India crosses 7 million COVID-19 infections ahead of festive season

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India crosses 7 million COVID-19 infections ahead of festive season - We The World
Photo by Mufid Majnun on Unsplash

COVID-19 cases in India crossed the 7 million milestone on Sunday after 74,383 new infections catapulted the nation’s caseload to touch the next million mark.

By Monday Morning, the caseload touched 7.12 million as another 66,732 cases in the last 24-hours was added to the national total.

India is the second-worst hit nation in the world, adding a million cases in just 13 days as per Reuters tally of the government data.

On September 28th, India crossed the 6 million mark.

Deaths in the last 24-hours rose to 918 taking the national total to 108,334, the federal health ministry said. Infections were on the rise in India’s southern states, offsetting a drop in the westerns states, Reuters noted.

No other nations in the world have recorded this many infections apart from the US which is steadily advancing toward 8 million milestones.

For months, the western state of Maharashtra, whose capital is Mumbai, remained the nation’s COVID-19 hotspot. But as the next million marks neared the epicenter shifted to the south Indian state of Kerela.

On last Saturday, Kerala recorded over 11k new infections, the highest in India. Neighboring states of Karnataka, whose capital is the tech city of Bangalore are struggling to stop the spread.

India announced one of the world’s strictest lockdown in March, with just 500 known COVID-19 cases. By next month, it has reached to 10,000 cases, still way behind what other nations like the US and in Europe were.

By June, India has begun treading the hundred-thousand track, with hundreds of thousands of COVID-19 cases across the nation.

A falling economy that was encountering a historic setback on one hand and community spread of the virus on the other created a tense situation in the country.

Growing Islamophobia (linked to a super-spreader event), a crippling healthcare system marked the 3rd month of National lockdown.

As India continues to remain the fastest-growing COVID-19-stuck nation in the world, the upcoming festive season poses a major threat to another wave of mass-spread in the nation.

Healthcare authorities are trying to dampen the usual festive spirits ahead of the October-November season. Millions gather in different parts of India to celebrate the popular Hindu festivals of Durga Puja, Dussehra, and Diwali back-to-back.

India’s health minister Harsh Vardhan told in a social media broadcast on Sunday that “a little carelessness of people during festivals can worsen the situation.”

States like Gujarat and Maharashtra have banned gathering of more than 9 people during the Navratri celebration in October. Durga Puja, which is usually celebrated in great fervor in West Bengal will be toned down by committees.

Mamata Banerjee, West Bengal CM has given a green light for celebrating the 7 days-long festivals with some protocols in place.

The festival — Bengal’s biggest — marks with ornate pandals (makeshift structures) are made and are visited by hundreds of thousands.

Festivals in India, which often involve huge gatherings have been blamed for being superspreader events in the past as well.

In March, following the national lockdown, a Muslim group was unfairly hailed as a super-spreader event that triggered widespread Islamophobia.

The recent spurt in the number of infections in Kerala was also linked to a religious festival called Oman.

“There is no need to congregate in large numbers to prove your faith or your religion. If we do this we may be heading for big trouble,” Mr. Vardhan said during the Sunday social media broadcast.

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