India reports most new COVID cases in three weeks

INDIA reported 44,230 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, the most in three weeks, the latest evidence of a worrying trend of rising cases that have forced one state to lockdown amid fears of another wave of infections.

India was battered by the Delta variant of the virus in April and May but the rate of spread of infections later eased off. It has again been rising, with higher numbers in seven of the past eight days.

The nationwide tally of infections has reached 31.57 million, according to health ministry data. Deaths rose by 555 overnight, taking the overall toll to 423,217.

Medical experts polled by Reuters in late June said the third wave of coronavirus infections was likely to hit India by October, though it would be better controlled than the devastating April-May outbreak.

Health experts have called for faster vaccinations to stave off another big surge.

The government estimates that 67.6% of the 1.35 billion population already have antibodies against the coronavirus, with nearly 38% of the adult population of about 944 million people have received at least one vaccine dose.

The southern state of Kerala announced a new lockdown on Thursday while movement restrictions are in place in some northeastern states reporting a rise in infection rates.

Other places, including the capital New Delhi, have recently reopened most economic activities.

(Reuters)

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