NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India on Sunday reported the biggest single-day jump in coronavirus infections of any nation in the COVID-19 pandemic, as the epicentre shifts to the south Asian giant.
India’s 78,761 cases exceeded the 77,299 recorded in the United States on July 16, a Reuters tally of official data showed.
The world’s second-most populous nation is, with 3.54 million cases, the third-hardest hit by the pandemic, following the United States and Brazil, but its daily tallies have exceeded those of the other two countries for almost two weeks.
The COVID-19 death toll in India jumped by 948 to 63,498, the federal health ministry data showed.
Maharashtra, India’s wealthiest and most urbanised state, recorded 331 fatalities, the steepest single-day increase among all states, followed by the southern state of Karnataka with 136 deaths.
Despite the surging case numbers, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been pushing for a return to normalcy to lessen the economic pain of the pandemic, having earlier imposed strict lockdowns of the country’s 1.3 billion people.
The federal home ministry has decided to let underground train networks reopen with some restrictions in New Delhi, India’s capital of about 20 million people.
The subway will start running on Sept. 7 for the first time since March, when India imposed the world’s strictest lockdown to contain the spread of the new coronavirus.
Cinemas, swimming pools, entertainment parks and other such places will remain shut.
The lockdown has led to large-scale job losses and an economic slump.
India’s deepest recession on record will persist all year, as a resurgence has squelched a nascent rebound in consumption and business activity, a Reuters poll showed.
(Reporting by Mayank Bhardwaj and Shilpa Jamkhandikar; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and William Mallard)