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September 07, 20 - 3:58 pm - Reuters

India overtakes Brazil in the number of coronavirus infections

India overtook Brazil in coronavirus infection numbers on Monday, making it second only to the United States after a record jump, but the government resumed underground train services and announced plans to re-open the Taj Mahal this month.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s government, faced with a pandemic that is showing no sign of abating, has chosen to end most curbs in a bid to resuscitate an economy in deep trouble after a severe lockdown.

The world’s second-most populous country posted more than 90,000 cases on Monday, taking its tally past 4.2 million, more than 68,000 ahead of Brazil, which will issue its latest figures later in the day.

Passengers wearing face masks travel on a Delhi metro train
Passengers wearing face masks travel on a Delhi metro train, on the first day of the restart of their operations, amidst the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in New Delhi, India. Photo: Reuters/Adnan Abidi

At current rates, India could exceed the U.S. figure of 6.2 million by next month as the disease spreads from the big cities of Delhi and Mumbai to the vast hinterland where two-thirds of India’s 1.3 billion people live, experts say.

“It’s becoming a double burden now,” Rajib Dasgupta, a professor of community health at Delhi‘s Jawaharlal Nehru University told Reuters. “The urban areas are not slowing down, and rural areas are picking up.”

India’s death toll, however, stands at 71,642, far behind the nearly 193,000 dead in the United States and 126,000 in Brazil. The government says the high recovery rates show its strategy of testing, tracing, and treatment is working.