Indian coronavirus cases surge, experts see critical four weeks ahead

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(dpa) – India reported 115,736 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday – a record spike for a second day this week – as a new wave of the pandemic continued to spread rapidly.

The next four weeks were going to be critical, Covid-19 task force chief Vinod Kumar Paul said at a Health Ministry briefing on Tuesday.

The single-day rise in cases within 24 hours reported on Wednesday topped that of 103,558 reported on Monday. On Tuesday the daily tally was 96,982.

India, a country of 1.3 billion people, has the world’s third-largest caseload of coronavirus cases, after the United States and Brazil. It has seen 166,177 total deaths, with 630 new ones reported on Wednesday.

The country saw a consistent downward trend of Covid-19 cases between October and mid-February. Since then, daily infections have jumped from a little over 9,000 to over 100,000.

“The intensity of the pandemic has increased and it is spreading faster than last time,” Paul said. “In some states, it is worse than others, but the upswing can be observed across the country. The next four weeks are going to very critical.”

The participation of people would be vital in controlling the second wave of the pandemic, Paul said.

India is also trying to upscale its vaccine programme. More than 87 million vaccine does had been administered so far.

Reports from worst-hit Maharashtra state quoted the state’s health minister, Rajesh Tope, saying there was an imminent shortage of vaccines, but federal Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Tuesday there was no shortage and the stocks of states would be regularly replenished.

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