India virus cases surge after harvest festival celebrations

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01 May 2021, India, New Delhi: A Covid-19 patient who is suffering from breathing difficulty breaths with the help of an oxygen mask outside a Gurudwara in New Delhi. India hit record numbers of Covid-19 infections for the sixth straight day as health system buckled amid shortage of medical oxygen and hospital beds. Photo: Naveen Sharma/SOPA Images via ZUMA Wire/dpa
Coronavirus outbreak in India

India logged 46,164 new coronavirus cases on Thursday with experts saying festival celebrations in the southern state of Kerala were behind the whopping increase in infections.

This was the first time since July 7 that the country’s single-day infections went past the 45,000 mark, data on the Johns Hopkins University Covid-19 website showed.

The fresh cases were almost 45 per cent higher than Tuesday’s 25,467 infections.

Kerala reported 31,445 cases, accounting for over 68 per cent of India’s infections on Thursday.

Analysis of cases and testing data suggested that lower restrictions during the traditional harvest festival of Onam on August 21 proved a setback to Covid-19 management, reversing the declining trend in the region, the Times of India daily reported.

India’s federal government believes that the rapidly increasing cases in Kerala could spread to other parts of the country, leading to a potential third wave of the pandemic in the country, the report said.

Authorities are also concerned that a wider spread could result in a new variant that could lower vaccine efficacy.

A study conducted by the National Institute of Disaster Management has predicted a surge in cases as early as October.

India is currently second only to the United States in terms of its coronavirus caseload, with over 32.5 million cases. Over 436,300 people have died.

The vaccination drive in India, with over 1.3 billion inhabitants, is lagging. Although 600 million doses have been administered, only 32 per cent of the population will be vaccinated by year-end at the current pace, broadcaster NDTV reported.

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