India's Covid-19 caseload ranks fourth in the world as infections near 300,000

Migrant workers and families wait in Chennai on June 11, 2020, before boarding special trains to Bihar and Jharkhand states after the government eased a nationwide lockdown to stem the spread of Covid-19.
Migrant workers and families wait in Chennai on June 11, 2020, before boarding special trains to Bihar and Jharkhand states after the government eased a nationwide lockdown to stem the spread of Covid-19. © Arun Sankar, AFP

India reported a total of 297,535 coronavirus infections on Friday after its latest single-day spike, surpassing the United Kingdom to become the country with the fourth-highest number of cases in the world.

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The number of infections increased by 10,956 on Friday from the previous day and the death toll reached 8,498, India's ministry of health and family welfare said. The death toll increased 396 in the past 24 hours.

India's number of confirmed coronavirus cases is behind only the United States, Brazil and Russia.

The country's two-month lockdown kept transmission low but in a large population of 1.3 billion, people remain susceptible and the campaign against the virus is likely to go on for months, Balram Bhargava, director-general of the Indian Council of Medical Research, said.

India's lockdown was imposed nationwide in late March but has eased since, and it is now largely being enforced in high-risk areas. The spiking caseload came after India allowed reopening of shops, shopping malls, manufacturing and religious places. 

Subway, schools, colleges and movie halls, however, remain shuttered nationwide.

Mumbai, New Delhi and Chennai are the worst-hit cities in the country, and Bhargava said urban residents have greater chance of contracting the virus. Infections in rural areas have surged, however, after migrant workers who left cities and towns after they lost jobs returned to their hometowns.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS, AP)

 

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