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India surpasses 5 million Covid-19 cases

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India topped 5 million coronavirus cases on Wednesday after reporting 90,123 new infections in the past 24 hours, according to its Health Ministry.

The country has identified 1 million cases in just 11 days since crossing the 4 million mark on September 5.

The Health Ministry also reported 1,290 new coronavirus fatalities in the past 24 hours, bringing the total death toll to 82,066.

The country of 1.35 billion has seen a rapid increase of new cases in recent weeks. While it took India nearly six months to report 1 million cases, it added another 4 million in just under two months, according to a CNN tally of figures from the Indian Ministry of Health.

Experts believe that some of the measures taken by India in the early days have contributed to the rise in cases. According to renowned virologist T. Jacob John, India’s nationwide lockdown imposed in late March was ineffective in interrupting transmission and led to crowding when it was implemented without sufficient warning, he told CNN earlier this month.

However, the country’s health minister maintains India has “successfully” hindered the spread of the virus.

“India has collectively stood up to manage Covid-19 and successfully blunted the aggressive progression of covid,” Dr Harsh Vardhan, India’s health minister, said, adding that up to 2.9 million cases and 38,000 fatalities were prevented by the measure. 

Increased testing: India has been focusing on ramping up testing as part of its “chase the virus” strategy and an average of 950,000 tests are being conducted daily, according to the Indian Ministry of Health. 

More than 59 million tests have already been conducted as of Tuesday, the Indian Council of Medical Research said.

“Our scientists are engaged day and night in developing a vaccine, but until there is one we cannot be careless,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday, reminding citizens to wear masks and maintain social distance.

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