India nears 9 million Covid-19 cases, death toll passes 130,000

MUMBAI (REUTERS, XINHUA, THE STATESMAN/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – India recorded 45,576 new cases of the coronavirus in the past 24 hours, taking total infections to 8.96 million, data from the federal health ministry said on Thursday (Nov 19).

The South Asian nation has the world’s second-highest number of Covid-19 infections, after the United States, but cases have been falling since hitting a peak in September.

Deaths rose by 585, with the total now at 131,578, the ministry said.

There are currently 443,303 active Covid-19 cases in the country, while 8,383,602 people have recovered and discharged from hospitals so far.

In the wake of the recent surge in the number of Covid-19 cases in the Indian capital city, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has called an all-party meeting on Thursday to discuss the situation.

On Wednesday, in a bid to ensure social distancing and other anti-Covid-19 norms, the Delhi High Court denied permission to organise community programmes on the occasion of the Chhath Puja celebrations in the capital city.

The annual Chhath Puja festival is celebrated by nearly six million people living in Delhi but hailing from eastern states like Bihar, Jharkhand and eastern parts of Uttar Pradesh.

The number of guests allowed at wedding ceremonies has also been reduced from 200 to 50.

Chief Minister Kejriwal said: “Delhi had allowed up to 200 people at weddings, in keeping with the central government guidelines. But now we have decided to go back to the earlier limit of 50 people.”

Delhi has been recording a high surge in new coronavirus cases. The Delhi government on Monday had said that the city has crossed the peak of a third coronavirus wave.

The Indian Council of Medical Research has also stepped in to help by increasing the testing capacity to 60,000 tests daily by end-November.

Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain had dismissed the speculations of a lockdown.

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