India has been hit with a resurgence in COVID-19 infections, on the first anniversary of its nationwide lockdown to contain the pandemic.
Yesterday, the country recorded 46,951 new cases - the highest since early November last year, and 21 deaths. The numbers bring the total number of infections and deaths in the country to 11.68 million and 160,000, respectively, placing the country as the third-worst affected by the pandemic, after the US and Brazil.
The state of Maharashtra, which houses India's financial capital Mumbai and is the country's most industrialised state, now accounts for more than 60 percent of the cases after the reopening of economic activities last month unleased a second wave of infections.
Officials are blaming the resurgence in infections to crowding and the people's reluctance to wear masks.
One expert - critical care expert Dr A Fathahudeen, who has treated thousands of Covid patients, told BBC that a "false notion of optimism" swept the country when the caseload was decreasing early this year.
"People had falsely assumed that India had reached the threshold of herd immunity but that is not the case.
"The start of the vaccination drive also contributed to this because people equated the arrival of vaccines with normal times," he was quoted.
The real picture, however, is far from normal, and in fact, alarming, he warned.
Currently, more than 40 million people in India have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine - less than four percent of the country's population. At least three million people are vaccinated daily, but experts are urging the government to ramp up the drive to cover more of the population.
It is worth noting that India is the world's biggest vaccina manufacturer.
Source: BBC, Reuters, Channel News Asia
Photo source: Reuters
Tue Mar 23 2021