New Delhi: The total number of official coronavirus cases in India reached 2 million on Friday, doubling within three weeks of the pandemic sweeping small cities and rural areas. Experts warn that the actual death toll may be higher.
According to data from the Ministry of Health, the record of more than 60,000 new infections jumped every day, making the South Asian giant second only to the United States and Brazil, and the third country to exceed the 2 million milestone.
The speed of transmission in the world’s second most populous country seems to be increasing. India recorded its millionth infection before July 17, and it exceeded 1.5 million in the 12 days after that.
Official data show that the country has so far recorded 2.03 million infections and 41,585 deaths.
The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi imposed one of the strictest lockdowns in the world in late March.
However, as Asia’s third-largest economy was hit, and thousands of migrant workers lost their jobs almost overnight, this restriction has gradually eased.
Various states and cities have been implementing localized lockdowns, including the IT hub Bangalore last month, Bihar in the east and parts of Tamil Nadu in the south.
Previously, the main hot spots were New Delhi and Mumbai, which are home to some of the largest slums in the world.
But now, smaller cities and rural areas-where 70% of Indians live-are starting to see a sharp rise in the number of cases.