated just over 40.4 million, or just 2.9% of its 1.35 billion population, on Sunday, according to the government’s Co-WIN portal.
India will receive 516 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines by July, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Saturday.
The number of infections in the South Asian nation is 24.68 million.
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