NEW DELHI: India has become the second country in the world after the US to record nine million Covid-19 cases. On the brighter side, it took 22 days for the tally to increase from the eight-million mark, making it the second slowest rise of one million infections in the country and reflecting the slowdown in the pandemic in recent weeks.
The grim milestone was reached on Thursday, when India recorded 46,260 cases, taking the total to 90,03,800. This was the highest daily tally in 8 days, in part due to a rise in testing that had fallen sharply in recent days. The day’s death toll, at 589, was highest in 14 days.
The last one-million rise in 22 days means the spread in the country has halved since the pandemic’s peak in mid-September, when it took just 11 days for cases to go from four million to five million. Only the first one million cases took more days than the last million.
Despite the steady fall in numbers since then, India still recorded the second highest number of new cases in the world in November. The country has reported a little over 8.2 lakh in the month so far, second to only the US’s November case count of 24.8 lakh. France had the third highest tally at 7.3 lakh, followed by Italy (6.2 lakh), the UK (4.4 lakh), Poland (4.3 lakh) and Brazil (4.3 lakh). At 9,937, India’s death toll from the virus in November so far was the third highest in the world. The US recorded 20,829 fatalities, followed by 10,133 in France, with Italy (8,896) and Iran (8,563) in the fourth and fifth spots, respectively.
The 46,260 new cases detected on Thursday came out mainly from 10.3 lakh tests conducted in the country the previous day. This was the first time in six days that the testing numbers had crossed 10 lakh. Testing had fallen sharply in the country due to Diwali and other festivals on top of the usual dip on weekends.
The number of fresh cases rose in most states, with Delhi again reporting the highest numbers (7,546) in the country.
The capital also recorded more than 90 deaths for the eighth day running. Gujarat reported 1,340 new cases, the highest daily number in the state since October 3.
Maharashtra too witnessed a considerable jump in fresh infections. Maharashtra added 5,535 cases to take its overall tally to 17,63,055. Kerala was one of the very few major states where Thursday’s cases saw a dip from the previous day.