Coronavirus: India surpasses UK to become fourth-worst affected country with 2.97 lakh cases

India on Friday recorded 2,97,535 cases of the coronavirus, according to the health ministry’s latest update. With 10,956 infections and 396 deaths detected on Thursday alone, this was the highest single-day total since the pandemic began. The toll from the disease stood at 8,498. The number of recoveries remained more than the active cases for the third consecutive day.

With the latest count, India has surpassed the tally of infections in the United Kingdom, and has become the fourth-worst affected country in the world after the United States, Brazil and Russia, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker.

The huge increase came a day after the Centre claimed that India is “definitely not” in the stage of community transmission of the coronavirus, even as nearly 10,000 new daily infections were being recorded every day. During the community transmission stage of a pandemic, new cases cannot be traced to any source of infection.

“There is heightened debate around the term [community transmission] and the World Health Organization has not defined it,” Indian Council of Medical Research Director General Dr Balram Bhargava had said at a press briefing. “The prevalence is so low in our country, below 1%. In urban areas it is little higher and a little higher in containment zones. We are definitely not in community transmission.”

The rise in infections also come at a time when India has loosened most of the restrictions on the movement of people. Restaurants, malls and religious buildings reopened in most states from June 8 as part of “Unlock 1”. This is the first of the three-phase plan for a calibrated exit from the lockdown enforced to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

The country’s recovery rate stood at 49.47% on Friday and the Indian Council of Medical Research has tested a total of 53.63 lakh samples so far. Of these, 1.5 lakh samples were tested in the past day, the health ministry said.

Maharashtra, which is the worst-hit state in the country, recorded its biggest single-day jump in the number of coronavirus cases with 3,607 infections and 152 deaths on Thursday. The state is fast-approaching the one-lakh mark with 97,648 cases so far. The toll from the disease stood at 3,590. However, the state government has also denied there being any community transmission of the disease.

Globally, the coronavirus has infected more than 75 lakh people and claimed 4,20,933 lakh lives so far, according to the Johns Hopkins University. However, as many as 35,32,575 have recovered so far.

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