India has passed another grim coronavirus milestone as its authorities reported that the country now had more than 2 million cases, after a record daily jump.
It now has the third-highest number of case in the world after the United States and Brazil – though its death rate of about 2% is far lower than the other hardest-hit countries. According to John Hopkins University, the rate in the US is 3.3% and 3.4% in Brazil.
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India’s health ministry said 62,585 cases were reported in the past 24 hours on Friday, raising the nation’s total to 2,027,074. The number of reported deaths among those suffering from Covid-19 stands at 41,585.
The world’s second-most populated country has seen cases spike since the government began lifting lockdown in an effort to kickstart its flagging economy, with the government predicting negative economic growth this year.
But the ministry said only a third of the 2 million cases are currently active, with the country also recording its highest-ever number of recoveries on Thursday.
The first registered Covid-19 case was detected in late January and it took more than 170 days to reach a million cases – but it then took just three weeks to double. That means the country now has the fastest growth rate in the world.
As life cautiously returned to the streets of the capital New Delhi and financial hub Mumbai — both of which are believed to have passed their peaks — state and local governments elsewhere in the country were reimposing lockdowns after the sharp rises in cases.
India had launched two of the world’s 18 prospective vaccines into human trials, with vaccine-maker Zydus Cadila announcing it had completed phase one trials of its DNA-based vaccine on Thursday.
Experts say the country will be vital to global vaccination efforts, regardless of whether its own attempts work.
The world’s largest vaccine-maker, the Serum Institute in the central city of Pune, has ramped up capacity to manufacture as many as a billion doses of a vaccine in development by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, which is in phase two trials in India and the UK, and phase three trials in Brazil and South Africa.Photo Credit: Getty