India overtook Brazil as the second most affected country by Covid-19 on Monday, setting a new record of more than 168,000 new infections per day.
This huge country of 1.3 billion people has seen a rapid surge in new infections in recent weeks, bringing the total number of cases to 13.5 million, compared to 13.48 million in Brazil.
Experts point out that the crowds, who crowd without a mask for most of the time, especially at political rallies in states where elections are held or religious festivals, favor the resurgence of contamination.
“The whole country was complacent – we allowed social, religious and political gatherings,” Rajib Dasgupta, professor of health at Jawaharlal Nehru University, told AFP, “no one stood in line (to respect physical distance)”.
The country has seen more than 873,000 infections in the past seven days – a 70% increase from the previous week, according to data compiled by AFP.
For comparison, Brazil recorded just over 497,000 cases, up 10% from the previous week.
The hardest hit country, the US, has reported nearly 490,000 cases, with an upward trend of 9%.
The peak in India after a dramatic decline to 9,000 daily infections only in early February has led many hard-hit states and territories to impose travel and activity restrictions.
India’s richest state, Maharashtra, the main source of contamination, imposed a weekend lockdown and night curfew last week. But the state, home of the economic capital Bombay, has warned that a full containment could be initiated in the coming days – a drastic measure that the federal and state governments are trying to avoid at all costs in order to further protect the already destroyed economy.
“The solution is to stay home every two months and end this (pandemic) once and for all,” Rohit, 28, a waiter at a popular Mumbai restaurant from the UK told the country. “. But the public doesn’t listen. Nobody obeys the rules in the restaurant (…) When we ask customers to wear masks, they are rude and disrespectful to us,” he adds.
The Prime Minister of the Indian capital New Delhi, which is currently under night curfew, said on Sunday that 65 percent of the new Covid-19 patients are under 45 years of age.
“General student. Certified food scholar. Falls down a lot. Subtly charming communicator. Wannabe music fanatic.”