India on Thursday saw new highs in Covid-19 cases and deaths, dashing hopes that a catastrophic recent surge that has strained hospitals to breaking point might be easing.
According to the Indian Ministry of Health, there have been 3,980 deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing the national total to 230,168, and 412,262 new cases, bringing the total number of cases in India since the pandemic began to over 21 million.
Many experts believe that the true numbers are much higher due to low levels of testing and poor record-keeping for cause of death — as well as crematoriums being overburdened in many areas.
The increase comes after several days of declining case numbers, which gave the government hope that the virus outbreak was subsiding.
Following a high of 402,000 cases on Friday, the daily number of cases dropped to 357,000 on Monday before rising again on Tuesday.
On Monday, Lav Aggarwal, a senior health ministry official, told reporters that there was a “very early signal of movement in the positive direction.”
The sharp increase in cases since late March has overburdened hospitals in many areas, resulting in life-threatening shortages of beds, drugs, and oxygen.
Although several regions, including the capital New Delhi, Bihar, and Maharashtra, have imposed local shutdowns, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has resisted imposing a new lockdown.
Up until now, the worst-affected areas have been Delhi and Maharashtra, but other states, such as West Bengal, Kerala, and Karnataka, are now experiencing significant increases.
Kerala’s chief minister, Pinarayi Vijayan, announced a week-long curfew in the southern state of 35 million people, which boasts one of India’s best health-care systems, on Twitter on Thursday.