India on Monday recorded its highest single-day jump in deaths of 445, linked to coronavirus as the disease spreads rapidly across its vast countryside, officials said.
According to its Health Ministry’s daily update, the spike in cases has taken the country’s tally to 425,282, while the COVID-19 death toll rose to 13,699.
“In the last 24 hours, 14,821 new cases have been reported,“it said.
India is the fourth-worst-affected country in terms of case numbers, after the U.S., Brazil and Russia.
Many cases were reported from rural districts after hundreds of thousands of daily-wage migrant workers returned to their villages, having found themselves without work during the nationwide lockdown introduced in March.
According to Bloomberg News Agency, Indian states that received the most workers, like Bihar, Assam, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh, witnessed the sharpest rise in new cases on June 8.
Officials from Niti Aayog, the government’s planning body, said figures reported by Bloomberg were not factually correct.
“The situation is fully under control. The numbers are small so far,” the official said.
However, a vast majority of cases was still concentrated in the cities, like New Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai.
The health officials were mainly concerned about infections spiking in villages that with poor health infrastructure and home to almost 70 per cent of India’s population.
Health experts warn that India, the world’s second-most populous country, with 1.3 billion inhabitants, could see the peak of the pandemic by July or August.
Meanwhile, 57 girls tested positive for COVID-19 in a state-run shelter in the Northern city of Kanpur. Most of them were asymptomatic and moved to an isolation centre.
India has been in the process of opening up after a prolonged lockdown that began in March in spite of exponential growth in the number of infections in recent days.
The Federal Government had largely left the decision on re-opening or re-imposing restrictions to individual state authorities.
Chennai, India’s sixth-largest city, re-imposed a lockdown on Friday, unable to control the spiraling coronavirus infections.
According to state officials, only essential services and neighbourhood grocery shops will be permitted to function during the 12-day lockdown.(dpa/NAN)