By Morgan Winsor, ABC News
(LONDON) — India has seen “an alarming rate of growth of COVID-19 cases and deaths” in recent weeks, the prime minister’s office said Sunday.
More than 12.3 million people in India have been diagnosed with COVID-19 so far and at least 165,101 of them have died, making India one of the worst-affected countries in the world. On Saturday, the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare confirmed 93,249 new cases, the highest single-day tally since mid-September. The country’s daily case counts have been rising exponentially since early March.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a high-level meeting on Sunday to review the worrying situation. Ten of India’s 36 states and union territories are currently contributing to 91.4% of the country’s total COVID-19 cases and 90.9% of the country’s death toll from the disease. The states of Maharashtra, Punjab and Chhattisgarh are “of serious concern,” according to a press release from the prime minister’s office.
Maharashtra, the second-most populous state in India that houses the financial hub of Mumbai, is the hardest-hit state, accounting for 57% of India’s case count in the last two weeks and 47% of the country’s death toll during the same period. As many as 47,913 new cases have been reported in a single day in Maharashtra, “which is more than double its earlier peak,” the prime minister’s office said.
Punjab and Chhattisgarh are seeing a disproportionate number of deaths from COVID-19. Punjab accounted for just 4.5% of India’s case count over the past 14 days but contributed 16.3% of the country’s death toll in that period, “which is a matter of serious concern,” the prime minister’s office said. Meanwhile, Chhattisgarh accounted for just 4.3% of India’s case count in the last two weeks but more than 7% of its death toll during the same period, according to the prime minister’s office.
Officials attributed the sharp rise in cases mainly to the public’s increasing unwillingness to comply with COVID-19 public safety measures, “pandemic fatigue” and the ineffective implementation of containment measures at the local level. Over the coming days, the Indian government plans to roll out a special campaign to reinforce public safety measures including mask usage, personal hygiene and sanitation, according to the prime minister’s office.
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