India reports highest increase in new Covid cases in 3 weeks
A health worker takes a swab sample from a security personnel for a reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test during a Covid-19 coronavirus screening in Chennai on July 30, 2021. (Photo by ARUN SANKAR/AFP via Getty Images)
INDIA reported 44,230 new Covid-19 cases on Friday (30), the most in three weeks, which raised fears of another wave of infections in the country.
The latest surge in cases has forced southern Kerala state to impose weekend lockdown. The state announced a new lockdown on Thursday (29) while movement restrictions are in place in some northeastern states reporting a rise in infection rates.
In April and May, India was battered by the Delta variant of the virus, but the spread of infections later eased off. It has again been rising, with higher numbers in seven of the past eight days.
The nationwide tally of infections has reached 31.57 million, according to health ministry data. Deaths rose by 555 overnight, taking the overall toll to 423,217.
Medical experts in late June said a third wave of coronavirus infections was likely to hit India by October, though it would be better controlled than the devastating April-May outbreak.
Health experts have called for faster vaccinations to stave off another big surge.
The government estimates that 67.6 per cent of the 1.35 billion population already have antibodies against the coronavirus, with nearly 38 per cent of the adult population of about 944 million people having received at least one vaccine dose.
The disease’s estimated reproduction rate, or R-value, has also inched up in the past week,
The R-value hit 1 on July 24 – meaning on average, every 10 people infected will infect 10 other people – for the first time since May when daily infections were near a peak of 400,000.
Other places, including the capital New Delhi, have recently reopened most economic activities.