India’s Covid-19 infections top five million mark

India's Covid-19 infections top five million mark
Healthcare officials have been carrying out oxygen level testing across India. Source: Reuters
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Daily US Times: Indian officials say the number of confirmed Covid-19 infections in the country has surpassed five million, the second-highest in the world after the US.

The coronavirus is spreading much faster in India than any other country, with daily cases crossing 90,000 for the five days up until Tuesday.

More than 80,000 people have died in India, amid reports of shortages of intensive care beds and oxygen supplies.

But the death rate in the country is lower than in many countries with a high caseload.

The rise in infections comes as the government continues to ease restrictions throughout the country to try to boost an economy that lost millions of jobs when the pandemic hit in March.

India appeared to be doing fairly well in the initial stages of Covid-19, imposing a strict lockdown, but the virus then hit megacities like the capital Delhi and Mumbai before surging in smaller cities and rural areas.

Despite the increase, the government has lift restrictions.

As India opens up its economy and people return to work, coronavirus cases have been surging. Some 600,000 cases were added just last week.

It’s caseload now stands at 5,020,359 after it added 90,123 cases in the last 24 hours.

Meanwhile, the demand for oxygen has risen exponentially recently.

According to data obtained from All India Industrial Gases Manufacturers Association, care centres and hospitals are consuming up to about 2,700 tonnes of oxygen every day this month, compared with 750 tonnes in April,

Oxygen manufacturers say the demand for industrial oxygen has also shot up because more factories are now reopening.

The states seeing a worrying uptick in infections – Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan – are suffering the most. It is a lives-versus-livelihoods question that India is grappling with now, BBC India correspondent Soutik Biswas reports.

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