India’s COVID-19 outbreak has stabilized in parts of the country, a government official said, but deaths increased by 4,194 on Saturday and infections were spreading to rural areas where public health services are rare and already overloaded.
India reported more than 400,000 infections per day at the start of May, but the numbers have gradually eased. Government data on Saturday showed 257,299 new cases.
Active cases in the wealthier state of Maharashtra and Karnataka, home to the technology hub of Bengaluru, and the coastal state of Kerala have fallen in the past two weeks, official Lav Agarwal told reporters. from the Ministry of Health.
Daily figures in states like West Bengal, which recently concluded state elections, and the southern states of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu are on the rise, he said.
With hospitals overflowing, the health system overwhelmed in cities and a shortage of vaccines, experts have warned India could face a third wave of infections in the coming months.
“Although the spread of the coronavirus has stabilized in many parts of the country and overall the burden has been eased, we still have a long way to go with this wave,” Dr VK Paul, a panel member of the federal government on the COVID -19 direction, said at a press conference.
“For the first time, we have seen that rural areas have been affected by this pandemic.”
The total number of infections in the country stood at 26.3 million, the second highest in the world after the United States, while the total number of deaths in the country was 295,525.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and state officials have been widely criticized for failing to counter the pandemic as many officials braced for another wave.
Another major concern is the slowness of vaccination in the country.
New Delhi’s chief minister said city officials were forced to stop vaccinations for people aged 18 to 44 as stocks ran out.
The chief minister of Andhra Pradesh urged Modi to help, as the state did not have stocks to vaccinate those under 45.
The number of cases has also increased in neighboring Nepal, which said on Saturday it had added 8,591 infections in 24 hours to bring its total tally above half a million.
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