NEW DELHI: India has logged 46,164 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, with experts saying festival celebrations in the southern state of Kerala were behind the whopping increase in infections.
It was the first time since July 7 that the country’s single-day infections went past the 45,000 mark, coronavirus data on the Johns Hopkins University’s website showed on Thursday. Married to ex-Kashmir rebels, Pakistani women now in a limboThe Indian women rappelling down a 60-foot well to find water‘Our future unknown’: Afghan nationals in India wary of Taliban‘Misused, abused’: India’s harsh terror law under rare scrutiny
The fresh cases were almost 45 percent higher than Tuesday’s 25,467 infections.
Kerala reported 31,445 cases, accounting for more than 68 percent of India’s infections on Thursday.
Analysis of cases and testing data suggested that lower restrictions during the traditional harvest festival of Onam on August 21 proved a setback to COVID-19 management, reversing the declining trend in the region, the Times of India newspaper reported. India’s federal government believes the rapidly increasing cases in Kerala could spread to other parts of the country, the report said. Authorities are also concerned that a wider spread could result in a new variant that could lower vaccine efficacy.
A study conducted by the National Institute of Disaster Management has predicted a surge in cases as early as October. India is currently second only to the United States in terms of its coronavirus caseload, with more than 32.5 million cases. At least 436,300 people have died.
Meanwhile, India’s vaccination drive is lagging. Although 600 million doses have been administered, only 32 percent of the population will be vaccinated by year-end at the current pace, broadcaster NDTV reported.
Days earlier, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popularity ratings fell from 66 per cent to 24pc, a huge difference of 42pc, over the course of one year as Covid-19’s second wave led to record deaths and infections in the country. A survey, titled Mood of the Nation, conducted by Indian publication India Today had asked respondents, “Who is best suited to be the next prime minister of India?”
According to the results of the survey published last week, Modi was the top contender, followed by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adyanath and Rahul Gandhi, the leader of India’s main opposition party. However, Modi’s popularity declined massively from 66pc in August 2020 to 38pc in Jan 2021 and finally to 24pc in Aug of this year.
Respondents cited Modi’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic as the primary reason for lower ratings. “While Modi was lauded for his handling of the first wave with a high 73pc approval rating in January 2021, the disruption experienced during the second wave has seen that figure drop to 49pc,” the India Today report said.